Why Do Baby Sleep Books Not Include Common Sense Advice?

With our first child, the kiddo, he went to daycare beginning at 3 months old.   They taught him how to nap and put him on a schedule, which I then followed.     It worked out well.   He began sleeping through the night at 3 months old, just in time for me to go back to work full-time.   At 4 months old he began waking up at night and at 5 months old we figured out why when his top two teeth broke through. 

When the new baby turned 2 months, I realized I needed to do some reading.   I had no clue as to how many naps a baby should be taking each day, or how long he should sleep at night.    I read about Babywise, and despite the success of some of my other friends, did not get the book.     Instead I ended up with, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child,” and “The No Cry Sleep Solution.”   They ended up being at pretty much opposite ends of the spectrum, yet worked out to be a good combination of books to read.    At least I got out of each a concept of how often the baby should nap, for how long, how far apart, etc.

Unfortunately, the books didn’t have the common sense advice I needed to provide me insight that I was apparently lacking in my sleep-deprived state.   Maybe I read the wrong books?

Anyhow, based on my recent experience, here’s the common sense advice I was missing:

1.  Make sure your baby is eating enough during the day.  Sometimes babies wake up or do not want to go to sleep because they are hungry!    Between 4-6 months old, our baby starting skipping his morning nap, he’d scream and fuss and didn’t want to sleep.   At that age, following the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics, I wasn’t pushing him to eat solid foods.   He wasn’t particularly interested, and since the AAP said breastfeeding exclusively until 6 months was best anyway, I figured it wasn’t a big issue.    Turns out, our baby dropped from 50th percentile in weight to 10th percentile in weight during that time period.   I should have been feeding him solids.   Or at least some formula, since I apparently wasn’t creating enough breastmilk.  Once I did both and he was eating enough, that morning nap came right back and has been there ever since and his nighttime sleep improved too. 

2.  Is your baby in pain?  Three reasons I’ve had for my babies being in pain and not sleeping well: needing to burp/gas, teething, fever/sick.      There are things to help alleviate symptoms of each of these at night.    During the day I try to use these sparingly, but for bedtime, my husband, who happens to be a doctor, and I, are believers in Mylicon drops for gas, and alternating Ibuprofen (for babies older than 6 months) and Tylenol throughout the night as needed for pain and fevers.  If I’m going to take these things myself in order to get some sleep, why would I make my child suffer in pain?  I’m also a believer in comforting a baby who is in pain.   Holding your baby all night for a night or two to get them through a cold or teething isn’t going to ruin them (as one book insinuated).    Also, for sinus/breathing issues from a cold or from teething, I’ve realized that propping up one end of their mattress with a rolled up towel beneath the mattress can help them to breath, as does a cool mist humidifier.

3.  Make sure the room is not to hot/not too cold.   We had issues with both of these, which required us adjusting the temperature in his room during the extremes of summers and winters in Cleveland.    Now that he was well-fed, and no longer in pain, he began sleeping soundly for 10-11 hours each night once we got the perfect temp in his room.   He likes it pretty warm, probably about 70-72 degrees in winter, plus wearing flannel jammies and a swaddling blanket around his waist and legs.

I probably fall closer to Sears than to Ferber in my parenting style.    With the first kid, I rocked him to sleep every night until he was 2.    We then bribed him with a monster truck from the dollar store for a couple of nights until he got used to going to sleep on his own in his bed (neither Sears nor Ferber, I’m sure).    With the baby now, he wanted to be “bounced” while I stood, which I was fine with doing until recently, when it no longer took 5 minutes of bouncing for him to fall asleep, but more like 40 minutes.    The resulting carpal tunnel was getting to me, so when he started arching his back and trying to climb down I figured he wasn’t the cuddling to sleep type, and laid him in his crib.   I now do this for naps and bedtime, after giving him a bottle, cuddling and bouncing for a couple of minutes.  He cries for a minute or two, then makes himself comfy and puts himself to sleep.   

I know there are so many reasons for children not sleeping and the books do tend to address more extreme cases.    But, from talking to friends and from my own experiences, it seems like so many common sleep issues can be addresses with some common sense.   Which, as I said, I was lacking in my state of sleep deprivation.

