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Old 09-22-2012, 08:37 AM   #1
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Balancing your needs with the needs of an intense baby

I am exhausted. I love my ds. His needs are constant and intense. I rarely get to put him down without him screaming. His pediatrician says he is healthy but clearly an extremely energetic, aware, and high needs baby. He is highly sensitive to everything, he has had a slight cold and a low fever this past week and has been nearly impossible to manage.

Sometimes he is happy too, it's not all crying and screaming. It just doesn't last long. He has an amazing smile and is absolutely adorbs when the stars align and he is comfortable and entertained. He does require a lot of stimulation, but can become quickly overwhelmed with the experiences he is looking for. I am constantly trying to find a balance for him between giving him new experiences and protecting his senses.

I need to do something for myself, but when I am not available, he cries at the person that is holding him, even his father. I do not feel comfortable leaving him knowing he is going to cry for me the whole time and I'm just not going to be there. Tbh I worry about others meeting his needs. My mom watched him for 2 1/2 hours a couple weeks ago and said she needed a nap. She didn't offer to watch him again she has had 4 babies, even a set of twins she cared for almost on her owned she was overwhelmed with ds.

I don't know what to do. I hate allowing him to cry when I know he doesn't need to. It is possible to soothe him, it is just exhausting. But sometimes I feel like I just can't hold him anymore.......but I can't listen to him scream either. We BW, EBF on cue, co sleep. It's not like he is without physical contact and care.

Does anyone have any advice on handling a baby like this? I love him so much and I just want him to be happy and healthy, but I have no idea how to balance this with taking care of myself.

Also, if you had a baby like this, when did they start to calm down a little? Some IRL mamas have said their babies chilled out a lot when they could crawl and exert more influence on their environments but I don't want to get my hopes up.

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Old 09-22-2012, 08:44 AM   #2
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Re: Balancing your needs with the needs of an intense baby

High needs babies can be so tough. Do you babywear? How much is LO sleeping? Dr. Sears has a GREAT book with his wife about high needs babies. They are parents and medical professionals who have raised a high needs child. You might find it helpful.
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Old 09-22-2012, 09:11 AM   #3
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Re: Balancing your needs with the needs of an intense baby

He sounds a lot like my ds, but a little more intense. The first our months he had to be in constant motion. We walked and bounced all day. At about four months he chilled a little and would give me ten minute Blocks of time while he was in the swing.

I spent a lot of time with him in the ergo. He is 11 months now and is a very happy guy. He still loves to be held but if the toys are fun enough he will sit and play for 30 minutes on his own. He still wakes several times a night to nurse but other than that he is pretty easy. I think once he crawls he will be even more content.

I know how exhausting it is. I know it's awful to hear him cry when they are with someone else. But for your sanity could you at least have dh hold and walk him an hour or so a day? You could leave the house for an hour or nap with white noise on.

I'm sorry mama. Hang in there.
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Old 09-22-2012, 10:32 AM   #4
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Re: Balancing your needs with the needs of an intense baby

How old is he?

The Happiest Baby on the Block book is good. Most libraries have it. Once he gets older, if he hasn't grown out of it, The Out of Sync Child is a good resource too.

If he's older than 4 months...Do you have a good back carrier? Sounds like the Beco Buttefly II would be a godsend for you! It is super easy to get baby on your back so you are holding baby while still having both hands free without baby in the way (Its hard to do laundry or load the dishwasher with a front carrier...)

I also think you need to leave him with DH one night a week and have coffee with a friend or go for a run or something just to have some peace. He won't be traumitized by mommy being gone for 3 hours, and you need to distance yourself for awhile or you will go crazy. DH owes you one night a week for what you deal with all day. Don't be a mommy martyr! It gives you something to look forward to all week.
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Old 09-22-2012, 10:40 AM   #5
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Re: Balancing your needs with the needs of an intense baby

Can you leave him with DH for a couple hours while you leave the house? That's been my biggest sanity-saver! When I'm taking care of my babies (especially when they're <6 months or so) I tend to be all about taking care of their needs right away, which is great but can lead to mommy burnout really fast. REALLY fast. Both of my kids would be happy enough to spend an hour or two with DH while I went to the store or wherever, and it was a huge mental refresher for me. I worried the first few times, but it doesn't take long for baby and Daddy to figure out a relationship that works for them.
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Old 09-22-2012, 01:30 PM   #6
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Re: Balancing your needs with the needs of an intense baby

My second was like this, and his high needs combined with the fact that my first was only 13 months older I thought I was going to lose my mind the entire first year of his life.

