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Parenting 101

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Jill Patir
Jill Patir

After being blessed with a relatively easy pregnancy, my confidence was high as to how easy motherhood would be. I had read the books and had been a teacher for six years. As far I was concerned, there was nothing I couldn't handle. I was ready, I was prepared, I was well read, I was...

Wrong.

My sister, who is considerably higher strung than I am, had just had a baby who was a dream. My niece slept through the night at ten days old and was adaptable to any situation. There was no way my baby would be any different, right?

Wrong.

For the first few months of my daughter's life, we were working through colic, a mean case of reflux, and a baby who wanted to be constantly and tirelessly held. A friend, with the help of Dr. Sears, had diagnosed her as a "High Need Baby." It may sound more like an insult than a diagnosis, but it helped to know what to search for on Google when I was desperate for any advice, words of wisdom or encouragement.

No matter what I discovered on my quest for answers, the crying didn't stop. I thought it would never stop. She would cry, I would cry. She would sleep, and I would cry in the dark knowing that when she woke up it would all start over again. Everything I had read, all the time I had spent with kids, everything I saw in my niece... was worthless.

So what did I do? I quit listening to everyone's well-meaning advice. I stopped reading books.

"Don't hold your baby too much, you'll spoil her," they told me.

"She'll get used to sleeping on you and won't sleep anywhere else," I was warned.

"She needs to be used to noise and chaos around her, or you won't be able to take her anywhere," they advised me.

I held her all the time. I let her sleep on me. I kept her environment as protected as possible. In other words, I went with my gut. I gave in to what I felt she needed, and what I needed to regain my sanity.

And guess what? I now have a happy baby who sleeps through the night on her own. When she cries, she is crying for a reason. When she smiles, she is smiling because she is happy.
I made it through, one day at a time, by forgetting everything I thought I knew.