Saturday, 6 June 2015

Diary of a high attention baby

Now you probably want to give me advice. But trust me, I've already tried it. I don't write this looking for advice. I write it because I know many of you out there have a high attention baby and are struggling! I know it can be hard! We all strive for that holy grail of a baby that sleeps through, that plays quietly were you put her, that self settles for nap times and has those wonderful two hour day sleeps. But if you have a high attention baby, you probably don't get any of these things. In fact, most babies are probably not like that. So remember you're aren't alone.


I have a high attention baby.

You would think by 8 months your little person would be getting easier to manage. You might have learnt how to get them to sleep better or maybe they have got the hang of that self settling thing. They are more alert and active, they like to explore and play... but what if you baby hasn't learnt how to sleep? What if they want your attention every second of the day?

This is my life.

For her first 3-4 months of life she refused to sleep anywhere but on me. I basically held her all day, either she slept in my arms or lay her down and tried to entertained her. The bigger she got, the more difficult it became to get her to sleep. We ended up walking around the house for hours bouncing her, upright, this was the only way to get her to sleep. Finally we managed to get her to sleep in the cot, but only if we put her down once she was completely asleep. The sleep would last max 30 minutes, sometimes only 5! At 8 months, she's really not much better. She's down to two naps a day, sometimes only one. A few times, none at all! A total of an hour sleep over the course of the day is a great day! It takes longer to get her to sleep than she stays asleep.

Exhausting!

She is actually a very happy baby, probably one of the happiest babies. She loves to laugh and squeals like a dolphin. She plays with anything and everything she can get her hands on ... providing I'm near her at all times. She is high energy. She crawled at 6 months and the next day started pulling herself up on everything. Now she's almost walking! Needless to say if I ever don't watch her, even for a second, she'll be at the cats food bowl or trying to pull down the tv. I call her my crazy little monkey child. So we bought a playpen thinking it might help me get things done while she played. Boy was I wrong! Instead she stands up holding onto the bars and yells at me until I take her out and play with her.

This is my day. Everyday.

They say you can't 'spoil' a baby, but I can't help but think it's a little bit my fault. I gave in every time she cried when I put her down. I probably even encouraged her sleeping on me early on (I loved the cuddles). I always tried to entertain her instead of encouraging independent play. I didn't know any better.

So how do you manage with a high attention baby? I'm not entirely sure what to do yet, but here are some things I've found make life a little more bearable!

- Get a play pen. So it wont entertain her for long but I know I can get 2 minutes to run to the bathroom of make a coffee without her getting into too much mischief. All I have to do is tune out her yells for attention.

- Coffee is your friend. Do I need to explain this one?

- Sometime you just have to let her cry or complain for a few minutes. Not screaming, just that whingey pick-me-up cry, you know the one. Sit down and breathe. Regather yourself so you can keep going.

- Take a step back. When she's playing - instead of sitting on the floor with her and trying to entertain her, I've tried to step back so she is still aware of my presence and doesn't get stressed, but so I can easily catch her if she crawls or climbs somewhere she shouldn't be! Slowly I'm trying to increase her independence.

- Get some support. My parents have been a godsend when I just need a break! It's hard being the only one watching a high attention baby all day (or any baby really)! After hours of bouncing her to sleep and only having 15 minutes of downtime, being able to call on my mother to watch her even for 20 minutes so I can sit down and have some breakfast or get some chores done can not be underestimated!

So if you know a mum with a high attention baby, show her some kindness. She's probably at her wits end. She's probably struggling.  A little kindness will go a long way.

xo


Linking with:
Essentially Jess
Ultimate Rabbit Hole
Mummy Do It

41 comments:

  1. Sounds tough, Mama *hugs*. You're doing a great job though, by the sounds of it. Well done you!

    #blogfair

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    1. thanks :) I know Im not the only one going through it. I hope at least her sleeping improves soon!

