I have a high attention baby.
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.
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.
- 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.
Ultimate Rabbit Hole
Mummy Do It