Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sleep Solutions: Anti-CIO Resources

So for a long time I've been wanting to put together a list of anti-cio resources. Please submit your own resources as well! Feel free to use it in whatever way you want.

No Cry Sleep Alternatives:

- No cry sleep solution

website: http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth/books/0071381392.php

- Nighttime Parenting and The Sleep book

- Sleeping with your baby

- Sweet Dreams: A Pediatrician's Secrets for a Baby's Good Night's Sleep

- Dr. Sears list of sleep tips:


Pillow Talk: Helping Your Baby Get a Good Night's Sleep: http://www.mother-2-mother.com/pillowtalk.htm

- My list of sleep tips:




Peer Reviewed Research:

The Effect of Excessive Crying on Emotion Regulation: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a785034409~db=all

From the AAP: http://aapnews.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/14/4/21

Maternal Emotional Availablitly at Night Time Predicts Sleep Quality: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20545404

Baby Sleep Requirements: http://www.parentingscience.com/baby-sleep-requirements.html

Infant Crying and Maternal Responsiveness: http://www.jstor.org/pss/1127506

Science Says Excessive Crying Can be Harmful to Infants (review of research): http://askdrsears.com/html/10/handout2.asp

Australian Assocationa for Infant Mental Health Stament on CIO: http://www.gymealily.org/resources_paperva7.htm

Quotes from Health Care Professionals and Research Articles: http://bawlingbabies.blogspot.com/2006/06/quotes-from-various-doctors.html

Marital Problems Cause Baby Sleep Issues (not visa versa):


There is No Empirical Evidence that CIO is Safe:

Handout, "Is CIO Appropriate?": http://www.infantsleep.org/images/WAIMH_Handout2.pdf

No Research to Back CIO (like several books claim): http://www.infantsleep.org/cryingitoutresearch.html

Normal Infant Sleep:

Night Waking: http://www.storknet.com/cubbies/breast/AS-nightwaking.htm

Night Waking and Protection from SIDS: http://www.drmomma.org/2009/10/sleeping-with-baby-breastfeeding-night.html

Baby Sleep Requirements: http://www.parentingscience.com/baby-sleep-requirements.html

Healthy Infant Sleep (Dr. McKenna): http://www.drmomma.org/2009/12/healthy-infant-sleep.html

Sleeping Through the Night: http://www.drmomma.org/2009/12/sleeping-through-night.html

Collection of Sleep Studies: http://home.kellymom.net/parenting/sleep/sleepstudies.html

8 Infant Sleep Facts Every Parent Should Know: http://www.askdrsears.com/html/7/T070200.asp

Is Your Baby Sleeping Through the Night Yet?: http://www.drjen4kids.com/soap%20box/sleep%20stuff.htm

Wakeful 4 Month Olds: http://www.kellymom.com/parenting/sleep/4mo-sleep.html

When Will My Baby Sleep Through The Night?: http://www.llli.org/FAQ/sleep.html

Why Are Some Babies Night Owls?: http://www.ivillage.com/why-are-nursing-babies-often-night-owls/6-n-136871


Why CIO is Harmful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbYk5RiIwZI

Additional Information:

From the Baby's Perspective: http://parentingredefined.blogspot.com/2010/12/letters-from-baby-please-dont-let-me.html

Comfort and Crying: http://theattachedfamily.com/membersonly/?p=1255

A First-Person Perspective: http://womanuncensored.blogspot.com/2009/12/just-let-her-cry.html

Culture (Africa): http://www.blacktating.com/2010/09/why-african-babies-dont-cry.html

Why I No Longer Believe Babies Should CIO: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/infant/sleep/why-i-no-longer-believe-babies-should-cry-themselves-to-sleep/article149001/print/

Crying In-Arms: http://www.instinctiveparenting.com/flex/crying_and_emotional_release_in_babies_the_aware_parenting_approach/163/1

We are Hardwired to Respond to Crying (3rd Paragraph): http://www.parenting.com/article/Baby/Care/Soothing-a-Crying-Baby

Dads are Hardwired to Respond to Crying:


The Case Against CIO:


Harvard Research Says Children Need Touching Attention (not CIO): http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/1998/04.09/ChildrenNeedTou.html

A Mother's Affection Prevents Anxiety in Adulthood: http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/07/26/mother.affection.anxiety/index.html

