12 Signs You Definitely Have A High-Needs Baby

12 Signs You Definitely Have a High-Needs Baby

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Rashmi Prakash (Psychologist/Psychotherapist)
View more Psychologist/Psychotherapist Our Panel of Experts

Most mothers of babies with high-needs don’t realise that their munchkins are difficult to take care of until they encounter other moms and their babes who are happy with the basic needs and maybe a little more above those needs. If your schedule goes haywire and your world keeps changing every day, then here’s the news breaker – you have a high-needs baby!

Video: 10 Signs You Have a High-needs Baby

Today, we will tell you about the signs of high-maintenance babies.

Common Characteristics of a High-needs Baby

From screaming out of nowhere to not napping at all, here are 12 tell-tale signs of a high-needs baby that you must watch out for.

1. The Baby Is Never Silent

High-needs babies are never silent; they want attention, and they get it by crying or making noise. For example, if you put your baby on the floor or in the bed and go to another room for a few minutes, your baby cries loudly until you come back to the room and take him in your arms. Sometimes, he may keep crying even after you have taken him in your arms. His cries increase by the hour, day-after-day. Sometimes, you just wish you had earmuffs, but hey, they’re not going to help you for long.

2. The Baby Always Wants to Move

Stillness is not a high-needs baby’s forte. You have to cradle him in your arms or constantly take him out for walks on strollers. Such babies, if you stop for a single minute, get cranky. The best advice we can give is to buy a baby tricycle or a swing or any sort of product that gets them to move.

3. The Baby Always Wants Mommy

A high-maintenance baby may choose one parent almost always, and it’s usually the mom. Sometimes, he may ask for his dad, but the chances are rare. This means moms will have a tough time since they’ll be expected to hold their babies and keep them near all the time. Get a baby carrier to free up your hands since this phase won’t be stopping anytime soon. You can trust us on that.

The Baby Always Wants Mommy

4. The Baby Hates Overstimulation

Although high-needs babies are hyperactive, they don’t appreciate it when their environment becomes like them. What we mean is that they don’t like crowds, noisy rooms, and a lot of people smiling and greeting them. If you’re having a gathering in the house or going out to busy places, make sure to have a babysitter or someone to take care of him. Yes, the crying will be there, but it’ll be less. Try to make sure the next day is peaceful though since he’ll be craving calm after the crying and noises.

5. Sleep Times Are Chaotic

This is a clear tell-tale sign. Most normal babies have a regular sleeping schedule, and some take naps frequently, too. But no, not a high-maintenance one. Sometimes he may sleep around 5 pm to 6 pm while at other times, he may sleep at 3 am. The time when he will sleep cannot be predicted, but one thing’s for sure – when you expect him to fall asleep, he’ll stay awake and vice versa, and that’s not easy to deal with.

6. The Baby Doesn’t Accept Formula Milk

High-maintenance babies always want to be breastfed. They don’t take no for an answer, and they shove away the milk formula when you hand it to them. The breastfeeding tendency has more to do with comfort rather than hunger. Constant breastfeeding makes them feel as if they’re closer to the parent and warm and safe. It’s a basic human or an instinctive desire to feel protected. But for moms, your days are going to get more tiring on the other hand.

The Baby Doesn't Accept Formula Milk

7. The Baby Wants Stimulation

We just mentioned in the article above that high-needs babies hate stimulation, which is true, but only when it comes from the outside or is directed towards them. But when it comes to themselves, they want it. Some days your baby may want a quiet day with low ambient lighting in the house. Other days, he may want to move around, crawl room to room, or destroy those fancy baby toys you got for him.

8. The Baby Will Never Stay Alone

Your baby may also never stay alone. Even if you have to use the bathroom, he might come along. Whether you go to your fitness centre, to a friend’s house, or just grocery shopping, your little munchkin may make your life miserable unless you take him with you.

9. The Baby Doesn’t Know How to Self-Soothe

High-needs babies have higher needs when it comes to soothing themselves. Pacifiers, baby toys, and flashy and colourful stuff that you show him won’t work. The best way to soothe is the old-fashioned way with mom and dad by his side.

10. The Baby Poops Randomly

Normal babies show you signs and go red-faced right before they’re about to poop. Their bowel movements are like clockwork, but the same cannot be said for high-needs babies. They’ll soil their diapers and wet their beds without warning. If there’s one thing that’s clockwork about them – it’s their erratic pooping routines.

