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Sleep Training. Really?

For 11 weeks I rocked, cuddled, patted, walked, wore, strolled...just about everything I could think of to get Tazzy to sleep. Bedtime would take anywhere from one to three hours.

Sleep Training Methods

I had no idea that babies need to be taught to sleep and that there are all of these books with different training methods on how to do it. I actually didn't start reading them until after Tazzy was born, which was a little late because I was exhausted the first four weeks of her life. I read "The Baby Sleep Solution" in a couple hours. In theory this type of training made sense to me because it wasn't the "no cry" and it also wasn't the "cry it out" solution. I also read bits and pieces of "Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child"  "Baby Wise,"  both highly recommended by friends and relatives.

Limited Crying Sleep Training

After all of the reading and research of trying to figure out which sleep training method would work for us we decided to try the "limited crying" approach. It's in between the "no cry" and "cry it out."  We had Vivian Sonnenberg a sleep consultant come over to explain how it works and show us.

I'm not going to lie. It was one of the hardest things I've had to do with her...listen to my baby cry for a predetermined number of minutes (based on her weight and age). The first day there was a lot of crying both from baby and mommy. I thought to myself, "I'm a monster!" I was upset at Josh thinking that he convinced me to do this "training!" And pissed at myself for letting myself be convinced really. I realized that we had started the training and the least I could do was see it through for 24 hours.

I had to keep saying, "The crying is not hurting her but sleep deprivation is." I also kept thinking, "This has worked for so many people that I know, respect and trust so this training has to work."

Sweet Dreams

We're going on day nine and results have been phenomenal! For the past eight days Tazzy has been taking three naps a day and sleeping 11-12 hours at night without waking up. And I'd like to thank my husband Josh for assuring me that this sleep training was the right thing to do.  

I'm not going to try to explain the process here because there is a lot more that goes into it than just letting your baby cry. For example, we have a routine that we do before each nap and bedtime and we only let her cry for a prescribed amount of time before going in to the room to soothe her.

The processes is taxing but after having gotten through the first day/week I can see clearly that it's working and already Tazzy is getting much more rest. Not to mention I feel like I'm getting some of my life back. Up until this, she would would only nap in my arms :) It's also nice to have a few hours of alone time with Josh in the evenings.
There are so many different sleep training methods out there for you to choose from. No matter the sleep training method, I am just now realizing just how important sleep for a baby is not to mention parents. Overall Tazzy is a lot happier because she is rested. Her tempermet is still fussy but we've come a long way from where we first began three months ago :)

PHOTO NOTE: Tazzy no longer sleeps on her belly and when she did, someone was always around watching her closely. P.S. Why was it okay for our generation to only sleep on our bellies and now it's a sin? No need to answer that... I know, I know. It's just funny to me.



To Induce or Not to Induce – That is the Question.

It’s 10:20 p.m. on Tuesday, October 5. A typical evening of yummy dinner, good conversation, a little work and some glee. Nothing out of the ordinary except that it’s my baby girl’s DUE DATE. Over dinner tonight my husband and I talked about induction, pondering the cons of the process.

We decided that if it wasn’t harmful for the baby or me then we’d give it a try after speaking with our doctor. Then, I looked up some possible side effects/outcomes from induction and decided to put that on hold.

Curious to hear your points of view – is there anything wrong with giving the baby a little push if you know she’s at a healthy weight and has served her time? I’m feeling patient, but I’m also super excited to meet our new little addition. Decisions, decisions!


More Body Shots

I knew that immunizations were controversial but wow, I hit a nerve with my last post. That is a new thing for me. I usually try to keep my controversial opinions to myself but I am quickly learning that that does not work with parenting. Everything is controversial when it comes to parenting and it seems you have to assert yourself and stick to your guns. I do think we could be a little nicer to each other when it comes to controversial topics but that is the subject of a different post. 

I want to provide an update to my post yesterday about vaccinating my son. Today I got a flu/H1N1 shot myself because I don't want to risk catching something I could spread to Baby Mo. The flu shot is recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding mommies but since I have decided on a delayed vaccine schedule for my child, he won't be fully immunized as quickly as other children. For this reason, I wanted to make sure that we are keeping our household as virus free as possible. 

The comments on yesterday's post were both encouraging and discouraging. Just to reiterate my position on vaccinations once again: I do believe in vaccinations. My son WILL be fully vaccinated. I just don't want to expose him to all of those foreign chemicals at once in the off chance that the dosage is harmful or toxic. Also, if he were to have had a reaction to his vaccines yesterday, I would have known what he was reacting to. If he had the full cocktail, how would I know what was causing the contraindication?