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  2. It's so not your fault! It's totally normal! My 6 month old hates being left to play by herself for too long, and I thought she'd get used to it as I have to put her down all the time to tend to my nearly 2 year old. It's just a phase they go through. My eldest was the same also. Hang in there mama it'll pass!! #BlogFair

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    1. thanks, I hope it will pass!! I want my child to be able to be independent and resilient. I'd love another child soon but not until she is a little less needy! :)

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  3. Totally not your fault so you can wipe that thought! Some babies are just higher maintenance than others. My second is a clingy mummy's boy and he is now 2! He drives me nuts at time but as long as I have a hot coffee and Disney Junior on TV I get a break occasionally! Mickey Mouse Clubhouse ROCKS. You're doing great and the fact she is so happy all the time is the best reward. She just loves you. Lots ;-)

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    1. Haha I wish we had Disney channel, I'd probably watch it more than my baby! I admit I do sometimes turn Playschool on to give myself a break, she squeals and tries to climb up to the tv :) she is very needy but she does love me, nothing better than that!

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  4. "a baby that sleeps through, that plays quietly were you put her, that self settles for nap times and has those wonderful two hour day sleeps." Wow, where do I get me one of those? I've heard they exist :-) Neither of my two boys were great sleepers. They're 5 and 2 now and I still very rarely get a night where I get to stay in bed from 10 til 6! Thanks for linking with #TeamIBOT:-)

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    1. I know right! Do those babies exist? Although I did catch up with some mums who had one years last week who were saying their babies sometimes only had one 2 hour nap now and I felt like running away crying. I dont think my baby has ever slept more than about an hour and a half! Sorry to hear your nights are still rough :( I'm hoping one day it all gets easier!

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  5. This reminds me of my four year old. She still likes to know that I'm nearby. Even when she goes to the toilet she wants me to come along for a chat lol. Yes, some kids are just like this :)

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    1. hahaha oh no! Im sure that'll be my baby when she can walk. Sounds like your girl loves her mummy :)

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  6. Not your fault!! It seems like forever now, but when you look back I promise you it will all be fine. It's a cliche, but no-one ever looks back and wishes they held their babies less. Some kids just need that extra sense of comfort and reassurance - you are doing exactly the right thing in being responsive to her needs. If anyone tells you otherwise they can go and get stuffed!! But yes - definitely do what you need to do in terms of practical and emotional support so that you have some breathing space as well xx

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    1. It did finally appear, seems the blogger gods decided to send it through a little late! I definitely miss the extra cuddles I get when shes a teenager and wont even hug me! thanks for the encouragement, I suppose all parents need to be told they are doing a great job every now and then :)

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  7. I remember these days, and it is tough. I'm so glad we are passed them now. Hope you get some sleep soon.

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    1. oh so it does actually pass? Thanks for providing a little shining light :)

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  8. Very similar story for our little pocket rocket. She is now 11 months. It is easier!! But geeze it's exhausting at times even now. I enjoyed the read and the honesty and agree, no advice needed. Like your tips though. Only someone who's been through this can know. 😄

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    1. Glad it is getting easier for you now! Hopefully as they grow they'll be a little less clingy, but made they'll always be just a little more affectionate (which I have no problem with!). Thanks for reading!

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  9. The affection, smiles and intelligence (of very alert babies) is amazing. I was told by a midwife they would be the survivors in cave days, getting what they need. She was not wrong ha ha, she will not be forgotten or ignored!!

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    1. haha I was told the same thing by my midwife! She said plenty of days I wont have a shower or get out of my pajamas. She was definitely right! My baby is also very alert - she seems to want to do everything, especially move. Maybe that's why they are so needy, they are just learning so much!

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  10. Your baby sounds exactly like Reeve was. Didn't sleep much during the day, and if he did, it was a small nap. I think some kids just live off small amounts of sleep than others. #brillblogposts

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    1. It surprises me how little some babies can get by on! Yesterday she had a total of about 11.5 hours all up, I read in several places not long ago that she should be having 15 hours or so day day. Wouldn't that be nice :) I hope your little man started sleeping better for you!

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    2. Yeah, it just goes to show some kids don't need a lot of sleep. He still has a day nap, but doesn't sleep long, and some days he just goes without. He still sleeps good at night though.

