My High Needs Baby

I’ve had some dark days with Eden recently.  She has pushed me to the limits of my patience (and sanity).  This is hard to write because I love her to bits, but I feel like I have been challenged by her since the day she was born and this week as things have been really hard again I have thought, “when is this ever going to end?”

You might have already read Eden’s Story and her journey as a baby born with major gut issues.  It took us a while to realise what was going on with Eden and see a Specialist who knew what Eden was suffering.  A long time before this I read an article by Attachment Parenting guru Dr. William Sears, which really struck a chord.  It was about the “high need baby“.  Eden ticked every box!

Dr. Sears and his wife, Martha, coined the term “high need baby” when their fourth baby, Hayden, was born. While their first 3 children had been generally easy babies, Hayden was only happy when being held or fed. It was then that they realized that some babies are just truly high need.

While I totally agree, what I have also observed through my personal journey with Eden and through meeting other mums with babies/toddlers/young children that also tick the boxes of “high need” is that there’s definitely a connection to problems in the gut.

We know there is a dynamic interaction between the gut, the brain, and the immune system, starting from birth.  For example, immune cells reside within the gut and that was one of Eden’s big issues as a baby; her immune system was really compromised!

It feels like a bad dream now thinking about what we did go through with Eden.  In the grand scheme of things she is so much better, for which I am grateful!  I didn’t realise how bad it was with her (and how abnormal her constant cries and needs were) until I had my second girl Jade.  Case in point; no milestone, change, challenge, illness has ever got her like Eden got daily!  Eden’s physical and emotional being was so fragile, still is, and while her physical needs have reduced greatly thanks to the gut healing we have done, her emotional needs are still great.  Admittedly I forget this as we go about our daily life and so fall quite regularly into overwhelm when she overreacts or she gets overwhelmed.  Thankfully essential oils come to our rescue to restore our equilibrium. I would recommend them to anyone dealing with a high needs baby/toddler/child!

So what do we use?

There are 4 essential oils that I use regularly with Eden:

doTERRA’s Console, Serenity, Balance & Peace

To read about why I chose doTERRA, click here,

Read on for the benefits of each wonderful oil!

console

1.  CONSOLE

One of the primary essential oils in the doTERRA Console Blend is Ylang Ylang, which is calming and balancing for the body and mind.  It also contains Frankincense Resin, Patchouli Leaf, Labdanum Leaf/Stalk, Amyris Bark, Sandalwood Wood, Rose Flower and Osmanthus Flower which are comforting and grounding.

I use Console in those moments when we’ve all ‘lost the plot’.  The tears are flowing, the tempers have boiled over, emotions are high… I put it in the diffuser or rub it within a carrier oil into our necks.  It is instantly comforting (and you guessed it, consoling!)

serenity

2. SERENITY

The first thing to go out of the window for Eden when she is challenged emotionally is sleep.  Serenity is a beautifully calming blend of essential oils like Lavender and Roman Chamomile.  I diffuse Serenity aromatically in the bedroom to create a calming and peaceful environment before bed, use a Serenity soap or bath melt in the bath, or massage as a balm I make myself.

Serenity is also great in those “lacking calm”moments! Just one drop to the back of the neck is instantly calming, wherever we are and whatever we’re doing!  I also apply Serenity to my brow when I need perspective on my situation with Eden in order to be more gentle with myself or seek answers about how to move forward in whatever challenge we are facing.

balance

3.  BALANCE

Balance has been a key oil in the Emotional Toolbox that has got me through severe anxiety problems.  It is extremely grounding and so is great to use every day to the bottoms of the feet when the high needs bubs/toddler/child is going through change or challenging emotions.  It contains Frankincense like Console, but also contains Blue Tansy, which ignites feelings of self-control, focus, and balance, and Blue Chamomile, which is quite sedative.

peace

4.  PEACE

Peace fuses floral and mint essential oils.  It is known as a Reassuring Blend, to promote feelings of contentment, composure, and reassurance when anxious feelings overwhelm your emotions.  I find Peace really good when Eden is anxious.  This actually happens a lot, but presents in different guises. Eden is affected by loud noises, new environments, too much stimulation or situations she lacks control in.  She presents as overwhelmed or even afraid.  Peace composes her.  I have started using Peace for my younger girl, Jade too, whose big milestones (she’s 1) are leaving her anxious when she’s away from me.

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I guess the final part of this blog is honesty around having to remind myself what I like about Eden when she does push me to the limits of my sanity.  Because maybe that might help you too.  Because maybe you’re feeling quite alone right now and utterly horrible for finding your own high need bubs/toddler/child horrible.

A beautiful friend once explained to me that what often happens with kids who are higher needs is that they have an appearance of calm, but actually aren’t.  She shared a thermometer diagram with me to explain what she meant and this has always stayed with me!  Basically, our children sit higher up the thermometer and so constantly sit at a tipping point, and this is why it takes only “little things” to tip them over:

So, one of the things I have promised myself I will do more of is project myself into her mind when we are in a situation that is escalating or at risk of triggering a chain of unwanted events… I ask myself:

  • What would she want me to say and do in this situation?
  • What can I change about the situation I am considering to ensure it meets her needs as well as mine and/or involves her?

It isn’t easy parenting these “high needs”, but it is possible to adopt more empathetic and appropriate responses.  I am still learning!

And the things I love about Eden?

