Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Anna is a baby no more

Anna is 14 months old today. Just two nights ago, she reached a milestone that is hugely important to me - going to sleep on her own. I know all moms have different beliefs about sleep patterns for babies, and whatever works for you is great. 

Me - I can't handle the "cry it out" method. If the child is too young to understand what I expect of them, i.e. "lie still and go to sleep", I just cannot justify leaving them to cry themselves to sleep. Sure, they will learn what those words mean simply by experience, but I just don't have the stomach for it. 

"Crying it out" has also been linked to lower IQ's and less emotional stability, although truth be told, I put very little stock into most studies having to do with babies and children. It's definitely bad for MY emotional stability. 

Besides, because I always breastfeed well past the first birthday, our babies are used to falling asleep "at the table", so to speak. So it was never an issue of it being difficult or time-consuming to get the baby down to sleep - they would fall asleep during nursing before nap time and bedtime, at which point I would move them to bed. Not a big deal.

But still, there comes a point (especially once I am pregnant again) when breastfeeding can become more of a chore than I want it to be. It's the point when it's starts zapping what little energy I have left at the end of the day (or before a much-needed power nap for my pregnant self), while energizing the baby and giving him/her a "second wind". 

Thankfully, that's usually the age when they are also old enough to understand those precious words: "lie still and go to sleep". With each of our kids, it has been at a different age - some as early as 9 months, some as late as 14. 

With Anna, I have been trying here and there for a couple of months, but whenever I laid her down in bed she would either just keep getting up and playing around, or wailing desperately. Not the mad type of wail (I have no sympathy for that), but the "why did you forsake me alone in the dark" type wail. She was just still a baby.

Two nights ago, the switch finally flipped. As I laid her down on her Dad's pillow (currently the preferred parent), I told her to lie still and close her eyes, and not take her head off the pillow. I could see her little mind computing what I said, and then it was like a lightbulb came on. She snuggled down, chatted to herself for a couple of minutes, and then fell asleep without once having left her cozy little spot. The same happened during nap time and bedtime the next two days, leading me to think she is officially to the "big kid" stage.

Having been through this a few times now, I must say I always look forward to the next few months of having all "easy" kids and no baby, giving me time to relax a little and get ready for the whirlwind that always comes with having a newborn in the house. Motherhood is a constant change from harder phases to easier ones and back, and this is definitely always one of those easier times for me. 


Also, please pray for Isaac. Every single year at the beginning of February, he develops allergy-induced asthma. There must be something in bloom this time of year that triggers it, and the fact that we have not had rain in at least 3 months is not helping. Currently, he cannot even go near the front or back door, much less set foot outside. For him, this is especially hard. I have been treating him with a whole host of natural remedies, and he also has an inhaler for when things get really bad. Thankfully he has not had to use that since the day before yesterday, when the herbs finally started to take effect. His siblings have been fantastic about taking over Isaac's share of the chores, as well as giving him company and taking his mind off being stuck indoors all day. It has been looking like rain the last couple of days, and if it actually came, it would make him better overnight. Please pray for rain. I'm asking a lot, I know, this IS Phoenix. 

In other news, my laptop had to go in on warranty yet again, as the bottom row of letters has gone out. Not sure how long the repair will take, but until I get it back, I likely will not be able to upload pictures because that would require me to learn how to do that from our Mac desktop.

So much for life becoming easier without a "baby" in the house... :)


  1. I don't know if this will help Isaac, but I will share anyway. Ethan (my 7 yo) has had asthma since age 2. His journey through asthma is what brought us to natural "medicine." His bad season here is October largely because he is allergic to peanuts, but other allergens worsen it too. We live in agricultural community and peanuts in great quantities are harvested in October. Same as you, never ever does he venture out doors. We end up buying one of those pricy HEPA filters for the air conditioner to help clean the inside air.

    Anyway, with Ethan we give stinging nettle extract for allergies. It is great for many allergies, but great for environmental allergies. Then if he's tight in the chest (wheezing, e.g.) we give extract of licorice. When he is super tight, wheezing, or has that barking, shallow cough we give him small amounts of lobelia. With this combination we now rarely have an asthma attack that lasts more than 48 hours.

    So sad that Anna is getting so big. No mat

  2. Hi,

    Sorry to hear about your son. I have a child with asthma as well. What herbs do you use to help Issac?

    Asthma sure can be stressful!

    A fellow mom.

  3. Elizabeth, thank you for the tips. He uses a tincture that I had mixed up for him at the local herb store. It contains lobelia and licorice, as well as some other herbs. I also made him a cough syrup with about a dozen different herbs. I should do a blog post on it. He is okay as long as he stays indoors and takes the herbs. But even if people just open the front door to go in or out, he gets worse, so I have been keeping him in the guest room/office with the door shut. :(

    We are already using hypoallergenic filters, but are now considering buying a high-quality indoor room air filter.

    Fellow mom,

    I will write up a blog post with the exact names and proportions as soon as things get back to normal. I am sorry you, too, are having to deal with this.