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  11. Phew sounds exhausting! I think going to nursery drilled it out if me! #BrilliantBlogPosts

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    1. Its a bit tiring. I suppose it wont last forever!

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  12. I have four children and my youngest just turned 9 months - he only sleeps on me in the day. I where a baby bjorn as an accessory and at night he sleeps on or next to me. Other than that he is the happiest and smiliest of the four of them. #brilliantblogposts

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    1. Yep, I hear you on that! Luckily my girl hates co-sleeping, but her cot is right next to my bed. Baby carriers are so good aren't they! I regret not buying a better one, I never thought I'd use it so much! My little koala is a very happy baby too. Maybe its because they have so much mummy time!

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  13. Don't you just love people who like to you give you there advice! Just so you know though it definately isn't your fault. I have three children. All raised the same way but my middle child is like a whole different species. He is now 3 and still very challenging, even at night time and my youngest has slept through the night since 8 months old so it's definately not down to parenting. It's just down to luck of the draw. Bet her cuteness makes up for it ;-) I know my sons does.

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    1. Cuteness definitely does make up for it! I swear every day I utter the phrase 'if you weren't so cute...' I'm sure it'll get easier as she gets older, as for you son :)

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  14. It sounds so exhausting! It does get easier as they get older....Hugs x

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    1. thanks! I keep telling myself that :)

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  15. This sounds a lot like my life. I ended up carrying my baby in a sling for most of the first four months because she'd only nap lying down if she was moving in the pram and would wake up as soon as I put her down. I have times when I feel like I've done something wrong, like you, by picking her up when she cries etc but after all the research I've read about children's attachment relationships and the impact of leaving them to cry at such a young age in later life, I wouldn't have done anything differently. If it's any consolation, my daughter had a very clingy stage at around eight months. She'd scream if I put her down to get something to eat or left the room for a second, even if she'd been playing happily beforehand. Now at ten months, getting her to nap can still be hard work but she is much happier to play and explore on her own while I get things done, and she is finally sleeping for more than 30 minutes at a time! It's so important to make the most of people offering to help out though, even if it just buys you enough time to eat a whole meal or shower. Hope it starts getting easier for you soon. #brilliantblogposts

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    1. Glad its getting easier for you! Hopefully I only have a couple of months more of clingyness and it'll get a little better then :) I still use a baby carrier to get her to nap almost every day! I could not have listened to her cry it out when she was young, it is torture when she gets so upset so I probably wouldn't have done it differently either!

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  16. You must be exhausted. I didn't have a high attention baby, but I had a baby that had awful colic for the first three months and screamed for 18 to 20 hours a day, so I know what true exhaustion feels like. Sometimes you just have to put them in a playpen, make sure they are safe, and take a few minutes time out to keep your sanity. Nothing wrong with that! Hope things improve very soon and she grows out of it. #brilliantblogposts

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    1. Oh colic is dreadful! That sounds like a pretty bad case of it :( Glad it got better!

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  17. Playpens are an absolute Godsend for a wee break aren't they? As are parents when you really really need a bit of a lie down!

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    1. I love the playpen! (aka baby jail) but it only occupies her for a limited time! My parents are wonderfully helpful! I'd be lost without them!

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  18. Reading this reminded me so much of Boo - she had acid reflux from birth so this compounded the issues - but the sleep (or lack of) I remember and it went beyond what other's seemed to experience. Things are easier for us now (at 18 months) I hope thing get easier for you too

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    1. Urgh reflux! My bub had some reflux too, luckily it died down by about 12 weeks.Hope your bub is going well now! Hopefully it'll all get easier soon for us too :)

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  19. It's so hard to know what to do with all the different 'advice' out there. We blame ourselves no matter what. Keep at it, you will get through it!! Thanks for sharing with the #BlogFair. Hope you can visit again this week.

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    1. There is so much advice around and half the time all the advice contradicts each other! Thanks for reading :) I'll definitely drop by again!

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  20. We have high attention twins and I have never been anywhere close to this tired in all my life! Hugs mama - I am sure you'll get through it.

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    1. oh gosh! You poor thing! Twins must be hard work, especially if they are high attention ones!! I hope it all gets easier for you soon!

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