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You have to let him cry it out.

"You have to let him cry it out.  It's not a big deal, it's only two, maybe three nights? And then, they sleep. You'll see....I was a wreck when I did it, but now it's all good."


Sleep solver infant New Baby new paltz1

The first night wasn't so bad.


Steven and Monica looked at each other in disbelief as Henry's crying slowed and then stopped. She glanced at the clock--25 minutes--5 trips in to calm him down. The schedule said to wait 10 minutes, but that had seemed inhumane and they went in before he got extremely upset.

He slept until about two o'clock in the morning. Steven ninja-sprinted to pat his tummy and amazingly, Henry went back to sleep.


The second night, they had been warned, it would be worse, and it was.


Henry took one look at the crib and clung tightly. Steven pried him off Monica and set him in the crib and patted his chest. Monica left. Henry cried harder. Steven calmed him and then joined Monica in front of the video monitor. The sound was turned off. 

"I can't bear to hear him cry in stereo. This can't be right--it doesn't feel right. I wouldn't want to be left alone if I were upset. But, everyone says this is how it is. He'll get used to it, I guess. I guess we all do." 

Steven wrapped his arms around her and comforted her. They watched Henry cry and heard his cries through the wall.

Monica's phone dinged--time to check--Henry was still crying. Steven went in to soothe him. He patted him and whispered "You'll be okay buddy... just go to sleep." And left the room.


He came back and held Monica, and they sat, glued to the monitor, again.


Steven went in again. And again. And again. And again. And again. He made sure not to go in before five minutes had elapsed. After an hour, he sat on the chair in Henry's room and put his hand on Henry's chest, with tears rolling down his face. 

Monica watched them on the monitor. 

On the third night, Steven and Monica sadly completed each step of Henry's bedtime routine. Monica nursed Henry and handed him to Steven with tears in her eyes. Steven put Henry in his crib and sat next to him on the chair, his hand slowly stroking his chest. Henry cried and cried. Then he slowed and after a few minutes, he fell asleep and Steven tiptoed out of the room barely able to believe it.

Steven and Monica lay down on their bed. She nestled her head on his arm. They drifted into sleep. Exhausted. 


20 minutes later, Henry started screaming.


Monica leaped out of bed ran to Henry's room and Steven followed. He was screaming, crying and barely able to catch his breath. 

"Something's wrong. I can't do this training, Steven."

"Honey... I can't either." 

They sat side-by-side on the couch while Monica nursed Henry. Monica cried as she expressed how upset she was and how guilty she felt for upsetting Henry. Henry nursed and dozed. Each time he released the nipple, he cried in a panic, rooting to find it. Each time he cried, Monica felt her tears well up. Steven stroked her hair and her shoulders. 

Henry fell into a deep sleep. Monica carried him into their room and slid him into the bassinet. He was too big for it really, but for tonight, it would do. She lay down on her side with her hand out-stretched onto his chest. Steven pulled in tightly behind her. He stroked her arm and soothed her. 

"He'll be OK. We'll find a way so he doesn't cry. He's too little to be left alone. That's all he was trying to tell us."

Tick. Ick. Sick.

annie spratt 46095 unsplashHeather noticed her four year-old scratching the back of his head.

She recalled him doing it the night before and her heart skipped a beat.

It had been a late night with a hurried bath. They both fell asleep in his bed within minutes of lying down and she remembered how restless he had been. She remembered she had a dream about finding lice on him. She turned off the stove.

Harry twisted to look up at her as she walked up behind him. "I love you, mommy." He reached up asking to be lifted.

"I love you, too. I need to look in your hair." she said sharply as she pressed her fingers into his thick brown curls.

"Is it a tick? My head hurts."

As she lifted his hair, her fingers rubbed a lump. Deftly, she separated the hairs and saw the tiny brown sesame seed-sized parasite, a deer tick. She felt nauseous and guilty and thought, "How could I have forgotten to check him last night?"

It happens. Life gets busy and everyone forgets sometimes.

In our area, ticks are part of life and children are more likely to pick up a tick than you are, because they spend more time outside, more time in the grass and may not have the self awareness to notice and remove a tick when they first crawl on.

LIfe in the Hudson Valley means memorizing your child's freckles and moles, so your heart doesn't skip a beat 5 times a day.

  • Scan your baby or child frequently during the day for small dark spots.
  • Make a head to toe inspection for ticks every night, even if you are exhausted.
  • Check in the hair, behind and in the ears, in the belly button, in skin folds, under the scrotum and between every finger and toe.
  • Put on clean PJ's or clothes before bed every night. Ticks stick to fabric and can live on clothing for a few days.

The longer a tick is embedded, the higher likelihood of transmitting disease. A child who is sleeping is less likely to notice the tickling of a crawling tick.

Here is a commonsense approach to reduce your encounters with ticks.

The first is to stay out of tick-infested areas. Ticks are active any day the temperature is over freezing, even in January. There seems to be a lull in their activity during freezing temperatures and during the hot, dry months in the summer. These are times you can relax a little.

There are plenty of things to do and places to go that do not involve walking through leafy, tick infested areas!

