Thursday, March 31, 2011

At My Limit

This morning (yes, it's only been 2 hours since my baby woke up) I am at my limit!!!!

I am frustrated to the max with him.  He has almost done nothing but cry, moan, and whine all morning!  Some days I can handle it.  I just scoop him up and do whatever it takes to get him to stop.  But this morning I had things to do.  I sat him in his highchair for his bottle and cereal and when he was done I got up to put dishes in the dishwasher, load up his diaper bag, and hoping to do a host of other things.  The WHOLE time he was in his highchair he moaned, whined and cried.  I lost it!  What does that mean?  Well my blood pressure went through the roof, I thought my head was going to explode from so much frustration and I yelled "STOP"!!!  He did stop and looked at me like "are you yelling at me?  are you mad at me?"  and then proceeded to cry and moan and whine. 

I picked him up and decided to put him to bed.  I gave him a pacifier and held him for a while until he was ready to sleep.  I put him down in his crib and he was out.  Poor thing was just so tired he couldn't handle it anymore. 

It was then that I cried.  Uncontrollable crying.  How could I yell at my baby?  Why couldn't I just stop and figure out what he needed?  And why can't he just let me get a few things done during the day without being SO DEMANDING?!?!? 

Granted it will be "that time of the month" in a day or so.  Maybe I can blame it on the hormones?  But this part of being his mommy becomes too hard sometimes. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Nap Training Update

I feel like I have thought about nothing but nap training for a good month.  I have been reading up on different ways to nap train and implementing many of the suggestions.  But finally we are making headway (please don't let this jinx our success!)  I think what is working for us now is a combination of: longer wake times between naps, a noise machine, a nap time routine, and nap extensions! 

3 months ago I swore I would never do nap extensions again.  When I tried it in conjunction with sleep training (meaning cry it out) my little son would hard cry for an hour or more.  He would rarely get himself back to sleep, and IF he did he was so busy sucking in air (you know, like they do when they've been hard crying for an hour....) that it would disrupt his sleep and it was lousy.  Plus the fact that I felt like a terrible mother for letting my son cry that hard and that much for that long.  However, I was not doing the nap extensions properly.  I was letting him cry to extinction instead of setting an amount of time in which I would get him if he hadn't gotten back to sleep yet. 

But recently I just knew he was ready for it and I was ready to give it a try again.  So I literally told him one day before his nap, "Naps are going to be one hour long now.  You will stay in your crib for one hour whether you are sleeping or not".  It sounds kind of silly, but it made me feel like I was expressing my expectation to him.  So that nap he woke after 30 minutes (on the dot... I swear the kid has a timer in his brain) and he cried.  I put in my ear phones and listened to some music while watching him on the video monitor.  He cried for 15 minutes and then fell asleep.  He slept another 40 minutes!  YAHOO!!  Not all naps have gone that way.  Some have been better, less crying more sleeping... and some have been worse, more crying no sleeping.  But these last two days I feel like we have made a break through.  These two days he has stirred at 30 minutes and then gone right back to sleep.  As I type this his nap has been 1 hour 23 minutes long with no waking at 30 minutes!  I am so excited to be making forward progress!!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


This one is going to be fun!....

The fourth feature of a high needs baby is demanding.  In my son, this is the most obvious feature on a daily basis.  It's my attention that he mostly demands. 

Most babies have demands that need to be met, and so they fuss, whimper, and sometimes cry a little to get their needs across to their caregivers.  High need babies, on the other hand, DEMAND that their needs get met NOW!  There is no waiting, no virtues of patience in a high need baby.  I like to joke that patience is not one of my son's strong suits as he is moaning loudly and without end until he gets what he wants.  This is mostly evident when he is hungry, or while I am preparing his food, and when he is tired and needs to go down for a nap.  There is no warning or pleasant hint that he needs to eat or sleep.  He immediately moans, and if his needs are not met within a minute he resorts to full blown crying. 

He has also very demanding of my attention.  My son has never been an independent player.  I have three baskets full of toys in our living room that were bought, or given, in hopes of finding something that he enjoys to play with on his own.  The toys DO get played with, when either I or my husband are sitting next to him or have him on our laps playing with him.  Lately he has been going through a cranky phase that is making him more demanding than normal and sitting with him is not enough anymore. 

