All babies have needs. All babies need lots of holding, cuddling and attention.
But some babies seem to need near-constant holding, cuddling and attention in order to not scream or cry. We call these babies "high need."
These are normal babies. There is nothing wrong with them. They are simply more intense, more sensitive and more persistent than other babies.
If you think you might have a high need baby, keep reading. Here are seven signs you may have a high need baby:
1. You frequently ask yourself, "Do I have a high need baby?"
In my experience, parents who don't have high need babies don't ask themselves this question. If, on the other hand, you frequently wonder:
- Is it normal for a baby to cry or fuss this much?
- Why do other parents think parenting is so fun/rewarding/enjoyable? or,
- Am I actually cut out to be a parent?
You probably have a high need baby.
2. Your family and friends regularly tell you you're spoiling your baby
Oh, they may not say it in those exact words. In fact, they may not use words at all.
But, more than likely, they at least imply that your baby or toddler is fussy/doesn't sleep well/can't be put down because of something you've done (or haven't done).
YOU know your baby has been like this from day one. THEY, on the other hand, seem to believe your parenting style made them this way.
3. When people tell you, "These early days/months go by so fast!" you think, "YES PLEASE!"
I did not enjoy the baby stage with my kids. I couldn't wait for them to get to the age where they didn't fuss and cry constantly.
When people tell you to "cherish these moments," you likely have the sudden urge to drop kick them. It's kind of hard to cherish constant crying, screaming, and sleepless nights!
4. You frequently daydream about having a single night of uninterrupted sleep
From the moment they wake up, high need kids demand 110% of your attention, energy and patience.
Your life becomes about stopping the crying, avoiding tantrums and getting your child to sleep.
If you find yourself frequently daydreaming about having just one night ALONE , you may have a high need baby.
5. It boggles your mind when other parents say, "Don't you LOVE being a mom/dad?"
I remember asking a new dad friend once, "So, how are you enjoying being a dad?" His response was, "It is what it is." It was then that I suspected he had a high need baby.
If you have a high need baby, you probably can't relate to most other parents. It seems like everyone else has an easy baby, which just makes you feel even worse about your own situation.
6. You regularly Google "causes of fussiness" and "baby who cries all the time"
When you have a baby who cries constantly, it's natural to want to find the cause of the crying. You've probably done a ton of research online, investigating a variety of conditions including:
- A dairy or soy allergy or sensitivity
- Tongue or lip-tie
Your doctor, however, may simply be telling you, "Some babies are just fussier than others." If he or she has ruled out any physical cause to the fussiness, it may be time to accept that you have a high need baby.
7. You're terrified at the thought of having another child
If the thought of having another baby sends you into a full-on panic attack, you may have a high need baby.
Somehow the thought of having another baby who doesn't sleep, wants to feed constantly, and who screams at the slightest discomfort isn't that appealing to you.
If you found yourself nodding your head frantically or feeling intense relief while reading this post, there's a good chance you have a high need baby.
The good news is that while these babies can be exhausting when they're little, research tells us they can be the most amazing kids as they get older.
These kids tend to become strong, fearless and sensitive leaders, who aren't easily swayed by peer pressure. In many cases, all the traits that made them so challenging as infants turn into their biggest strengths later on.
My high need baby is now 10 years old. While I definitely wouldn't want to relive those early months and years, I would do it again in a heartbeat if it meant having the child I have now.
So, what's the verdict: do you have a high need baby?
Holly Klaassen is mom to two formerly-fussy babies, now 10 and 12 years old. She runs The Fussy Baby Site, and is the author of The Fussy Baby Survival Guide. She wants you to know that while it's hard to have a high need baby, you're not alone!