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Memories

As I sit here holding you

I remember another baby blue

As I sit here tickling you

I remember another giggle

As I look back on those days

I remember the deep, un-ending grief

As I flip through picture books

I’m surprised at what I forgot

Those days are not all that define me

Those days are not my whole life

With each passing day and hour

My grief morphs with each breath

My grief is not the oppression it once was

Now it’s a vague murmur in the background

Which leaps up from time to time

To remind me that one or two are missing

I have my joy back

I have my peace back

My arms are not empty anymore

Truely, God is good

In times bad

and

In times good

 

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October, We Meet Again

Hello, October.

October, the month of candy, dress up and Fall getting more crisp. Also the month our first son was born, and possibly our 2nd. October, brings in the holiday season rush.

Last October was our first without Michael, this is our second. Can’t say it’s easy, can’t say it’s hard either. It just is. The memories come back, the hospital stay for me, and for him. The NICU, and my c-section scar. It’s memories, but not necessarily painful ones now.  I can laugh and smile as I remember. I can giggle at the videos of our feisty little fighter.

This year we had thought about how to celebrate that day he came to us. But all those plans are now not possible, due to my bed rest. We’ll have to plan something special that can be done at home.

As I am walking this path, I’ve met others who’ve lost their precious little babys too soon. I hurt for them, wishing that they didn’t have to know this loss. I wish I could reach through the screen or distance and give them a knowing hug. Losing an infant will never make sense, while on this planet. But I seek God’s face every time I hear of another one gone. I don’t know why, but I know the Creator. I don’t know why, but I know His plan is perfect. For now…that gives me comfort. Until I can get to heaven and hold my Michael again, God is holding my scarred heart and allowing it to heal.

October is also Infant Loss and Awareness month.

If you have lost a child, or know someone who has, share their story with me here. Remember them as I remember my son and others who’ve gone too soon.

 

In His Hands,

 

Peggy

The Drive To Be A Perfect Parent: Part Two – CIO

CIO, or Crying It Out.

Harmful, or beneficial?

According to Dr. Sears, one can also look at the bottom of this article for his sources,

“Research has shown that infants who are routinely separated from parents in a stressful way have abnormally high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as lower growth hormone levels. These imbalances inhibit the development of nerve tissue in the brain, suppress growth, and depress the immune system”

and,

“Infant developmental specialist Dr. Michael Lewis presented research findings at an American Academy of Pediatrics meeting, concluding that “the single most important influence of a child’s intellectual development is the responsiveness of the mother to the cues of her baby.””

and,

“Researchers at Pennsylvania State and Arizona State Universities found that infants with excessive crying during the early months showed more difficulty controlling their emotions and became even fussier when parents tried to consol them at 10 months. 15

Other research has shown that these babies have a more annoying quality to their cry, are more clingy during the day, and take longer to become independent as children 1.”

And according to Infantsleep.org, they have this summary.

“The majority of research on crying it out (CIO) has been conducted on toddlers and preschoolers.”

and,

“Only 2 studies have included any infants under 6 months. There has been no research on the use of CIO with infants younger than 4 months.”

And the final recommendation states,

“While the stress that a crying or wakeful infant places upon a family cannot be minimized, this paper nevertheless recommends that research on crying it out in the first year—as well as the advice that proceeds from it—be reexamined in light of new understandings of early brain development and the role of distress modulation in an infant’s developing self-regulatory capacities.”

On the other side of the coin, we have the Ferber method, which states:

“Ferber says you can teach your baby to soothe himself to sleep when he’s physically and emotionally ready, usually sometime between 4 and 6 months of age.”

and,

“Ferber never says you should simply leave your baby in his crib and shut the door behind you. His progressive waiting approach allows you to gradually limit the time you spend in your child’s room while providing regular comfort and reassurance — as well as reassuring yourself that he’s okay.”

“In the preface of the new book, Ferber takes pains to clarify his position: “Simply leaving a child in a crib to cry for long periods alone until he falls sleep, no matter how long it takes, is not an approach I approve of. On the contrary, many of the approaches I recommend are designed specifically to avoid unnecessary crying.” Ferber’s “progressive waiting” technique encourages parents to frequently comfort their child during the sleep training process.”

Other links of interest, for and against CIO: here, here, here.

Here’s my take on CIO. I do not support the idea, that an infant should self sooth itself to sleep. An infant is designed to cry to tell the parent it needs something. There is a reason the child is crying, UNLESS they have colic, in which case CIO is still not the option I’d choose. There is no way you can spoil an infant, up until they are over a year old, they still need to comforting assurance that Mommy and Daddy are there. They have needs that HAVE to be met. They need to eat to survive grow and thrive. They need cuddles and comfort to feel safe and secure. They need the care of their skin, so they don’t get sick or have skin break downs. This to me is simple and logical. I understand that being tired happens…its in the not so fine print of being a parent. My first son had colic!  Again, there is a reason for the sleeping issues for the parents, to attend to the needs of their baby, not to ignore them.  Research is coming out to support this view, as more and more parents are calling for it, and more is being understood about the infant brain growth etc.

As with all things in the parenting world, every one’s views are their own, and we all have our reasoning’s behind them. While I might not do XYZ, it might be the best thing since sliced bread for your family.  What worries me, and makes many other parents upset, are the extreme measures tried out on our youth, for the sake of a parents selfishness. Just letting ones baby cry, without checking to see what the need might be, is selfish. Just as co-sleeping while under the influence of medications or alcohol, or drugs is selfish.

