Secrets of Infant Sleep part 1

Sorry, dearies! (side note: I spent a good 15 minutes looking for a good/funny pic or gif of Rumple saying this, because that’s what happens in my head.. but then I decided it was a bit too scary and not conducive to good infant sleep at all.. sorry!)

I have kept you waiting for too long, and people have been asking and asking various sleep questions and sharing their sleep dilemmas, etc.

So, lets begin! Last month I got to listen to a very informative talk by this really wonderful and knowledgable lady: Prof. Hellen Ball. If you are up for it – you can read some of her publications from her page. Her research projects and interest clearly indicate one thing – she knows her stuff when it comes to baby sleep! And particularly – what’s normal for baby sleep.

I want to share with you some of the key points that I learned from her talk, and was rather surprised by, or – always suspected to be true but now it’s good to have it backed by science!

  • “normal baby sleep” basically doesn’t exist in terms of what we’re looking for. There is a very wide range of normal and babies can fall anywhere on that scale and move throughout it. So – no point in comparing your baby to another baby, or even to him or herself a few weeks ago. It’s all still normal.
  • “Sleeping through the night” – was defined over 50 years ago. And that was used to label babies sleeping for 5 hours at night. And most of the babies were formula fed, but – that wasn’t considered as a factor in the study. Personally – a 5 hour stretch for me does NOT equal sleeping through the night. So if that prissy miss perfect pants is telling you that her precious baby is sleeping through the night – don’t believe her! She’s no better than you!
  • Some babies do start sleeping for longer stretches around the age of 3 months. This is when many “sleep training” techniques are suggested to be begun. And this is why it may seem like they work. However this development of longer sleep is not permanent. About half of all “sleep trained” babies in a controlled study environment revert back to more chaotic patterns of sleep. Parents trying to sleep their kids at home, not under professional supervision had even lower rates of success.
  • Sleep training before six months for a breastfed baby can interfere with the mother’s milk supply.
  • By 5 months of age half of the babies in studies slept from 10pm to 6am with no wakings (for an 8 hour stretch), but half of the babies did not. What does this mean? That not sleeping through the night is just as normal as sleeping through the night, doesn’t mean you’re not doing your sleep training improperly (although – maybe you are developing some bad habits?). It is simply a matter of luck. Some babies do it, some don’t.

When parents were monitored for how much sleep they actually got and were asked how their sleep was it became clear – it’s not so much about how much you actually sleep, but rather – what you expect a good sleep to be for you. So set your expectation low and be a little happier ;) Also – the number of times you wake up at night seems to have a bigger effect than how long you were up for. In other words getting up 3 times for 5 minutes will make you feel like you slept worse than waking up once for 20+ minutes.

In the next series of posts I will tell you about breastfeeding and infant sleep, co-sleeping and the science pertinent to it and sleep training and what study results say about that.


The happy bathroom attendant

Can we discuss a phenomenon that I’m sure all parents experience on a daily basis but no one ever says anything?

Once your kid figures out walking and becomes fast at it – obviously you’re never alone. But the implication of that is – you have a bathroom attendant!
Has my house turned into a fancy club?
Now, I didn’t do a lot of clubbing back in my pre-mom days. But the few times I did and went to the bathroom, it seemed like even the dinkiest of bathrooms had attendants! But they were always these old ladies, and I would feel bad that here they are, in the smokey/drunken/loud hustle and bustle of things. I think the only place less appropriate for an old lady is – on a motorcycle, and that’s it.. Though thinking about it now – their hearing was probably bad enough to where the loud music didn’t bother them at all.

So besides feeling bad that this old lady is having to sit in the bathroom for half the night instead of watching soaps (though.. I guess that’s exactly what she’s doing, huh? =) Oh the irony..), I would feel even more awkward because I felt like she was sitting there because of me. Because I had to go to the bathroom and she felt it was her duty to give me a paper towel… (though some home-baked cookies would be way better, am I right?)

And of course – I digress…
Now – every time I go to the bathroom (and remember, I’m pregnant, so that’s like every 15 minutes) I have my own personal attendant that comes with me, and I know his excitement about the job is completely genuine! :)
And he does a great job – always hands me some toilet paper, closes the lid for me and flushes. Like – I am actually not allowed to flush the toilet in my own home because someone else HAS to do it. And then he reminds me to wash my hands.

Today I decided I was going to feel fancy about it, rather than annoyed. :) I’m not going to start tipping him though, but I think this is excellent grounds for potty training (remember our project? Well – I must admit – it’s going pretty great!!!)

You know, just one of those realities of parenting you never even considered before, right?

San Francisco Birth and Baby Fair

You know why I love living in the Bay Area? It is like the modern day Nile Valley, or Mesopotamia, or the start of the Silk Road. Probably 90% of the apps on your mobile device, including the device itself were thought up here! The sites you shop, the things you do everyday… It’s amazing and awesome and I feel like I am living at the forefront of the future. And fortunately or not – it is no exception for the “mother-baby” industry. And it is so cool to see just how everything is so interconnected, and so possible! Last time I met the woman behind the baby K-tan carrier, this year I met even more women (and some men of course!) that had these great ideas, no matter how small they might seem at first, and they ran with them and they made them happen! It is just so inspiring and I can’t wait to tell you about them!

