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Having a High Needs Baby

After having 2 relatively easy babies, I was not prepared for my 3rd little guy who was definitely not easy. He was, what we call, a high need baby. From birth he cried a lot and barely slept. He threw up all the time and I recognized Reflux pretty early on. Working in Early Intervention I knew the signs and my doctor confirmed it. Some of the signs I noticed were arching his back, always wanting to be upright, lots of chunky vomit and throughout the day.*

He was just unhappy and uncomfortable. I had been looking forward to my maternity leave because the other two were in school full time and I imagined having all of this great bonding time with the little bubba- but it turned out to be very unsatisfactory!

He slept for short 20-30 minute naps for the first 7 months of his life and having had two other children who were great nappers I was really thrown out of my comfort zone.

Normally I'd nurse my babies when they fussed and all was right in the world but because of his reflux he wanted to eat all the time to soothe his pain but then it caused a vicious cycle where he would throw up and feel crummy.

On and on it went until I learned some helpful strategies to ease his pain/discomfort and shift my mindset

  • Feed the baby upright as much as possible and keep baby upright for 15-20 minutes after feeding.

  • Encourage the pacifier as sucking can ease the discomfort associated with reflux.

  • Get outside with the baby as the fresh air really helps both the baby and the parents.

  • Lots of carrying/bouncing/shushing (even more than typical temperament kiddos)

  • Change your expectations if you can't change the baby! This was super important as I had to let go of whatever I had imagined for my maternity leave and our bonding time together. I had to make the most out of what was in front of me and accept my baby for who he was already showing he was. It is a huge mindshift, but it helps you out a lot!

Even after his reflux eased up at 4 months, he was still a high need child and needed many different things from me than my previous two babies. He was not a great sleeper until 8 months when I went back to being a SAHM and made sleep my mission. He woke up 2-3 times per night until I used my Gentle Sleep Coach magic on him at 13 months and he had feeding issues until he was 15 months. But I kept shifting my expectations and rising to the call of whatever it was he needed. It wasn't easy but I learned so much, as I do parenting all of my children.

If you have a high need child there is help out there! There are resources and supports and I am here for you. Let me know what you need.

Have questions about sleep, child development or a high needs baby? Send me an email or join my Facebook group so we can chat! I hope to see you soon!

*I am not a medical professional- these are the signs I noticed. If you are concerned your child might have reflux please see a medical professional.


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