I can’t remember the exact moment I decided to start The Fussy Baby Site, but I know it was when Sammy was 5 months old (5 months old!!!) and my daughter was almost 3. The first months were filled with sleep deprivation, crying, screaming, feeding issues, reflux, a dairy intolerance – you name it.
We saw 3 different doctors during Sammy’s first few months, plus our midwife, and no one could really tell us what was wrong with him. During his first 3 months, when he was awake, he was crying. Holding him wasn’t even enough to stop the crying..he still needed constant movement. He lived in the sling, Ergo, swing and stroller those first months.
It wasn’t until Sammy was 4 months old that I sat in the kitchen googling ‘fussy baby’, ‘baby cries all the time’, and ‘why is my baby always grumpy’. Finally I came across Dr. Sear’s description of a high need baby. I immediately started bawling. Not because I was sad that he met the criteria of a high need baby, but because I finally knew there was nothing ‘wrong’ with him.
It must have been shortly after that that I decided to start The Fussy Baby Site. I’m not really sure how I thought I could do this…I knew nothing about the internet, blogging or web design (remember, this was in 2007, so you couldn’t just easily create a free site like you can now). Prior to kids, I had been in school for 5 years and well on my way to becoming a certified accountant (what was I thinking??).
But despite my complete lack of technical knowledge, I just knew I didn’t want other parents going to doctor after doctor, and yet never hearing the term ‘high need’. In our case, while Sammy was being treated for reflux and a dairy sensitivity, I think we always knew those weren’t the main causes of his fussiness. But I knew that many other parents were likely continuing to beat their heads against the wall looking for a physical causes where there was none (in some cases, at least).
Somehow I found a web designer online to create a logo and website for me (I think I paid her $75!), bought some web design software, and snatched up the domain www.fussybaby.ca (I’m in Vancouver, Canada).
Next step: Contact all the experts I could find on infant fussiness, colic and high need babies and start interviewing them and asking them to contribute articles to the site. I was amazed how not one single person turned down my request! These were MD’s, nurses, midwives, authors, psychologists, child development experts. A couple of years later, it was Marc Weissbluth, Harvey Karp, Jack Newman, Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, and others. All so generous to share their time and expertise!!
I compiled the articles and interviews and got the site up and running. Remember, at the time Sammy was 5 months old, and my daughter was almost 3. So every evening after the kids were in bed, I snuck out to a local coffee shop and worked on the site: first teaching myself some coding and CSS, then learning about SEO and the best ways to find parents online who were searching for answers. I remember coming home many nights at midnight (and only because the coffee shop was closing).
I remember the first month 1000 people came to the site! I felt so honoured and proud: my little site had potentially helped 1000 desperate parents to not feel so alone! I vividly remember thinking that if I could help one other parent get through what we had gone through (and were still going through, now that I think about it), all the time, money and effort would be worth it.
Somewhere along the way, I came up with the idea to have ‘fussy baby onesies’ designed and offer them for sale on the site. Sammy had had a onesie that said ‘Frequent Crier’ when he was a baby, and I always loved when he wore it; I’m still a big believer that humour is one of the best ways to cope with a high need baby. Here were a few of the designs:
Something I find very cool is that there are parents who found the site in the first year or two who are STILL with us. They are active on our Facebook page and private Facebook group, for the sole reason of helping other parents. There’s something about having a fussy baby that makes many of us want to help and support others through this difficult time. Maybe it’s because often society (and friends and family) tell us it’s ‘just’ colic or fussiness; or maybe it’s because we feel like we don’t want to complain to those who may not understand.
I feel so honoured to be part of this Fussy Baby community (and it really is a community). Many of you have been with me through the years, through Sammy’s crying as an infant, then his tantrums as a toddler, and have heard how he’s now 7.5 years old, and has ‘grown in’ to all his big emotions.
If there’s one thing you take away from being part of this site and community it’s this: You aren’t alone!
Many of us have gone through what you’re going through now, and have come out the other side. Having a high need baby is all-consuming, and it’s easy to feel helpless and hopeless that things will ever be any different.
But we’re living proof that these so-called ‘difficult’ babies can and do grow up to be confident, wonderful, sensitive little human beings!
How and when did you find this site or our Facebook page?
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