Babywearing saved me. I wore him all of the time, it was great to get out and do things with him in a carrier because he would fall asleep, and I got a bit of "free" time.

Other times I needed to physically be away from him for a little while, I'm not talking going out for drinks with the girls or anything, just like a shower alone, or a trip to the grocery store by myself. DH held him during these times and yes he did cry, but he was safe and being cared for. For my own sanity and to be better able to care for him, short periods of time away once a week or every few days were necessary.

He was pretty high needs until he was about 18 months old. As he got more mobile he did enjoy playing with his brother, but I still had to be right there, if I left the room for any reason he screamed and cried, even with DH.

Now he is almost 4 and super independent. He still likes to check in on me throughout the day to see what I am doing or watch me do something, but he doesn't need me. Funny enough he is far more self sufficient and independent that his older brother.
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Old 09-22-2012, 01:31 PM   #7
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We must have the same baby! He sounds just like my DD1, and you sound like me. My DD had sensory/sensitivity issues as well. I was pretty miserable for the first few months, but when I started taking her out of the house (shopping etc) it got easier. Just being out doing things really entertained her. (She was maybe 8 months before we started REALLY getting out.). And it felt like a break for me because I wasn't working my butt off to keep her happy. When she could talk it got so much better because she could better let me know just what was upsetting her (like the drawer not being closed all the way, who would guess that!). When she could start doing things herself she got a lot easier (walking etc) too.
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Old 09-22-2012, 01:41 PM   #8
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Re: Balancing your needs with the needs of an intense baby

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Originally Posted by luvsviola View Post
I also think you need to leave him with DH one night a week and have coffee with a friend or go for a run or something just to have some peace. He won't be traumitized by mommy being gone for 3 hours, and you need to distance yourself for awhile or you will go crazy. DH owes you one night a week for what you deal with all day. Don't be a mommy martyr! It gives you something to look forward to all week.
you HAVE to trust your husband, the baby's father, to be given a chance to be the other parent. It needs to start now. If you don't give them a chance to be comfortable with each other, figure eachother out, etc - then you're not being fair to either of them or to yourself. The longer you wait to let DH be a resource, the more difficult it's going to get.

And don't worry about your mom's ability to take care of him. It's not a good comparison. She's older, so of course any baby is likely to wear her out more than 20 yrs ago when she was the mom. My mom is almost useless with DD. Not because she doesn't try.. but she likes to lay down, she likes to do things the way she does. She likes to stop and mess with her phone for awhile. To have a baby or a child want attention the entire time wears her down completely.
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Old 09-22-2012, 01:52 PM   #9
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Re: Balancing your needs with the needs of an intense baby

I agree, let your husband take him for a little while. Do it every day if possible, even if it's just while you take a shower and put some laundry away without him.

I know it's hard, my newbie pretty much only wants me, and my husband struggles to keep her happy. But honestly, we are better moms if we get some time to recharge. It gives us the patience and enough of a mental break to be "on" again once you're back with baby. Also, my husband and DD are figuring each other out a bit more, and I really don't think they would have if I hadn't allowed and pushed for this time together. I'm with her most of the time, but it's nice to get out of the house occasionally, or take a nap with my toddler, or get some housework done for a bit. And I can see my husband getting more comfortable and confident with her. I'm sure it's hard on them, too, when their own child wants nothing to do with them. But not allowing them to participate doesn't help anyone.

What I do is make sure to leave right after she has nursed, so that I know I have a window of opportunity where she won't be hungry.

Your baby may fuss, he may cry, but it will get better as they get to know each other more. And it's not like you're leaving him in a dark room to cry alone. Tell your husband the ways to soothe him, show him how to use your carrier, show him how your baby likes to be held and rocked, things he likes, etc.
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Old 09-22-2012, 01:53 PM   #10
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Re: Balancing your needs with the needs of an intense baby

My DD is a lot like this- she's 8 months old and when I put her down she cries too. She wears me out! I'm curious as to how old your LO is!
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