So tell me, what are your views on CIO? Have you used this method? Why or Why not? I can’t wait to hear your side!

Peggy

The Drive To Be a Perfect Parent: Part One – SIDS

Lets take a look at the American SIDS Institutes recommendations for reducing the risks of SIDS, then I’ll explain the purpose of this post.

1. Place infants to sleep on their backs, even though they may sleep more soundly on their stomachs. Infants who sleep on their stomachs and sides have a much higher rate of SIDS than infants who sleep on their backs.
2. Place infants to sleep in a baby bed with a firm mattress. There should be nothing in the bed but the baby – no covers, no pillows, no bumper pads, no positioning devices and no toys. Soft mattresses and heavy covering are associated with the risk for SIDS.
3. Keep your baby’s crib in the parents’ room until the infant is at least 6 months of age. Studies clearly show that infants are safest when their beds are close to their mothers.
4. Do not place your baby to sleep in an adult bed. Typical adult beds are not safe for babies. Do not fall asleep with your baby on a couch or in a chair.
5. Do not over-clothe the infant while she sleeps. Just use enough clothes to keep the baby warm without having to use cover. Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for you. Overheating an infant may increase the risk for SIDS.
6. Avoid exposing the infant to tobacco smoke. Don’t have your infant in the same house or car with someone who is smoking. The greater the exposure to tobacco smoke, the greater the risk of SIDS.
7. Breast-feed babies whenever possible. Breast milk decreases the occurrence of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. Studies show that breast-fed babies have a lower SIDS rate than formula-fed babies do.
8. Avoid exposing the infant to people with respiratory infections. Avoid crowds. Carefully clean anything that comes in contact with the baby. Have people wash their hands before holding or playing with your baby. SIDS often occurs in association with relatively minor respiratory (mild cold) and gastrointestinal infections (vomiting and diarrhea).
9. Offer your baby a pacifier. Some studies have shown a lower rate of SIDS among babies who use pacifiers.
10. If your baby has periods of not breathing, going limp or turning blue, tell your pediatrician at once.
11. If your baby stops breathing or gags excessively after spitting up, discuss this with your pediatrician immediately.
12. Thoroughly discuss each of the above points with all caregivers. If you take your baby to daycare or leave him with a sitter, provide a copy of this list to them. Make sure they follow all recommendations.

*Emphasis is mine.

I want to discuss with you the current trends in parenting and how they relate to these recommendation. So lets break down the parts I highlighted.

– Sleeping on back – verse sleeping on the sides or tummy. I’ve been there. When the baby is crying and you’ve tried everything you can to get them comfortable to sleep. Including placing them on the sides, and the tummy. But if you choose do that, you should know, you’ve raised the risk for SIDS.

– Nothing in bed with baby- This includes all those pretty bed sets you just got at your baby shower. Those ones you’ve been drooling over and raving about. Yup, those ones. I know what you’re thinking…’If they were that dangerous, they wouldn’t be for sale.’ But really, use your head on this one, they sale bleach and it’s dangerous. They also sale rat poison, which is also dangerous. Don’t count on the FDA, or other such organizations to keep you safe. Or your children, for that matter.

-Keep infant in parents room-But I can’t sleep, the baby keeps me up.”  It’s what they are supposed to do, its the instincts of a parent coming out in you. It’s not something to be upset about, or feel righteous about either. How else are they going to get the nurturing, comfort and care they need? Oh, sure…you can have them in their own room. It’s being done more and more these days. But have you noticed the interesting trend of parents not parenting and doing what they should? I have.

-Don’t over cloth a baby for sleep- I know it’s winter, and it’s cold. You’re chilled, so the baby should be too right? Well, in a way. A baby should only be clothed one layer more than Mom and Dad. One doesn’t need a parka to sleep, my friends. 🙂

– Breastfeeding greatly reduces the risks of SIDS-  Oh, I know this is a huge topic for Mommy Wars, right here. But hear me out. Of all the recommendations, this one is the biggest reducer of SIDS. So wouldn’t it make sense that you’d try your darnedest to accomplish this?

– Pacifier use- Pacifiers help the baby to stay in a state of sleep that isn’t so deep that it can’t awaken itself. There is some research in this vein to support this, as well as seeking to expound on the level of awakeness.

-Baby stops breathing, or starts gagging after eating- This reminds me of colic and my son. Always be attentive of your babies eating, swallowing and breathing. Any change is worthy of calling or going to his/her pediatrician.

I take away from this information this one basic thought. Don’t be SO hands off that you don’t notice the signs of danger, or the tale tale signs of failure to thrive. Don’t leave the safety of your precious bundle of joy, to the wind. Educate yourself, be honest and take the advice of parents who’ve learned this before you. I wouldn’t want anyone else to be a statistic like my husband, my son and I now are.

Above all, parents. Listen to your instincts as a mother or father. They ARE there for great reasons. To protect and nurture the child you’ve created together. Seek anything that allows you to know your child, care for your child. Lets’ not be so clinical in our approach to their care. They have everything to lose if you do this. Loosing sleep is part of the job of being a parent. You don’t want to end up one day experiencing something like SIDS, suffocation, detachment, and more.

What SIDS is NOT:

External suffocation, caused by vomiting and choking, contagious, cause pain or suffering, predicted, or new. Source.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so please leave them in the comments below the post! Thank you

Peggy

Other Sources:

Second Hand Smoke

Breastfeeding

Pacifiers