I Don’t Self Soothe, Why Should My Baby?

Check out this great article from Pathways!  As always here is the link for lots for info including this blog post: http://blog.pathwaystofamilywellness.org/pathways/i-dont-self-soothe-why-should-my-baby/#sthash.sj9uoXoi.dpbs

Newborn baby girl

I Don’t Self Soothe, Why Should My Baby?

By Janaiah von Hassel

When my first son was born I remember attending to every cry so instinctively that I was almost on autopilot. Those first few weeks were hard. Night and day ceased to exist for us, and a new cycle began to take its place. Our pediatrician at the time, along with many well-meaning friends and family encouraged us to let my son cry it out so that he would learn to sooth himself to sleep.  But I was head over heels in love with 8lbs of absolute perfection.

Generally speaking I’m not one to follow suite unless it really makes sense to me. Everyone seemed so certain that I would be depriving my baby of an important life skill, and that if I kept answering his every cry I would teach him that he was the center of the universe and it would create a needy, spoiled baby. They even said his need to be comforted throughout the night might exist well after his college years!

Truth be told, I was feeling exhausted from the schedule, and the thought of a well-rested night for me was enticing. But instinctively I could not resist my child’s need for comfort when he cried. I tried to think of a time that I let anyone I loved self-soothe. A few months prior to having my son, I was woken up at 1:00 AM by a phone call from my sister who was crying. She was feeling overwhelmed and heartbroken by some challenges in her life at the time. Because she lived so close to me, I got in my car and drove over to hug her and let her know she was not alone. I could not imagine having hung up the phone saying, “You really need to learn to deal with this on your own.”

In the most recent edition of Pathways, Dr. John Edwards explains why ‘cry it out’ may be one of the most misguided parenting philosophies of our generation. Edwards’ article relays the fact that babies have stages of responding to stress just like everyone else. When the baby ceases his/her crying after a period of ‘cry it out’, the silence that follows—what most would refer to as self-soothing—is actually the body shutting down and resorting to conservation and survival or the last stage of the stress response. Reaching this stage does indeed train the baby, subconsciously, to deal with stressful situations in a particular way.  “What would happen,” Edwards asks, “if [instead] we programmed a generation with a subconscious wave pattern that says ‘your needs will be met if you simply communicate them’?”

The media totes studies which suggest there is no harm in letting your baby ‘cry it out,’ but one study suggests the opposite. In this study, Dr. Middlemiss measured the stress hormone, cortisol, in babies during the ‘cry it out’ method. He discovered that even after the baby is sleep trained, the high levels of cortisol still persist. Even while the baby learns that crying for comfort won’t help, the stress continues to exist. This is not the case for the mother, researchers found. The study measured the mother’s cortisol levels during these times and found cortisol to drop once the baby stopped crying.

So why do so many people support sleep training methods like ‘cry it out?’ The answer, in my opinion, is that most of us just don’t live in a world that supports the nurturance that every baby deserves. For most, it is seemingly impossible to continue with the fast pace of our western society while meeting the unending needs of a baby who has his own schedule. In addition to that, there is far more stress on babies now than ever before due to environmental toxins, vaccines, and the emotional stress of parents that all contribute to a baby’s exhaustive need for comfort.

Many parents exhaust themselves to unhealthy ends attempting to answer every cry and meet the unending needs of a fussy baby. I have had times where I was just so exhausted it made me grumpy and miserable and I wondered, “Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if I just let them cry it out? How long can I go on like this?” Tired parents. Cranky babies. No end in sight. These are the scenarios I believe that have precipitated the ‘cry it out’ movement. It started out as the “lesser evil.” The issue, however, is when we try to suggest that all of this is best for the baby.

We live in a society that demands very much from us.  The notion that it is good to take five minutes for yourself rather than lose your mind, I will agree, is perfectly fine. Put your baby in a safe place and center yourself, have a good cry, meditate, put on a song, call a friend, or do whatever you need to because babies do pick up on our energy. I often call a friend when I’m overwhelmed, scared, hurt, or angry. I’ve cried on my husband’s shoulders many times when the day was bigger than me. I’m so glad that I’ve never been asked to go away and self-soothe. And if I don’t self-soothe, why should my baby?

I write about this topic for the mom who is like me—the mom who wants to pick up their baby and who can’t stand the idea of letting their baby cry it out but is made to feel she’s doing something wrong by answering that cry. Please know you are not wrong! It is okay to let your baby know that when he or she feels scared and alone they can call you and you will come. The days of believing that babies are only born with physical needs like food, sleep, and diaper changes are gone. Babies have emotional needs as well. Babies cry when they have any need: A need to be fed, to be dry, or to be comforted and loved. Mothers, it’s okay to pick up your babies.