  4. Oh my, you scared me so badly with your post title! I thought something terrible had happened to the precious baby-to-be.

    I will definitely pray for Isaac.

    in His peace,

  5. This is a great step in Anna's life, I guess ! She has grown so much in the last few months I've been following your blog ! And I have to assume she is the cutest little toddler I have ever seen ! I'm always glad to hear about your children loving their dad. As much as I disagree with his opinions on many subjects, he is indeed a great father from what I can see, and I'm sure he gets back in double every moment of love he gives to his children ! Family is a wonderful unit, and should be treated as such.

    I was always the coughing child when I was little, I was allergic to all kinds of pollens and stuff, so I understand poor Isaac ! His description on your sidebar says that he loves outdoor : it must be so tough for him to stay outside. I hope he gets better.

    Though I must ask : how is weather exactly in Arizona ? I live in Belgium, and here the weather is extremely simple : spring and fall, it rains all the time, summer it rains most of the time and it's extremely hot the rest of the time, winter it rains / it's cold (-10°C now) / it snows. Is it so dry at your home ? It's strange that it doesn't rain at all, it's winter ...

  6. Miriam, I am SO sorry! I have changed the blog title in case anyone else might get the same wrong impression.

    Sybille, we pretty much only have two seasons, winter and summer. Winter is usually mild, around 60-80 degrees F during the day, and about 40-50 at night. Summer is very hot, with days over 100 degrees for three months straight. There really is no spring or fall, it just changes overnight.

    As for rain, we usually get one good thunderstorm every two or three months, some more during August (monsoon season), but that's it. No light rains, nothing. So maybe a total of 6 times of rain per year? It's dry! We live in what is called the Sonoran desert.

  7. I concur with Miriam! I was scared something happened with your pregnancy too when I visited this post earlier today! Thanks for fixing the title. :)

    I differ in opinion when it comes to crying it out. I sleep with my babies for about the first 3 months, and put them in a bassinet next to my bed on and off throughout that time. When they hit 3 months, I go the "cry it out" route. Mind you, I do not let them scream endlessly, I start out very slow. I do go in and rock them if they get too upset. But, this method of putting my babies to sleep has been what has worked for me and my children are so good at falling asleep by themselves now. I still go into my son's room at night if I hear him though. Guess I am still a softie! Ha ha!

    I don't care what others do though. Whatever works for you and gives you peace is fine with me! :)

  8. The "cry it out" method is cruel. I can't believe people listen to a tv person who has no children. I'm glad my daughters-in-law think that's terrible to do to a baby.

  9. I think cry it out depends on how you use it. If you do what some people encourage me to do, put them to bed, shut the door and ignore them completely, it can be bad. I generally have family telling me to ignore her for longer than I do. But monitored crying, and knowing the reasons for their crying, is quite different.

    I can't imagine my daughter lying in bed and falling asleep without crying, oh how nice that would be! But in her case she isn't crying because she's scared and alone, she's crying because she dosen't want to go to bed! She knows what bed is, she knows what I expect and shows understanding of the whole process. She'd just rather stay up and play than sleep, and lets me know that before drifting off, which these days tends to happen within a couple minutes most naptimes, a bit longer at night though because we often have company and she wants to stay and play with them.

    But this is all for an older child When she was younger I would listen quite closely, if the whiny cry of tiredness and not sleeping turned into a hysterical cry of 'come back mummy, please!' I would go back in cuddle and pat her back, and when she was calm put her down again, and if she just wouldn't settle I would get her up and have her sit with me a little longer with some more milk. It's a matter of knowing your baby, knowing their personalities and knowing their cries. My baby is very active and on the go, I expect a more relaxed baby would probably be very different in this area, perhaps more upset than angry at the idea of bed, and would probably settle themselves a lot quicker than my on-the-go child will do.

    But I don't see any evidence that she is suffering from crying it out, in fact quite the opposite. I'm sure you can have a well rested baby without crying it out, your Anna is probably very well rested, but a LOT of babies these days don't get enough sleep, one of the reasons being they just don't want sleep, and parents don't want them to cry so they don't make them sleep. The child sleeps when they want to sleep, which, in the case of an active baby like mine, leads to a lot less sleep than they need. My daughter is a very happy and alert baby/toddler, she shows no signs of emotional issues or fears because of it, and she is quite far along for her age apparently, in personality and interest in the things around her especially. She also sleeps a 12 hour night undisturbed unless teething and is a good napper

    I don't think you NEED to let them cry it out, plenty of people manage without it, but I definitly don't consider it cruel, or detrimental, and done the RIGHT way, with love and compassion and knowlege of the baby that just can't be had when baby is in daycare all day, I think it can be very effective.

  10. Our daughter(22) found that her daughter(2) fell asleep better if the baby was wearing 100% cotton. I can't wear polyester-it's too uncomfortable- so she must take after me. My children always wore 100% cotton to bed. We didn't use night lights in the bedrooms. I read they aren't good for the eyes/vision,etc. A tv should not be on in the house. Early afternoon naps helped them be tired and not cranky at bedtime. Chocolate milk, iced tea,etc.- with the caffeine in them- should be avoided. Children with bedwetting,getting up often, and thirst should be checked for type I(not type II) diabetes.