I do not begrudge any parent who chooses otherwise but I happen to believe it is a social responsibility to vaccinate. Diseases like polio are eradicated for a reason. It is because we have vaccinated. But I maintain that pumping my child full of so many dead viruses at once is not worth the risk, no matter how minuscule. I don't even plan to allow him to drink soda. Why wouldn't I think twice about something else so foreign in his new little body? 

For my flu shot, I paid just under $30 at Duane Reade. It did not hurt at all, although I am told that your tolerance for pain goes up after child birth. I am trying to think of ways to incent Mo's Daddy to get a flu shot too. He is being a scaredy cat. Men! 


Body Shots

Baby Mo was scheduled for his 2 month shots today. According to the suggested schedule of the American Academy of Pediatrics, he should have received vaccinations for Rotavirus, DTaP (which is Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis), HIB, Pneumococcal, and Polio. Instead, he only had vaccinations for Rotavirus and DTaP and here is why. 

On Saturday, Mo's Daddy came home from work with The Vaccine Book by Dr. Robert W. Sears. I was grateful that this book found me just three days before Mo's first big round of vaccinations. 

This book is refreshingly lacking in quackery. Dr. Sears never says that vaccinations are definitively dangerous. He is simply cautious about the effects of giving small children such aggressive dosages of medicine. He recommends spacing out the vaccinations instead of giving them all at once. I decided to go this route. To be clear: My son will be fully vaccinated. We will just do it more intermittently than is typical. 

The most contentious ingredient in vaccinations is aluminum. While there are not many conclusive studies about the effect of aluminum on a baby, the FDA requires the aluminum content of IV feeding solutions be limited to 25 micrograms per liter. That is a small amount. Especially when you consider that the HIB vaccine alone has 225 micrograms of aluminum. Further FDA studies show that a 22-pound baby can safely handle 50 micrograms if they have healthy kidneys. 

Baby Mo wouldn't be getting 25 or even 225 micrograms of aluminum per day but if he got the full cocktail of vaccines today, he would have received approximately 1,225 micrograms of aluminum. That is a lot for a little guy! These vaccines also contain trace amounts of mercury, formaldehyde, and MSG. 

My pediatrician pushed back a little on spacing out the vaccinations. She pointed out that breast milk has trace amounts of aluminum too. Key phrase: trace amounts. Not 1,225 micrograms. Ultimately, she said she was okay with the alternate schedule as long as we did not fall too far behind on vaccinations. 

Again, there are no studies that link these dosages to autism or SIDS but these things have been reported after vaccines. They may be spurious but why wouldn't I limit my baby's exposure to all of these vaccines at once? Why not spread them out? I don't mind taking him back to the doctor in a few weeks for a few more shots. 

Dr. Sears says that pediatricians do the full cocktail of vaccinations at once because there is a better chance that parents will complete the vaccine schedule if it is done this way. It may be true, parents may not bring their children in for more shots more frequently but I will. We use Google Health to track Baby Mo's vaccinations and have already scheduled his next round of shots in early November. 

It could be that the cumulation of all of these shots is harmless but why risk it? Why not space them out over a few weeks so that the baby can process these foreign chemicals through his system safely? Worst case scenario: What if we discover that aluminum is toxic in large doses? Isn't it better to be safe than sorry? 

Dr. Sears' suggested alternate schedule for vaccinations can be found here. He suggests going back for HIB and Pneumococcal in a month and waiting on Polio until Baby Mo is 9 months old, if at all since Polio is virtually unheard of here in the U.S. 

I'd love to hear what fellow parents think of this schedule and how they made their decisions for their own children's vaccinations. 

Side note: Baby Mo was a total champ! I fed him while he was getting his shot and he didn't notice it at all. Not even a flinch! It hurt Mommy WAY more than it hurt him! He is my hero! 


My Mommy Role Models

A while back Nathalee wrote about how important it is for mommies (and daddies) to have a solid support system and I couldn’t agree more. What’s also important is having that support along the way in your pregnancy.

Over the past year, I’ve watched a number of my closest friends gracefully enter motherhood, embrace it and not look back. I’m sure many of them are shaking their heads reading this thinking “graceful” is definitely not the right word. I very much disagree.

I’ve learned so much from watching them and have a newfound respect for mothers and the transitions our lives take with the entrance of a baby. Their strength is unbelievable – I hope I can make the leap as well as they have. I know each have their own challenges, but they don’t back down from them and persevere.

It’s so inspiring to watch the girls I’ve grown up with over the years building up their successful careers, partying the night away, taking fun trips and just being girls become loving mommies. So a big hug and thank you to all of you! Ready or not, we’re headed to parenthood too!