high needs baby

6 Signs You Have a High Needs Baby

Friends and family might think you are over exaggerating when you tell them how long your baby screamed for, or how they will only sleep in your arms, don’t worry, I know you’re telling the truth! Some babies are easily satisfied and can just “go with the flow”, others are extremely fussy, hard to settle and require a lot of attention. These intense babies erupt into our world and create a storm of emotions for their parents. These babies are often seen as “high needs”.

Dr W. Sears & Dr M. Sears wrote an article in which they discuss 12 features of a high needs baby, according to Dr Sears, these 12 features are:

  • Intense
  • Hyperactive/Hypertonic
  • Draining
  • Feeds Frequently
  • Demanding
  • Awakens Frequently
  • Unsatisfied
  • Unpredictable
  • Super-Sensitive
  • Can’t Put Your Baby Down
  • Not a Self-Soother
  • Separation Sensitive

Following on from Dr Sears’ list, I would like to share with you the six things that made me realise I had a high needs baby.

1) You can’t get anything done

Remember when you could cook dinner, wash the bathroom, do the laundry and watch your favourite TV show all in one day? Ah yes, a distant memory. Now you find yourself having to do everything you used to do in the short bursts of sleep that your baby has. When your baby is awake you have to be talking to him, looking at him or holding him at all times.

2) Routine… What routine?

Your baby is very irregular. You look in awe at other Mums who have it down to a T, their babies are bathed, fed and asleep for 8PM every night. You can’t hazard a guess as to when your baby will go to sleep, wake up, want to feed… They are very unpredictable.

3) “Don’t Leave Me, Mummy”

When you walk out of the room your baby has a meltdown, she’s looking around desperately trying to find you. Yes, pretty much every baby goes through separation anxiety, but with a high needs baby, it is a lot more intense.

4) You feel like a zombie

What is sleep? Why do people keep talking about babies sleeping through? Are they playing a cruel trick on you? You can only get your baby to sleep by being rocked, cuddled or fed and then they’re awake again in an hour… You know you’re parenting a high needs baby when you drink a gallon of coffee a day and pray for anything more than 40 minutes sleep at a time.

5) People think your baby is “spoilt”

You’re the only one who can settle her, she cries for you, for a cuddle, sometimes for no reason. I have heard people say that Isla is spoilt so many times, that she will grow up to be a diva. You can’t spoil a baby! You can’t give too much love, and with a high needs baby, they need a whole lot of love.

6) Mood swings!

One minute you’re playing hide-and-seek, your baby is full of smiles and giggles, the next she’s inconsolable. You have a happy, chatty baby and you turn away to boil the kettle, boom! Because you’re not looking at or paying all your attention to her, she explodes.

And after all of this, they will become a toddler… That should be fun!

Attachment Parenting: The 6 B’s

Attachment parenting is a parenting philosophy which aims to actively encourage the attachment of Mum and baby. It is a way of ensuring your child grows up to be emotionally secure, AP (attachment parenting) raised children are said to; have lower stress levels, cry less often and create better connections with people later in life.

So what are the six B’s?

  • Birth-bonding
  • Breastfeeding
  • Babywearing
  • Bedding close to baby
  • Belief in the language value of your babies cry
  • Beware of baby trainers

Birth bonding refers to the 60 minutes immediately after birth, your baby is in an “active alert state.” Birth bonding created a close personal relationship between mother and child. During this time, skin to skin contact is extremely important, not only does it help baby regulate breathing and temperature, it encourages breastfeeding and builds an amazing connection.

Breastfeeding triggers the release of a hormone called Oxytocin, which is often referred to as the “love hormone.” The release of this hormone allows Mum to bond emotionally with their baby while nourishing them. Dr Sears, an American author and paediatrician, advises that mothers breastfeed their children for 1-4 years and is an advocate for extended breastfeeding.

Babywearing helps meet baby’s needs for physical contact, stimulation and movement. Using a sling or baby carrier means it is possible to be close with your baby while still being able to get things done (like housework!)

Bedding close to baby refers to co-sleeping, which supports mother-baby attachment, can make breastfeeding easier and provide both Mum and baby with a better nights sleep. Bedding close to baby also means your baby stays in your bedroom past the recommended 6 months.

Responding promptly to your child’s cry will build a sense of trust for your baby, as they will know that you’re always there to meet their needs. In AP, it is believed that a baby cries for a reason, whether that be for food, comfort, or another reason. A child should never be left crying.

And lastly, beware of baby trainers! There is no scientific proof that sleep training is beneficial for a child. Sleep training only works as a child begins to realise that you will not come when they cry, this is known as “shutdown syndrome.” Sleep training is believed to be traumatic for children. How would you like to cry yourself to sleep?


For me AP is common sense, maybe not so much the Co-Sleeping (even though Isla does end up in my bed at some point during the night…). Why would you not want to be close to your babe?  Why wouldn’t I respond to her way of communicating?

What do you think of attachment parenting? Do you agree or disagree with the 6 B’s?