Book Review: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

image Getting your baby into a healthy sleeping pattern is important not only for your sanity and rest but for the health of your baby as well. Studies have shown a strong correlation between the quality & quantity of sleep that children get and their ability to learn and adapt. In his book, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” Doctor Marc Weissbluth gives us guidelines in helping our children to get the right kind of sleep. It is well known that poor sleep makes children irritable but he goes further and shows how it can actually lead to labels like ADD and hyperactivity. He explains that while children may have hereditary blocks to sleeping well, parents can have a huge impact in helping our children sleep properly. He first gives us a picture of what healthy sleep and healthy awake time looks like and then gives guidelines for establishing healthy sleep at each stage of a child’s development from infancy to adolescence. While he focuses on prevention of sleep problems, he also gives an age-appropriate action plan for correcting them. For families with two careers, multiples or other obstacles to establishing good sleeping routines he gives practical tips to help.

This book is full of helpful information. With that being said, I will say that not all of his recommendations work. According to his book my daughter should have been sleeping through the night at 9 months old. It wasn’t until she was 13 months old though before that became a reality. Until this happened my daughter would wake up a couple times a night and was obviously very hungry. She definitely has a fast metabolism and I think that contributed to it. She would go to sleep right after eating even if she wasn’t asleep when I laid her down. My recommendation is to take the info in the book and combine it with your parental instincts to create the best situation for your child.

While he does mention SIDS, he doesn’t explain what causes it. I would recommend reading my earlier article on that, ”SIDS Prevention.”

Roller Skating

image This month I started taking Emma to the home-school roller skating event. It’s been such a blast from the past! When I was home-schooled years ago we used to go roller skating quite regularly. It was one of my favorite home-school outings. Emma was so tipsy at first but started getting pretty stable by the time the two hours were up. We had a lot of fun and it was great exercise! It was especially nice to spend some one on one time with Emma. Since Katie has been born it’s been harder to do things together so it was good to connect.

“Darrell’s Dream” Playground

Over the holidays we’ve been visiting my parents down in east Tennessee where I grew up. While we were here we decided to visit one of my favorite parks, “Warrior’s Path State Park.” We were pleasantly surprised to find they had added a new play area called, “Darrell’s Dream: A place where children of all abilities grow through play.” It’s a huge play area nestled in the mountainside.

I love how they’ve designed the place to be wheelchair friendly and how braille is incorporated throughout the play area. There’s a special playground for younger children as well as play equipment strong enough for adults. This makes it a great place for the whole family to play together. There’s “Sand Island,” a station where kids can experiment with leaves, sand and other natural materials surrounding them and a sensory garden filled with herbs. Surrounding the whole complex is a paved trail that wanders past the river and through the woods. If you’re ever in the area (Kingsport, TN) it’s a great place to visit with your kids. image

SIDS Prevention

image Would you be surprised to know that SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is almost completely preventable? The name implies that the cause is unknown but in reality the cause has been known for about 12 years! SIDS occurs due to a couple reasons. First, studies have directly linked the Pertussis vaccine (in the DTP shot) to SIDS. According to a study quoted in The Vaccine Safety Manual, “70% of children who died of SIDS had received the pertussis vaccine within three weeks.” The pertussis vaccine can cause the baby’s breathing to be extremely strained. This introduces the second aspect of SIDS. Crib mattresses in the US are required by law to be treated with some sort of flame retardants, either chemical (like formaldehyde) or natural (such as wool). So what happens is the baby’s breathing is already stressed due to the Pertussis vaccine and then when the baby inhales toxic nerve gases emitted from his crib mattress it just becomes too much for his immature body to handle. The nerve gases are produced when a fungus develops in the mattress and ‘eats’ the flame retardants there. This would explain why the recommendations to have babies sleep on their backs in a well-ventilated room has ‘slightly’ decreased the occurrences of SIDS. Most cases of SIDS occur in the first few months of life. Fortunately you can take steps to prevent SIDS (or more accurately named, ‘Crib Death’) You can choose not to get the Pertussis vaccine (DTP). You can help by ‘wrapping’ your conventional crib mattress. This is done by wrapping the mattress with a polyethylene cover. This cover separates the baby from the toxic fumes. BabeSafe mattress covers can be found at Eve’s Best. They’re much cheaper than buying an organic mattress. I have yet to find them for full-size beds yet though. I would like to just buy a roll of food-grade polyethylene sheeting and use that to wrap all the mattresses in our house but I’m not sure where to get it. You can also buy organic mattresses wrapped in wool (a natural flame retardant).

So why isn’t this news widespread? There has been a LOT of money given for SIDS research! Like I’ve said before, it’s amazing how many things come down to money and greed!

Please help spread the word about SIDS/Crib Death! It’s so frustrating that parents aren’t even made aware of these facts! The media and the medical profession at large refuse to acknowledge these causes.

Sources:
PreventSids.org
“Vaccine Safety Manual: For Concerned Families and Health Practitioners” by Neil Z. Miller
Mattress Off-gassing Confusion on the Net
Research which confirms the toxic gas explanation for crib death
Cot Death: A Single Primary Cause

Book Review: I Love Dirt

imageMost of us (adults as well as children) don’t spend the time outdoors that our ancestors did in the past. Because of this we’ve grown rather disconnected from the wonders of nature. Research has demonstrated how beneficial being outdoors is for children’s mental & emotional well-being and yet we may still neglect this part of our lives.
Jennifer Ward has put together a marvelous little book that gives all sorts of creative ways to interact with and explore our environment. Most of her suggestions are simply ways to open our eyes to the details around us. She alerts us to things we may not have noticed before. I know I especially need this. I want to spend time outdoors with my daughter but I oftentimes don’t know what I should be doing out there with her. After reading her book I now have lots of options! Most of her ideas do not require any special equipment other than the five senses. While reading, several art/craft projects did come to my mind that would compliment nicely the activities she mentions. I appreciate how the book is organized by the seasons, so you can just turn to the section that applies to you at the time. In my efforts to live a more simple yet deep life, this book will be most helpful. I plan on purchasing this as one of my primary resources for Emma’s home-school Kindergarten this year. 

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