I met THE woman that invented this – Pelv-ICE and just the fact that someone had thought about the state that I was in after my last delivery and wanted to do something to help me and ease my discomfort – that was already so touching! And not only that but – she’s in the process of getting insurance companies to cover it! So that you could get it at the hospital!!! How great is that?


I made the mom that invented and patented and created and packaged this NippleNest. And by the time I had gotten to her table I already knew what it was because every single boutique that was represented there was talking about it and already carrying it! And I just kept thinking about my mom hounding me for my nasty nipple shield that I would always leave everywhere to collect dust because I was just too exhausted and/or lazy to go wash it every single time and put it up somewhere…

Women that make their own baby clothes, women that make cool stuff for nursing, women that scout the world for cool baby things.. And of course some of the latest and newest baby tech!

But right alongside all of this – homeopathic kits for any situation a mom might encounter! A new birthing center that is opening up in the spring (I have GOT to show you their logo!) and is all about natural births, birthing tubs, and not interfering with nature. And doulas and acupuncturists, and … oh my gosh, just everything!

Oh, and did you know that the home of the Orbit stroller is right here in the Bay Area? And while I didn’t win one, which was kind of a bummer – one lucky lady did and I am super happy for her!!!

And now I have a whole box of material with cool new info that I have gathered that I plan on sharing with you in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!!

Book review: French Children Don’t Throw Food

Pamela Druckerman, French Children don't throw food, bringing up bebe, parenting book

French Children Don’t Throw Food, or Bringing Up Bebe

There are some books that change your life. I try to have every book improve my life at least a little bit because otherwise – why spend all that time reading? =) But this book, French Children Don’t Throw Food by Pamela Druckerman - has definitely had a huge impact on me, probably the most any other parenting book has had so far! I tell everyone – if you read just one book – let this be it!

Why such great reviews, you ask? This book doesn’t really tell you techniques for dealing with specific problems – like other books on my shelf do by outlining steps to follow, proposed schedules for sleeping and eating, etc. It’s the story of a lady that came with an American view of parenting and got to see it contrasted with the French parenting view.

This book came at a perfect time for me because I was starting to get sucked into the vortex of – “am I a crappy mom? My kid’s not doing this…” and so forth, with a building sense of self-doubt and a cloud of despair closing in on me. I’m sure we all go through a period of – “I have no idea how to be the kind of parent I’ve envisioned, and I guess I’ll never get there. My life will never be the way I want..etc”

The main lessons I got from this book:

1) Everywhere you go – everyone is going to think they have the only right method to raising kids. And it can sound totally ridiculous to you, and your methods will seem so to them. Doesn’t mean any one method is right. You’re not required to listen to anyone!

2) Having kids doesn’t mean you have to no longer exist as a separate person and fully dissolve into the role of mom. It is ok, and perfectly healthy for everyone for the mom to do things for herself, to stay beautiful, to be fit, to have a job, to wear nice clothes, etc. That was really inspiring!

3) And of course – with some patience and realistic demands – there is no reason to have your kitchen serving only mac & cheese and peanut butter.

My only wish is that there was a follow up to this book of “Actual recipes French kids eat” because I was really intrigued by the variety of veggies and the salads/dishes made with them that were mentioned in the book.

Things like sleep and discipline are also touched upon, so I think – if you read this book before your baby comes, and don’t forget the most important points once your baby is here – you will likely avoid having to read all those help/reference books on sleep training and introducing solids.

Besides all the info, the book is also a great personal story! There were parts that made me laugh out loud, and parts that made me cry.

It gets 5 starts from me!

Who else has read this book already? What did you think?

P.S. The picture and title are for the European edition of this book, in the US it looks a little different.

Mothers in protest?

Maybe someone can explain this to me…

So there is this instagram community – @MothersInProtest  and they have almost 24k followers (including me, yes… that’s something serious going on! I gotta get in on that, see a piece of their feed below)

And I’ve followed them for a couple of months, and I’m still trying to figure out what they’re all about.

From what I’ve gathered it’s pregnant women, and they’re “fashion forward”. But then I’m still seeing plenty of jeggings and yoga pants on there, so I’m confused.

But the thing that I don’t get is – what are they protesting??? Being a mother? Well.. I hate to break it to ya – but it’s going to come soon enough, ladies! Look at that bump! I’m sure they’re not protesting being a mom, they all seem rather excited and glowing at the prospect.

I thought they were protesting comfy clothes, but now I’m seeing lots and lots more of those on there too… And to that I was going to say – don’t protest the comfy clothes! You’ll be there soon enough!! And I’m sure that haute couture outfit looks a lot less haute with baby puke on it =( Or – if you do have a c-section, finding things (even pj pants) that don’t feel like hell across your scar is a challenge!

Anywho. Now that I’m pregnant with my second baby, and feeling better than being pregnant with the first – it is nice to see women enjoying their pregnancies and struttin’ their stuff! Last time around I was too overwhelmed with all the research, baby gear, how many items in what size I will need, etc to really care about looking like anything other than a tired pregnant woman… =) And now I’ve even started my own business selling makeup! Does that mean I’m in protest too?

But again… what is the protest against?? Anybody know????