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Archive for December, 2010

Question

We’re about to take our first airplane trip with our one-year-old. We flew quite a bit before she was born, but now we’re not sure what to pack or how to make this trip successful.

Learn about it

Even if you racked up your share of frequent flyer miles before your baby was born, forget what you know of travel so far. Flying with a little one is a whole different story.

If you fear turning into one of those families we’ve all met aboard planes — those with squalling, unruly, squirming children who tend to bring out the same traits in their fellow passengers — take heart. My oldest child, Angela was just 14 days old when she took her first flight, and since then, I’ve taken many more trips with my four children. I know that you can travel with your little ones and enjoy the process. Forethought and preparation are the keys.

Planning the trip

The details of your trip often can mean the difference between success and disaster. Keep these ideas in mind as you plan:

Examine all aspects of the journey when you book your flights. Aim for direct flights so that you can avoid changing planes. If you have to make a change, avoid short layovers that give you too little time to get from gate to gate, and conversely avoid long layovers that require lots of idle time in airports.

When you make your reservations, give the agent the ages of all passengers. You may learn some important rules such as:

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When your baby wakes in the middle of the night, you probably have a routine to get him back to sleep. For Coleton

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and me, it was breastfeeding. I used to nurse him until he was totally asleep. Every hour, we had a very exact pattern: Coleton woke, I shifted him to the other side, I kissed his head, and then he nursed — a beautiful, soothing ritual. Sometimes he would wake up and pucker up, looking for the kiss and the shift. As sweet as this ritual was, after 12 months of this nightly/hourly ceremony, I desperately needed a change.

As with the writing of this book, learning how to break the association was a gradual, thoughtful process that required self-examination. I discovered that I was responding to Coleton so quickly and intuitively that I’d put him to the breast before he even made a real noise — he would just fidget, gurgle, or “sniff” and I would put him to the breast. I began to realize that, on so many of these occasions, he would have gone back to sleep without me.

I am a follower of the “never let your baby cry” rule, and I took it very seriously. What I didn’t understand, though, is that babies make sounds in their sleep. And these sounds do not mean that baby needs you. Babies moan, grunt, snuffle, whimper, and even cry in their sleep. Babies can even nurse in their sleep.

The first step to helping your baby sleep longer is to determine the difference between sleeping noises and awake noises. When she makes a noise: Stop. Listen. Wait. Peek. As you listen attentively to her noises, and watch her, you will learn the difference between sleeping snorts and “I’m waking up and I need you now” noises.

When I learned this eye-opening piece of information, I started “playing asleep” when Coleton made a nighttime noise. I would just listen and watch — not moving a single muscle — until he began to make actual wakeful noises. Some of the time, he never did; he just went back to sleep!

The idea, then, is to learn when you should pick your baby up for a night feeding and when you can let her go back to sleep on her own. This is a time when you need to really focus your instincts and intuition. This is when you should try very hard to learn how to read your baby’s signals.

You need to listen and watch your baby carefully. Learn to differentiate between these sleeping sounds and awake and hungry sounds. If she is really awake and hungry, you’ll want to feed her as quickly as possible. If you do respond immediately when she is hungry, she will most likely go back to sleep quickly. So, the key here is to listen carefully when your baby makes night noises: If she is making “sleeping noises” — let her sleep. If she really is waking up — tend to her quickly.

Excerpted with permission by McGraw-Hill Publishing from The No-Cry Sleep Solution (McGraw-Hill 2002).

 

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By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of Gentle Baby Care

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“Help! I’m getting so frustrated with the endless stream of advice I get from my mother-in-law and brother! No matter what I do, I’m doing it wrong. I love them both, but how do I get them to stop dispensing all this unwanted advice?”

Just as your baby is an important part of your life, he is also important to others. People who care about your baby are bonded to you and your child in a special way that invites their counsel. Knowing this may give you a reason to handle the interference gently, in a way that leaves everyone’s feelings intact.

Regardless of the advice, it is your baby, and in the end, you will raise your child the way that you think best. So it’s rarely worth creating a war over a well-meaning person’s comments. You can respond to unwanted advice in a variety of ways:

Listen first

It’s natural to be defensive if you feel that someone is judging you; but chances are you are not being criticized; rather, the other person is sharing what they feel to be valuable insight. Try to listen – you may just learn something valuable.

Disregard

If you know that there is no convincing the other person to change her mind, simply smile, nod, and make a non-committal response, such as, “Interesting!” Then go about your own business…your way.

Agree

You might find one part of the advice that you agree with. If you can, provide wholehearted agreement on that topic.

Pick your battles

If your mother-in-law insists that Baby wear a hat on your walk to the park, go ahead and pop one on his head. This won’t have any long-term effects except that of placating her. However, don’t capitulate on issues that are important to you or the health or well-being of your child.

Steer clear of the topic

If your brother is pressuring you to let your baby cry to sleep, but you would never do that, then don’t complain to him about your baby getting you up five times the night before. If he brings up the topic, then distraction is definitely in order, such as, “Would you like a cup of coffee?”

Educate yourself

Knowledge is power; protect yourself and your sanity by reading up on your parenting choices. Rely on the confidence that you are doing your best for your baby.

Educate the other person

If your “teacher” is imparting information that you know to be outdated or wrong, share what you’ve learned on the topic. You may be able to open the other person’s mind. Refer to a study, book, or report that you have read.

 

Quote a doctor

Many people accept a point of view if a professional has validated it. If your own pediatrician agrees with your position, say, “My doctor said to wait until she’s at least six months before starting solids.” If your own doctor doesn’t back your view on that issue, then refer to another doctor – perhaps the author of a baby care book.

Be vague

You can avoid confrontation with an elusive response. For example, if your sister asks if you’ve started potty training yet (but you are many months away from even starting the process), you can answer with, “We’re moving in that direction.”

Ask for advice!

Your friendly counselor is possibly an expert on a few issues that you can agree on. Search out these points and invite guidance. She’ll be happy that she is helping you, and you’ll be happy you have a way to avoid a showdown about topics that you don’t agree on.

Memorize a standard response

Here’s a comment that can be said in response to almost any piece of advice: “This may not be the right way for you, but it’s the right way for me.”

Be honest

Try being honest about your feelings. Pick a time free of distractions and choose your words carefully, such as, “I know how much you love Harry, and I’m glad you spend so much time with him. I know you think you’re helping me when you give me advice about this, but I’m comfortable with my own approach, and I’d really appreciate if you’d understand that.”

Find a mediator

If the situation is putting a strain on your relationship with the advice-giver, you may want to ask another person to step in for you.

Search out like-minded friends

Join a support group or on-line club with people who share your parenting philosophies. Talking with others who are raising their babies in a way that is similar to your own can give you the strength to face people who don’t understand your viewpoints.

This article is an excerpt from Gentle Baby Care by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2003)

 

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