My response to “Safe sleep guidelines are failing new parents”

Let me start this by saying that I have dealt with SIDS and SUIDS first hand. It is hard. It is tragic. I understand the pain, and I am not blaming you. Ever.

With that being said, articles like this are what hurt us. Articles like this are what make expecting mothers and new parents question the credibility of organizations that spend their lives researching and advocating for parents and babies, and that’s not ok.

I DO believe that women who are educated on the risks associated with co-sleeping or other sleep situations and are still doing something different, should be taught the safest way to handle their preferred sleep situation. Whether that is belly sleep, side sleep, wedges, or co-sleeping – especially co-sleeping. No sleep aids, no alcohol, no comforters. The fact of the matter is, some parents are not going to adhere to these recommendations and we need to be prepared to teach them how to handle their situation as safely as possible instead of condemning them and turning away.

It is said time and time again, safe sleep practices are put in place for a reason. They have proven effective. I can not think of a single parent that would prefer the AAP recommend anything BUT the safest options for our children out of convenience. As healthcare professionals, it is our responsibility to recommend only what we know is safest. It would be irresponsible and reckless of the AAP to recommend anything else.

I do understand the point of view the author holds in some aspects, the first point I understood was when she quoted,”…may be at least partly because of persistent cultural norms and beliefs.” This is absolutely true; if anyone over the age of 25 has their mother teach them how to care for an infant, they most likely will hear from their mothers that this was not the recommendation when they were raising their babies and their babies turned out fine. That’s great. We are glad! We as a society are smarter, we have more technology, and every day we are expanding upon the knowledge that we have to work with. It also blows my mind that fluffy crib comforters and bumpers are still legal in most states. There’s no evidence that proves that these keep baby safer during sleep, in fact we only have evidence that says that it hinders safe sleep.

I completely understand the desire to nurture and care for your child, no one wants to let their newborn cry themselves to sleep. This is why I am such an advocate of bassinets by the bed and co-sleepers for those mothers who just can’t put their babies in their cribs. The AAP actually recommends that babies sleep in the same room as an adult. The halo bassinet and arms reach co-sleeper are two of my favorite products for women that prefer to keep their baby at arms reach.

I like that the author mentioned that she did what she could to keep her bed sharing as safe as possible, I commend her for sleeping without blankets and kicking her husband out of the bed. But is this really what women want to do when they have a baby? Do they want their husband sleeping on the couch? Do they want to sleep without a blanket? No. I’ve been into homes where mothers get up in the middle of the night with their baby and her husband ends up on the couch. That’s not the dynamic we want to create in the home of new parents at all.

We still do not know the root of what causes SIDS, but we do know that the safe sleep recommendations put in place today are saving a lot of babies. It is not just about sleep, this we know. There are babies that sleep safely for every sleep that still tragically pass away. We are doing the best we can with what we know. Sleep standards may change in the future, but for now, with the knowledge we have, we are doing everything we can. As pediatrician Dr. Bill Bush puts it, “Taking that risk and saying ‘maybe it won’t happen tonight’ – it’s just not worth that risk.”

All in all, I think there are solutions to most, if not all, of the concerns presented in this article. A little creativity and knowledge of options is all it takes. There are absolutely special cases and I can’t say that I will never nap with my baby someday or let them sleep with me out of pure exhaustion. In my professional life, I will always stick to the AAP recommended practices. There’s a reason I have clients sign waivers when parents insist on other standards, unfortunately. In my personal life, like I said, I can’t guarantee that my kid will never sleep in my bed. I can’t guarantee that my baby will never nap in a bouncy seat. It’s unrealistic to think that way.

Here is the babycenter blog post

Here are the AAP’s safe sleep guidelines

13466326_10201957892664742_6920528442756756177_n

Save

Playing with trash

There is something oddly satisfying about sitting on this patio with the boy, watching him play with cups, a bowl, water, ice, and a piece of trash from the recycling bin. Not guiding him, not telling him how to play, not interrupting in anyway. Just watching him. Getting more water when he pours all of it on himself and more ice when it’s all melted. Watching him learn how to pour from a heavy a bottle. Watching him practice counting ice cubes. Letting him play until he is completely done playing. Not caring that he soaking wet, not caring that I’m drenched in sweat. Maybe it’s the 14 hours of combined sleep I’ve gotten in the past three nights or the 100+ degrees it is outside right now. Whatever it may be, I’m relaxed. He’s content and happy. Playing with trash.

Review and Demo – Zen Swaddle

Have you ever found that your baby sleeps better when you are holding or snuggling them?

The Zen Swaddle is made to mimic your touch. It was created with lightly weighted pads sewn in, which remind me of very light bean bags, on the sides and on the chest. Mom’s who’ve used it report their babies fall asleep easier and stay asleep longer within 1 to 3 nights.

The Zen Swaddle is also more economically sound with its versatility. 2 sizes in 1 design lasts 0 – 6 months, twice as long as regular swaddles. Shown here are the two different pocket options for growing baby.

