Friday, April 20, 2012

Saying it Out Loud ... Yes, I fed my baby. I was there.

This past weekend I went to the monthly Babywearing meeting. We were hanging around, wearing our babies :), and chatting. One mother has twin 10-month-old girls, and was saying she is working on cherishing every moment, because she knows she's not having another baby/babies. I said I felt the same way, that I'm not sure I'll have another one, so I'm doing my best to take a lot of pictures and document everything so I don't forget.
"Oh, really?", she and another mom ask. "You don't want to have another one?!"
"Well, we'll talk about it in a year or so, but as of right now, I don't think I could do it again."



Sigh. "Well, we had a really rough time in the beginning. He was, I've recently learned the term, 'High Need'. He didn't let me put him down for 5 months. We couldn't go out without him screaming. We had a lot of trouble bonding. It was just really rough, especially when everyone on the street felt the need to give me their two cents -- 'Did you feed him?' 'Did you burp him?' 'He's hungry!' 'He's gassy!' And I was all, 'He just ate, I was there.' Ha ha."


"Well ... are you SURE he didn't need to eat?" they said.


A full year later, I'm still having to defend myself about my high need baby. These moms went on and on about how you "can't spoil a baby", and I felt like I was back in CVS with an old lady telling me how to fix my baby. I know you can't spoil a baby, and believe me, I tried. I fed him whenever he needed it, I made sure his butt was clean, and if I had burped him any more CFS would have accused me of very slow and deliberate baby beating. I know in my heart he didn't need to eat when he screamed like that, because that same scream was not cured with boob when we were at home. That same scream was not cured by burping, or rocking, or signing, or bouncing. I never did find out if that scream would have been cured by throwing him out the window or smothering him with a pillow, though the thought did cross my mind.

I still don't get people don't believe me. When he was about 7 or 8 weeks old we were visiting the in-laws for Uncle Matthew's graduation, and a friend of the family came over to see the baby. He was getting fussy and started crying. "You call THAT crying!" she yelled, laughing at me. I could have slapped her. It still brings tears of anger and frustration just thinking about it. It was so dismissive, sort of like "Oh you silly first-time mother, you have NO IDEA what real crying is." She wasn't there when my ears were throbbing because he was crying so loud. She wasn't there when, after 3 hours of constant screaming, I was screaming back. I'm not crazy. I remember how bad it was.

It's been comforting to learn about "High Need" babies, though it would have been MORE helpful at the time. I found this today,, and it was like reading the journal I never kept (notice up until now this blog was HAPPY HAPPY!!!). But even now I tell someone he was "High Need", many are still "Well, honey, all babies are needy." GAAAHHH!!!! I don't wish this on anyone, but I WISH someone else would understand!!!

The bright side (for any strangers reading this or those who haven't seen my baby lately) is that as angry and sad as he was, he is a hundred times happier now. He barely cries during the day, and usually that just means he's tired. He laughs and plays and SLEEPS! Which is probably another reason why people don't believe me ...

At the park


  1. Oh Mollie, how frustrating. I am a huge believer in the "high needs baby." Some babies are just harder than others and there is nothing you could have done. Dillon was also tough. You saw he didn't sleep through the night until just about three years old, right?? He was a fussy, angry little toddler and even my parents kept saying I spoiled him and that was the reason for his stubborn attitude. He was like that from birth and still is to this day. He's a lot happier now, but still stubborn. I've finally realized it was nothing I did, but rather his personality. The good news is (I'm told) that the second baby is usually TOTALLY different from the first. I'm crossing my fingers on this. If you do decide to have another, maybe your second will be a breeze. :-)

  2. I am just catching up on my blog reading now so sorry for the late comment! This is a great post, and my heart really went out to you reading it. I also felt sorry that you didn't know about high-need babies at the time - especially because I remember hearing about him and thinking "Wow, it sounds like he is a high-needs baby" - now I wish I had said it instead of just thinking it. You can't spoil a baby, but you can't always make them happy, you know? The Feminist Breeder wrote a great piece about this a few months ago: The mothers who have had high-need babies, and the people who are willing to listen to them, know what you are talking about!! It is totally OK to think that you wouldn't want to do it far as I can tell caring for a high-needs baby is one of the hardest things people can do. Like, ever. So let the clueless be clueless and know that you deserve a medal ;-)

  3. You know what's funny? I told my therapist this and she said, "Oh no! I knew by how you were describing him that he was 'High Needs'! I should have said something, I thought I had!" And I realized that she probably HAD said something, but I didn't hear it or knew what it meant. So it probably wouldn't have helped, Rebecca! I would have probably just said, "Yeah, no shit he has a lot of needs! Just take him so I can PEE AND GET SOME GODDAMN SLEEP!!!" haha!

  4. Haha! Maybe the label only helps in retrospect. But I wish I'd sent you some Sears links or something! I am glad he's a happier little man now :-)