When Boaz was born, I remember being so excited that he was here that I enthusiastically jumped out of bed to change his wet diapers in the middle of the night and nursed him faithfully at every whimper. Well, after a few weeks I wasn't so enthusiastic about waking and was in fact quite tired! One could say I was sleep deprived.
|Learning about safe co-sleeping.|
I picked up The No-Cry Sleep Solution at my library after hearing good reviews on it. I read it cover to cover and began to make a sleeping plan ~ for my little one and me! I created sleep logs to see just how much sleep we were getting (or not getting) and started applying the techniques from the book.
Boaz is my 6th baby, but I learned so much! I didn't know that babies cry in their sleep! Many of those "whimpers" that I dutifully responded too were coming from a sleeping baby! And I learned that babies can even nurse while sleeping. So, while my little one was getting enough sleep, I wasn't!
Pantley offers practical advice in her book. Advice that you can use and apply and advice that works!
For example, I was given permission to not change every wet diaper at night. Pantley suggests that you apply a baby bottom balm to protect their skin and I did just that because after a few weeks ~ I was so sleep deprived I am not sure I would have put the diaper on the right end. :)
Another suggestion is to put baby down to sleep slightly awake so that they learn to put themselves to sleep. But, Elizabeth also knows that moms are going to hold their newborn babies! So, while she is practical, she is understanding as well.
One suggestion that I took to heart was to use a sleep association. I tried a noise machine (I use a fan now), but I really liked the idea of using a "lovie." I had heard of them and seen them used, but didn't quite "get" them until I read about it in The No-Cry Sleep Solution book. I slept with the lovie between us so that it would smell like me, and then I put him to sleep with the lovie and have ever since.
|2 months old|
|4 months old|
|5 months old|
|10 months old|
|12 months old|
|17 months old|
Now that he is old enough (he is 17 months), he asks for it. He shrugs his little shoulders, puts his hand in the air to ask "where" and questions with his high pitched "oh?"~ if I put him down to sleep without his lovie. :)
Another suggestion is to Simplify Your Life. I took that to one to heart, too. I mention The No-Cry Sleep Solution in my posts here, here, here, here, here and here! And here is where I realize I need to pull this book off the shelf again! But, my point is that I am using this book because it is full of practical advice and suggestions that work if you are diligent to apply them.
I could go on and on about this book, as I am still applying techniques from this book (some times more diligently than others), but it is not the book I was sent to review!
I share because I have the most experience with this book and can say without a doubt that Elizabeth Pantley's other No-Cry Solution books are just as practical and helpful in offering tear free solutions!
I recieved The No-Cry Nap Solution, The No-Cry Discipline Solution, and The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution to review.
Who looks forward to nap time everyday? I do! According to Elizabeth Pantley, naps "shape all twenty-four hours of your child's day." It is 3 hours of bliss not only for my baby, but me. It affects his mood, behavior and health and mine as well! Naps are a wonderful break in the day that we all look forward to.
I think because I have applied many of the techniques from The No-Cry Sleep Solution, nap time is not a struggle and baby naps for 3 long hours each day - as long as we are home and in our routine. But, I also know that naps become shorter and harder the older they get, and they eventually give them up, so this book is for me!
The No-Cry Nap Solution is divided into 4 parts: Nap Magic, Newborn Babies and Solving Nap Problems: Customized Solutions for your Family, which offers solutions to common napping problems.
In the book, you will learn the importance of naps (they are absolutely necessary!), how much naptime your child needs, facts about sleep, and how to solve your child's nap problems. If you read and follow the suggestions, you will be guided step-by-step to create nap logs and a nap plan by answering questions, using worksheets, filling out logs, and more.
I spent the most time with The No-Cry Discipline Solution because that is an area that I needed the most help in. And it really does offer "gentle ways to encourage good behavior without whining, tantrums, and tears!"
First, the book lays a foundation for no-cry discipline, which is to establish essential parenting attitudes. This section is a definite eye opener!
I learned a few things like:
"No-cry discipline means helping children be receptive to the lessons you teach by avoiding the tears and anger that serve as a barrier to learning." It is not only hard to teach children through tears, but it is even harder for them to learn.
"We actually have a brand new parenting job each time our child passes from one milestone to another in his life." Our parenting style and technique needs to be growing along with our child.
Parents often believe myths that complicate this process we call parenting. One such myth that I believed is that "good parents don't lose their patience and shout at their children." I starred this passage: "All children have their "naughty" moments. And, guess what? When children are 'naughty,' parents lose their patience and - gasp! they YELL." Yes, even good parents lose their patience and yell. We all make mistakes.
Looking ahead can change how we act now. Pantley offers progressive practical suggestions on how to help young children develop preferred behaviors that will carry on into the teenage years. I will be reading and re-reading this section over and over!