  11. I believe I mentioned the botanical moringa oleifera to you before. My daughter was a severe asthmatic until last year when I started her on this botanical in the form of a drink made my Zija. She is now off of all daily asthma meds, no more allergy shots and has only used her inhaler once or twice since! John Hopkins has confirmed that moringa aides in healing of over 300 ailments including asthma and allergies. If you would like more info please go to my page and look at the Smart Mix.

  12. My son has had asthma, which all started at 3 months old. He is 4 now, and we have been exploring natural treatment. I'll be looking for your blog post on that subject. It has been a difficult road. He has allergy-induced asthma also. Last season at this time he was in the hospital. This season he has not had as many severe episodes and we have not been in the hospital. I have also been taking him to the chiropractor and it seems to be helping.
    Amy W.

  13. Allergy-induced asthma is different than regular asthma? My daughter-in-law has asthma. Her childhood bedroom didn't have a rug, stuffed animals,or a dusty bookcase. There were no dusty plaques,pictures or posters hanging up in her bedroom. She didn't have a tv or computer in her bedroom. I do the same thing with our bedrooms- make them as dust-free as possible. My daughter-in-law's family had leather sofas that could be wiped clean.

  14. We don't believe in CIO either... we are our children's first experience with learning to trust and we are a demonstration of God to our children. I want my children to learn to trust God and that he will be there for them when they cry! That said, my kids typically nurse to sleep until they are about 3, and then me or my husband usually lay with them and rub their backs, etc, until they fall asleep.

  15. Hooray, way-to-go Anna! Such a big girl now! :)

    Poor Isaac, we will be praying for him and RAIN!

  16. Hi, I don't read here usually but I came across you blog searching for something else. For your son, you might want to look into the connection between asthma and food allergy, specifically milk allergy is most common. I had environmental-allergy induced asthma badly as a child (pollen, dust, etc). By accident, my mom found that it was not as bad when she took me off milk. Later in childhood it seemed to not be as bad and I went back to eating dairy products until as an adult I had frequent pnuemonia and severe asthma attacks again. Now in my 20's I went to an allergist and learned that I was allergic to milk. Taking all milk products out of my diet (even raw/organic milk products) has made my asthma completely go away. It has only been two years since removing milk from my diet but in the years prior I had many respiratory infections. The past two years I have not had any pnumonia or chest infections and very few instances of difficulty breathing at all. I had one bad reaction to smoke when standing around a campfire. That is all. Anyway you can read more about this connection between milk and asthma here:

    The comments from experts at the bottom of that article also mention other food allergies that could have the same effects (like wheat for example). Allergy testing can be expensive and even my allergist told me food allergy testing is not always accurate. So you might just try taking certain things out of your son's diet one at a time and see if it helps him breath any better. I hope this helps! God Bless! --Katie

  17. Are the olive trees blooming? Ours bloom in March, so yours might already be going?

  18. Arizona Ash is pollinating right now. It's in the Olive tree family. Are you in an older neighborhood? We are and we have ash and olive trees galore. Every year Austin breaks out in eczema and has red puffy eyes. I keep saying I'm going to get a bee hive so I can make my own honey and build his immunity to those darn olive trees.

  19. Poor Isaac I hope he starts feeling better , I can't wait for the post , all of my children have asthma , I think they are born with it because I have it , Riley is on an inhaler right now , even when my kids get just a cold it triggers their asthma , I didn't know about herbal medicine for asthma , but Dallas has been learning about how albuterol can do more damage to your lungs than good which is why I worry about them taking it so much . I to think the cry it out method is terrible , I had a dr one time to tell me to put my child in a bedroom and close the door and let the child cry until it fell asleep I no longer take my children to this dr simply because I don't think doctor's should tell you how to raise your children .

  20. Out of curiosity, once your babies fall asleep on their own like Anna is doing now, do you wean them from nursing altogether? My son was able to fall asleep on his own around 9-10 months but he still breastfed for quite some time after that--of course after a certain point it's more about comfort than nourishment, but I'm ok with that, they are only little for a short time. I have never nursed through a pregnancy (mine are further apart) and I understand at some point the milk "changes over" to start becoming colostrum for the new baby, but I know moms who have nursed through pregnancy and tandem nursed when the new baby came, and I was wondering if you had ever done that.

    Glad to see you are anti-CIO, I am too. I used some tips from the "No-Cry Sleep Solution" book with my son and liked them a lot. My daughter is only 9 months and she's still nowhere near ready to go to sleep on her own.

  21. Zsuzsu, I heard your son was in the hospital! I hope he is okay and getting the professional medical treatment he needs. I know I have long-term lung damage from homeopathic asthma treatments as a child.

  22. I saw on your husband's FB page that your son was in the hospital, I hope everything turns out OK



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