Starving Our Babies: The Newborn Sleep Book; A Review

I posted about The Newborn Sleep Book by two New York pediatricians on my Facebook page, but I am so enraged that it needs a whole article. Simply put, the method the Jasseys suggest is to stretch our newborn feedings to every four hours during the day, and completely night wean by one month. This is child neglect and starvation but if recommended by the pediatrician, falls not on the heads of the new parents. 

The Jasseys boast a 90 percent success rate of babies sleeping through the night. I bet it’s true. I’d also like to see their practicenewbornsleepbook rates of breastfeeding past 3 and 6 months, Failure to Thrive, reflux (from overeating when so hungry), communicable illness, and “unexplained” infant death. Here is the video of the Jasseys method. 

If we saw these rates and compared their recommendations and the outcomes to American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations and the outcomes of breastfeeding and baby-friendly practices, I believe we would see that the Jaffeys should be sued for malpractice by every patient. 

And I’ve done the math which proves the case for newborn neglect. The AAP recommends feeding a formula fed newborn every 2-4hrs, 6-8times per day. A newborn drinks 1.5-3 ounces per feeding. So, the AAP recommends around an average of 20-25 ounces per 24hrs for optimal growth and brain development. 

The Jassey method, if we give the parents only 10hrs of baby sleep without feeding (12pm-8am), and daytime feeding only every 4hrs, with a newborn tummy the same size as all newborns, would give the baby only 4 feedings a day. The Jassey’s suggest a newborn needs 4 feedings a day That’s a total of only 12 ounces a day. But the Jasseys suggest that your baby can get up to 18 ounces if you divide the ounces out and bolster the other feedings, making the bottles more like 4oz each. Except that a newborn tummy can’t hold this much food, so they are setting parents up for confusion, challenge and disaster.

It is likely that baby may try to drink it all because they are now so hungry but then spit it up a lot, have indigestion, crying, gas, pain. Still the book states the belief that frequent feedings cause reflux, though the entire medical community dealing with reflux and the AAP would suggest not feeding too much at one time but rather having frequent feedings. 

The AAP recommends you wake your formula-fed newborn every 3-4 hrs in the night to feed them, if they don’t wake on their own to eat. This prevents failure-to-thrive. To quote the Newborn Sleep Book’s defense of not feeding newborns at night: 

 “You think your MacBook Air can take a good licking? You think a Bugaboo stroller is an indomitable fortress? These things are impressive but could they have survived during the Stone Age? Babies Did. Babies. Needless to say, not all babies survived such periods and tragically, there are babies over the world suffering from want. But if you bought this book or if someone gave it to you, the odds are overwhelming that you possess the fundamental physical and emotional resources required to raise a perfidy healthy baby- with the help of a relatively small amount of important advice.”  

So, basically, because some babies survived malnourishment and hard times in the stone age and some babies survive malnourishment in the world now, we do not need to feed newborns at night because they are likely to survive without it. But why just survival? Why not promote public health, quality of life, psychological health and prevent suffering?  I sort of like that most of our babies usually thrive and aren’t starving here in the western world. What a bunch of privileged bunk. We should be giving our children the nourishment and comfort many parents in the world only dream of giving their children. 

All of the other bad reviews of this book and Facebook slams blame the parents- those selfish parents. I can’t blame the parents or call them selfish. We all want to sleep, it’s an intense biological drive. And if our trusted pediatrician swears that night weaning is optimal for our parenting to be effective and for our child’s development, as the Jasseys promise, we may follow that advice. The main message in the book is that your instincts as a parent are not to be trusted, because they are too emotional, and that the doctors are to be trusted instead. That Newborn Sleep Book would like us to believe that our child’s sleep will be messed up for life if they don’t learn to sleep through the night as a newborn. Yep, I actually read the Newborn Sleep Book. 

 “Myth: Breastfed babies must be fed eight to twelve times each day. Truth: that’s only true until breast milk comes in- engorgement. But after that, a less frequent, more reasonable schedule is not only possible but beneficial. “

Here I went into reading it thinking that while it’s cruel to night wean any newborn, they must only be talking about formula fed babies- since breastfed babies must eat frequently to survive and stimulate milk production in mom. They go on to say that after the first 8-12 feedings of life, you can night wean and extend feedings the same way as with formula feeding. Wow. What a way to sabotage breastfeeding. This will keep milk production very low and then the Jasseys can recommend formula, which will make them look good by making sleeping through the night much easier. 

They frequently say in the book that feeding on demand is unhealthy as well as that newborn babies should tell you when they are hungry by crying and not to feed them until it is the scheduled time or if they cry and not a moment before. The Newborn Sleep Book warns that your newborn not sleeping will lead to your own dysfunctional sex life, skin aging, car accident, decrease in brain tissue, lack of attractiveness to others, loss of memory and stroke.

