If you’ve never heard the term “high maintenance” when referring to a baby, don’t worry, I hadn’t either. It wasn’t until about two months in with my son that all my research led me to this article. If you are a mama to a high needs and high maintenance baby, do yourself a favor and read that article. It made me feel so much better about Finn and truly made me feel like I wasn’t alone. I honestly thought I was the only mom on the planet who had a baby that was as fussy as mine. This article described my son perfectly for the first five months of his life. It was like someone studied my son for five months and then wrote an article about him. Every single point was SPOT ON. Every. Single One.
Intense – Yep. From day one in the hospital all the nurses told us he sure had a set of lungs. His cry was so intense we constantly thought he was in severe pain and examined his body. I never heard a baby cry as loud as Finn.
Hyperactive – For sure. He would never just lay there and be content. His little legs and arms constantly had to be moving. He absolutely hated being swaddled or contained in any way. He broke free of his swaddle during his newborn pictures and I still remember the photographer commenting on how strong he was.
Draining – Well, this speaks for itself
Feeds Frequently – Again, self-explanatory. RIP nipples.
Demanding – The article mentions that parents often say “I just can’t get to him fast enough” and this speaks to my soul. Again, he had the most intense cry out of any baby I had ever met. When he wanted something, whether it be fed, held, changed, he wanted it NOW. I remember sitting in church with him and during a silent moment he decided he was hungry and went 0 – 100 in one single cry. Complete silence to absolute screaming, out of nowhere. It scared everyone sitting around us and everyone jumped (lol). My husband and I didn’t even flinch. We were used to it.
Awakens Frequently – He actually wasn’t the worst of sleepers in the beginning until he turned 3 months. Now we’re 7 months in and still not close to sleeping through the night. We can lay him down awake and he puts himself to sleep just fine, it’s the STAYING asleep that he just can’t seem to do.
Unsatisfied – Sometimes (a lot of times) no matter what we did, he just wouldn’t stop crying. Car rides, walking around, bouncing, shushing, singing, stroller, swing, all basic needs met, it didn’t matter.
Unpredictable, super sensitive, can’t be put down, not a self-soother, separation sensitive, you guys get the picture. I could write for years just on Finn’s first five months of life. I think a lot of babies are “high maintenance” in certain areas but Finn happened to be high maintenance in every area possible.
I don’t tell you this for sympathy because I thank God every single day that he blessed me with a healthy baby. I tell you this because I know there has to be other mamas out there going through a rough time with a difficult baby and I want them to know they aren’t alone. I have never felt as alone as I did during my maternity leave. I hated getting together with any friends or family because I knew Finn would cry the whole time. I knew people would want to hold him and they would get upset that I was the only one who could calm him down. I saw my friend’s babies being so content and I would compare Finn to them and try to figure out where I went wrong. No one likes to talk about their baby if they aren’t saying how great of a sleeper they are and how happy they are all the time. Why is that? Well, if I had to guess it’s because it portrays a part of their life that isn’t perfect. And in the world of social media, we can’t let people think our lives are, God forbid, not perfect. So no one talks about it. And new mamas are left feeling like I did. Like they have the only fussy baby in the entire world and every other baby sleeps through the night by 3 months and hardly cries.
I would also assume they don’t talk about it for the reason I didn’t. Because everyone has an opinion. “He should really be sleeping more than that.” “All of that puking isn’t normal.”
Well no shit Karen. I’m aware. Thanks.
If you’re still reading, you’re probably looking for that one piece of advice I have, right? You’re not going to like it, but here it is,
Yep, that’s my advice. Accept it. Because there is nothing you can do to change it. Stop trying to change your baby and instead embrace your baby for who he is and continue to provide a healthy environment while making sure his basic needs are met. Accept your baby for how he or she is right now in this moment. For the longest time I thought it was something I did wrong. I must have had too much chocolate or caffeine when I was pregnant and that’s why he’s never happy. I must not have exercised enough towards the end of my pregnancy. If I would have remembered my prenatal vitamin every single day I wonder if he would still be this unhappy. These are the thoughts that went through my head. I blamed myself when the fact of the matter is that is just how some babies are! I babysat a lot of babies growing up and have nieces and nephews I would watch, but none of them compared to how difficult Finn was. I wasn’t quite as prepared as I thought I was and I would compare him to every baby I could ever remember watching. I feel awful for doing that now. I wouldn’t want Finn to compare me to other moms. I can’t cook. My house is always messy. I lose my temper. I cuss. There are a million moms out there who have their shit together way more than I do. But I love my son with every ounce of who I am and I think that’s what matters. Comparing him to other babies is as useful as him comparing me to other moms. No point to it. As my five year old niece would say, “you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”
God blessed you with exactly the baby you need. In a previous post I talk about how being a mom changed me. I talk about how Finn’s temperament as a baby taught me so much about myself. I learned patience, and selflessness, and how to give 100 percent of myself on days that I wanted to give 0. Maybe you can relate. If not, as always, at least know you are not alone, and lots of other mamas are going through this exact same thing. You got this mama.