Do you have any baby sleep advice to offer that you wish someone had shared with you?

Until next time,



The Good Enough Mother

Seriously, sometimes I am amazed when I Google something I’m going through or have experienced and it turns out the exact same day someone else has posted about it online. So remember, next time you are going through something, Google it…you are not alone, and sometimes knowing that is good enough. 😉

The article: The Good Enough Mother

Have you reached the point where you realize perfection is not only impossible but an unhealthy goal for yourself and your family?   This year I’ve gone through a very similar situation to that mentioned in the article above with our kiddo.   He’s bright and social, but he acts like a typical 3 year-old boy.    And unfortunately, the upcoming birth of his brother probably isn’t helping his situation.     I always try to remember that whatever adults feel in any given situation, children feel also, though they may not always express it verbally.   Fortunately, he does ask when the baby is coming and tells us how excited he is to meet him.    Funny that the hubby and I feel the exact same way…and funny that we are both stressed about this as well.    

Fortunately, his teacher at preschool is wonderful and is working patiently with him, encouraging us that his behavior is typical for both his age and the situation of the upcoming sibling.    But at the same time, it’s been difficult for me to pick him up each day and hear that he’s hit someone or having difficulty focusing, etc.   It hasn’t been much fun the past two weeks to feel the need to discipline the kiddo daily by giving or taking away a privilege in an attempt to curb his behavior when all I want to do is enjoy these last few days we have left together before the chaos of having a newborn.  Particularly when he’s being relatively good at home.   So, yesterday I decided, so long as he is making some sort of progress with his behavior at school, I will encourage him and consider it good enough, for the both of us, at least until we all get settled into a routine again.    

Have you had any experience with any or all of this?   

Until next time,


13 Steps to Being Happier

I came across this article from last year and thought it was a good one.   I liked the “13 steps” this guy came up with:

13 steps to a better life
What does all this mean to you? If money won’t bring you happiness, what will? How can you stop making yourself miserable and start learning to love life? According to my research, these are the thirteen actions most likely to encourage happiness:

  1. Don’t compare yourself to others. Financially, physically, and socially, comparing yourself to others is a trap. You will always have friends who have more money than you do, who can run faster than you can, who are more successful in their careers. Focus on your own life, on your own goals.
  2. Foster close relationships. People with five or more close friends are more apt to describe themselves as happy than those with fewer.
  3. Have sex. Sex, especially with someone you love, is consistently ranked as a top source of happiness. A long-term loving partnership goes hand-in-hand with this.
  4. Get regular exercise. There’s a strong tie between physical health and happiness. Anyone who has experienced a prolonged injury or illness knows just how emotionally devastating it can be. Eat right, exercise, and take care of our body.
  5. Obtain adequate sleep. Good sleep is an essential component of good health. When you’re not well-rested, your body and your mind do not operate at peak capacity. Your mood suffers.
  6. Set and pursue goals. I believe that the road to wealth is paved with goals. More than that, the road to happiness is paved with goals. Continued self-improvement makes life more fulfilling.
  7. Find meaningful work. There are some who argue a job is just a job. I believe that fulfilling work is more than that — it’s a vocation. It can take decades to find the work you were meant to do. But when you find it, it can bring added meaning to your life.
  8. Join a group. Those who are members of a group, like a church congregation, experience greater happiness. But the group doesn’t have to be religious. Join a book group. Meet others for a Saturday morning bike ride. Sit in at the knitting circle down at the yarn shop.
  9. Don’t dwell on the past. I know a guy who beats himself up over mistakes he’s made before. Rather than concentrate on the present (or, better yet, on the future), he lets the past eat away at his happiness. Focus on the now.
  10. Embrace routine. Research shows that although we believe we want variety and choice, we’re actually happier with limited options. It’s not that we want no choice at all, just that we don’t want to be overwhelmed. Routines help limit choices. They’re comfortable and familiar and, used judiciously, they can make us happy.
  11. Practice moderation. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. It’s okay to indulge yourself on occasion — just don’t let it get out of control. Addictions and compulsions can ruin lives.
  12. Be grateful. It’s no accident that so many self-help books encourage readers to practice gratitude. When we regularly take time to be thankful for the things we have, we appreciate them more. We’re less likely to take them for granted, and less likely to become jealous of others.
  13. Help others. Over and over again, studies have shown that altruism is one of the best ways to boost your happiness. Sure, volunteering at the local homeless shelter helps, but so too does just being nice in daily life.

