High Maintenance Babe

Julia and I experienced two ultrasounds during pregnancy at 12 and 20 weeks. During both, Julia flipped and spun and moved and hid. When both ultrasound technicians called her dramatic, my husband and I beamed.

Julia was born around 10 p.m. on April 1st, and that very night we realized we did indeed have a dramatic daughter. At an hour or two old, she successfully wiggled out of the nurse’s swaddles and wailed when left in the bassinet beside my bed. The nurse told us that every once in a while they see babies like this, and we would need to take turns holding her all night. Having spent the last 13 hours in labor, this was daunting.

Against all intentions, Julia and I began co-sleeping that night. She still wants to be held just as much as then, and I rarely even put her down during the day.

At her four month check up, the pediatrician informed us that it is not acceptable for Julia to wake every 45 minutes for feedings throughout the night. She should be waking once at most. Our sweet doctor recommended sleep training, so I started researching alternatives focused on how to help Julia stay down longer than 45 minutes. This is where and when the realization hit that perhaps we are not dealing with a typical baby.

Julia fits the description of “high needs”, which apparently is a thing. She insists on being held, isn’t all that interested in toys or playing on her own, and fights sleep for each and every nap. We have the dramatic, strong willed, smart baby that we wished for, and are upping our parenting game to help her grow into an equally capable, communicative and successful child.

This assessment changes things. We no longer expect her to sleep through the night, and sleep training is not an option for a high needs baby. Our goal to is be flexible, supportive and soft to her wiry frame, and to help her get through high emotions, naps and over stimulation issues during the day.

This is a joy for me – I love holding her. However it also changes my blog’s focus. The tips and tricks I’ve listed because they weren’t elsewhere probably only apply to high needs babies, and not 90% of babies out there. If you have a high needs baby, please let me know what worked for you, and I’ll continue to update this site with our favorite products, and with recipes that can be made with only one free hand. It appears I will be cooking this way for many more months to come.

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