Parenting A High Needs Baby.

After having James and dealing with all of his medical problems. Reflux, multiple food intolerance's and him being a high needs baby, I wasn't surprised when Emilie was diagnosed with silent reflux and also turned out to be a 'high needs' baby. I had half expected it. With James it was a shock to the system. I had envisioned peacefully rocking my baby to sleep, gummy little smiles and a contented baby. What I got was the exact opposite and it took me a good six months to accept that this was our 'normal.'

I didn't have those expectations with Emilie, so even though she has spent the past ten months screaming at every available opportunity, I was sad but I wasn't shocked. It's probably a good thing because it means that I accepted our normal a lot quicker than I did with James. I quickly realised with her that Attachment Parenting was the way to go. She's happy when she's being held so I hold her. I wear her in a sling when we go on the school runs or to a friends house. She has good nights and bad nights. On the bad nights we co-sleep. I can count on one hand the amount of times she has self settled so instead I rock her to sleep for naps and bed time. I don't let her run the show though. We have a routine and she likes that (Finally! I've written before about trying to let the routine go.. Ironically once I decided that, Miss Emilie decided that she would suddenly adapt to it!)

I have gotten a lot of flack for my style of parenting. People have seen Emilie go from happy to crying in 2.5 seconds, me respond by picking her up, which results in them telling me that I am 'making a rod for my own back' or that I am 'spoiling her.' I've been told that she is manipulating me and that she will still be doing it when she is four years old. I've been told just to let her cry and for me to sit there and ignore her. I've been told that it's a habit that I need to get her out of and that I'm enabling her. She has extreme separation anxiety. Literally no one else can pick her up except Anthony or I. My poor sister is desperate for a cuddle with her and it makes me sad that Emilie won't go to anyone else but I know that she will eventually grow out of it but for right now, if she doesn't want to go to anyone else, I am not going to force her.

I try not to get into the whole parenting debate when people try and tell me that I'm doing it wrong and that Emilie is 'high needs' because of me. In my eyes she is a tiny person that has no idea whats going on in the world. She is in pain because of her reflux and needs comfort. If being with me brings her that comfort, then that's my job. I'm her Mummy and what kind of parent would I be if I know what she needs but I ignore it? If put her down on the floor and leave her there to cry.

Every baby is different and needs parenting differently. Every baby within the same family is different and needs parenting differently. I am sure that as Emilie grows up I am going to have to discipline her in a different way than I discipline James. I will have to encourage her in different ways than I encourage James. Attachment parenting is working for our family when it comes to Emilie and I am a firm believer in no one knows a baby more than the parents. No one other than us has had to listen to Emilie cry for 15 hours a day. No one else other than us has had to sit in the paediatric waiting room with Emilie whilst waiting to see her doctor for her reflux. No one else has had to sit with her whilst she gags and vomits on pureed food. (Thank goodness we are starting to see the light at the end of that tunnel!) No one else but us has had to jiggle and bounce for what seems like hours just to stop her from screaming. So in my eyes no one can judge me for the way I choose to parent my daughter.

Never judge a person until you've walked a mile in their shoes.

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