On Dr. Sears' website he says, "This feature more than any of the others pushes parents' buttons, causing them to feel manipulated and controlled."  I have absolutely felt this way many times.  When I am on the floor with him and it's not enough for him, I have to be holding him.  When I'm trying to cook a meal and have him play in his highchair and he moans and cries until I pick him up.  When I'm trying to get ready in the morning.... etc, etc... you get the picture and I'm sure you see it daily too. 

Does my laundry get done?  Eventually, though sometimes wrinkled and not folded for a day or so.  Do I get dinner cooked every night?  Rarely.  Usually my husband has to come home and make something or grab something from a restaurant.  Does my house get cleaned?  It does, but that is why I take him to daycare once a week.  I just need to reevaluate the situation daily and realize that his way of communicating his needs is demanding.  I mean, when you think about it, can't we all be a little demanding with our needs too?  Even if we don't vocalize it, we think it.  Maybe high need babies just wear their hearts on their sleeves more than others.  That may turn out to be a good thing as they grow older.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bad Days

Can I just be honest?  Today was a REALLY bad day. 

I was expecting it to be a hard day today because I had to watch my 2 1/2 year old nephew at the same time as my own child.  My son has been pretty clingy and cranky the last few days and I've been chalking it up to teething.  I'm still hoping it is teething, although we are trying to reintroduce dairy into his diet, so it could be that too. 

Has your child ever moaned, cried and complained ALL day?  I feel like that was my day today.  You know the awful annoying kind of moan over and over and over and over?  Yup... my day.  Nothing would make him happy.  Even being in my arms with a pacifier and a fuzzy blanket wouldn't do the trick (usually does).  Everything just added up to be a bad day for the two of us.

Recalling my post about nap training him, things were going very well.  I got a nature sounds machine that plays constantly (unlike the cute little lamb I bought that has a maximum time of 45 minutes on) which has been really helping him make it over the 30 minute mark.  I thought we were turning a new leaf.  He was napping anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours!!  But today was the opposite.  He napped 30 minutes in the morning before watching my nephew and then another 30 around 3pm.  Absolutely not enough time for this little one. 

Then we had a dinner planned with my husband's family.  Which was wonderful for me because I got a break from him for an hour or so.  But that also meant a late bedtime.  He cried for 30 minutes to get himself to sleep, which doesn't sound like a lot, but when you've been listening to it all day it's just the icing on the cake. 

So to sum up.... teething? dairy? not much sleep, BAD DAY!  On days like these I feel so overwhelmed and frustrated.  Someone please tell me it gets better!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A High Maintenance Baby's Eating Habits

Moving right along in the 12 Features of a High Needs Baby.....

The next indicator is "feeds frequently".  I personally don't relate to this one.  I'm not sure if it is because of my parenting style or just the way my son is wired.  But either way my son eats by the clock.  I remember when he was a newborn he would nurse every 2 hours almost to the minute.  I thought it was the craziest thing I had ever seen.  Regardless of whether he was awake or asleep he would show signs of hunger right at 2 hours.  It took him a while to go longer periods in between feedings. 

When our little boy was 2 weeks old he was screaming up a storm and my husband and I thought we were going to loose our minds.  I called his pediatrician because I thought he was having a lot of gas and I wanted to know what I should be avoiding in my diet to help.  The doctor said it sounded like he had acid reflux and prescribed meds for him.  We started the meds that day and saw a big change (although, that wasn't even close to being the end of it).  When he suggested the acid reflux I was a bit perplexed because my son was HUGE!  He was in the 95th percentile and not having any trouble gaining every month.  One of the big symptoms of acid reflux is a baby that throws up so much that they loose weight, or a baby that won't eat because it hurts too much.  I realized then and there that my son has determination as a strong personality trait.  He was not going to let a little pain stop him from eating!  (Although it didn't stop the constant crying either). 

These days I would categorize my son as a great eater.  He is currently dabbling in many different solids.  With each new veggie or fruit that I give him he seems addicted until the dish is empty and I say "no more".  He acts like I said something so mean to him.  He gets a sad look on his face and cries.  It caused me to ask his GI specialist if I am feeding him enough.  He said it's clear by his continual growth that he is getting enough to eat. :)  That's my boy! 

