Your Newborn Baby - What Wasn’t Covered in Your Prenatal Class

Posted January 18, 2015

Did you know that newborns can be helped to develop good sleep skills from the first week of life?  Do you know that babies are very good at handling their gas pains?  Have you been told that your baby simply needs to be fed - and the method of feeding is not a measure of your parenting expertise or how much you love your baby?

It's true.  Newborn babies who are placed into bed while still awake, several times each day will begin to become familiar with ways to drift off to sleep without your assistance.  The earlier you start on this - the better.  Try not to keep your baby awake longer than one hour between times in bed.  Being overtired is a negative influence on good sleep. Your whole family needs to learn quickly how to sleep well and mothers who sleep well have lower incidence of post-partum depression.

When a baby has a lot of gas (all the time for newborns!) you may hear it coming out quite naturally, without discomfort.  If there is discomfort, place your baby on a blanket on a firm surface and allow it time to writhe around a bit, bringing legs up to chest and perhaps crying or fussing (bearing down).  Sometimes just 5 minutes is all it takes for that gas to be redistributed or expelled. 

Babies need to be fed and the time and effort you spend feeding your baby (breast or bottle) should be trouble-free within the first few weeks.  Perservering for many weeks if breastfeeding isn't easy for your baby can lead to a tired baby and an exhausted mother.  You can choose to change to bottle feeding if you need to without guilt, shame or any remote sense of failure.  Babies just need to be fed.

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Filed under: Sleep and sleep training, Newborn Babies


Brain, Child’s Top Ten Books on Children and Sleep

Posted January 12, 2015

From the famous to the most controversial to the not-even-published-yet, books on children's sleep are constantly in demand and fervently read.  Every author has an angle and, sadly for parents, the angles lean in different directions.

I was delighted to see in this month's issue of Brain, Child Magazine - a favorite magazine of mine - an article entitled Top Ten Books on Children and Sleep.  The author, Hilary Levey Friedman, is the Book Review Editor at Brain, Child and the author of Playing to Win: Raising Children in a Competitive Culture.

I believe she's done an excellent job of summarizing some main points from each book and I'm pleased to pass her reviews on to you. 


Top Ten Books on Children and Sleep

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Filed under: Sleep and sleep training


Christmas Recovery!  Two Kitty Raymond Videos to Help With Sleep

Posted December 29, 2014

Here are two videos by Kitty Raymond, both discuss ways you can help your baby with good sleep.

Any time you feel that sleep at your house is out of control and leading to stressed-out parenting, book an appointment with Kitty and get a new plan.


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Filed under: Sleep and sleep training


Not a Fan of CIO (Cry It Out)? Try ATP Instead

Posted December 8, 2014

Recently I had a call from a mother who began by saying "I'm not a fan of CIO. But I think we are going crazy here."

She had tried other strategies. She mentioned Weissbluth, Ferber Baby Whispering ,"shhh", "pick-up-put-down, etc.  She was hoping there was something else to try that would be gentle, compared to leaving her baby to "cry it out."

My feeling is that whatever version of sleep training a parent chooses, it needs to be done gently.  I mean gently in the sense that the parent isn't angry, gently in the sense that the parent sets the stage well for the changes that need to be made and gently in that the parent gives the baby a clear message and offers optimism about the baby's ability to be successful.

I think she meant she didn't want her baby to cry in order to become a good sleeper - which is an impossible goal, really.  Babies who have been nursed to sleep, rocked to sleep or had someone else lie down with them until they sleep - aren't going to give up those habits without a fight.  Crying is the form their protest takes.  Advice to "Never let your baby cry" is supremely unrealistic and not even fair to say to a parent.  Babies cry when they are born, they cry sometimes when we give them to someone else to hold and some cry during a doctor's exam.  Since we are changing sleep habits they've gotten used to why shouldn't they be allowed to protest? 

CIO should be renamed.  It should be called something like  ATP. As in: "We are all too tired in this family; we need to figure out the best plan that will help our baby learn to put him/herself to sleep for bedtime and naps and back to sleep during the night.  We'll need to Allow The Protest." ATP. 


Both of my sleep programs, Sleep from the Start and Sleep from Now On are rooted in Attachment Theory.   Nurturance and responsiveness are among the prime sources of attachment. Parents initiate a secure attachment with the unspoken promises we make when a child is born: "I will keep you safe; I will make sure good food is available and I will be sure you get the sleep and rest you need."  And finally, "I will take good care of myself  so I can keep these promises."

Children need to know they can rely on us to be gentle and consistant and know what we are doing.  If we waffle on something as important as sleep, giving one message tonight and a different message tomorrow night, the messages are mixed and confusing for an infant, toddler or older child. If we take a toddler back to their room for the 25th time (following one sleep theory) and it's  obvious we are getting angry by now, or if we choose a sleep training method which takes weeks instead of three nights, to accomplish, we can't claim it's "gentle" any longer. 


So whether you're a "fan" of CIO or not, you realize that your child does need to be allowed to cry as he/she protests being put into bed awake for the first time or won't any longer receive milk in the night as a way to get back to sleep. Similarly, you know that your baby may cry when the doctor checks his ears or because mom has handed her over to dad when the baby prefers mom.   Crying happens.  Allow The Protest.   You can say to friends that you aren't a fan of CIO either.  You've chosen ATP instead.

When our children need to cry because of something they don't like but is not harmful, they gain strength from seeing that we, the parents, do not fall apart.  We don't get mad and we don't rescue them from needing to learn their own self-calming skills and we don't make the doctor stop his examination.  We know crying is normal in these situations and we know recovery will begin soon, with our gentle help.  We need to trust a baby's capabilities to learn to sleep and we need to give the baby reason to trust us as parents.  We'll feel confident that we are parents who will keep those promises even in the face of protest.

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Filed under: Sleep and sleep training, Interesting Parenting Matters

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