We can avoid problems by looking at the big picture, relax more, stress less, play more, be gracious to ourselves, follow our heart, choose our battles carefully and live in the moment. One passage really hit home with me because I live it:
"Being in the moment is choosing to truly connect and enjoy your child - even if it's only for ten minutes - watching her mouth form words as she speaks, watching her hands as she expresses her ideas, enjoying the enthusiasm of her imagination, listening to her ideas, absorbing what she believes, and cherishing the little person that she is."
The book goes on to provide the four key aspects of discipline along with how these parts apply to typical situations so that we can understand. Perspective is key!
Second, the book provides no-cry discipline parenting skills and tools. Can I say it again? This book is practical!
Third, the book teaches how to stay calm and avoid anger with a focus on a peaceful home.
Fourth, the book provides specific solutions for everyday problems. More practical applications that you can use.
Next, I reviewed The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution. My middle boy, Dylan, is a picky eater. We call him Dilly, so when I make something that has known picky ingredients, I sneak them in and give it a "Dilly" name. We have "Dilly Chili," for example and I puree all the vegetables in the chili, including tomatoes, in the Vitamix so he doesn't know they are there. Now that he is older, he "knows," but he doesn't mind.
But, Dylan is not why I wanted to read this book. I wanted to read it for my youngest, Boaz. He is 17 months and would rather nurse than eat and he is starting to show preferences and dislikes when it comes to food and sometimes refuses to eat. So, I am curious about what this book can offer me. Can I nip that in the bud before he becomes a picky eater?
First off, he does not like his high chair - at all. We're talking screams-when-you-put-him-in-it hates it and my husband is the only who will brave putting him in the chair.
He will, however, sit nicely for me in a little student desk and this is where I feed him snacks.
He also likes to go bye-bye, so bye-bye we go with healthy snacks in hand.
The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution is all about "gentle ways to encourage your child to eat - and eat healthy."
The book starts out with what you really need to know about picky eaters. What exactly picky eating is and what causes it (is there such a thing as a "broccoli lover's gene?"), what's normal (kids will be kids!), what causes picky eating, and why we should help them.
The section on sugar caught my eye. We try to keep sugary treats and drinks just that - a treat to have one special day a week.
"Natural sugars, as well as a controlled sprinkling of sweets, can be a part of a healthy diet, but the common excess pounds of added sugars are not good for anyone - let alone an energetic, growing child!"
According to the book, the average person eats more than 150 pounds of sugar a year, compared to only 12 pounds in the 1880's. The book does a good job of explaining why this is not good, and where you can find hidden sugars in everyday foods. The book also offers a solution: determine how much sugar is appropriate for your child, monitor daily intake, read ingredient labels to see how much sugar is in a product, and teach your child to do the same, and set specific rules about sweets.
Our "rules" right now are no store bought candy or sodas, no white or processed sugar during the week (I can have raw honey in my tea or raw sugar in my coffee, for example), and only home baked/prepared sugary treats once a week. We've gone as long as 4 months doing raw sugars only without doing the once a week treat, so I am hoping we can make this a lifestyle choice (knowing that the "rules" can be broken for special circumstances). (I am also working on eliminating white flours again, but we'll start with sugar first). ;-)
I also learned why Boaz doesn't like to eat many of the foods I offer him. My baby is breast-fed and because breast milk is sweet, he has a natural instinct to avoid sour or bitter flavors found in healthy foods. So, I will be trying some tips to sweeten foods up, like roasting vegetables slowly to caramelize them and bring out their sweetness or mixing raisins with broccoli - tricks I would have never thought of before!
I am also inspired to get more "miracle foods" (fruits and vegetables) into my family. I've started doing that by juicing.
My kids love fresh juice, and while they won't sit and eat 5 carrots in a sitting, they will drink them fresh juiced with oranges. I've made it my personal mission to get my children to enjoy vegetables and eat them everyday. The books suggests that you do this by becoming a fan of vegetables yourself.
I'm not sure about some of Pantley's information on saturated fats, however. I'm reading more and more about how organic, natural fats in butter and whole milk, for example, are actually good for you (contrary to what we are told).
The book offers facts, shocking statistics to catch you attention, as well as a solutions to common picky eater situations.
Second, the book lays a foundation of the Fundamental Four: attitude, environment, amounts, and rules.
Third, it provides tips, tricks, and tactics for solving picky eater problems. I especially love her tips for gradually transforming the foods your kids will eat (macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, and cookies, for example) into nutrient rich foods choices. And I like her charts full of practical advice (if your child likes jelly beans or gummy candy, replace it with dried fruit or fruit leather, for example).
And finally, it offers recipes that even your picky eater will love - from experts in the field, like The Sneaky Chef - fun recipes with names like Treasure Triangles, Pink Potatoes, Brainy Brownies (made with spinach and blueberries from Purple Puree!).
Check out Pantley's website for more No-Cry Solution books, advice, parenting links, downloadable sleep logs, a free No-Cry Sleep booklet and more.