The primary theme in the book is that parents should not trust their instincts, but instead to trust nobody but Jasseys (apparently not even the AAP). The second theme is that a paren’t inability to deal with crying is what is causing sleep problems, and that babies need to cry regularly and that your baby is never crying out of real hunger, it’s just that they are addicted to milk. 

Infant sleep is a passion for me, it is one third of my parent coaching practice. So is helping parents and babies sleep, because I was a sleep deprived parent with a sleep deprived baby, so I understand the desire to sleep. But, I also have a strong desire to help babies and parents be healthy physiologically and psychologically and for newborns to build attachment with moms first and foremost. I was an infant nanny and then postpartum doula of years before parenthood. Then I used every sleep method including lots of controlled crying, weaning and cry-it-out when the parents asked me to do it for them. It was wrong. 

With extensive research and practice and then my own parenting, I decided that not only would I not work with families in any form of controlled crying where babies are left alone or starved, I would not even work with families on any sleep skills or gradual night weaning until the child is at least 9 months old, and only if the parents really feel they are going nuts without sleep. That’s why my Sleep Savvy Tot program starts at 9 months and works through 3 years. Gentle and gradual, the parent remains present and never ever starves the child. I don’t make a lot of money with my method because I don’t promise drastic and immediate results, just improvement and peace. Big results can come with big consequences but I do know that you can make a lot of money getting tiny babies to sleep through the night because people are always asking me to help them do it. 

I’m calling for the Jassey’s practice to be investigated by the NY Medical Board, that they be banned from the AAP and for The Newborn Sleep Book to be boycotted by bookstores so that it can’t hurt any more babies. Their recommendations endanger babies by ignoring medical recommendations, biology and the anthropology of human nutritional evolution. Please spread this article. 









Posted in Gentle Discipline | 7 Comments

How to Teach Your Child to Share

It has been 20 years now of teaching and caring for children! The thing comes up as the most difficult things to teach and learn? Sharing (well, besides sleep, of course!)  I’m happy to share my tips. 

Making them share does not teach them how to do it.  Sharing is learned best when not forced, but coached and modeled.

How to Model Sharing:
• Point out when you are sharing with your child and when you are sharing with other children and adults, and note how nice and friendly sharing is.

• When your child shares with you, give something (or the same thing) back less than a minute later.

• When your child won’t share with another child, let your child see you modeling sharing something with that child. (But not taking the same toy out of your hand to give it to the other child.)

Tots at Genius: A Baby Academy in Seattle sharing a water play experience and toys.

Tots Sharing Toys at the Education Center Where I was Director.

How To Coach Your Child On Sharing:

  • The best way for your child to learn to share is actually to have the experience of having a friend not share with him. This builds empathy if you help coach them through it.
  • “It looks like he doesn’t want to share. Do you know what it feels like to not want to share?”
  • “It is really friendly to share. It makes friends feel good when we share with them.”
  •  “If a friend won’t share, you can choose a different toy. If you give a toy to your friend, he might share the one he is holding.”
  •  “If a friend won’t share you can ask for it ‘Please’ nicely.”
  • “If your friend won’t share, you can ask an adult for help.”
  •  “If you don’t want to share your toy, we can put it up safe for later and you can share different toys.” “When you let your friend hold that, your friend might share other toys you want.

Other Tips for Sharing: 

1) Some things are not for sharing. For school or at a friend’s house, your child may be allowed to bring something special of her own that she does not have to share that stays mostly in the cubby; and also an item that they will share with classmates.
We learn what sharing is by first learning what belongs to us. Something they sleep with or dearly loves is an example of something that comes along but stays in the cubby. A game or art supplies are shared with friends.

We don’t have to share everything with everyone, but having something that truly is “mine” around is a good way to help your child see that there are differences between shared things and her special things and that sharing can be safe. You can also model this as well. “This is my special necklace that I don’t share with others, but I would like to share all of my scarves with you! If feel my scarves are safe with you.”

2) When and How to Help:  For toys that belong to all children at school, parents can simply let children work it out on their own! Or, if pulling becomes dangerous or creates multiple crying episodes, a parent and teachers can reiterate:  “Now is Jason’s turn with the doll, you can hold your bear from home which is yours.” The adult can hand the child the personal item as a re-direction in challenging share situations.

3) Don’t always intervene. If there is excessive dangerous pulling, I simply say, “We don’t pull toys, it might hurt somebody or hurt the toy. We ask ‘Please may I play with that?’ or we ask a grownup for help.” These are really big concepts so the main thing is consistency in what you are telling the children, and saying it over and over again. Let them continue to work this out, don’t prevent a sharing crisis every time it comes up and don’t physically intervene unless someone will really get physically hurt or is continually crying and needs coaching on using words.

