The Toddling Years..

I have been contemplating to write about my experience raising a year old toddler. After all, what do I know. I only have one child while others have more experiences with more than one child under their care. But then I thought not many people have high need child like mine.

Today, a mother I know asked me what’s a high need child like? And how difficult could it be to raise one. Well, to give you a view of whether it is difficult or not to raise such a child, let’s read through what the characteristics of a high need/spirited child.

If you have the time, read the full descriptions at Dr Sears website : 12 Features Of A High Need Baby.

A summary of the 12 traits as taken from is as follows:

12 Characteristics of High Need Babies


Make their needs known in a very loud, definitive way. Are passionate about what they want and don’t want, and if you’re not quick to meet their needs, they’ll let you have it. They cry loudly, but the flip side is that they also voice their pleasure loudly.


In constant motion, may have stiff or tense muscles, seldom quiet or still, and may even resist being held or cuddled. May resist being swaddled or wrapped, and may be difficult to breastfeed because of their constant movement.


High needs babies wear you down! They definitely keep you on your toes, and may leave little time for you to recharge your batteries. Because they often don’t sleep well, there is no consistent or predictable down time for you, the parent. This can be extremely tiring and frustrating.

Feeds frequently

High needs babies may desire to nurse or bottle feed more frequently. And you may also wish to feed more frequently to pacify your baby. I have heard from many parents that their high needs baby was in the top percentile for weight due to the high frequency of feedings.


This is the child that lets you know, very loudly, what he needs. If you don’t get to him right away, he is quick to voice his displeasure. He feels his needs very strongly and knows how to get them met.

Awakens frequently

Sleeps in short stretches and may also have trouble falling asleep.


No matter what you do, your baby may still be grumpy, unhappy, or discontent, even if you’ve tried every calming technique you can think of. Dr. Sears encourages parents to realize when they’ve done all they can, and that the rest is up to their baby.


One day she falls asleep when you rock her, the next she doesn’t. You’re able to calm her by feeding her one night, but the next night she shrieks when you try to feed her. He sleeps through the night for a few days, and then is up 3+ times the next few nights. We jokingly call our little guy manic depressive because he can go from calm and content and smiling one second to red-faced screaming the next.


Extremely sensitive to their environment and external stimuli. They are constantly observing the world around them, and prefer to be at home, or in a calm and familiar environment. They may startle easily, and are very sensitive to pain or discomfort.

Can’t put baby down

These babies prefer to be held and in constant motion. They may resist sleeping alone, or being relegated to their stroller or bouncy chair. They prefer human touch and movement. High Needs babies tend to do very well when being ‘worn’ in slings or baby carriers.

Not a self-soother

These are the babies that need help to fall asleep. While other babies may be able to drift peacefully off to sleep in their cribs, some babies need to be gently taught how to relax and fall asleep on their own. This may not come until a little later in infancy.

Separation sensitive

Some babies definitely prefer the company of their primary caregivers. It may be difficult to leave them with babysitters or even have someone else hold them. They are deeply attached to their parents as they know that these are the people who meet their needs.

Well, now you know why I find it so challenging and draining to care for my son. I wonder if there is any other parents with high need child who read this blog. Feel free to leave comment. I would love to know others in the same league.


  1. Lain bdk lain ragam…
    kdg2 saje je nk duga kita mentang2 dia je yg kecik…like my daughter ler…si abg dah ok sikit.
    Xkisah brp byk anak mudah2n kita ibu-ibu ni mmg kn byk bersabar. Smoga berjaya mendidik anak-anak menjadi insan berguna utk agama,bangsa & negara…….

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