If you were to meet my baby for the first time, you might find her to be a little bashful, and extremely pleasant for a seventh month old. What can I say, my little darling is perfect to me in every single way. My soul awakens at the way her eyes light up when she smiles, and her laugh is infectious. My heart melts when she reaches for me and it breaks at the slightest tear falling down her cheek.
She has this adorable thing she does when she feels like she needs to check in with me. She’ll lean into me to make sure I’m paying attention. Then she’ll press her forehead against mine. She’ll let out a delightful shriek. After I’ve completed her check in, she will go back to playing with her toys. I’m not sure what made her start doing this, but it tugs on my heart strings every time.
I love her more and more and I can feel our bond growing stronger with each new day. Being her mother is the greatest gift that God has given me, and I am a much better person than I was before.
The truth, however, is that first impressions can be deceiving.
My daughter’s personality started shining through at about two months old. I am counting on her being bold, stubborn and a little wild. I’ve accepted my fate as the mother of a girl who’s going to walk through fires, move mountains, and dance to the beat of her vey own drum. I’m fully anticipating her unyielding character and I’ve got my hard hat on tight.
The first few nights at the hospital, I was under a different impression. Several of the nurses had commented on how calm she was, and one even said she was going to be an easy baby. They had no idea about the disposition she was waiting to unleash. It wasn’t until the first day we brought her home did we start to see that we had a Type A Personality baby. As new parents, we were not prepared. Once we got home, she busted out of her swaddle, found her hands and the rest was history.
So, what is a Type A Personality? It is a very intense temperament. Babies with a Type A Personality are very demanding. Cries will escalate into screaming wails until their needs are met. They are also hyperactive, which means they don’t like to be confined or swaddled and may refuse physical contact. These babies require a lot more attention than babies with a much calmer psyche. High needs babies are unable to sooth themselves, making nap time and bed time a struggle. They want to be held, rocked, fed excessively (small amounts in short periods of time) and constantly comforted. They are usually sensitive to light and sound and may scare easily.
The most difficult part of a baby with an intense personality is that they are unpredictable. They can be calm one minute and burst into a fit of rage the next. Schedules are usually tossed in the trash when caring for a high needs baby. I never know what type of day I am going to have.
Being a new mom, I am in no regard an expert, but I have learned a lot from my baby. She knows what she wants, when she wants it and how she wants it. There is nothing wrong with having a sensitive baby. According to the Ask Dr. Sears article, 12 Features of a High Needs Baby, these babies are just very aware of their environment and cautious of their own desires. It can feel overwhelming when caring for this type of baby but it can also be very rewarding. Most high needs babies prefer human interaction over toys or games. They would much rather interact with mom and dad than sit alone in front of their toys. This is great for bonding, but don’t anticipate getting much done around the house.
If you have a high needs baby and you had hoped to raise them with a certain parenting style, or had planned on using a specific technique, go ahead and throw that idea right in the trash. Babies with Type A Personalities usually require their parents to be fully involved. Caring for a high needs baby can be exhausting and overwhelming. From sleeping to entertaining, feeding to calming, all hands are on deck.
For me, getting my baby to sleep takes a series of choreographed sleeping rituals and she usually doesn’t sooth herself. Each awakening requires mine, or my husbands, undivided attention. Getting her to fall back asleep usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes. Her sleep set up must be to her liking. She is not the type of baby who will randomly fall asleep on the couch or with mom, or in the car. She likes the music up loud and the sound of the rain on her window is the only noise she will tolerate. I don’t try to run the dryer or get a quick clean in. When she falls asleep, I grab a cup of coffee and pull out my computer because I know it is silence for 45 minutes. Her sensitivity to sound will shake her from her slumber, which leads to a very unhappy little girl.
It’s never getting anything done because she screams when I am out of sight. It’s spending three hours trying to calm her because she’s too tired to nap. Its listening to her screams because of the confinement of the car seat. It’s frustrated wails when her toy is just out of reach. It’s cries of discomfort because she doesn’t like to be on her stomach. It’s constant soothing and entertaining. Its scrambling to get the bottle warmed up before she bursts into a major meltdown. It’s always having to be prepared to act when out in public and having an emergency exit strategy just in case.
Having a baby with a Type A Personality can be stressful, overwhelming, and draining. It means the house stays messy, plans get canceled, and all your energy is directed to one tiny little human. Most of the day I am running on empty. Mustering up energy to clean, work out, or do extracurricular activities takes extreme effort. In the end, however, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I feel like a mess most of the time, and my sloppy hair matches my sloppy house. Regardless, I know my baby needs me. I disregard all the how to’s and tips on how to make her sleep better and I ignore the concerns about her independence. I have learned to tailor my parenting around her needs.
For now, she leaves her bows in, but I imagine she’ll be the girl who wears her hair in a mess and maybe will want to dress herself. I hope to be the mom that can embrace her strong personality because God knows we need more girls like her.
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