All babies need to be held, but Velcro babies take it to the extreme. High-needs Velcro babies are their own special breed. If you have to ask if you have one, the answer is no. When you have one you know, before you even know there’s a term for babies like yours.
You know because your arms ache from holding him day and night. The expensive stroller, swing, bassinet, and bouncy-seat go unused. You dread every time you have to put him in the car. You sleep with him on your chest even though you never planned on co-sleeping. You can’t prepare or eat an actual meal. Try to put him down and you’ll see crying like you’ve never seen it before. You don’t have the luxury of deciding what to do during nap time … when he sleeps you can’t move. You are his one and only, for better or worse.
I wanted kids my whole life. My ovaries ached for them — I was ready. Turns out, nothing could have prepared me for mothering my two babies. My oldest (3) has been textbook high needs since birth and his younger sister (7 weeks) seems to be following in his footsteps. Demanding, constant need to nurse, super-sensitive, can’t be put down, draining, sleep issues, intense — these are just some of the high-needs baby characteristics my children exhibit.
I’m writing this lying in my bed in my dark room, holding and nursing my daughter. I’ve been in this position for the past hour and will be here all night. It’s 6:45 PM. I had to brush my teeth and get ready for bed at 5:00 PM — yes, 5:00 PM! And some nights I can’t even brush my teeth. Before getting into bed I held her in my arms all day, and several times I also held her 35 lb. brother as well. When I do finally get up (5:30 AM on a good day) I’ll pick her up, get her brother, and face another day of motherhood with a baby (or two) in my arms.
Another day of walking, squatting, and bouncing to put my baby to sleep. Another day of peeing with a child or two on my lap. Another day of one-handed meal-prepping. Another day of nursing a baby while carrying a toddler. Another day without a break because they won’t let anyone else hold them. Another day of being their everything.
It’s hard. Hard to be attached to someone 24/7. Hard to be needed as much as they need me. Hard to not have a minute to breathe without someone touching me. Hard to have so few people who understand how hard it is. At times it feels like it’s sucking the life out of me.
But then I look at my son and I see the boy he’s becoming as a result of always being with me. How loving he is. How smart he is. How social and friendly he is. How advanced his language is. How creative and imaginative he is. How physically active he is. I see him and I know it’s worth it.
Tom Hanks’s character in A League of Their Own, while talking about baseball, might as well have been talking about parenting Velcro babies when he said: “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”
I couldn’t agree more.