And in case you’re wondering, my children, now 6 and 4 years old, sleep soundly through the night.

Live Alive,

Janaiah, Pathways Gathering Group Coordinator

– See more at: http://blog.pathwaystofamilywellness.org/pathways/i-dont-self-soothe-why-should-my-baby/#sthash.sj9uoXoi.dpuf

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Food with a Relationship

Check out this great article from Pathways!  For this article and much much more check out this link: http://blog.pathwaystofamilywellness.org/pathways/food-with-a-relationship/#sthash.3jgWvW7v.dpbs

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Food with a Relationship

By Sam Fisher, farmer

As we know, many social events include food to some degree, and society has come to subconsciously expect relationships with friends or family to include food. However, for all our food-centered societal relationships, we no longer expect a relationship while obtaining food. Generally speaking, Americans no longer know the person growing their food, and often have no close connection with anyone while acquiring it. Sure, we exchange the necessary niceties with the person behind the counter at the grocery store, but it is ultimately a bar-code reading monetary transaction, not really buying food from someone we know.

In the present on-the-go age, it’s possible to obtain a ready-to-eat meal with only minimal interaction with a real person. We simply drive up to the menu board, order a meal with an unseen person via intercom, and drive around to the drive-thru window to pick up and pay for it. A meal (if it can be called that), obtained by exchanging only a few words with someone inside a window – that most likely played no part in preparing your food other than taking your order and completing the exchange of food (or is it food?) and money. To me, that is one of the tragedies of modern American society.

It has been said that there are three things that define cultures. They are food, art, and architecture. We connect certain foods with certain cultures, just like different styles of architecture originate in certain cultures. American society has relegated food to the lowest level of recognition – a mere afterthought – and we pay even less attention to the quality and nutritional value of the foods we consume. But that’s the consequence of food without a producer relationship. Food coming from halfway across the country, manufactured by a nameless, faceless corporate giant, also comes with an insurmountable rift between producer and consumer. In other words, if it comes from a food factory, it must travel the orthodox paths of distribution in order to reach the end user, a path almost impossible to follow, much less develop a relationship with the producer. Plus, to allow our food to come from corporate channels is also to place ourselves at the mercy of whatever the manufacturer – and/or the regulators – decide is or isn’t safe for us to eat. That’s getting pretty close to having government and industry in my throat, banning things like unpasteurized dairy and allowing many concoctions of chemical flavor enhancers, genetically modified organisms, and other “natural” ingredients.

Having a convoluted path between production and consumption of our foods manipulates the consuming populace into a regulator sanctioned food paradigm, all in the name of food safety. We expect regulation to take care of us. They will make sure our food is safe – with they being the FDA and USDA. But as it turns out, they are also being lobbied by food manufacturers and distributors to allow certain substances, all in the name of ”natural.” In short, food safety is best determined by discerning citizens who take the time to develop a real life relationship with their food source.

The same could be said of authentic nutrition. The upside to relationship food is the ability to see it being produced. The chance to see your cows eating grass in the pasture, turning it into the highest quality milk or meat, or – if you’re so inclined – to see your chickens being processed, your lettuce growing in rows, your beans harvested. The list could go on and on, but you get the gist. With that ability comes the privilege to lay aside the paranoia and distrust of food that’s so prevalent today. You have the advantage to insure that your farmer is doing everything you want him to – the ability to dispel any corner-cutting or inappropriate practices with your presence, scrutiny, and relationship. What people need is good, clean food at an affordable price, from a source they can trust. That is a timeless need. And that’s the View from the Country.

Quotes Worth Re-Quoting –

“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.”   ~ Benjamin Disraeli

– See more at: http://blog.pathwaystofamilywellness.org/pathways/food-with-a-relationship/#sthash.3jgWvW7v.dpuf

Healing Properties of Nature, Music, and Laughter in Children’s Media

Check out this great article from Pathways.  For a copy of this article and many more check out this link: http://blog.pathwaystofamilywellness.org/pathways/healing-properties-of-nature-music-and-laughter-for-kids/#sthash.spziI9LA.dpbs Healing Properties of Nature, Music, and Laughter in Children’s Media By Sara Wiseman Parents and grandparents are always seeking ways … Continue reading