In peak times, stick to swimming, municipal areas, carriage roads and bare rock areas with your babies and kids. If you must hike footpaths, go in the low peak times or consider traveling to the Adirondacks, which are still largely tick free.

If you are going through a tick infested area, wear long pants and sleeves, tuck your pants into your socks. When you are done, remove all your clothes and wash them. Take a hot shower or bath and check your children for ticks.

If you feel the need to use insect repellent, use it with caution.

Insect repellent should probably not go directly on your skin and never go on baby's skin, but it can be applied on clothing. Consider using Frontline or similar on your pets, but remember that all pesticides are hazardous, especially to little humans. If it kills bugs, it will harm you, too! You might reduce the months you use it, based on the weather.

Pesticides for ticks, known as acaricides, can reduce the number of ticks in your yard. They are relatively inexpensive and applied once, seasonally.

Essential oils are another way to repel ticks. Tea Tree, Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano, and Lavender are a few of the commonly recommended ones. Essential oils are more natural, but they are powerful and can also have negative side effects.

Make your home and yard safer by doing the following:

  • Mow the grass frequently and closely around your house
  • Remove leaf litter, and trash that may give rodents (one of the vectors) a place to nest
  • Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between your lawn and wooded areas to restrict tick migration into your yard
  • Stack wood in a dry area away from your house to discourage rodents
  • Keep play equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees.
  • Put up a fence to keep deer and stray dogs out of kid's play areas.
  • Trim bushes off the ground and keep plants away from the house foundation to reduce rodent nesting areas.
  • Dogs scare away deer and catch mice, cats (domestic and feral) catch mice, guinea fowl (and to a lesser extent, chickens) eat ticks.

In the words of Mad-Eye Moody of Harry Potter fame, "Constant Vigilance!" 

Check your pets by combing with a fine tooth comb and examining them for crawling ticks before they come into the house. Use a bright light and reading glasses when looking for ticks. Keep pets out of bedrooms.

As your kids get older, they will probably develop a "creepy crawly" reflex and pull off ticks before they embed. Ticks are 'sticky' and need to be plucked off clothing and skin. If can be easier if you use tweezers or a tissue to grab the crawler. Because of this stickiness, ticks can invade your home on clothes, pets and backpacks. Drying on "high" for an hour will kill ticks on fabric items.

Tick bites can hurt or itch and that might be the first way you discover a bite.

If you do find a tick, grasp it firmly with tweezers, as close to the skin as you can. Pull steadily. Some people recommend a cork screw motion, but that is not necessary. Some people like special tick tweezers. After you remove it, check that you got the head, and if you didn't, go to the doctor. Clean the area with betadine, soap and water or rubbing alcohol. Calendula cream can sooth the itching and speed healing. Wash your hands and the tweezers.

When you remove an embedded tick, the squeezing usually kills them. If you normally don't kill insects, search your conscience for "Right Action" when it comes to ticks. At the very least, remove them from your daily paths. Flushing them down the toilet or dropping them in rubbing alcohol will kill them.

Watch the bite. The longer a tick is embedded, the bigger the reaction.

All tick bites turn red and infected looking. They often have a hole where the bite was. There are several tick borne infections besides Lyme disease, that are common in the Hudson Valley. Symptoms are fever, aching or headaches. A Lyme bull's eye may or may not be present.

If you are not sure how long the tick was embedded, go see your doctor, who will probably prescribe a course of antibiotics. The common treatment for a first time bite is 3 weeks of amoxicillan for babies and children. Adults may be prescribed amoxicillan or doxycycline, which is safe for breastfeeding mothers for up to 3 weeks.

Ticks are an unfortunate part of life in the Hudson Valley. The best way to handle them are avoiding them and constant screening for bites.

The ten barriers of breastfeeding

Moms and babies breastfeed within a complex web of history, culture, family and intimate relationship with each other.

There are 10 barriers or challenges in breastfeeding that can get between a breast and a baby. The Big Latch On is a worldwide event that addresses most of these issues.

1. Communities that don't breastfeed. If you have seen other women breastfeed, you are more likely to start and to continue when you have difficulties. The New Paltz Big Latch On brings people together who live near each other, who breastfeed and those who support breastfeeding, even if they aren't breastfeeding.

2. Breastfeeding difficulties. If you are having trouble, you may need a greater perspective and some support to continue. The New Paltz Big Latch On brings professionals and peers together to share and help each other.

3. Embarrassment. When you see other mothers nursing and living life at the same time, by talking, eating, shopping, laughing and telling their "embarrassing moments of breastfeeding" stories at The New Paltz Big Latch On, you can get over your shyness, anxiety, and embarrassment.

4. Innocence and Ignorance - Many women go into mothering their new baby assuming that breastfeeding is natural and will come easily and instinctively. And, for many women, that is true. Many more are blindsided by their lack of knowing about breastfeeding. The New Paltz Big Latch On  educates about the many ways that breastfeeding can happen.

5. Healthcare professionals - You may know a very good Lactation Consultant, ;-) or you may not be so lucky. I am hosting The New Paltz Big Latch On  because I want people to know who is around to help.