The Potential Dangers of Leaving your Baby to Cry: http://eduarticles.com/cry-it-out-the-potential-dangers-of-leaving-your-baby-to-cry

10 Reasons not to CIO:


Controlling or Spoiling?: http://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/control.html

Controlled Crying... Oops Controlled Comforting: http://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/crying.html

Early Brain Development (and how CIO is harmful/affects it):


The Science of Attachment Parenting: http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/lauren_lindsey_porter.html

Stress in Infancy: http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/linda_folden_palmer2.html

Why CIO Doesn't Work: http://www.drjen4kids.com/myths/crying%20it%20out.htm

Cry It Out. Yes? No?: http://www.askdrsears.com/html/5/T051200.asp#T051205

Should I Let My Baby Cry It Out?: http://www.storknet.com/cubbies/parenting/cryitout.htm

Peaceful Parenting (has written extensively on this topic, go to search engine and put in cio): http://www.drmomma.org/

-- Excessive Crying Harmful to Babies: http://www.drmomma.org/2009/12/excessive-crying-harmful-to-babies.html

-- Dangers of Leaving a Baby to CIO: http://www.drmomma.org/2009/12/dangers-of-leaving-baby-to-cry-it-out.html

-- CIO Causes Brain Damage: http://www.drmomma.org/2009/12/crying-it-out-causes-brain-damage.html

-- The Case for Cue Feeding (feeding on demand, even at night): http://www.drmomma.org/2010/01/case-for-cue-feeding.html

-- The Con of Controlled Crying: http://www.drmomma.org/2009/12/cons-of-controlled-crying-cio.html

-- Babies Aren't Soldiers: http://www.drmomma.org/2010/10/babies-arent-soldiers.html

Getting at the CIO Approach:

Babywise is Harmful: http://www.rickross.com/reference/gfi/gfi5.html

Babywise Recalled (FROM THE AAP): http://aapnews.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/14/4/21

Dr. Sears on Babywise: http://www.drmomma.org/2009/12/train-up-child-in-way-he-should-go.html

Confessions of a Failed Babywiser: http://www.drmomma.org/2010/01/confessions-of-failed-babywiser.html

Pediatric Nurse and Former Ezzo (Babywise) Patient: http://www.drmomma.org/2010/01/pediatric-nurse-and-former-ezzo-parent.html

Evaluating Ezzo Programs: http://www.ezzo.info/index.htm

Four Lies Sleep Trainers Tell You and the One Truth They Won't: http://networkedblogs.com/g2s6a


A couple topics go hand-in-hand with the topic of CIO and STTN. One is Bed Sharing and the other is the idea of "spoiling" or "habit forming". I have more resources on these topics if you don't find the information you need above.

Another thing to consider is that babies whose parents use CIO will often sleep more. Not all babies, in fact research shows babies left to CIO end up crying more all-in-all than babies who are not left to CIO. But you will hear stories from moms who let their babies CIO and now they sleep "wonderfully". We must consider that CIO often "works" but what does this mean? (A baby stops asking for help). And at what cost? (Too high of one). Is it safe? (In many cases NO). And can we achieve the same results without letting our baby be in distress? (Yes).

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Take Action: Facebook Nurse-In

I previously published a post about Facebook's practice of deleting nursing photos and accounts of women who have them on their Facebook page. I asked for more information on how to take a proactive stand against this practice. Today I learned of another way to become involved in the attempt to convince Facebook to change their policy.

On Monday the 15th of November there will be a Facebook Nurse-In. Facebook members are encouraged to post a breastfeeding picture as their profile picture or, if they are not comfortable with doing so or have no pictures to share, to post the breastfeeding logo as their profile picture.

I encourage all Facebook members to take a stand and participate in the nurse-in. At it's simplest it will take about five minutes out of your day. If you wish to be more involved please see my previous post that lists various ways you can take action.

More information on the Facebook Nurse-In.

My previous post: Facebook Deletes Breastfeeding Photos Take Action.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mommy Brain

Mommy Brain

Before having children I figured this phenomenon of "mommy brain" that people talked about was more of a joke than a reality. Rather, that it was more of a mom simply not having time or convenience to remember something, that it had a lot to do with memory. As a new mother though I am reazling the stark reality of the mommy brain phenomenon. Quite frankly it has left me feeling like a complete and utter dolt more times than I can count. Sometimes that is humorous but sometimes it is just down right frustrating.