4) Make a big deal of your own sharing your things with your child and point out how good you are at sharing. “I would like to share my lip balm with you. It feels really nice to share. Okay, now I would like to use it again. May I have it back?  Okay now I’d like to share it with you again.” If your child is demanding something of yours, use it as an opportunity to request that she ask with “Please.”

5) Coach Patience and Communication Skills. Try to avoid rewarding your child when they are grabby at something in your own hand, even a cookie- by just handing it to her as a quick fix. You can stay. “Stop the hands. Would you like to ask for something? Can you use your signs or words? What do you want?” Older tots can be modeled to and coached to use “Excuse me”. Building good communication and patience is very hard work that really pays off. Point out other sharing when you see it happen in the world.

6) In a play group where you supervise, at preschool etc, you can set a timer for two or three minutes of someone playing with the coveted toy. Repeat.

7) Practice together! Make art or baked goods and share them with others! “We just get a little bit, but then we will share the rest so we can help other people feel good!”

8) After all of that, have patience. Learning to share really can take a long while. In the beginning, little ones still don’t even understand that there are boundaries between you and me, him and me, yours and mine etc. There is nothing wrong with a child who has trouble sharing or takes toys. Some personalities are even more or less inclined to share. Learning these things starts at home and then takes lots of practice in social settings.

If you liked these tips, you may enjoy my Savvy Gentle Discipline Online Program! 



Posted in Gentle Discipline | 2 Comments

10 Dental Health Tips for Toddlers

Cavities can sneak up on your family quickly!  I thought my 4-year-old had great brushing habits, but it wasn’t enough! You already know that lots of sugar, fruit and carbs can cause cavities, but I was even told that my daughter was probably eating too much sugar-free goat yogurt. Because toddler and preschooler food is challenging for parents anyway, it can make more sense to look at cavities from the after-food hygiene angle instead.

1) Floss! Yes, floss your child’s toddler or preschooler’s teeth,irisfilling especially any teeth
which touch one another. It’s a hygiene habit to start sooner rather than later. I write this post because though we always did a great job brushing and there was zero sugar and we occasionally loved to floss, we weren’t flossing regularly. I mean twice per day. My daughter developed a huge cavity because I wasn’t flossing my daughter’s teeth regularly and I didn’t see the cavity until it was large enough to need a filling.

2) Let them brush after you brush the teeth. We don’t want to discourage them by having them think that they didn’t do a good enough job and now we have to finish it. We get the main job done and then we let them know that there might still be some food in there so they should keep brushing. Once they have shown good brushing skills, circles, all of the teeth!), we can tell them they’ve graduated to doing it on their own. Likely 4-years plus.

3) Model how to hold the toothbrush, brushing in circles, and show with your own mouth all of the places the brush should go.

4) Make it part of the routine, but be flexible. Brushing and flossing needs to be both after breakfast and before bed. But if your child is resistant to this hygiene, be time flexible, ask again when he’s in a better mood. The whole family brushing together is usually best!

5) No fluoride. Young children who might swallow small amounts of the toothpaste shouldn’t have fluoride because it is toxic. Topical fluoride treatment at the dentist for an older child with many cavities may be suggested by your dentist. I had just started using fluoride toothpaste for my daughter by default of what I found at the store, thinking she wouldn’t swallow it and it might help her teeth- about 5 months before I found the cavity. I guess the fluoride did not prevent that cavity!  So now we….

6) Use xylitol toothpaste or homemade. Our recipe for “Lemon Mint Fizz”

3 Tbsp coconut oil

4 Tbsp baking soda

2 tsp arrowroot

4 drops peppermint essential oil.

5 drops lemon essential oil.

3 drops stevia extract or one packet stevia powder or xylitol powder.

(I’ve crushed my baking xylitol in a mortar and pestal.)

If little ones don’t like the taste or texture, try plain coconut oil with some xylitol in it.

7) Diet rich in calcium. Leafy greens and bone broth soups are the best calcium intake for all of us, especially children. Milks are high in sugars and therefore not the best for teeth. Bone broth intake is said to aid in re-mineralizing damaged teeth and prevent tooth decay.

8) Oil Pulling. I know, it’s a super hippie thing to do! If you have an older preschooler who can swish and not swallow, you might try re-mineralizing and cleaning the teeth with oil pulling. Though 20 min is ideal swishing for adults, 5 min  is fine for kids. Do it with them. (My teeth are so much cleaner and whiter now!)  Make sure to rinse well. Here my friend Jennifer teaches you all about Oil pulling and just how to do it.

