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What to do when your toddler is “bad” when you pick him up

This is a quick (5-minute) podcast answer to a mom’s question on Berkeley Parents Network. She asked, “What to do when my 2 yr old acts bad when I pick him up at preschool?”

Click here to listen to the reply.

Here’s her full question:  Continue reading

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A good cry can promote secure attachment

from Hand in Hand Parenting

Most of us parents want, more than anything, for our presence to be the elixir that banishes our children’s upsets.  We want our touch, our cuddles, and our sweet words to heal the hurt.

Our son cries over a stomped-on paper airplane, and we put an arm around him and tell him we will make another. He sniffles and slowly comes around.

Or our daughter tantrums over a balloon that floated away and can’t be caught, and we gather her up, wriggling in protest, and talk her down until she’s quiet, if not exactly sunny.

Or neither child wants to sleep in their own bed, so we lie down next to them, one after the other, night after night, glad that we can keep their tears away, but wishing we could get an hour to ourselves instead! Continue reading

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Learning to “Speak Baby”

by Angela Jernigan 

My six year old tells me from the back seat of the car, “Mom, babies are really very smart, it’s just that they don’t speak like bigger people.” She is looking at me earnestly in the rear view mirror with her serious blue eyes, “If only grown ups could learn to speak baby, they’d know: babies have lots to say.”baby dad

I think my daughter knows exactly what she’s talking about. She was, after all, a baby who had a lot to say.

Even from our very first long night together after she was born, my daughter cried a lot. Until dawn she fussed and squawked, wriggled and writhed, her belly against my chest, my body exhausted from giving birth and aching for rest.

But the rest never came. After a few weeks, I began to face it: I had a fussy, sometimes inconsolable, baby. It was harrowing. My husband and I called on doctors, lactation consultants, baby massage teachers, cranial sacral practitioners. No one could find a problem, yet my daughter still could not find peace. She cried so much, my little one, while I work anxiously doing whatever I could think of to stop the crying: bouncing, walking, sound machines, sh-shing, standing in the backyard in the middle of the night, sobbing to myself.

By the time she was four months old, I was desperate and utterly exhausted.

And then I learned about a a way of listening to babies and children called Parenting by Connection from a woman named Patty Wipfler, and everything in our life slowly began to change. Continue reading

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Must parents be consistent?

from Hand in Hand Parenting

We’ve all been told, “Kids need consistency!” But what does that mean?

Does it mean that we have to mete out consequences for every one of our children’s poor judgment calls? Does it mean that being flexible with them will pamper and spoil them? How can we tell when it’s important to be consistent, and when it’s not?

PL BoydadwrestleI think that the consistency our children need lies in our ability to think about each situation flexibly. If they can depend on us to think, rather than react, they have the security they need in the jumble of daily life. When we can treat our children with respect and love, even while saying no to them, we’re being consistently on their side. That’s the consistency that matters.

For instance, take bedtime. A parent can hold to a consistent bedtime on school nights, but loosen that policy for a child’s birthday celebration on a school night, when grandparents or cousins are visiting, or on a night when there’s a meteor shower that’s best observed after 9 pm. That’s thinking. That’s setting limits well, and making exceptions well. Both the limits and the exceptions reassure a child that he’s well loved, and that his parents have his best interests in mind.

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The Insanely Simple Tool for a Resilient New Mamahood

by Lindsay K. Germain, Certified Postpartum Doula
(originally published by BirthWays in spring of 2014)

When you welcome your new baby into your home, you’ll find that time tends to shift in mysterious ways. Especially in the early days, chores that used to take an hour might start to take four hours, or even a few days.

Your time will be more precious, and likely more stretched, than ever before.

Unlike adults, who sleep for a long stretch at night, newborns tend to sleep in short naps and aren’t yet able to consolidate their sleep.

In a sea of short naps and night and day feedings, it can be a real challenge to get good, nourishing food into your body.

It’s hard to have patience for fussiness, nap strikes, and other challenges of early parenting if you’re tired and hungry. The more you can get good, small meals and snacks throughout the day, the more resilient you’ll feel.

path on bridgeIt’s easy to go hungry when you’re holding, feeding, and caring for your wide-awake baby. If you skip meals, it’s much harder to take care of yourself and feel good about your baby. Breastfeeding mamas need to eat an extra 200 to 500 calories per day.

Lots of moms figure out ways to get quick, nourishing bites when they need to refuel.

If you plan just one thing to make your postpartum transition feel smoother, set up a way to have convenient meals and snacks.

Eating small meals throughout the day helps stabilize your mood and energy. You can use a baby carrier to keep your hands free to snack.

Here are my favorite tools for mamas to help make meals easy:

Continue reading