Dolt: "a dull, stupid person; blockhead" Synonyms: idiot, fool, clod, nitwit, dummy dictionary.com

During pregnancy the most brain-lacking thing I ever did was attempt to put a shirt on for pants. A spaghetti strap shirt. It wasn't until I had it halfway up my thighs did I realize that something wasn't quite right. Even then it took a minute to figure out that this was a shirt and not my pants gone awry.

During a period of life where I was in extreme grief I made a regular habit out of waiting at a stop sign for the light to turn green. Much to my frustration it never did.

So, really it shouldn't surprise me that now as a mother things have not improved. It does. I honestly thought that once these conditions: pregnancy and grief (or insert condition here) were not affecting me that I would return to my normal literate, educated, rather well-spoken self. The person who caught onto things quickly and was proud of her problem solving and multitasking capabilities. Except, much to my frustration, I haven't seen that person in longer than I can remember.

A friend of mine who works in the maternity industry once told me that if a mother doesn't have the best nutrition during pregnancy it is possible that a fetus, or rather the body for the sake of the fetus (aka baby), sucks fat from your brain. Further referred to as brain juice. She mentioned that this brain juice cannot be restored at a later date. Now I'm not sure if this is backed in science, or in any way true, but it is nice to think that it might be. I would like to blame this issue on something that was, for the most part, outside of my control. "Well you see I'm just lacking a bit of brain juice these days, all for the sake of having a beautiful daughter."

Alas the truth of the matter is that my mind fumbles are more due to being a mother. I can honestly say that 98% of my brain power is focused on my daughter and the act of mothering: how safe is she, does she need anything, what if some crazy scenario happens to me or her. That leaves the remaining 2% to focus on the entirety of everything else in my life. That 2% only functions at it's best about 10% of the time because let's face facts when you are hungry, sleep deprived, and generally stressed then you just don't function at full speed.

So friends and family, blog readers, and customer service agents please excuse me when my mommy brain kicks in. If we are having a conversation and all my responses are making no sense because apparently we are talking about two different things then either discreetly get us back on track or just tell me I've gone nuts. I can handle it. After being puked on, peed on, bit, pinched, tackled and more all day, being told that my brain isn't working full speed is not going to surprise me one bit.

The trick of course is to convince the rest of the world, and myself once again, that I am in fact an intelligent, educated, literate, well-meaning woman AND mother.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Car Safety: Calming a Crying Baby

Who hasn't experienced the screaming baby on a trip to pay the bills, go grocery shopping, or for the more adventurous a long road trip? It happens to all of us. For some mothers it is a constant battle and for others it is sporadic but when it happens it can be heartbreaking. None of us enjoy hearing our baby cry and this lack of enjoyment only increases when we are limited in our capability to fix the problem. Instead of focusing on what we cannot do this post will feature what we can do to help a crying car seat baby.

1. Assess the car seat - There is quite a bit to this step. Make sure the car seat is comfortable for the baby. Check the straps to see if they are too loose or too tight, make sure the incline is correct, feel the fabric and the buckles to see if they are super hot or cold, feel around for any hard bumps maybe a lost toy. You also want to check to see if your baby is being hit directly with sunlight as this causes many to cry.

2. Create a car toybox - Put several car safe toy in a car safe toybox. Then when baby cries reach back and hand him/her a toy, every time. The box should have a lid and be relatively soft. The toys should be soft as well, something that wouldn't harm baby if it went flying in a car crash.

3. Pull over - Sometimes, even when five minutes from your house, you just have to pull over and comfort baby for awhile. Enjoy this time together, I promise you'll miss it later and I promise it is more important than wherever you have to be in most cases.

4. Talk or Sing to baby - Many babies are soothed by their mother's voice. Even if baby isn't soothed they will know you care about them and hear them crying. It is a way of showing affection even when you can't stop the crying.

5. Put some ice in a mesh feeder or a baby sock - Many babies love to suck on these contraptions and it can keep them occupied quite a long time.

6. Offer a binky - If your baby takes a binky then be sure to offer it for the car ride. We have a special car binky.

7. Have a special car seat toy - This toy is only played with while in the car. Babies get bored easy so this helps create novelty.