9) A holistic dentist.  A holistic dentist, which you can find in most big cities, is not likely to take unneeded x-rays, can do fillings with just Novocaine and without nitrous oxide or sedation for cooperative children while they watch a movie in the ceiling. I couldn’t believe  what a great experience we recently had with a filling at our new holistic dentist. There were two tiny spots on the other side that a conventional dentist wanted to fill- what would have made 3 fillings at $1000. Our new dentist said the smaller spots could be re-mineralized with the protocol she gave us and prevented from growing bigger with good hygiene. (I need to note that if your child is unlikely to cooperate with a dental visit or hates loud noises, you may need to go a more conventional sedation route.)

10) Talk about what germs and cavities are– before they happen. If you have a scientifically inquisitive child, you might show some resources that have drawings of cavities in teeth and drawings of the bacteria that cause them. My daughter enjoys brushing away the “bugs we that are too tiny to see.”  (But if you have a highly sensitive child that is already dirt or germ-phobic, this may not be the best strategy!). Microbes are a part of living. To prevent germ-phobia with this conversation, it might also be helpful to talk about and show some helpful bacteria in the body as well- probiotics are a good example.

Happy hygiene!

xo- Moorea

*Disclaimer-  I am not a licensed medical or dental professional. Take what I write as a launching off point to do your own research. My advice, experience, and suggestions are not to be considered medical advice. Consult your own medical or dental professional.


Posted in Health | 2 Comments

Summer is for Potty Learning! : 7 Tips

There are many reasons why summer is a great time to introduce potty, or to practice or solidify potty skills! summerpottypic Whether you are currently doing EC, early potty (10-18mo), Toddler or Preschool Potty Learning, or if you are just considering starting, here are seven tips for summer.

1. Go bottomless outdoors: The very best way for children to get in touch with the processes of elimination is for them to see it happening – in real time, in the flesh. You can then help them name it!  “Oh, you are peeing.” That can be a great step even before you get the potty. For kids already using the potty, the combo of bringing the potty outdoors during play to keep it close and not having to remove bottoms makes “making it” a lot less challenging, and you will likely have more to celebrate! Modeling and narrating your own potty behavior for your child in the bathroom is excellent, but for boys first learning potty skills, it might be best to practice peeing sitting down – in which case it might not be the very best thing for dad to model peeing into a bush while camping. For girls, make sure your yard or deck where your little one will be has a clean blanket for sitting, and that you have a hose-off or a nightly tush-bath.

2. Check out the great cloth options available for potty learning:  Starting in a cloth diaper or cloth training pant is essential to quick potty learning, because children know they are wet immediately. Pull-ups or plastic diapers cause a significant delay because the chemicals in them pull away/wick away moisture too fast. Cloth is great in summer, because it breathes better than plastic in the heat and line-drying cloth options in the sun get them sun-bleached and smelling great. If you haven’t used any cloth diapers until now, know that all-in-ones are easier with crawlers/walkers than pre-folds, if you decide to buy or borrow some. Still, the easiest option is to jump right into lots of basic cotton training pants (Gerber, Green Sprouts, Hannah Anderson) which are light and cool for the summer.

3. Invest in a Travel Potty: Summer is great for potty-on-the-go, because pants can come down anywhere without freezing your tushy off! Many families choose travel potties that have an open hole that can go directly into the grass (hey, if dogs can do it!) and other travel potties can be emptied into the grass and cleaned out with a wipe. Poop, of course, needs to find it’s way from the travel potty to a bathroom unless you use a bag and trash can. Travel potties are important for potty learning, because little ones can’t always wait in line or wait to find the nearest restroom when they are first learning. And then there is always the “ick” factor of a public restroom, tiny hands that would touch any part of the restroom, or a tush that would fall in or get scared of the flush. For most families, a travel potty seems like it will be a lot of work and anxiety before skills are solidified. You don’t really need to do potty out of the home until your child is verbalizing or signing potty needs some of the time. (Read Get More Out of Life with Baby Signs!)

4. Make the most of your family vacation: Many of my workshop patrons and private clients ask if they should wait to start potty until after a vacation. Actually, my experience is that vacation can be the very best time for potty learning – especially for families with part or full-time childcare. On vacation, families stick together, connect, and really focus on the kids! What a great time to practice potty when you can offer many opportunities. In the summer, cloth training pants and shorts can be very quickly washed in the sink and dried on the balcony in the sun. Of course, you need a trusty and compact travel potty. The second half of my child’s potty learning adventures happened while traveling in the summer in California and Nevada.