13553325_10202009297949842_1579677891_n

The lightly weighted pads are placed on the chest and sides, so baby can feel the security of your embrace, even when you are not near.

This is what it looks like when the baby burrito is done. It is fairly simple, comparable in process to the halo sleep sack  swaddle, with the exception of the two pocket choices.

zen

My opinion –

All in all, I think this product is a great idea for a baby’s first few months of life, especially when you need to catch a couple extra hours of sleep. I also think this would be a great component to add while stretching time between feedings at night as it really is effective for soothing. (Remember to always make sure baby is consuming enough during the day to get them through the night before trying this,\; they WILL make up for missed feeds at night.) I would use with caution while using this swaddle with any kind of controlled crying sleep training method, this may be better for parents taking a gentle approach. Of course, I would have to do more research and that would depend on each individual baby. I also think this is a GREAT item to have on hand for babies who are not always comfy on their backs. Safety first, and this product could help make baby more comfortable on their back up to the 6 month mark.

For more information on safe sleep, click here

Click here to purchase a classic zen swaddle

 

Disclaimer – All opinions are my own and this post was not sponsored in any way.

I love you, little one.

JJ and I are coming up on our two year “nanny-versary.” This morning was full of laughter and I’m reflecting on just how thankful, full of love, and blessed I am to be a part of this boy’s life. I know our time together is limited and before long he will be entering the preschool world and I will be moving on to a new season. I hope that even as he grows and changes, that he never forgets the love that his nanny had for him when he was little. 

JJ, thank you for showing me a love that I never knew existed. Thank you for teaching me what no textbooks or seminars can. Thank you for loving me back. 

Jose and Christine, thank you for letting me love your boy and be a part of your family. ❤️


“I love you as the stars love you, constant and bright above you, giving you joy and peace and wonder. I love you as the stars love you, forever, and ever, and always.”

I Love You, Little One

A letter to the struggling 14 year old

I am posting this with the hope that it helps someone else out there. There is a beautiful, non believing, young woman in my life that I have seen face some immense challenges over the past 6 months. Today, I decided to write her a letter. We will call her Jane.

Jane,

When I was 12 or 13, my mom wrote me a letter. I still have it, and even now, it has an impact on the way I think about others and the way I view myself. I’m far from perfect and I know that I have so much more wisdom to gain, but I want to talk to you. I think this is the best way to do that right now.

I don’t know if you know what I went through in my early high school days and quite frankly I don’t even want to talk about it. It was terrible. It caused me to have to leave public high school and start my online school journey. Looking back, I would not change a thing because it truly shaped who I am and set me up for the life I have today. That was the lowest point of my life. I felt alone, like no one understood, and honestly – no one truly understood how I felt. I tried to find my self-worth in girls that “had it all” or in boyfriends. Clearly, all of those fake friendships and romantic relationships failed and left me with a lot of heartbreaks. I’m thankful that at that point of my life, I had already met Jesus, but it was still so hard. I know that what I struggled with is very different than what you struggled/struggle with. I know that I will never completely understand what is in your heart and the things that you feel. I was on antidepressants, serotonin inhibitors, for 6 years. You and I are very similar in that we both struggled with the two types of depression as opposed to just one. We struggled with situational depression, but we also struggled with clinical, or chemical depression. Chemical depression is something we can either be born with or develop over time. Chemical depression runs in my family, as you may know. Serotonin is a chemical (neurotransmitter) in our brains that send messages to our body that influence our psychological health, sleep, social behavior, and moods. Some people, like the women in my family, make too much serotonin and therefore we have to take serotonin inhibitors to feel “normal”. Even after my situational depression was gone and I didn’t have any symptoms, I still needed medicine because I was actually experiencing physical pain, even though I didn’t feel “depressed”. There is nothing wrong with that. It is the same as a diabetic taking insulin. Basically, you cannot control it.

With all of that being said, there are some things you can control. You can control how you treat people, what you do, and how you help yourself. There are some things you owe to yourself.

You owe it to yourself to accept yourself the way you are. You are the way you are because that is the way you are supposed to be. I promise that there are so many people that think that is beautiful, including myself. If anyone doesn’t, they are probably pretty insecure. Or they are a 13 year old boy whose mother did not teach them the value of a woman and so he thinks all women should look like Victoria’s Secret models and keep their mouths shut.

You owe it to yourself to be kind to those who love you, because in the end, those people are the ones that will be there for you when a boy cheats on you, friends betray you, and it feels like the world is failing you.

You owe it to yourself to accept that you are right where you are meant to be. I know that you are not a Christian, but I PROMISE you, you are right where you are meant to be. You are never too much, and you are always enough.

You do not have to show anyone anything you don’t want to. I can assure you that a cute butt and flat stomach is not what real love is built on, trust me, I’ve tested that theory. Attention is not what fulfilling love is built on. That satisfaction is so temporary. Respect yourself, honor your body. Your future boyfriends and husband will thank you.

With that, I am not saying you have to wait until you are hitched to have sex. I know that is something that turns you off about Christianity; that is not what I am telling you at all. I’m telling you to honor yourself.

