To say that our little girl can be intense is quite an understatement. In fact, she is intense about everything she does. When she laughs, she really laughs. When she cries, she really, really cries. And when she wants something, there is no mistake about it, you will know. Not surprisingly, intensity is one of the first features Dr. Sears lists for high need babies.
When Livi was born, we learned right away that it was best to respond to her cries quickly, otherwise she would go into a complete meltdown.
When she was a newborn, her little body would get all tense, her hands would curl up into little, red fists, and her cries would turn so very shrill. Even if whatever upset her was taken care of, she would remain distressed and unsettled for a long time.
We would spent hours just holding her, preferably while walking. The second we’d try to put her down, she would start screaming again and get so agitated that we were afraid she might fall apart. She really only wanted to be in our arms all day long.
Other parents suggested putting her in the car seat and going for a ride or walk. The problem was that we couldn’t even get her into the car seat. She would simply scream and wiggle so much that we could barely hold on to her.
The one thing that really seemed to calm her was nursing. That’s when she would be the most peaceful and content. So I would nurse her – a lot. And she was just as intense about nursing as she was about everything else.
The first eight months of Livi’s life were some of the hardest months of my life. Some days she would cry so much and I was so exhausted, I couldn’t help but cry with her.
Now that she is almost one year old, she still gets upset easily, she still tenses up a lot, and she still has a hard time calming down. Many days are filled with drama and tears. But now her intensity also shows in her laughter, her curiosity, and her endless love for us. And for that I am grateful.
Is your baby intense as well? How do you notice it and what do you do to make it easier?