5. Get familiar with the assisted squat: Squatting/hovering is the natural, ergonomic way for human bodies to eliminate. Still, we might not want to teach our children to walk off and squat anywhere in the yard any time. We do want to teach our newly learning child that they need to find a potty if possible. Mostly because squatting anywhere won’t have the desired outcome of having a child who knows how to find a loo. It may be hard for them to distinguish the grass from the carpet (Oops!). However, if you start nice and young, you can easily assist your baby/tot into an assisted squat (their spine against your tummy/groin, legs lifted into them and a bit out to the side). You can then help them pee into a public loo, the grass, or as I learned on an emergency, poop into a trash can. (Eep! Note: it is not legal or sanitary to poop into a trash can. Haha!) In these cases I would add this to your regular potty adventures and use the word “Potty” as a verb for the squatting so that the association is made that this is the same action as going in the (noun) potty at home. For more on how healthy the squat position is for all humans, learn about the Squatty Potty Company (with whom I have designed a forth-coming little learning potty!).

6. Bring easy changes of clothing When you are doing travel potty (or even for the sake of your laundry load at home), summer potty is excellent because you can skip pants all together, or have considerably lighter weight wet clothing to wash or carry around. Your travel stash of changes of clothes in your bag will also be considerably smaller and lighter.

7. Don’t forget hydration It is very important that little ones stay very hydrated when learning potty. Dehydration can easily lead to constipation. Hard poops can cause some children to associate potty with pain. Sippy cups with straws allow for the most easy flow of water, as opposed to the ones that tip and don’t spill and are also better at getting your little one hydrated than a cup. Fruit can also help prevent constipation, and there is plenty of it in summer! On the other hand, too many berries will cause diarrhea and that can also be painful. So, maybe have a limit for those!

Potty learning can be amazingly easy in the summertime, and potty learning can always be about joyfully celebrating new skills.

May the Potty Force Be With You!

For more info on potty learning with Moorea, visit my potty page:!potty-savvy/cr2d

Posted in Parent Coaching, Potty Learning | 2 Comments

Do Our Babies Need to Cry in Order to Sleep?

I came across an article by Hand in Hand Parenting’s Patty Wifler – Getting Young Children to Sleep Through the Night and I want to respectfully challenge a few assumptions therein that I feel may make our parenting more stressful and anxious.curlybabysleepingsack

Don’t get me wrong: Hand in Hand has been doing wonderful work helping parents parent gently and set limits. Hand In Hand is of the mindset that children’s behaviors come more from fears than from biology or anything else, but I see fears as just one small part of a larger picture of why babies and children may wake. My take on child behavior is always equal part biology, anthropology and psychology.

Assumption 1: Most babies at 6 mo can sleep through the night. Babies should sleep through the night. If babies don’t sleep through the night, it is because of underlying feelings that need to be uncovered.

“After about six months, unless your baby is ill or underweight, he is capable of sleeping through the night much of the time. Children vary greatly in how much sleep they thrive on, but by this age, most parents can hope for a good seven-hour stretch of sleep without waking. However, many children experience feelings that prevent them from sleeping through the night at least some of the time.”

I hope that this won’t make parents feel that their waking baby is abnormal when the opposite is true. Nobody sleeps through the night. (Click to read about the anthropology of sleep.) We now know that adults wake multiple times and just roll over to reset the sleep cycle if we are good sleepers. Most breastfed 6-month-olds do not sleep for a 7 hour stretch, especially if they co-sleep. According to the article above, babies between 2 and 9 months average 3 wakes a night and most children are waking once a night through 10 years. Labeling a biological norm as a problem that must be remedied creates unnecessary worry for parents.

Most parents do not report 6 month-olds (or even 12-month-olds) sleeping for 7 hour stretches regularly, contrary to pediatricians telling us this forever. The field of pediatrics really took flight during a time when the trend was for babies to be formula fed.  Breastfed babies do not simply wake up because they have negative feelings. They wake up because they are biologically mandated to wake to eat and check in and rouse the mother to keep them protected. Soon, babies naturally become dependent on certain sleep associations (like a breast in the mouth) even when hunger is no longer part of the equation.

Waking for biological reasons is normal as is them becoming biologically dependent on physical cues or  help from parents to fall back asleep. That still doesn’t mean you have to give up and do nothing while your child wakes you 3+ times a night!

I agree with Patty’s point that we can change the getting-to-sleep status quo or association by simply talking to our child about it (they read our emotions even if we think they don’t understand our words), setting a boundary and then being present for their feelings about the change to come out. In my own coaching practice I like to work with families sleep learning changes only after 9 months and not as early as 6 months. Some children still need to eat at night, the first infant teeth are challenging and they understand the changes we are trying to convey to them much better at 9mo and up. Biology and anthropology tell us that babies have visceral needs that start before and also underly behaviors and psychology. 

Patty and I also agree that we should attend to our children’s needs each time they cry and that babies should not cry alone. It is so lovely that I’m not the only parenting coach who doesn’t believe that babies must cry alone. Yay, Hand in Hand!

