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Does Your Baby Cry And Fuss A LOT? They May Be ‘High Needs’

04 Apr 2017

Parenting is one of the most difficult, but most rewarding jobs there is. Children come in all shapes, sizes and colours. Their needs are also often unique. While babies who fussed a lot or needed more attention were labelled as difficult or spoilt earlier, today a different term has been coined for them: “high needs” (by American paediatrician, Dr. William Sears). They often grow up to be assertive individuals who really know their own mind and are confident enough to play by their own rules! They may also make great leaders—after all, they’ve been demanding taskmasters right from babyhood. So how do you know if you have a high needs baby? Here are some common signs:

  1. They are spirited

High need babies are more spirited and spunky than their counterparts. They protest long and loud if their needs are not met immediately. They laugh louder, cry louder and feel more deeply than other babies. They are driven and this attitude serves them well in later life as well.


  1. Always on the move

Being spirited and driven also means always being on the move. This can manifest as resisting swaddling and containment as a new born. As they grow, the high needs child will always seem to be on the move, sometimes even in their sleep!


  1. They don't stick to feeding schedules

In modern parenting, feeding schedules are often dictated more by the parent's needs than the child's. A high needs baby will rarely go along with that. Feeding provides them with comfort and they will do it more often, though for a shorter time. Sometimes they can feed up to 20 times a day!


  1. They don't ask, they demand

Where another baby may start to fuss when they're hungry or need a change, a high needs baby will start yelling at the top of their lungs. They want milk, and they want it now. The good news is that if parents respond to and channel a high needs child's demanding nature wisely, the child will grow into a person with determination and the ability to extract the most from their opportunities.


  1. They want more of everything, except sleep!

High needs babies are super-active through the day and carry that restlessness into the night. They have trouble switching off and usually can't self-soothe. They need parental help in transitioning to sleep and may need physical contact throughout their nap as well.


  1. What worked yesterday won't work today

You finally feel like you cracked the code and got your high needs baby on a routine. Then the next day nothing seems to work again. It's not your fault, high needs babies are unpredictable and force parents to think creatively and come up with new solutions every day.

  1. They need to be held—ALL THE TIME

Parents of high needs babies get used to carrying their children around all the time. These babies crave physical, skin-to-skin contact for many hours a day. They don't warm to strangers easily and may need the parents to hold them, carry them in a sling or cuddle them through the night.


  1. Exhausted  parents

Parents of high needs children often find themselves totally wiped out. Constantly catering to the demands of their feisty young one can leave them out of energy and ready to sleep straight for the next few years!

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Tags: child, childcare, parenting, post pregnancy, well being, happy mom