I think this is great advice.  You can read the entire article here.

Until next time,


Taking Kids Out to Eat

The hubby and I have recently discovered (during our trip to Great Wolf Lodge), a new secret to keeping the toddler happy while going out to eat…that little DVD player that works so well on the airplane also keeps him happy until his food comes at the restaurant. Another trick that the hubby was impressed by…order the toddler’s food right away, then take care of my own selection and ordering.

We still love Red Robin, and have also been successful at Chili’s. The toddler has also done well at Great Lakes Brewing Company for lunch and Bob Evans for breakfast, this having been before we owned a portable DVD player. Places like bars with restaurants, like GLBC or Winking Lizard, can actually work well, since they are noisy and no one goes there for a quiet evening out.

Cool Cleveland offers some additional options in this week’s issue of the newsletter. Maybe the hubby and I will try taking the toddler over to Little Italy when the hubby has some time off next week…I could go for some Mama Santa’s lasagna!

Any new fave restaurants for taking the kiddos out?  My neighbors’ kid digs The Red Lantern in Kamms Corner, and another neighbor liked taking his kids to George’s Kitchen to teach them how to behave when going out to eat.

Until next time,


Brown Sugar Trick

I know it is silly, but I am super excited about the fact that this old trick I recall learning a very long time ago actually worked.  Last week I was making some ribs in the oven and I use a dry rub on them.  So I needed some brown sugar.  My brown sugar always inevitably turns rock solid in my cupboard, resulting in my pitching it in the garbage.  But this time, I remembered someone telling me to stick a piece of bread in the bag, seal it up, and let it sit for a couple of days.  A few weeks ago I had done so and then forgot about it.  Last week, when I went to make the ribs, I pulled out the bag of brown sugar and– it was all nice and soft and usable again!!!

It’s these small victories that sometimes make my day.   That same day, I accomplished cleaning my gutters (as my neighbor kept an eye out for me) so another small task comes off from my honey-do list. 

Next small bit of knowledge I’m interested to try out– does dry ice really work for drawing out small dents from a car?  I remember learning this from a science teacher in Jr. High and have been talking about trying this out with another neighbor of mine.  If it works, I’ll let you know!

Until next time,


Cuyahoga County Foreclosure Prevention Program

I found a flier for this at church yesterday and thought the info may be helpful, so I’m posting it here.

How to Stop Foreclosure

There are many reasons why homeowners fall behind in their laon payments.   Loss of employment, divorce, unexpected illnesses or medical expenses are all life-altering occurrences that can happen to anyone.   Here are some steps you can take to avoid losing your home to foreclosure.

Don’t Be Embarrased
Lenders do not want to foreclose, and will usually work with you to get you back on track.   If you stop paying your home loan, the situation can get worse and the lender can foreclose, taking ownership of your home.    Start by contacting your lender as soon as you know your payments will be late, never ignore the lender’s letters or phone calls and never assume your situation is hopeless.

Solutions for Temporary Problems:

Reinstatement might be possible when you are behind in your payments but can promise a lump sum to bring payments current by a specific date.

In forbearance, you are allowed to delay payments for a short period, with the understanding that another option will be used afterwards to bring the account current.   Lenders sometimes combine Forbearance with Reinstatement if you know you’ll have funds to bring your account current by a specific date.

Repayment Plan “Short Sale”
This is where the mortgage company will allow you to sell your property for less than fair market value.   This prevents the word FORECLOSURE from being on your credit, the mortgage company is paid and you can start over.

Repayment Plan (often called a forbearance)
A great option, as long as you have steady income and can commit to making significantly higher monthly payments than before.    Before you commit to a repayment plan, be absolutely certain that you can follow through with your commitment.   Otherwise, you’ll end up sending the bank a lot of money and still end up in foreclosure a couple of months later.

