Signs an Infant Might Be Highly Sensitive
Studies show that highly sensitive children can excel in life even further than non-sensitive children when given the right types of support. These same children can develop more significant problems as adults, such as anxiety and depression if they don’t have the proper support. Identifying your sensitive child as early as possible can be essential. What are some ways you can discover this trait as soon as the first year of life as infants? Through a combination of research, and polls of parents, I’ve found that the following manifestations may be an indicator of having a sensitive child.
Advanced in speech and development
Pick things up fast
Frequent overstimulation (fussy/meltdowns/crying) around lots of people
Sensitive skin (prone to rashes)
Might be more sensitive to chemicals in skin wipes, cleaners, laundry detergents, etc
More prone to Allergies
More food sensitivities (increased gas/spitting up) and even to textures of food
Can be more sensitive to things mother eats if breastfeeding
Sensitivity to certain textures in the environment, even seams in socks, tag, etc
Strong reactions to being wet, dirty, or sticky
Preferences for adults with softer energy levels or voices
Sleep sensitivities, need more time to fall asleep or stay asleep
Greater noise sensitivity
More temperature sensitive
Separation anxiety (especially if parents have anxiety or high stress)
Need to be held a lot
Harder to self-soothe
Several factors can impact the degree of which we might see some of these traits in an infant, including the parents own sensitivity level and their engagement and response to the infant. Even the parents stress levels, mood, and energy levels can impact sensitive infants. If, for example, a parent is highly stressed or anxious, their stress, body language, facial expressions, and reactions affect the child. One of the best things we can do for sensitive children as parents are the following:
Do your own self-care so you can be centered, which will help you be more in-tune to the needs of your child, feel more patient, and have the energy it takes to meet your needs and theirs so you can all live in balance and harmony. If your needs are not met, it will be harder to meet your sensitive infant's needs.
Learn all you can about the trait. I have many resources for HSPs, such as books, podcasts, articles, blog posts, etc. and encourage you to explore my HSP resources dedicated to spreading awareness and education of our trait. If you understand the differences and the needs of your sensitive child you will be more equipped to help them thrive to their highest potential.
Find your tribe. If you have a sensitive child, find other parents with sensitive children to gain support. There are a lot of great online groups as well. I also encourage you to join my HSP Facebook page where I continually post information and support.
With the right type of care and advocacy of what your sensitive child may need, you will enjoy the many gifts that come from raising a highly sensitive child. They tend to be so loving and compassionate and are such great gifts to our world!
Want to learn more about raising a highly sensitive child? Check out the podcasts I’ve done on the subject. Be sure to subscribe to my HSP blog to stay up to date on the latest research and information too.
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~Julie Bjelland is a psychotherapist, global HSP consultant, and leader in the field of high sensitivity and has helped thousands of highly sensitive people around the world. As an HSP herself, Julie understands what it is like to live with high sensitivity and strong emotions. Julie teaches an online course for HSPs and is the author of several books. www.juliebjelland.com.