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Big Feelings w/Brooke Fries!

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Totally Mommy Podcast

Episode 33

She’s an acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist as well as the “one who got Elizabeth pregnant”, the wonderful BROOKE FRIES is here to discuss Eastern medicine for babes, our Good/Bad/Funnies (Turning 3! Eczema Sabbatical!/ Big Feelings! Sleep “Teaching”! and “That’s How They Make ‘Em!” πŸ™‚ before answering listener questions about maintaining a friendship that has shifted into motherhood and is not feeling like a two way street, how to handle negativity about your parenting due to age, and lastly whether or not it’s socially acceptable to register for an adoption fund instead of wedding gifts. Enjoy!


Mandy says:

Loved this epidsode! I wanted to chime in about sleep teaching. I have an almost one year old (where did the time go?), and we did sleep teaching at 9 months. I really did not want to, but he went through a major sleep regression around 7 months, and it hit me hard. I had battled pp anxiety when he was a newborn and could feel myself starting to slip. For the sake of everyone involved, we chose to sleep train. It was a hard decision to make because I do believe in attachment parenting and letting babies hit milestones naturally, but I feel like we’re more attached now because I am a happy, healthy mom who is able to enjoy being with my child.

I really liked what your co-host said about parenting being a dance between structure and flexibility. We have a daily routine and a set bedtime, and when we get out of the routine, it’s much harder on me than it is the baby. This something that I’m constantly working on.

Here’s my good, bad, and funny:
Good- so much good! My baby is taking some tentative steps. He’ll cruise along an object like the couch, and then let go and take a few steps. It’s so cool to see him developing.

Bad- this is not all that baby related, but my dog has been leash reactive, which makes it difficult for all three of us to take walks. I’ve been working with her to get over the issue, but we just can’t seem to get over the hump. If anyone has suggestions, please throw them at me because I am so stressed about it.

Funny- my baby has been eating more and more. It’s so funny to watch him feed himself and interact with food. Last night, he ate vegetarian lasagna and loved every bite.

Love all three of th shows and always look forward to new episodes!

Lauren says:

For leash reactivity – try bringing a treat pouch along with you and give her a treat everytime she looks back and checks in with you, as well as anytime there is a possible obstacle/trigger that she successfully does not react to, even if it is something far away (say, another dog across the street that you see she notices.) Lots of verbal praise and a treat right away. The treat for “checking back with Mom” thing has been a huge help for my nervous doggie. It helps her refocus her energy on me and our walk, rather than constantly scanning the environment for potential dangers. Also, as much as possible, while she’s in training, avoid the things that are triggers for her. If it’s other dogs or other people, cross the street before they get too close. You want to keep the dog “under threshhold” so she can learn and be rewarded for positive behavior (even if that behavior is just simply not doing anything!) rather than being so stressed out that she can’t learn and is just in reaction mode. Stick with it, it’s really worth it! Good luck!!

anna says:

Hi there –

I wanted to share my experience on Sleep Training. My grandparents lost not one but two children to SIDs in the 1950s. The story of this family tragedy was brought up regularly while I was growing up. I never considered that it would affect my parenting but when we had our son the details from these stories suddenly and relentlessly played in my mind.

We co-slept until he was 6 months old and regardless of all of the bonding benefits, for us, it wasn’t working; the whole family was getting bad, inconsistent sleep. We transitioned to a crib in our bedroom with relative ease but after a serious and desperate plea from my husband, I relented to sleep training using the Easy Sleep Solution at about 10 months.

While it did take a two painful weeks to transition to 10 hours of solid sleep nightly, it was among the best parent moves we’ve made. We were all better for it even though the transition period was rough.

Good Luck Elizabeth!

anna says:

**Only mentioned the family tragedy to demonstrate that I was coming from a HUGE place of fear when it came to Sleep Training and really delayed the process but ultimately am really happy we did. Sorry if that was weirdly intense!**

Sarah says:

I think you stated it perfectly in this podcast that with sleep training, you are teaching the skill of sleep – a priceless skill to have! You said you’re seven days in and expected faster results, but while lots of babies respond to the sleep training quickly, some take longer. Like my son! I loved co-sleeping with him, but he made it clear, eventually, that he was no longer soothed by it and needed his own space to sleep. He is now 10 months old and regularly falls asleep on his own in his crib without crying and wakes up only once at night, but it was a long process. (We have a bedtime routine too – he loves it!) You are doing a great job! Keep up the good work.

Erica says:

When we were sleep training my now 2 year old son, we also hit a road block at around 6-7 days in. We first tried when he was 9 months old and he did great the first 2 nights, but after night 5 (I think) he started getting worse again. After night 8 we ended up giving up and started bed-sharing (which worked for us at the time). It wasn’t until he was 18 months old that we tried training once again, and again we hit that 7 day block. This time though we stuck it out and I can say it successfully worked this time and he has been sleeping great ever since (when he’s not teething that is!). It did take him about 14-15 nights to get it though. I read somewhere that you have to give a new technique atleast 2 weeks to see if it’s working. If it’s not working out after 2 weeks, try something else and give that 2 weeks. Some babies are harder to “train” than others but you will get through it. You also know your baby better than anyone so trust your instincts. Keep at it and know that you are doing a great job!!

Joni Puffett says:

Just had to pause this week’s episode during the ‘ugly’ to leave you a comment in regard to sleep teaching. My little love is 18 months old and has never been a great sleeper. To this day, we still have nights where she wants to be with mom and dad, however, the nights of 10+ hours of sleep far outweigh the nights where she gets comforted. Listening to your experience, I found a lot to be similar with what I went through. Listening to them cry is horrible. I too had gotten to the point where I stopped going in to comfort because it was devastating. And you know what, the next morning, she has all smile and bright eyes when she woke. No harboring of resentment πŸ™‚ What kept me going through out training was knowing that my lovely wasn’t crying because she was hurt, she was crying because I wasn’t giving in to her want. I’m a strong supporter of sleep teaching and have no doubts that I made the right decision. You’re not alone in your struggle and you are doing fantastic!

Steph says:

We also sleep trained and followed Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child. It was the best decision we ever made. The book says you can decide if you want to do check ins or not. For us, the check ins only stimulated our son more and made it more difficult for him to relax and fall asleep. We went with the extinction method and he is a champ sleeper. He ASKS to go night night. He has such positive feelings towards sleeping and going to bed. So don’t worry, no permanent damage done here πŸ™‚ Baby Opes will pull through.

Kim B says:

Love your podcast! I listen to it every week. I just went on iTunes and rated you 5 stars!!! I do have a request, I’ve noticed in some of your episodes, you reference books. I always immediately go and look up those books. Do you think you could put together a list of the books you’ve recommended? I already have Bringing Up Bebe on my list, can’t wait to read it! Thanks!

LA-LA says:

While I think the “adoption fund,” writer-inner was a little harsh, I’ve got to second her recommendation of Nia Vardalos’s book “Instant Mom.” I’m a family law attorney and the daughter of an adopted guy, so the book really fascinated me. Vardalos did an amazing job of chronicling her own heartbreaking infertility struggle (and ultimate adoption success), as well as infusing the book with practical tips and adoption laws.

Ashlee says:

I’m reading Bringing up Bebe right now and I’m not even pregnant yet! It makes me not feel crazy, since the “French-style” of parenting is totally NOT what my friends and family do. It absolutely makes sense to me.

Also, just wanted to add that your podcasts are so great and you’re an amazing host. Last week’s episode with Vanessa was some Oprah-level stuff. I hope there are even bigger and better things in your future!

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