Assumption 2: Night Waking is Caused by Emotional Distress

“When children can’t sleep through the night (and there are no health or developmental issues such as a fever or a growth spurt), the cause is most likely some kind of emotional tension that bubbles up in the child’s mind during sleep.”

Though Ms. Wipfler is not advocating for Cry It Out, this is the same frame of mind that allows people to say that babies need to Cry It Out because they have to release anxiety. This is like saying that the child cannot possibly be having any actual physical needs, or that the need for closeness to the parent is psychological and not physiological and must be released. I hope that parents will not read this and take it to mean that they need to manipulate the child’s environment and routine to procure some crying from hidden fears out of an otherwise happy child.

While some children (especially tots and older kids) can definitely have sleep disturbances due to emotions and fears, we tend to see that come up when a child suddenly has worse sleep.  Fears are not the main reason for waking in children who regularly wake, in my personal and professional experience. Again, we all wake biologically and some children take a very long time to learn how to roll over and sleep again without gaining full consciousness. We can teach them gently and gradually to fall back to sleep with less and less help from us.

The reason kids don’t fall right back to sleep certainly could be emotions but more frequently, it is because they don’t have the sleep association the body believes they need. I really do not see it as fear or an emotional issue that must come out into the open. In order to sleep, they are trying to recreate a usual way of being in sleep, a simple belief that things need to be a certain way. An attachment. Attachment to parent, parent help and even to items is psychologically normal and usually healthy, not pathological. Wanting to be safe through forming keeping attachments is ongoing for humans and won’t be fixed with a nightly cry. (The Buddhist perspective of letting go of attachments is an adult thing and even Buddhists suggest that we must learn to have healthy attachments before we learn to let them go.)

We can definitely see sleep disturbances in children who are having fears and emotional issues come up that need expressing and they do need us to listen at night. We will see this come up around family changes and preschool etc. But fears are not the main reason a child who has a history of constantly waking at night is waking up. Many children are perfectly content and happy when they wake to nurse. Many wake to find the pacifier that fell out simply because the last moment they remember, the pacifier was in the mouth.

Children’s systems are built to offload feelings of upset immediately and vigorously. But our training as parents is to stop them from offloading their feelings! We are taught to give them pacifiers, food, rocking, patting, scolding, and later, time outs and spanking, if the crying or screaming goes on for more than a minute. We are taught to work against the child’s own healthy instinct to get rid of bad feelings immediately.
So our children store these upsets, and try many times a day to work them out, usually by testing limits or having meltdowns over small issues. If they can’t offload them during the day, the feelings bother them in the night. This is why nursing or offering a bottle to a child who wakes doesn’t keep him from waking again. In fact, as a child’s storehouse of feelings gets fuller he wakes more often, trying to have a good cry. Parents try to solve the problem by offering food or allowing the child to sleep with them as a way to pat the feelings down again.”

I totally agree that we try to stuff our children’s feelings! I also know that there are plenty of children who wake frequently at night whose parents lovingly witness plenty of emotional off-gassing in tantrums and who are present to crying and feelings during the day rather than asking their child to stuff them. These children are still often night-wakers.  They simply come out of sleep cycles and need to re-initiate sleep associations. They are not progressively more emotionally distressed as the night goes on.  I worry that parents will read the end of that paragraph and feel that attending to a child’s night needs is causing psychological damage.

Assumption 3: Children’s Attachment to Lovey’s/ Routines are Sign of Psychological Distress

The video embedded in the article talks about breaking a child of a safety item (like a stuffed animal) in order to let an underlying fear come through with crying. In my experience, many children learn to sleep away from mom by using a stuffed animal as a transitional object. The transitional object is eventually grown out of.  In that case it does assuage a fear. It is my belief that some children need night safety items or gradual transitional objects even if they feel safe to express their feelings during the day. Night and dark are anthropologically scary.  There are many other opportunities to talk about the underlying fears associated with being in a room separate from parents which don’t involve taking away the lovey.

My daughter (4 as I write this) doesn’t usually wake because of fears (or even nightmares). Most of the time her body is just waking at the end of a sleep cycle, she’s in good spirits. She doesn’t need to wake me. When she can find her stuffed animal, she hugs it and falls immediately back to sleep. When occasional fears or emotions come up for her, we talk about them during the day, she has normal emotional outbursts and I play compassionate witness to them. She may even wake up at night and wake me up to cry about a fear. When she was a baby, she was a constant night waker until we focused on some sleep learning skills. She was a night waker partially because she had the booby-to-sleep association. She had plenty of other opportunity to offgass emotion and fears. I have worked with sensitive children who cry constantly, lovingly witnessed and respected, not stuffed. They were night-wakers too.