She is resilient, with a warm heart, an inquiring mind and the strength of an ox.  She is independent and unique and beautiful.  I use Forgive essential oil to help myself move on from the soul destroying guilt I feel each time I lose my composure and feel overcome by her more challenging traits instead of these beautiful traits I love.

If you’d like to explore those questions above, as they relate to your situation and whatever brought you to my blog, request a free discovery call here.

If you’re curious now about the positive changes essential oils could make to your life, get my free eBook here.

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Much Love x x

Baby Wind Blues

 

I had a lovely morning with my Homebirth Group today 😊 Such empowering, inspiring ladies keeping me on track for my own homebirth in December 😊

There were 2 ladies there with brand new babies, one who was suffering with some uncomfortable wind and I was reminded of my own journey with Eden.

She used to be so uncomfortable! I remember one day that she started crying when my husband left for work in the morning and didn’t stop until he got home in the afternoon pretty much; only when she cried herself to sleep exhausted or fed. Otherwise it was pretty much constant. Or so it felt. It was heartbreaking to be unable to soothe her and I really struggled that day. The words “I can’t do this” were on the edge of my tongue as I handed her over helplessly to my husband when he got home.

There were many dark days and I have so much empathy for new mums who are finding it hard! There is no book that tells you what is wrong or what to do to help, everybody seems to offer different advice, and ultimately you have to find what works for you.

Today reminded me of the things that worked for us and I wondered if it would be helpful to share them….

The first is a simple, but beautiful technique called the I Love You massage.  There are some clear instructions at this link: http://www.shoppinglifestyle.com/parenting/i-love-you-infant-massage/769/2/  Basically you are tracing the shape of an I and an upside down L and U on baby’s tummy to move pockets of air along. This really worked for us and was a beautiful way to bond, with Eden’s wide eyes staring up at me! It was relaxing to do before bed and I found Sweet Almond Oil gentle on her skin.

The second technique was pedalling her legs like a bicycle, gently. I tended to do this if she woke uncomfortable in the night. I would hold her little ankles gently and press her legs towards her chest and then hold for a few seconds. I would then alternate the legs like pedalling and then go back to two legs at a time; whatever seemed to be effective for her. She would often let out wind when I was doing this!

Another great thing I learned was about laid back breastfeeding. Have a read of http://www.biologicalnurturing.com/# and see if this is for you. I felt part of Eden’s wind issues early on was how much milk I had – I.e. lots! She would splutter and fuss, feed in short bursts and really often and I guess take in air. She had explosive green poos too! However these improved when I cut out dairy (see the following tip.) For me laid back breastfeeding helped gravity work in our favour. It was also overwhelmingly beautiful lying with her skin to skin.

Diet. This one was a big one for us. Ultimately I found many things in my diet were affecting Eden, but that was because of the issues with her gut. However, there are certain foods I would recommend every mum struggling with a windy baby try cutting out to see if it helps. I found this picture with a good summary:

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Also use a good baby probiotic. You can dab on your breast before baby feeds as a way of feeding the probiotic to them. (I got some funny looks as Eden would unlatch though, with a moustache of white powder!)

Last, but not least, acupressure. Just gently applying pressure in the blue and pink areas on the picture below. This can be done as a massage or simply pressing gently for no longer than 30 seconds. Baby will often tell you when they have had enough and withdraw their little tootsies! Eden wouldn’t stand for much touching of her feet, but reflexologists and Chinese practitioners speak highly of the power of these points.

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Using Essential Oils

As Eden got older (3 months +) we used essential oils more and more to help her. For example, I massaged a proprietary doTERRA blend into her tummy during the I Love You massage, which worked really well! It is called Digestzen.

I only recommend 100% certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils for use on your little one. The majority of essential oils are intended for fragrance or food, rather than therapeutic response, so are made from a majority of man-made laboratory created scents. The bottle may contain some essential oil, and may produce a therapeutic response, but their quality is not dependent on providing results that are therapeutic, they just literally need to smell and taste good.

Importantly, they have to smell and taste THE SAME every time! Which means that if the essential oil used in a particular formulation doesn’t meet the expectation or requirement for the manufacturer they will have their chemists ‘manipulate’ the oil with man-made chemicals to ‘standardize’ the end product. They can also fill essential oil bottles with cheaper chemicals to bring down the price of the bottle.

The essential oils I use and trust, and recommend to my clients are from dōTERRA.  I have used essential oils on and off since I was a teenager – mainly as aromatherapy – but it had never occurred to me that the quality of oils I was using matters.  When I first experienced dōTERRA I was blown away by the difference of these Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils and was curious to learn and experiment more.  Within a couple of weeks one sample had turned into an entire box and now my oils are an everyday part of my family’s wellness journey.  <<Read more here>>

Finally when nothing else worked for us we used colic calm, a natural gripe water (one that really is natural and not full of sugar and alcohol!) It is from a company called tummy calm and you can buy it over the counter in the pharmacy for a pretty penny. This link from their website that is a great resource for breastfeeding. 

I hope some of these tried and tested techniques work for you if you are struggling with the Baby Wind Blues and if you have your own things that have worked for you, please feel free to share in the comments.

To find out more about essential oils click here.  If you keen on trying essential oils I write a free e-book to help you get started. You can access it here. Or if you would like some help from me directly, Click here!

Much love x x

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