Frequent feeding is a feature of a high needs baby because many moms soothe their babies by nursing them.  I have read many things recently that highly praise this way of mothering a high needs baby, especially if you are nursing.  They say that if a baby snacks often for comfort they are getting low caloric milk more often, as opposed to the high fat milk that comes at the end of a longer feeding.  So it is regulated for them to fit their needs.  Plus it helps keep them calm and it helps them to trust and bond with mommy. 

Please share if your baby is a frequent feeder or not.  What was your experience with feeding your baby?  Did you stick to a schedule or did you feed them when they got fussy? 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Nap Training

Here's the deal (which I have already stated)... my son's naps are CRAP!  I can count on two hands the amount of times he has slept past 45 minutes in his 8 months of life.  I thought I was ok with his 30 minute naps, until last week.  I decided it's just not enough for him.  So I decided to do something about it.

The first change I made was to create and implement a naptime routine.  Some of you probably gasped at the thought that I haven't had a naptime routine in place for the past 8 months.  To be honest, I have tried.  When he was younger we used to swaddle him for every nap and bedtime.  It was his happy place, to be swaddled.  So I considered that a short "routine".  I figured he would know it was naptime when I swaddled him.  Well, we stopped swaddling him at 6.5 months and since then it has been sort of a quick walk him to the crib and say sleep tight and walk away, type routine.  But now, I'm serious about this routine for naps thing.  Our routine now consists of sitting in the rocking chair, reading him a story and then rocking him until he is on the verge of sleep.  Then set him down in the crib and hope he falls asleep right away.  If not, I figure I did all I can do, now he just has to get himself to sleep (which, yes, sometimes means crying himself to sleep).

The real challenge has been what to do when he wakes up after 30 minutes.  I contemplated letting him cry it out until he falls asleep again.  This makes me cringe.  When we were sleep training him at 6.5 months I tried this and I felt like a terrible mother.  He would wake up and cry for over an hour.  I mean hard crying.  Then IF he got himself back to sleep it would not be a peaceful sleep with the deep breaths he would take from crying so hard.  So I resolved to not do that anymore.  Then I heard a mother in a forum tell me that she would rock her baby to sleep after that initial wake-up.  So that's what I'm trying for now.  I pick him up out of the crib and rock him until he is asleep again.  I haven't been successful in transferring him back to the crib.  But I have been successful in getting him to sleep another hour!  So I guess I will take success in little strides.

Please share your experience with this if you have naptrained your high needs baby.  What worked for you and what didn't work for you?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Do I Seem Like a Zombie to You?

The third feature of a high needs baby is that they are draining.

I'm sure any parent of any baby can say that they feel like their energy is just not like it used to be before the baby.  Parenting is a difficult, and energy sucking job.  Just when you think the baby is down for their nap and you settle in to take your own, or settle down with the fourth load of laundry to fold, the baby wakes up and you have to spend another 15 minutes getting them back to sleep.

However, with a high needs baby sleep is a luxury.

I, so naively, believed that my baby would be one of those babies that, when put down in the crib for nap time, would immediately fall asleep and sleep for two hours.  WRONG!!!!  My baby is the worst napper ever.  It used to stress me out to no end.  But I've just come to accept it.  Yet, his lack of long naps is very draining.  I haven't had a nap for myself since he was a newborn (except last week when I couldn't get out of bed I was so sick).  That little fact wouldn't be so bad if his awake time was less demanding.  He constantly needs attention and entertainment.  These last few weeks he has gotten much better about entertaining himself for more than 15 minutes.  But on really needy days I can't even walk away from him without a complete meltdown.  Some days this drains my resources more than others.  Some days I enjoy holding my baby all day, but others all I do is look around the house at all that needs to get done that won't get done today.

"You will need to muster up as much of a positive attitude as you can; try to think of these "draining" days as "giving" days."  The good news is that the energy that is being drained from me is not being wasted.  It is going into loving my son and giving him the best possible environment to grow and learn in.  So on the days when all he will let me do is sit with him no further than two feet away, I just remember that I am making big deposits in the life of my son.