Again, my point is that most waking, for children who regularly wake, is not all about fear. Therefore you do not need to worry that your child is experiencing unending hidden emotional distress if you have a child who is a frequent night waker. And we do not need to provoke a cry by removing something that makes the child feel safe. I have not seen that removing an object and letting the child cry suddenly feels safe, though children can certainly learn to live without certain sleep associations and will eventually need less over time with your help.  If there is a sleep association that keeps the child needing you in the middle of the night (to find the missing pacifier, to give your breast), you can make those changes gently and gradually with boundaries simply because the change will help everyone sleep and not because you are worried that the sleep association is covering up an insidious and hidden fear.

Yes, it would be way more profitable for my parent coaching practice to tell people that their children are having an emotional problem that must be dealt with through behavioral intervention. I love helping parents and children learn to sleep. But being stressed out that your children might be stressed out really won’t help the sleep process. I promise. I hate to say that the moms I work with who are the most stressed out that there could be something “wrong” are the ones who have the most trouble implementing a solution and they also have children who have the most trouble sleeping.  I prefer to start from a place where night waking is seen as normal and ok- and then make changes by setting boundaries and then, being present to the child’s feelings about change. 

I have a PDF of sleep learning tips for breastfeeding and co-sleeping parents. I was buisiness-counseled to call it “15 Reasons Why Parents Are Sabotaging the Baby’s Sleep.” That scare tactic may have brought in a bunch of business. But it is ugly and unethical, in my opinion.

Instead, I call it 10 Awesome Ways to Help Your Baby and Toddler Sleep Now  (FREE PDF):!free-sleep-tips/cgy1

It’s yours for free because everyone deserves to sleep- but it doesn’t always come easily!



P.S. I also have a great online comprehensive sleep program here: Sleep Savvy Tot Online Program (9mo-3yrs)!sleep-savvy-for-tots/ciho


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Introducing the Sleep Savvy Tot Online Program (9mo-3yrs!)

Introducing the SLEEP SAVVY TOT ONLINE PROGRAM!  (9mo-3yrs)

Just say NO to Cry-It-Out!


$10 off for a very short time!  Click here:!sleep-savvy-for-tots/ciho

I created this new program for gentle, naturally-minded families with little ones who are having sleep challenges and don’t live where I teach workshops and might not feel ready for my private coaching programs!

Sleep Savvy works for all families but was specifically created to serve the needs of breastfeeding and co-sleeping or bed-sharing families.

I offer a money-back guarantee on all of my programs and packages! If you try the 12 steps  of Sleep Savvy and don’t love it, I provide a full refund within the first 3 weeks.


Pin it to Pinterest:





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How to Respectfully Address Another Parent’s Crying Baby

An article recently came out detailing a woman’s response to a baby crying in a stroller in a clothing store. The woman passed judgement on the mom of the baby for talking aboutcryingbabywordspin
baby clothes with her friend rather than attending to the baby and then went up to the baby and spoke directly to the baby, comforting her. The annoyed mother ignored her and moved the stroller on.

Ignoring the mom and talking to the baby helps the baby stop crying for a moment but it doesn’t help the family.

If you are worried about the family dynamic, talk to the mom compassionately and only then ask to address the baby itself. 

Here is how I address the parent of a crying baby:

1) Come up to the mother slowly, with a little wave.

2) “I’m so sorry to interrupt what you’re doing. I noticed you have a beautiful baby. Look at that awesome hair/ beautiful eyes/ cute feet.  I just love babies and I am a parent of  (a 4-year-old now). I just remember how gut-wrenching it was when my babies cried and how hard it is to ever get anything done.” 

3) If mama responds in a friendly way, you can offer experience, “My babies loved it when I wore them in a Beco Gemini carrier. They also loved to hold those silicone teething necklaces when I was busy. I used to go to these local parenting meetings/ group called…”

4) If mama responds warmly again, you can ask:

“Would you mind if I said hello to your baby?” 

5) If the mother is VERY friendly or admitting to be very tired, I may offer “If you are comfortable with it, I’d be happy to bounce your baby for a minute.”


I want to run to a crying baby. My heart hurts. I want to pick him up. I want to talk to him and sing to him. But I don’t do that because I respect the parent and I would never want a stranger to address my crying baby without my permission.

My baby never cried but that didn’t make me think a parent with a baby crying in the stroller was ill-equipped, negligent or that I should try to com for the baby myself. Even babies who have been well-parented with attachment and attentiveness and respect sometimes cry a lot for no reason we know and no amount of needs-meeting or comforting help. Some babies have colic which we think is intestinal discomfort from gas but we aren’t sure that’s all there it to it. Sometimes these moms need a break.