6. Working is a reality for many breastfeeding moms, so The Big Latch On is held on 2 days. The New Paltz Big Latch On is SATURDAY August 5 at 10:00 am.

7. Family and friends don't want you to suffer and may suggest weaning out of concern for you. The New Paltz Big Latch On is a way for them to see the bigger picture of normal breastfeeding at all ages and stages.

8. Beyond the pain threshold. Girls and women are taught to suffer in silence. Pain is a big reason why women quit nursing. It's also a way women delay getting help because painful feeds are promoted as a right of passage. PAIN IS NOT NORMAL. Don't suck it up or tough it out. Please. At The New Paltz Big Latch On, you will meet many women who suffered and had immediate relief as soon as they got help. (Disclaimer, you will meet a couple who are still suffering. Know that I never tell you to continue if nursing is painful.)

9. Illness and injury are confounding and unpredictable factors. Childbirth can be a rough and physically challenging experience. Moms and babies get sick or injured and breastfeeding can be the last thing on anyone's mind. This is beyond the scope of The New Paltz Big Latch On, but we can share war stories in the grieving circle.

10. The true cost of failure is never discussed. More than money, quitting breastfeeding may eat at you. At The New Paltz Big Latch On we will have a closed door grieving circle and share stories of breastfeeding and grieving.

If you are needing some breastfeeding support, education, encouragement or coaching, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to schedule a free "Needs assessment" session to help you discover ways to make breastfeeding better and what local resources are available for you.


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Parenting is like perfection

Perfection, the board game

Easeful parenting...

I was thinking last night that easeful parenting involves quickly and effortlessly matching up the right solution to your baby's needs. For example: a wet diaper is uncomfortable and leads to fussing. Put on a dry diaper and the fussing stops. When a baby has a rumbly tummy and you take too much time to feed them, you have a howling baby. When you do fill their tummy, the howling stops.

Parenting really is a lot like Perfection, the game.

Each child has at least 25 little keyholes that need to be filled. In real life, those keyholes are things like love, security, comfort, connection, protection, humor, service, satiation, attention, justice, relaxation, contentment, and energy. Your job as the parent is to fill those keyholes with the matching piece in 60 seconds or less......If you don't.... "POP!!!!" Your baby starts inconsolable crying.

Enough rounds of Perfection in a day and you start feeling frustrated and incompetent.

It is nearly impossible to fill those keyholes each and every round. Luckily, babies don't expect you to be perfect. They are happy if you try and keep trying. Your job as a parent is to become aware of your baby's needs and find ways to fulfill them. With each growth spurt, the number of needs increases. Some keyholes may change with time. When you fill keyholes consistently and often, your baby learns how to fill them himself.

When you respond to your baby's needs, you are not spoiling, you are teaching. You are not being manipulated, you are learning more about your baby.

While it can feel like Perfection, the game, it is impossible to be a perfect parent.

Every person has their own preferences and ways they like to be treated. You will make mistakes and inadvertently hurt your child. You will be so frustrated at times that you may purposefully hurt your child with unkind words, a spank on the bottom or ignoring their demands.

What happens if you ignore the need?

And, you will. You will be tired or miss your baby's cue. In addition, every parent has some part of their baby that they just can't understand.

Your baby will keep asking, non-verbally of course, for a while and if you keep ignoring the need, they will start to compensate for the unfilled need with an alternate behavior. Common behaviors we see in babies is over or under-sleeping, crying that goes from 0-60 in a second, refusing to breastfeed or biting your breast to get your attention. When you experience repetitive behaviors that you don't like, it is a sign that a need that isn't being met.

You might use a little creative thinking and try to imagine what it is your baby might be needing. Some of these needs are real mysteries that take years to figure out, so don't think of this as a one time thing. Some will remain mysteries for your child to learn in their lifetime. Some you will just outright be unable to fulfill.

Consistency breeds consistency

On the other hand, children have pretty consistent personalities. When you get 'it' right, all you have to do is keeping doing 'that' again and again. A baby who is a "huggy bear" will always be a "huggy bear". When you hold a huggy bear, hug and gently stroke them. Watch them melt into bliss. You will find that doing this consistently shortens their periods of upset.

A baby who likes to be around people will always be the life of the party. Make sure they get lots of social time. Sing songs and play interactive games like peek-a-boo. Plan at least one errand every day so they get the stimulation they crave and then bring them home for some down time.

Some babies are introspective and need peace and quiet. They break eye contact and refuse to look at you when they are tired or overwhelmed. They may prefer to be laid down and left alone to sleep. Make sure you spend quiet time together every day.

"If only I had instructions!"

Many parents lament that babies don't come with an instruction manual. I think that this shows a loss in how to use our inner knowing. When we pay attention to our inner knowing and our feelings, we learn to read our babies and trust our judgement. Books, videos and articles are helpful when you use the information to confirm what you are feeling and also to broaden your perspective on what your baby needs. When we try to make our baby conform to a mold that is unlike them, it only makes everyone unhappy.

Keep filling your baby's or child's needs. If you would some assistance, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to schedule a free "Needs assessment" session to help decipher why your baby or child is acting the way they are.

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