11. The Baby Hates to Be Swaddled

Most babies love being swaddled. It takes them back to their days inside the womb and makes them feel warm, comfy, and cosy. But high-needs babies may not like being swaddled. If you’ve tried to swaddle your baby in breezy or cosy material, you’ll notice him throwing a fuss. The best solution is to make sure the carrier has enough room for your baby to move his legs and let them dangle.

The Baby Hates to Be Swaddled

12. The Baby Cries Incessantly If His Needs Aren’t Met

This is the clearest sign you’ve got a high-needs baby. His needs take precedence over everything else in your life. And if you don’t attend to him, your life becomes a living nightmare since the cries and outbursts get louder to the point of insanity. You’ll also sometimes feel as if he’s the one in control since everything goes at his pace, from feeding and sleeping to rocking and playing.

Don’t worry; it won’t last forever. The good news is that high-needs babies and intelligence traits are connected the more the kids mature!

How to Deal With Your High-Needs Baby

Do you have a high-needs baby? Does he throw a tantrum all the time? Here’s how to deal with it.

1. Make Time for Yourself

Sometimes taking care of your high-needs baby may zap the energy out of you. And you won’t be able to take care of him if you don’t take care of yourself first. The best way to go about this is to take him to the areas surrounded by greenery and people. Take him for a stroll in the park and let him interact with kids while you spend a few minutes meditating or simply breathing.

2. Be a “Yes” Mom

If your baby wants a diaper change, do it without fuss. If he wants to be breastfed, do it. For a few months, agree to everything your baby wants. If you respond to your baby’s needs rather than react, they’ll get the message that you care. Wean off the “yes” responses and start saying no when it’s inappropriate. Do this when they get a few months older, though.

3. Learn to Read Cues

If your baby prefers specific foods and textures, and cries when you give him formula, analyse that. Observe him. Find out what makes him happy and what makes him throw tantrums. Be patient with the process and learn his preferences.

4. Journal Your Feelings

Once your baby falls asleep, and you get some time for yourself, journal your thoughts and feelings. Write down whatever you feel. Let everything out on paper. Try this brain-drain activity, and you’ll feel refreshed after the experience.Journal Your Feelings

5. Hire a Babysitter

If you can find babysitters who get along with your baby, hire them. Let her take care of your munchkin a few days of the week. You deserve some time off, after all.

6. Find a Support Group

Find a support group and meet like-minded moms who are going through the same trouble. You’ll meet new people and find tips that work well for your high-needs baby.

7. Remember That Your Child Is Unique

A high-needs baby is a unique baby. Don’t compare him with the rest of the babies in the world. Treat your baby with a mindset that your little one is different, and he needs special attention and care.

Putting in the time for your munchkin and attending to his needs will pay off in the long run. When the years pass by, you’ll look back and actually start missing this time.


Asking questions is healthy and indicates that you want to learn. Here are some frequently asked questions by our readers.

1. What are the reasons for a baby to be high maintenance?

High-maintenance babies are more sensitive than other babies on an innate level. This causes them to cry as they crave more stimulation. One of the common reasons behind high-maintenance babies is emotional trauma during pregnancy or when the mother experienced a lot of stress prior to giving birth. The baby’s temperament is also responsible for him being high-maintenance; few babies are born with a difficult temperament.

2. Is there a difference between colicky and high-needs baby?

Yes, a colicky baby cries for more than three hours a day while a high-needs baby may cry much more than that. The sleeping pattern of a high-needs baby is erratic, too, when compared to a colicky munchkin and his behaviour is more unpredictable.

3. Do high-needs babies have anxiety on growing up?

Not really. Most parents report saying that their high-needs babies grow up to become independent and fantastic individuals. Since you’re caring for his needs constantly and giving him the love and affection a parent is meant to give, he’ll grow up feeling secure and confident.

4. Why does a high-needs baby need to constantly breastfeed?

This has more to do with the comfort aspect and the feeling of being close to you. It doesn’t mean they’re hungry because even if they’re not, they’ll still breastfeed to stay near you.

To conclude, high-needs babies just need more love and attention than the rest. Enjoy this time even if it feels hard because yes, there will be a day when you will miss it.

Also Read:

How to Make Life Easier with Newborn Baby
Why Babies Need to be Held All The Time
Effective Tips for Dealing With Crying Baby

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