Mortgage Modification
You may be able to refinance the debt and/or extend the term of your mortgage loan.   This may help you catch up by reducing the monthly payments to a more affordable level.   You may qualify if you have recovered from a financial problem but your net income is less than it was before the default (failure to pay).

Partial Claim
Your lender may be able to work with you to obtain an interest-free laon from HUD to bring your mortgage current.   Contact a HUD-approved housing counseling agency for further information.

Pre-foreclosure Sale
This will allow you to sell your property and pay off yoru mortgage loan to avoid foreclosure and damage to your credit rating.

Deed-in-lieu of Foreclosure
As a last resort, you may be able to voluntarily “give back” your property to the lender.   This won’t save your house, but it will help your chances of getting another mortgage loan in the future.

For a list of Housing Counseling Agencies and additional resources contact the Cuyahoga County Foreclosure Prevention Program by dialing “211” or 216-436-2000.

I also found they have their own website at http://www.dontborrowtroublecc.org/

This website includes details on foreclosure rescue scams, so if you find yourself in this situation, please visit the website and read more about how you might be able to avoid losing your home to foreclosure, as well as the scams to avoid.

Until next time,


Why Commuting to Downtown Cleveland Sucked Today

Just got this notice in my email:

Two more Inner Belt Bridge lanes, three more downtown ramps shut down
Posted by Patrick O’Donnell/Plain Dealer Reporter October 02, 2008 02:55AM

Two more Inner Belt Bridge lanes were shut down overnight along with three more downtown highway ramps — including a key one from Interstate 77 northbound — because of deteriorating bridge parts.

Now two lanes in each direction over the heavily traveled Interstate 90 bridge and four ramps are closed and will remain that way until at least next week.

The additional closings, which will make getting into and out of downtown challenging, came a day after the Ohio Department of Transportation closed one lane each way on Tuesday.

“The actions taken this afternoon were very precautionary,” ODOT Deputy Director Scott Varner said late Wednesday. “There was not one piece of information that gave us greater concern. The director just wanted to be as cautious as possible.”

ODOT spokeswoman Jocelyn Clemings also said the added closings, just like the ones on Tuesday, were precautionary.

“It’s a different factor of safety to make sure we’re lightening the load on the bridge,” Clemings said.

The bridge carrying traffic over the Cuyahoga River valley has been walled off by barrels in two dramatic stages the last two days, after starting the week fully open to traffic.

After receiving an engineering report Monday that some supports had deteriorated to 75 percent strength, the Ohio Department of Transportation shut down one lane each way and closed one exit Tuesday.

On Wednesday, ODOT Director James Beasley ordered a second lane each way and three more on-ramps immediately closed down. ODOT announced the move at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and workers began blocking off lanes.

The closings cut the bridge to just two lanes in each direction and block traffic from entering I-90 westbound from E. 9th Street, E. 14th Street, Ontario Street and I-77 northbound.

ODOT is urging people to use alternate routes.

Clemings said that engineers have tested the bridge using an ultrasonic thickness gauge since receiving Monday’s report. She said the tests are not finding new defects, just confirming the findings of the report.

The next set of tests will likely come next week using strain gauges on order from out of town. Clemings said the bridge will likely be shut down completely overnight some night next week to test how different size vehicles strain the bridge.

The affected lanes and ramps will remain closed at least until those tests are completed, Clemings said. ODOT will them determine what repairs will be done and how long closures will continue.

“I don’t see the lanes opening for some time,” she said.

Varner declined to give any timetable for reopening the lanes. He said he hopes ODOT has enough information by the end of next week to set a plan for opening lanes or fixing the bridge.

Well, at least that explains why I am a half an hour later than usual getting into work this morning!

If anyone needs advice on backroad routes to get into and out of downtown Cleveland, leave a comment and I’ll try to give you some ideas.    If I’d stayed in traffic and tried to take the Inner Belt, I’d probably have been an extra half an hour late!    But at the same time, it’s kinda like dealing with airport security.   I’d MUCH rather have to deal with the inconvenience than the consequences.

Until next time,