The High Need Baby: So Unpredictable

When I think about Livi, one word that comes to mind is unpredictable. This characteristic was hard to accept and difficult to handle when she was a baby and now that she is a toddler, it can mean a lot of frustration for all of us.

When she was a baby, pretty much everything about Livi was unpredictable. When she would sleep and for how long. When she would eat and how much. What calmed her down today, wouldn’t work tomorrow or next week. Going to the grocery store was a wondrous adventure one time and the most scary experience the next. It was hard to make any plans and if we did, they usually fell through.

It was often frustrating. I think all parents try out different approaches to soothe and comfort their baby. Most usually find a few ways and settle on them, creating a trusted and comforting routine. At least that’s what all my friends did. They know what works with their babies and they can count on it when their little ones get upset or fussy.

Not so with Livi. There was not one single approach that we could rely on when the going got tough. In the beginning, we didn’t understand what was going on and so we all had to learn the hard way. Each time one of us was able to calm her down, we high-fived each other, thinking that we had finally found the magical solution to her fussiness. Only the next day it wouldn’t work anymore.

Eventually we realized that we had to keep switching things up. By then we had tried so many different things, that we had quite a collection of soothing techniques to choose from. Now it was only a matter of being flexible and finding one that would work sooner rather than later to calm our baby down.

Easier said than done. Sometimes it seemed nothing worked. I spent countless hours during the day trying everything I could think of but Livi would just keep crying. I would call my husband frustrated and exhausted, begging him to come home or at least tell me what to do because I couldn’t think straight anymore.

We never found that one magical cure that could calm her reliably. Eventually, however, things got easier. Livi started to sit up, then to crawl. By the time she took her first steps, crying wasn’t our biggest challenge anymore.

She is still unpredictable, of course. Toddlers are unpredictable by nature. And we are still just as exhausted by the end of the day. But she seems to have found the magical cure to our exhaustion: one hug or smile from her and we are good to go for another round.

8 comments on “The High Need Baby: So Unpredictable

  1. Nina says:

    I’m glad that things are getting a bit easier, even if there are new challenges with toddlerhood. For us, the things that worked didn’t always work all the time, but I noticed that if we tried it a few more times they were more likely to work.

    My husband’s nephew was also high need and very colicky, and he is calm now as a 10-year-old. So eventually they do calm down! 🙂

    • hnMom says:

      Thanks for letting me know, that helps a lot. 10 years seems like a long time but it’s nice to know that they do eventually calm down. 🙂

      • Nina says:

        Haha, let’s hope he was calm most of those 10 years, and not merely the last one 🙂

      • hnMom says:

        Ha, that’s what I thought you meant, that he (finally) calmed down when he was 10 years old. But if it’s sooner, then all th better. 🙂

  2. Steph says:

    Our daughter was (and is) definitely predictable about some things. But for other things we’d cycle through ten different things that might have worked before while desperately searching for something new that would work this time.

    • hnMom says:

      Yes, I am sure most children have some areas where they are more predictable than in others. Unfortunately, the only thing predictable about Livi was that she was unpredictable but thankfully that’s slowly getting better, at least some of the time.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hi there! I also have a very unpredictable baby. She always has been! She’s 14 months and we’re trying, so hard, to get her on a one nap schedule but with her sleeping amounts and times, time that she gets up in the morning, everything is different every day making it impossible to get her on a schedule. What did you do for this??? Any recommendations?

    • hnMom says:

      That is a really tough one. We were never able to get her on a reliable schedule. I guess all you can do is try. Put together a schedule that works for your family and then try to get her on it. Unfortunately, it never worked for us though not for lack of trying. Strangely enough, now that Livi is older she can’t live without schedules and routines.

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