Having a High Needs Baby but Lack of Support/Income to Nurture

by Jillian

Visitor's high need baby experience:

Unfortunately, I do not have the luxury of a stable relationship or family life or financial life --- and presently dependent on the fantastic system (sarcasm).

What I have particularly noticed --- and NYC is intense for adults even, is that all external stimuli is assaultive to Delilah.

I have to go to appointment after appointment to maintain benefits so she can eat and I have had to give up my art. You cannot paint with a baby so highly consuming (I don't get a chance and have wittled down to 105 pds).

I feel as evil as a murderer bringing her on subways etc. In fact to block out stimulus, she closes her eyes --- and it is not sleeping --- it is more like "playing the possum".

However, I emotionally coddle her x2. I don't recall the last time I took a shower.

What I am wondering is, for those that do not have the luxury to environmentally coddle and protect, what the hell do you do?

Secondly --- I do not breastfeed as I am on a thousand and one anti-depressants. She is ADDICTED TO THE BOTTLE will not relax without it. I am sure if I could breastfeed, it would be myself she would be addicted to (however, she is somehow in the 10th percentile weight-wise).

This leads me to question, are high need babies really sensitive to others (connecting to their caregivers emotively- or just to get their needs met) as well or just overly keen to their own needs?

We do have intense bonding moment but that alone is not enough to induce sleep ( it takes a whole process).

If shaped in the wrong way can this personality type become the using type versus the giving type, as a personality type can be a two sided coin? Takes one to know one. As myself and her father are too intense to even fit into societial "norms".

~ Jilian

Comments by Positive Parenting Ally

Dear Jillian,

I does sounds like you have your hands full, literally. Having a high need baby can be very exhausting, I know, and you are often left wondering how you will survive it. But you will. The proof is that you are already doing it.

Somehow you are managing everything despite the feeling that it can't continue like this or it probably won't in the future. However, we can be very resourceful when we need to, even though it is incredibly hard.

It sounds to me like you're doing your very best and that you already know your daughter very well and are very attuned to her needs.

You are asking if high need babies are really emotionally connecting to their caregivers or just want to have their needs met. Well, first of all, in my experience needs are many things.

I myself had the distinct impression that my son felt 'unwhole' when not being with me - like he still felt like being a part of me (which he also was when he was in the womb, it just didn't stop when he was born).

Thus his need was very intense in terms of needing to feel united or whole, and being close to me that emotional, existential need was met.

When babies start to develop a sense of self, their high need for close symbiosis lessens. This goes for high need babies, too. This phase won't last forever, I promise you.

But until a baby starts to develop an individual sense of self, until she can distinguish herself from the world (right now there is really no boundaries, everything is a blur and very intrusive), she will need that safe haven that a close caregiver can provide. So basically what you are is your baby's extended self. She needs you to feel whole in herself.

Regarding your question whether a high need baby can become a user rather than a giver, I guess everything is possible but I'm not sure whether it's related to being a high need baby or not.

My experience is definitely that the more I help my child feel whole, secure and balanced, the more peaceful, happy and caring, he becomes. What he is, is what he can give to the world. In that respect, the equation is very simple.

Even though parenting a high need baby can be really hard, it is not my experience at all that you can go wrong by fulling all their need for love, closeness and bonding. It's simply not possible.

So I wouldn't worry at all about giving your baby all the affection and attention she needs. In fact she is very clever in the sense that she knows exactly what she needs. Babies don't manipulate. They just need.

Plus, the reason why you give her all that attention and affection, is because deep down it feels right, doesn't it?

So trust that knowledge. You already know what is right! :-)

All the best,
Birgitte, (Positive Parenting Ally)

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