Guest Post by Kristy from Little Natural Cottage
My son changed my life.
As mama to three healthy, beautiful children, I rather glibly assumed I had this mothering thing down pat. God has a sense of humor in humbling His children!
Our second son and fourth child, Colton, appeared perfectly healthy at birth. However, it didn’t take many days to discover that he wasn’t thriving.
We slowly and painfully discovered that Colton was born with major gut issues. Despite a ravenous appetite, his body was starving due to poor digestion and mal absorption.
Not surprisingly, his gut issues affected other systems of his body, most notably his nervous system. Colton was easily over-stimulated, to the point that normal noises, lights, and temperatures were almost more than he could handle. His system was fragile, and I (the “experienced” mother) was painfully learning to care for this child’s demanding physical and emotional needs.
I christened Colton my “high maintenance boy” and determined to give my child a fighting chance at robust health and development.
To say our journey has been a learning process is a laughable understatement. It has been (and remains) a challenge to seek out knowledge and help for our son. Along the way, I discovered that “high needs children” are epidemic in this country. Many, many mothers, like me, are fighting for their children’s health. It is not a battle for the weak of heart, the lazy, or the uninvolved.
Here are 3 “keys” I discovered along the way in mothering my high needs boy:
All children need structure, but to the sensitive child, structure is vital. For me, this translated into nap, bedtime, and feeding routines for our newborn son.
As a toddler, Colton still craves structure and predictability. The familiarity of daily nap times with the same pillow in the same room at the same time, seems a sort of comfort for this boy.
2. Emotional Affirmation
As a newborn, Colton seemed the most demanding little person!
Instead of fighting his many needs, I learned to take my cues from him. I’m not talking about becoming a slave to the whims of a spoiled child, but learning to nurture a child in the way that he needs. My son needed a quiet, semi-dark room to nurse and nap. I made it a point to create an ambient atmosphere during feeding times. Colton loved it, and it became a sort of haven for me, as well.
Today, Colton is a fierce Mama’s boy who doesn’t want “strangers” (and sometimes, not even Grandma) near him. This means I don’t let everyone at church hold or babysit him. I never leave him in the nursery. Yes, he’s Mama’s Baby right now. I’m confident that, like every preceding issue, this will resolve in its own good time.
3. Physical Nourishment
High needs children are “high needs” for a reason. Most often, they have physical imbalances and deficiencies. This is where Doctor Mom comes in!
Our family is blessed to work with a team of natural doctors, including a homeopath and a nutritional doctor. With our team of experts, Colton has steadily gained ground and overcome many health hurdles that otherwise would have stumped us.
Physical needs are two-fold:
- Dietary needs are paramount. Unless we nourish our children’s bodies with the right foods, we are at a huge disadvantage. Colton has many food allergies, which is common among “high needs” kids.
- Secondly, nutritional needs play a huge role in healing.
This is where our team of experts has blessed our family, aiding us in pin pointing allergies and deficiencies, and simply supporting our efforts along the way.
However, don’t wait for an “expert” to tell you how to nourish your child! Don’t be afraid to trust your God-given instincts. Seek out knowledge and advice, then pray for wisdom to apply what you are learning.
Today, at nearly two years old, Colton is an energetic, happy child with a knack for chatter and mischief. He sleeps well at night and, aside from a few issues, his development has stayed right on track.
Raising Colton is nothing like I expected. His life has radically impacted and improved who I am as a woman and a mother. My other children’s health has benefited from the changes we’ve made to accommodate his health needs. My own health has benefited (who knew I had a wheat allergy too?).
If you’re in the throes of mothering a high needs child, take heart. You are certainly not alone! Countless mothers are right where you are, fighting the odds for the sake of precious little ones. Most importantly, your Heavenly Father is right beside you, willing to give wisdom and guidance for every step.
I take comfort in the words of the familiar children’s hymn:
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak, but He is strong.
May God bless your efforts as you nurture and nourish your precious child!
Kristy is a believer in Jesus Christ, a pastor’s wife, and homeschooling mother of four. She is passionate about living simply, naturally, and Biblically for the glory of God. Kristy is the author of The Cottage Mama’s DIY Guide, The Cottage Mama Plans Her Menu, and other natural living e-books. As the editor and owner of Little Natural Cottage, Kristy furiously writes about her loves during nap time.
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