Has This Ever Happened to You?

Have you ever bought a product that promises a quick fix and seems a little too good to be true?

Most parents coping with young kids and sleep issues are desperate for any solution to their nightly trials, and there are countless products that promise to soothe your child into a peaceful slumber.

This is not unlike to the staggering number of quick fix weight-loss products on the market  But do they really work?

Not often and not long-term.

In order to lose weight and keep it off, you need to change your lifestyle, your diet and your way of thinking about food in order to keep off the pounds.

The same goes for sleep. To truly foster a healthy relationship with your child and his sleeping habits, you need to be disciplined, have a plan and change the way you structure bedtime. You need to get to the root of why your child is not sleeping well and then make some changes.

The only way to get a baby sleeping well is to teach her the skills by creating a system that will promote sleep independence. Believe it or not, your baby truly is capable of sleeping on her own without too much help from you or anything else.

If a child has not developed healthy sleep habits,  all the lavender in the world is not going to help. Instead, develop a plan, stick to it, and before you know it, your child will be sleeping through the night!

 

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Are Soothers Bad For My Baby?

A lot of parents who use soothers feel a twinge of guilt the first time they stick a pacifier in their baby’s mouth. However, dealing with a screaming infant in the grocery line or on a long car trip will make most parents try just about anything they can think of to calm the child down!

The truth is, it often works. Babies are born with the instinct to suck. They have limited means of expressing what they want and can’t let you know if they’re hungry, thirsty or in pain. Sucking soothes them and brings them comfort, which is why a baby will suck on just about anything you put in its mouth, whether it’s a bottle, breast, finger or toy.

But at a certain age, kids are more than capable of learning to self-soothe, and pacifier dependence can cause long-term problems. I recommend getting rid of the soother between 3-4 months if it is interfering with sleep. It is at this age, when that sucking reflex starts to diminish as well.

Here are some reasons you should consider ditching the soother:

Sleeping

Soothers interfere with the consolidation of nighttime sleep. If your child uses one to fall asleep, she will most likely wake in the night and then not be able to get back to sleep until she has it again. . Even if the child isn’t bothering you to help find the soother, there are still times when it’s causing a full wake-up for retrieval. While brief wake-ups are common in the night, when a child is soother dependent it often leads to fragmented sleep, which can make for a tired and cranky toddler the next day.

Dental problems

Pediatric dentists recommend getting rid of soothers by the age of 2. Overbites and crossbites can occur, which lead to problems with chewing, speech and appearance.

Ear infections

Studies are now linking pacifier use with recurring ear infections. In fact, children who use soothers regularly are up to three times more likely to develop ear infections.

Speech

Around the age of one, kids enter into their speech development phase. This means they will start trying on sounds and words and will often babble to themselves and others while they learn this new skill. If they constantly have a soother in their mouths, they might be less likely to practice talking.

Also, constant soother use can make it harder for a child’s tongue and lip muscles to develop normally, according to Patricia Hamaguchi, a speech-language pathologist and author of Childhood, Speech, Language, and Listening Problems: What Every Parent Should Know.

I have found that parents are often far more worried about the idea of taking it away, than the actual reality of it. Most children are over it within a day or two.

Melatonin for Babies? No Way!

Melatonin for Babies?  No Way!

There was a recent article in Today’s Parent about an busy, working mom with two children who claimed she has tried everything to get her children to sleep well. (I posted the article on my Facebook page.) I commented on the post that she should hire a sleep consultant  and my comment was deleted. Most likely because I included my website. I did this because I feel I have a responsibility to let sleep deprived parents know there is help out there. I am also 100% confident that I could help her get both of her children sleeping well.

There was another post from a mom that gave her children Melatonin and it worked like a charm. It was very concerning for me as it was not deleted and planted the idea for many other sleep deprived parents that Melatonin was the answer.

For overtired parents who can’t seem to get their kids on a healthy sleep schedule, the promise of a magic pill can be pretty enticing.

But it seems to me that more and more doctors and parents are turning to Melatonin as a Band-Aid for sleep issues with their children. I hear stories all the time about people saying they are giving their babies Melatonin to help them fall asleep at night, and I have serious concerns about this.

Here’s the deal: Melatonin is NOT a long-term solution to poor sleep habits. Healthy sleep habits need to be learned at a young age in order to set kids up for a lifetime of healthy sleep habits.

And while some studies have shown that Melatonin can be helpful with autistic children or children with ADHD, most babies and children do not need Melatonin; they need to be taught good, independent sleep skills.

Here’s why:

Melatonin is a hormone that is secreted by your brain and is present in every person’s body. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “no other hormone is available in the United States without a prescription. Because melatonin is contained naturally in some foods, the U.S. Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 allows it to be sold as a dietary supplement. These do not need to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or controlled in the same way as drugs.” The same goes for Canada.

Dr. Johnson-Arbor, a Hartford Hospital toxicologist, says, “It’s (melatonin) possibly thought to affect growth, and to affect sexual development and puberty.” Other side-effects can include headaches, drowsiness and stomach ache.

According to the National Institutes of Health, “Melatonin should not be used in most children. It is possibly unsafe. Because of its effects on other hormones, Melatonin might interfere with development.”

There’s no need to put your kids at risk just to get them down for the night. The plain truth is, children need to be taught to sleep properly — and it’s up to you, Mom and Dad, to show them how.sleepingbaby