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Many parents believe that all children are equal and that they basically follow similar behavior patterns, but this is not the case, on the contrary. Children can have very different characteristics and personality from each other.
There are cases in which children can become completely exhausting for their parents, and it is here that the famous term "High Demand Babies" is born.
Currently this term has become very fashionable to name those children who cry often and constantly need to be taken care of by their caregivers. They are what our parents and grandparents called in their time "weeping babies."
High Demand Babies are, in short, very active children, who constantly seek stimuli to satisfy their curiosity
... their need to learn, that they live life with intensity and passion, and it seems that they don't want to miss a second of what goes on around them.
They are babies that easily overflow their parents, which have the feeling of not being able to do anything other than attend to their son or daughter at all times.
- 1 When did you start talking about High Demand Babies?
- 2 How to recognize a High Demand Baby?
- 3 Tips to facilitate living with a High Demand Baby
When did you start talking about High Demand Babies?
We owe the first references of these children to pediatrician Dr. Sears, who believed that some parents overreacted to their babies, who said they were too demanding. But after the birth of her fourth daughter, who was tremendously weeping, irritable and difficult, but above all, very different from her other three siblings, her way of thinking was rethought. And it is that the little girl was very demanding, as those parents were begging for help in their consultation.
This fact motivated Dr. Sears to look for a term that could be used to identify his daughter and, in general, children who could be like her, and thus the term “High Demand Babies” emerged.
How to recognize a High Demand Baby?
In the first place, we must start from the premise that at this age everyone is “difficult” in their own way, since it is the stage of frustration and the first palettes. So let's briefly describe the main characteristics of a High Demand Baby:
- Intensity: these babies put great energy in everything they do: they cry very loudly, they almost seem to scream, eat voraciously, smile with pleasure and protest more strongly if their needs are not met according to their criteria.
- Hyperactivity: This characteristic is related to intensity. They have a muscular hypertonia, they seem to be constantly tense. For this reason they are doing very well physical contact, because it relaxes them.
- Absorbent: It seems that their demands and tears never end, parents often feel as if they "suck" their energy.
- Breastfeed or ask for a bottle frequently: It is not strange that mothers feel like a real human pacifier, these children can ask to breastfeed (or bottle) every hour, or every 20 minutes, or every ... it seems that regularity was not created for them.
- Plaintiffs: It is as if we never arrived fast enough with our baby, his demands have an exaggerated "urgency" character and when the day is over we have not yet been able to take care of him.
- Frequent awakenings: is a baby who needs more of everything, less than sleep, unfortunately; he wakes up every two to three, he doesn't sleep ... If you thought babies need a lot of sleep, forget, they will be the babies of others, not this one. At night it can be truly desperate. And as you think of coughing or sneezing, there you will be with your eyes open about to cry again.
- Dissatisfied: It seems that we have tried everything and nothing works. Thoughts of incompetence assail us, of being bad parents, but don't worry, these babies are like that, we will have to constantly try and try, and we will not always find the solution, do not be distressed.
- Unpredictable: what works today, tomorrow does not work. You can reread the previous point and you will see that everything is related, it is not your thing.
- Hypersensitive: They get excited with anything. They are always on alert, normal noises startle them. They are extremely empathic.
- Need for contact: it is not enough that the mother is close, they want to touch her, that they hug them all the time ... They extract the maximum possible physical contact from the environment.
- Don't calm down alone: not only do they need help to fall asleep, like any baby, they also need it to stay asleep.
- Sensitive to separation: Finally, the anguish of separation that most babies feel, for them it is endless, it seems that it never ends and is worse than that of others.
Tips to facilitate living with a High Demand Baby
If you have a high demand baby or child, these tips can help you:
- Consider your needs. As usual, you also have your needs. And it is that a "consumed" mother will not be useful to the baby, so do not forget about yourself. Make a list with your needs and another with your baby's. Find a way to satisfy things from both lists. For example, walking with a shoulder strap allows you to satisfy your need to leave the house, and the baby's need to be in contact with you.
