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Raising a high needs baby is exhausting. And it can also get lonely thinking that you are the only one going through the daily struggles that come with consoling a high needs baby. I remember when my baby was only a couple of weeks old wondering if there was something wrong with her because she was never content and was constantly crying.
And that same thought carried with me as my baby grew older. I would look around and see these perfectly content babies in their infant car seats or strapped up in their strollers simply hanging out. Or the babies that made googly eyes at everyone in the restaurant as they ate the food their mom was feeding them.
While on the complete other hand, I could barely touch my own food that I ordered because my baby was screaming in terror trying to escape the high chair. Or constantly trying to prevent her from reaching for my cup and from grabbing my food to throw down.
It took me a while to realize that it wasn’t that there was anything medically wrong with my baby. But it was just that she was one of those high needs baby.
18 Signs That You Have A High Needs Baby
In this blog post, I’ll be going over 18 signs that you, too, have a high needs baby on your hands. Whether you check off every single one of these signs or just a handful, just know you’re not alone.
1. They cry nonstop.
My baby was considered colicky and although she grew out of the term colic due to her age, she never actually grew out of the intense crying. Crying is typically a reaction to a painful or uncomfortable stimulus. But to a high needs baby, crying is their way of comforting or curing their boredom.
2. You can’t seem to put them down.
They normally call our babies, “hip babies”. And that’s because it is almost impossible to set them down. When you do, it’s either all hell breaks loose or they get into something they shouldn’t be and revert back to crying when you take it away from them. It’s a constant cycle. And then guess where they end up? Back on your hip or chest (always have to make sure you have your wrap carrier conveniently by you).
3. They’re never happy longer than 5 minutes.
High needs babies are constantly jumping from one thing to another. And that’s because they are never content for longer than 5 minutes.
4. You can’t sit down without them screaming and crying for you.
When I’m working on a new blog post or working on the website on our dining room table, my baby seems to stay content playing with her plethora of toys. But the moment I decide to take a break to sit on the recliner or lay down on the couch for a minute, it almost automatically triggers her to scream and cry.
5. Nobody seems to understand what you go through.
Sometimes raising a high needs baby makes you feel like an outcast. And you may try to explain it to the best of your abilities but the reality is that nobody will understand except the moms that truly go through the struggles of screaming, crying, and constant meltdowns. Not just occasionally, but literally every single day.
And the moms that try to downplay what you’re going through are the exact ones that will absolutely never understand. You are not over exaggerating. And you are definitely not the only one going through these struggles. That’s why it’s so important to talk to the moms that don’t downplay your feelings and can vent about their similar struggles raising a high needs baby.
6. Grocery shopping is equivalent to running a marathon.
Before you ask why I don’t try Wal-Mart grocery pickup, it’s because I have tried it for several months and did not like it due to the constant substitutions and things not being available at pickup.
Anyway, grocery shopping can be an intense trip. Because you never know what you’re going to get from your high needs baby. Will they scream and cry? Are you going to end up holding them in one arm and push the cart in the other? Whatever they decide to throw at you, you know you need to get in and get out quickly.
7. They get into everything.
I feel like my baby has done more damage than my 3 dogs combined. She bites through my wooden table decor, gets a hold of my picture frames and throws them around, hangs onto window blinds causing them to break, and makes holes through everything.
Not only is destroying the issue, but they like to open and pull out anything and everything leaving trails of miscellaneous things all over the house.
8. Your baby hates being strapped down.
Whether it’s being strapped down in a car seat or a stroller, my baby absolutely hates it. I always explained it as being “bound” to something. If there’s anything she is content about, it’s being free and not being limited to anything.
9. Car rides aren’t fun.
I remember multiple people telling me I should take my baby for a car ride when I tried to explain how much she cries and how hard it was to console her. And I also remember how hard that failed.
The longest my baby will stay content in a car (after a whole year of practicing) is an hour and 10 minutes if that. And most of the time, the car rides either starts or ends with lots of crying.
10. You can’t get through a single book.
Throughout your pregnancy, you probably read a lot of books to your baby through the womb. And then pop comes your baby and you can’t even get through a single book, let alone a few pages.
11. Nothing makes you more drained than your own baby.
If you can function at the end of the night after surviving the full day with your high needs baby, then consider yourself invincible. It is exhausting, draining, taxing, and all of the other words that go along with these.
12. You’re always a second from heading to the nearest emergency room.
Your baby is active and not always in the best way either. It seems like every split second you turn your back on your baby, they’ve made their way on top of the accent table ready to jump off and break their leg. Or fall and hit their head on the edge of the furniture. And maybe even grab something sharp out of the dishwasher while you weren’t looking for that millisecond.
13. Being at home is the easiest.
It’s just easier to be at home than to be anywhere out in public. This includes the public pool. At least when you’re at home, the meltdowns are contained and you can easily step inside with all the right tools to console a high needs baby.
14. You’ve gotten dirty looks in public due to the way your baby was acting.
You can’t help how your baby acts out in public. I don’t care what anyone says. That is the plain truth. Read more about when you should start disciplining here.
I rarely take my baby out to eat because I am being considerate of others and don’t need her screaming and acting crazy while people are trying to enjoy a meal. But I can’t NOT go to the grocery store to get ingredients to prep meals for my family. About 80% of the time, I have gotten dirty looks from people at the grocery store because my baby would either scream really loud out of joy or scream and cry out of boredom and discomfort.
15. They’re not the best sleepers.
Co-sleeping or bed-sharing wasn’t an option. It was our only choice if my husband and I were going to get any sort of sleep. And oh napping on their own? Yeah, in my dreams until recently I started implementing strategies for my baby to sleep by herself. This was until she was able to climb and escape out of her play yard.
All of my baby’s naps were taken on me for the first year and some months. And if they weren’t, it would have lasted a maximum of 20 minutes leading to a cranky mood and lots of meltdowns the rest of the day.
16. They are so demanding.
I always joked that I was my baby’s slave because high needs babies are truly demanding. And if you don’t cater to their wants at that very moment, get ready for the tears.
17. Self-soothing is not something they do.
My baby has never used a pacifier. And she’s also never slept on her own until just recently. I have been used as her personal human pacifier because self-soothing is not in her books.
18. They have bad separation anxiety.
Do they stick onto you like glue? And cry if they notice you getting dressed to leave the house? That’s because your baby senses you possibly leaving their presence.
If you got to the end of this blog post and realize that you too are a mama of a high needs baby, just know you are not alone. Myself along with many other moms have gone through or currently going through the daily struggles! And I hope this post was relatable and you were able to find a bit of humor through our struggles!