8. Bring the car seat in the house and let baby play in it - This helps break down the association of car seat as something negative.

9. Place a poster safely on the seat in front of baby - They make special baby items for this purpose. It gives baby something to look at while you are driving.

10. Play music or white noise - Many babies are soothed by music or white noise.

11. Assess for a medical condition - Babies with reflux, for example, may need the incline of their car seat adjusted (within safety guidelines) to make sure that driving is comfortable for them. There are many baby items you can purchase to help with this.

Now I know I promised a list of things you can do versus things you shouldn't do but I fibbed a bit. I do feel the need to create a small list of "do-nots".

1. Do not leave handle up of the carseat unless the manual expressly says it is safe to do so. If it is safe to leave the handle up it is still not safe to hang toys from it.

2. Do no take baby out of car seat while you or someone else is driving. The risk is not worth the perceived benefit.

3. Do not turn around while driving, pull over if you must.

4. Do not turn the car seat around to forward-facing prematurely. A lot of people will say that their babies stopped hating the car seat once it was forward-facing. However, we now know that it is much safer to rear face your child for an extended period of time. The benefits of safety far outweigh the risk of having an unhappy child.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Baby Food: Spice is Nice

Using spice in your baby food can be just as exciting as trying new foods! Babies enjoy flavorful foods just as much as we do and in many cultures babies are introduced to spices from the very start of solid introduction. In general though the recommendation is to wait eight months before introducing spices regularly into babies diet, this seems to be to prevent upset tummy. Keep in mind that it is still recommended to follow the "wait four days for every new item to allow for allergy" rule.

What I recommend is an entire food experience. Babies are sensory creatures. Choose your spice and introduce it to baby's many senses. Each time you introduce a new spice think of it as a sensory learning experience and do the following.

Sight and Sound: Since spices are so small and generally do not make much sound I've combined these two senses together. Get an empty jar of some sort that is clear like a plastic water bottle or an empty baby food jar. Put some spice in there with hard beans or rice. Then tape the top. Baby can use it as a home made rattle. Of course if you have the full version of herbs and spice baby can enjoy looking at them that way as well.

Smell: Put a dab of the spice on your finger, smell it. If it isn't too strong then hold about an inch away from baby's nose and allow baby to smell. Learning smells is a fun experience!

Touch: Put some of the spice in a bowl and let baby feel it. This will be fun for baby and perhaps even help the development and perfection of the pincher grasp. If your baby uses a pacifier this is the perfect time to let baby suck on it as it will help prevent the hand to mouth scenario. If baby does not then just be sure to keep a close eye on baby to make sure a handful of spice doesn't go into the mouth.

Taste: Mix the spice with one of baby's favorite foods and allow baby to taste it!

Here are some ideas of what foods and spices may work well together. The information was gathered from Wholesome Baby Foods.


Apple(Sauce): use cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, ginger

Pears: use ginger, cinnamon, a drip of vanilla or even mint

Bananas: use cinnamon, ginger, allspice, vanilla


Plain Yogurt : use with mint, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, ginger, allspice, cardamom


Sweet potato: use with nutmeg, cinnamon and/or cardamom

Pumpkin: use with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and dash of vanilla

Carrots: use with basil & garlic - baked cinnamon carrots are yummy too.

Green beans: use with garlic powder

Mashed potatoes(white) : use with dill weed or garlic

Winter Squash (acorn, hubbard, butternut etc.): use with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger


Pasta: use oregano, garlic, basil

Oatmeal or other cereals: use fruits, cinnamon & nutmeg, dash of vanilla

Rice (sweet) with cinnamon, nutmeg, dash of vanilla, cardamom, ginger
Quinoa (sweet): use cinnamon, nutmeg, dash of vanilla, cardamom, ginger for sweet

Quinoa (savory): use garlic powder, pepper, onion powder, basil, oregano and others


Chicken/Turkey with cinnamon and/or coriander

Chicken/Turkey with garlic powder and basil

Chicken/Turkey with lemon zest and pepper

Chicken/Turkey with basil & oregano

Chicken/Turkey with garlic and pepper
Chicken/Turkey with sage, rosemary and thyme

Beef with garlic and pepper

Beef with onion powder and pepper

Beef with Orange Zest"

Baby Food: Making your Own Purees

There is a lot of difference in how we choose to feed our children outside of the breast or the bottle. So long as the food baby is receiving is healthy and mom is taking possible health considerations, like allergies, into consideration then it is really a process of what works best for your family.