- Allow the baby some frustration. Being constantly available is part of the baby-mother contract, but a resentful mother or martyr will see her competition diminished and will not help the baby in its development. Once you know your limits, you will be motivated to find a way to care for your baby and he will soon get the message: life is more pleasant when mom is happy.
- Make sleep a priority. Sleep when your baby sleeps and resists the temptation to fix the house.
- Practice therapeutic writing. This system is used in other psychological treatments. Writing offers you the opportunity to review what your feelings are about yourself, your baby and your motherhood. You can review your procedures and evaluate what works and what doesn't.
- Search the qualities of your baby. All these characteristics so "negative" that you see now, are seeds that well watered can become positive qualities. Your baby knows what he needs and knows how to ask for it. Enjoy that I want to spend so much time with you. Once you have begun to see the qualities of your baby, motherhood becomes much easier and easier.
- Be patient. A flower is not made and opens in a day. And even if you can't do anything else for now, your baby is already served by the fact that you are there with him.
- Focus on the important. Get carried away by the flow of events, focus on the important and don't lose energy with small things. One of the most difficult points to handle in these cases is the constant criticism of family and friends who know nothing about these types of children and consider them to be "bad" or that you are not doing well. Do not be influenced by the comments of others, even if they seem well-intentioned.
- Realize that your baby is unique. Forget about preconceived schemes and see how your baby really is. Trying to adapt to these schemes will waste your time. Focus on finding the strategies that work with your baby.
- Do not compare it with other babies. It is easy to conclude that you are doing it wrong when your baby does not sleep as much as the others, or is not still as others. Your baby has characteristics, nothing more, which are neither good nor bad. Pass labels.
- Leave home. For a baby, home is where mom is. The open space of the park allows the baby to let off steam and the mother to relax.
- If you resent, make changes. Are you starting to resent your baby, your motherhood ...? Introduce some change in your maternity style that allows you to get out of there. Continue with a style that works for your baby but not for you, in the end it will not work for either.
- Ask for help. This point is truly important. Find out who you can count on and for what, to be able to count on them in a moment of despair or simply to disconnect and recharge the batteries.
- Surround yourself with people who understand you. Find parents who are going through the same. You can exchange tricks, ideas ... And receive support without being judged.
- Share the tasks. Do not try to do everything yourself as if you were a “superwoman”, the father can also (and should) collaborate. Between two the load is always more bearable.
- Think long term. Naturally, this will not last forever, and if you do not become obsessed, you will see how there is progress.
- Look with your baby's eyes. Your son spills the juice on the shirt just when you go out. "How timely, what a disaster ..." those are the considerations from the point of view of an adult. Instead, put yourself in your child's place and consider the effects of the situation on him. A change of shirt from a relaxed posture will waste less time than if you yell at him, he starts to cry, you change his shirt in bad ways and you end up comforting him. And your son will appreciate your understanding.
- Big changes, gradually. These babies are slow to adapt to changes, such as a move. Prepare him for the change by emphasizing the positive: new room, new friends, new school, a nice park near home ... Let him help you prepare the moving packages. Pack your last things and unpack the first ones. Expect alterations in your behavior due to the stress of moving. The faster everything returns to normal, the sooner its behavior will return to being before.
- You are also a mother with high needs. Having seen it, it is clear that you need: more understanding, more courage, more help and less criticism. In reality, "High Need" does not only refer to the baby, but describes the baby-parent relationships. "High Need Family" describes it best.
- It is nobody's fault. Having a high need baby is not a problem, nor a "defect." Your baby has his personality and you have yours. The key is to couple them to avoid crashing continuously.
- Study your baby. Every mother or father knows a lot about fatherhood ... but about their own children, which does not mean that it serves you. A professional knows a lot thanks to the interaction with many parents and children. Together they will give you many tips, and some you will find more useful than others. The main advice here is: watch your baby, anticipate her needs as much as possible, use your intuition until you empathy I synchronized you with your baby's, and trust yourself.