Life with a High Needs Baby (And Why I’m Not Okay with CIO)

I worked with kids a lot. When I was a teenager, I taught Vacation Bible School. My first job was in an elementary school and so was my second. I have worked with all ages and with a variety of disabilities. I had the patience and I loved my students, so I always figured I’d make a good mom. My last job before I became pregnant was in a daycare. I remember sitting in the infant room rocking a tiny human to sleep. It was so sweet and magical and I knew exactly how being a mom would be. Not. I had no idea what being a mom would be like. Neither was I prepared for what would happen if I didn’t get that calm easy sleeper.

 I didn’t get a calm or easy sleeper. I got a stubborn, fussy, high needs (HN) baby and I got worried I wouldn’t be any good at this. It started with Logan’s acid reflux and him stopping sleeping. Then there was blood in his stool and his pediatrician was telling me I had to go off dairy and caffeine. Then there was still blood in his stool and I had to go on a full elimination diet, which didn’t help at all. I was frazzled and frustrated and about to burst into tears if anyone so much as looked at me wrong. I wanted to breastfeed to at least a year and people where throwing around words like formula and then hypoallergenic formula that costs more than you make in a month. I felt hopeless. It didn’t help that we now had to go see a pediatric Gastroenterologist. Whenever a pediatrician is telling you that you have to take your baby to see a ‘specialist’ because there is blood in his stool you hit a point of worry that you didn’t know existed!

The GI appointment loomed over head and I was desperate for things like regular showers and a night out with my husband, which made me feel really selfish and kind of like a bad mom. I was just so worn out trying to take care of my HN child. My husband and I did make one attempt to go out while I was on the elimination diet. I’m not sure why I bothered when I could eat almost nothing that could be found in a restaurant, but we went. I was just starting to enjoy myself when we got the call that my parents couldn’t get Logan to stop crying. We rushed home to find a distraught little man outside on the swing with my Dad. I should note that the only thing that helped us calm Logan down in the early days was taking him outside. Anyways, after that we didn’t even bother going out.
We finally went to the GI and he said what we had known all along that it was probably foods allergies or an immature digestive tract. Either way, breastfeeding was still going to be the best thing for him. Thank god! And I was going to be allowed to eat food again!
Everyone kept telling me it’ll get better when you start solids. It didn’t. Logan really loved food for like a second. Then he just stopped. Now he refuses to eat anything but Mommy milk and the occasional bite of puffs or banana and I’m back to having an EBF 11 month old. 
I keep thinking it’ll get easier. And I guess it has. I’m just not sure if it’s easier because I’ve learned to cope of because he’s actually getting a little easier. But we have passed the point where my husband has said he never wants another baby, so that’s good progress!
Now if I could just find a way to leave the room without Logan screaming bloody murder or take a shower without him screaming bloody murder or put him down for a few seconds…well you get the idea. 
This brings me to the cry it out method (CIO). This is another personal preference a parent has to make, and if you read my blog on cosleeping, you know I tend to go against the grain. I cannot tell you how many times I had CIO suggested to me through the trials and tribulations of raising a HN baby. It makes me really upset because I didn’t ask for that unsolicited advice. I don’t tell you how to raise your children, you don’t tell me how to raise mine, deal? Plus, I almost wanted to dare them to try CIO with a HN child. It doesn’t work! They can out cry your will! My son will cry until he has tears and snot running down his face. Till he is bright red with swollen eyes. Till he cannot catch his breath anymore. For these reasons I would never leave Logan to CIO. I’m just not comfortable with this method. 
So I take Logan everywhere I go. I protect him to the best of my ability. And I love him with everything I have because even though being his mom can be really hard it is totally worth it. He is so special and funny and sweet. And if he needs me 24/7 right now, that’s fine. After all, he’s only little once!
So when you’re having a really tough day, take a few deep breaths and try to remember you have an amazing child!

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