A friend of mine helped me create a how-to of making your own purees. This is helpful for the moms who don't exactly trust the ingredients in processed baby food or the moms who want to save an extra dollar (because really who doesn't need that?).

Items Needed:

- Blender or Baby Mill

- Ice Cube Trays

- Zip Lock Bags

- Stove

- Pot

- Baking Dish

- Steamer


1. Assess what type of cooking your food will need.

a. Foods you would normally put in the oven to cook for yourself like potato or in a pie like apples and peaches you probably want to bake until soft.

b. Foods you would normally steam for yourself like green beans, broccoli, and peas or foods like berries you probably want to steam until soft.

c. You can use the resource at the bottom of the page to check out how to best prepare each food for cooking. They give information like which foods need to be peeled and which do not.

2. Let the food cool after cooking.

3. Put the food in a blender. You have a choice to use a liquid to make the food a bit smoother or not. Many moms do use this option. If you do then you must make a choice on which liquid to use. Here are some options.

a. Breast Milk

b. Water from the steamer you used to soften the food. This will not work for foods high in nitrates like beets, spinach, and carrots.

c. Water from the tap

d. If you are making a "poopy" meal to help with constipation you may choose to use a small amount of no-sugar added juice.

4. Puree to the consistency that you and your baby prefer.

5. Scoop and put into your ice cube trays. Let sit for 24 hours (or until generally frozen solid).

6. Once frozen you can pop the food out of the trays and put into your ziploc bags. Please label the bags with both item and date. This helps with health and safety issues. Ziploc bags remain in the freezer.

7. In a typical freezer foods are good for about one month. In a deep freezer they are good about three months with the exception of meats which are good only one month no matter where they are stored.

8. When it is time to eat then take out the number of cubes you prefer and defrost. Some choose to defrost in a pot and some use the microwave. Each cube is approximately one ounce of food.

a. To defrost with a microwave then you put into a microwave safe bowl and heat. After heating be sure to stir well as to avoid hidden hot pockets.

b. To defrost without a microwave take the food out and put into a bowl. Put this bowl in a bowl of warm water.

c. To defrost the simple way just take out, put in a bowl, and leave in the refrigerator to defrost.

d. Foods are good in the fridge for approximately 72 hours, in a sealed container, so in general you can defrost an entire days food at the same time. Just take it out when you make breakfast for yourself or when you get up in the morning. But do not simply leave on the counter to sit because this can cause bacteria growth.

e. Do not re-freeze food that has been thawed.

Great Resource:

Wholesome Baby Foods

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Breastfeeding: Waking a Sleeping Baby

My daughter was born three weeks early and had a case of "sleepy baby syndrome". She slept all the time, even through feedings. So we were told to wake her up for her feedings and to keep her awake during them. I can tell you that it wasn't an easy task. However, I did learn a few tips that I can pass onto you.

Before giving sleepy baby advice I want to give a couple additional helpful tips. What I want to say first is that if your baby is losing weight because of "sleepy baby syndrome" then you need to be careful about how often you are feeding your infant. Make sure to wake baby quite strictly every 2-2.5 hours from the *beginning* of the last feeding. Also keep in mind that you can supplement baby with pumped breastmilk using a syringe or spoon if needed. You do not have to use formula as breastmilk is higher in calories than formula anyhow. Sometimes a Pediatrician will push formula as the solution to this problem but I can promise you there are many other options. Additionally you are typically allowed one 4 hour stretch of sleep at night.

Waking a Sleepy Baby and Keeping Baby Awake while Breastfeeding:

1. Change baby's diaper. This is always the best first thing to try. It often works and it is nice to keep a fresh diaper on a new infant anyhow.

2. Hold baby upright and rub baby's back.

3. Strip baby down to diaper.

4. Gently scratch or rub baby's head, ears, feet, or back.

5. While feeding use breast compressions. This is where you squeeze your breast above the areola, gently and in slow repetitions.

6. If all these steps fail you can put a damp washcloth or diaper wipe on baby's feet.

7. When every step above fails some parents resort to washing baby's face with cool water. This is something that only should be resorted to after you have repeatedly tried the above steps. It is not pleasant for baby and is only a last resort.