Find yourself. Wait for a real man, and let him come to you. I promise that as you grow, you will find that there really are REAL men in this world that want to honor, care for, and treasure a real woman and all that comes along with that. I promise you that finding yourself does not involve finding a relationship. I promise that committing to a boy before you find yourself can greatly hinder your ability to be all you are made to be.

It took me 19 years, 4 hideous, painful, scary breakups, hundreds of nights spent crying, and 32,000 milligrams of a serotonin inhibitor before I found myself. A leader, a strong woman, an educated woman, someone that finds joy in serving others, someone that doesn’t need a man at all, but loves loving one now that she’s found one that treats her the way she deserves. One that doesn’t make me worry or make me feel like I have to compete, one that loves me for so much more than my body, one that is willing to serve me and let me serve him. One that wants to put a ring on my finger even more than he wants to see my boobs. Wait for one like that; you deserve nothing less.

Pursue what you are. If you don’t know what that is, try to find it. The options are endless. You can be whoever you want to be. If there is anything at all that I can do to help in your self-discovery, I want to.

Be honest, be trustworthy, be humble, be kind, be passionate about your dreams and goals. Honesty and transparency are priceless. Your words can never be taken back once they are said, but honesty lives on forever.

If you ever want to talk about God or start that journey, I also want to help. It is so easy. I seriously pray for you every single day. I have met so many people that think they have to change themselves or clean themselves up or give their lives up and everything they want in order to come to Jesus, that is just not how it is. They think it is about a book of rules but it is not at all, it is so much greater than that. It is a relationship, that’s really all it is. A relationship with your creator, acknowledging that he has a plan for your life and that through him, we can dwell in heaven forever. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11. God loves you as a father, he wants nothing less than the best for you. He loves you right now, right where you are.

You are beautiful, Jane. You really are. I love you.

“You are all together beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.” Song of Solomon 4:7

Cheyenne

7 Things I Learned While Dealing With Chronic Pain

I am certain that I never did grow in grace one-half so much anywhere as I have upon the bed of pain. – Charles Spurgeon

“This is the worst headache of my life. “

Wait. What did I just say?

Anyone with any medical knowledge knows that these words are a red flag.

My veins were popping out of my head and neck. My heart rate skyrocketed. My body hurt all over. I couldn’t see. I am not one to get nervous during a medical emergency, I can stay calm and care for others when those around me need me. No problem. When it was myself, it was a whole different story. I was helpless, I couldn’t care for myself the way I would care for someone else.

Off to Urgent Care we went. Then to the ER. Then to another ER. Then to Chick-Fil-A, but that’s irrelevant to the story.

The weeks following this episode were filled with appointments and scans. Several doctors and dozens of NPs and PA-Cs, even a massage therapist, out of desperation. Everyone around me had an opinion. If one more person compared this to their half-sister’s cousin’s migraines, I was going to explode.

Tons of experiments, minimal answers.

I am finally on the mend and I am not going to go into the terribly long and obnoxious diagnosis and healing process, but instead I will go into what I learned in the months that I dealt with chronic pain.

  1. I learned that it is okay to take a break. Ask for a break. Take care of yourself so that you can better take care of others. This is true with and without chronic pain.
  2. I learned that it is okay for a patient to tell you their pain level is a 10. In their mind, it very well may be. Stop the stupid medical humor memes about patients saying their pain level is a 10/10.
  3. I learned more empathy. No explanation needed.
  4. I learned that people cannot read your mind, your pain level, or your stress level. Be open. You DO NOT have to be okay all the time. It’s okay not to be okay. (Jessie J reference) Most of the people around me have been so supportive and understanding when I needed a morning off or I needed to leave early to go to another appointment or when I forgot about a meeting (or two).
  5. I learned to be humble enough to accept that I can’t figure it all out on my own. I am so guilty of self-diagnosing. I have to say, 90% of the time, I’m pretty darn accurate. I have even convinced a doctor to give me antibiotics over the phone. (Shall not be named.) Before this episode that landed me in the ER, I was convinced I could fix my daily headaches by eating healthier, sleeping more, ect. I was convinced there was nothing really wrong with me. I was wrong.
  6. I learned that pain is temporary. Don’t make permanent decisions on temporary feelings. I am so thankful for the forgiveness of those around me. (Looking at you, mom.) There were some times that I could not even think clearly, and I was a bear. That is putting it nicely.
  7. Most importantly, I learned to prioritize. When dealing with chronic pain, I learned to be functional while still in pain. However, it was not always 100% possible. There was no way I could do everything I wanted, or even needed, to do. I learned to prioritize. This made the workaholic in me cry. This made me cry in real life. (Crying did not help the headaches, btw) I felt like I let people down. Like I missed opportunities. But looking back, I would not change a thing. No one fired me. No one failed me. It all ended up okay.

To anyone dealing with chronic pain – you are not alone. Get a second opinion, get a third, fourth, and fifth. Don’t take no for an answer. Don’t give up. Research for yourself. Trust your gut. Pray, and know that I am praying for you.