Sometimes moms who deal with a lot of crying do need to just ignore it for a minute and try to have a normal moment.  Of course there are just people who parent in a way that ignores babies’ cries but our interaction with the baby once won’t help that dynamic.  And when we first approach a stranger, we don’t know enough to judge. 



Posted in Gentle Discipline | 2 Comments

Smooth Moves for a Potty Groove: 6 Tips for Preventing Constipation During Potty Learning

6 Tips for Preventing Constipation During Potty Learning 

These tips are gathered from over 18 years of helping families with potty learning challenges!


Hydrate With Straws: Regular sippy cups are hard to suck enough water out of and little ones may not have the skills to get much from a glass yet. Straws help your little one stay hydrated, whether a straw in a cup or a “sippy cup” with a built in straw. Coconut water has extra electrolytes if your child is already constipated. Place more water around the house and set a timer on your phone to remind your child to hydrate if needed.

Fiber From Fruit: The best regulating fruits are fresh peaches, plums, pineapple, berries and figs. Fresh fruit is better than dried. No more than a half a banana per day while learning potty. Dairy can also be very constipating, so limit cow dairy if possible.

Fiber From Seeds: Some nuts can be constipating, but seeds are magic. Chia and flax are the two best seeds. Have your child lick them up and follow by water. They will absorb the water and carry it all the way through until the rectum, where it keeps poop from getting hard and painful! Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are also helpful.

Squat: Time to practice the frog jumps!The rectum straightens out and allows easy passage as soon as we are in a squat position. For babies not yet walking, you can help with baby yoga moves, bicycling the legs, and holding his back against your tummy while pulling his knees up gently.

Exercise: Moving the body also helps the intestinal tract move. Your little one should be getting outside, climbing, walking and more for at least an hour a day. Getting down on all fours, hopping, squatting, crawling, floor yoga poses are are all great for pooping.

Magnesium: Magnesium rich foods include raw spinach, beans and lentils, fish, whole grains. During an Epsom salt bath, the skin absorbs magnesium, so this is a good treatment if your child is already constipated.

WANT MORE POTTY TIPS? Sign up to receive them here:

Potty Savvy can help make potty learning a wonderful experience for all of you! Check out my online packages like the Potty Savvy Online Program and downloads on the website. Please let me know if  you are interested in learning more about Potty Savvy, Savvy Gentle Discipline, or Sleep Savvy! Also, feel free to email me if you are experiencing potty challenges or constipation and need help troubleshooting!

*Moorea Malatt is not a medical doctor. Always consult your child’s doctor or naturopath before making dietary changes or beginning supplements.*

Please contact your child’s doctor if your child is continually in pain or if constipation lasts more than a few days.

I can also help you figure out how to talk to your child about participating in constipation remedies and using the potty.


Moorea Malatt

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Discipline: It’s What’s For Dinner?

Recently, an esteemed parenting author wrote this meme and put it onto Facebook:










This was my response:

Moorea Malatt: Wow. Your version of dinner out sounds like I would never want to go out again. I prefer to engage my child in the cuisine and the atmosphere, model manners myself and make it about family time first and foremost. If I can’t focus on cuisine and family time and atmosphere we may as well stay home. Children aren’t here to be controlled. They are here to be enjoyed and to have our family ethics modeled to them. Likely your heart was in the right place, Ms. Pantley. I think you mean that parents need to talk to our children and not the lobster at the dinner table else they may get bored and act out.

I read her meme as I was putting the finishing touches on my Gentle Discipline Online Program and I was suddenly hoping I will soon also write the book, to reach more people. Pantley is one of the very few writers of parenting books who errs on the gentle side of discipline,  honors the breastfeeding relationship.

I wondered if her meme’s words were designed to counter the current parenting theme of the wonderful european/French ways of raising children.


Teaching them how to gather behavior cues from the atmosphere.


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Strawberry Shortcake! (Gluten, Dairy and Cane Sugar-Free!)

My daughter, obsessed with the sweet little strawberry shortcake cartoons and her Strawberry Shortcake “Smelly doll” just like I had when I was a girl, had been asking what strawberry shortcake dessert was. But she’s allergic to dairy and cane sugar and I don’t do gluten. So I looked at a zillion recipes and came up with a mixture of techniques. This might be my favorite dessert recipe to date! These slightly sweet, biscuit-style shortcakes are made gluten-free with gluten free flour.  This recipe calls for mixing the dough by hand.



1 cup coconut flour

1 cup of Arrowhead Mills pancake and baking mix. (has a little cornmeal in it!)

½ cup maple sugar or 3/4 cup coconut  sugar

½ teaspoon unrefined sea salt, finely ground

1 large egg, lightly beaten

8 tablespoons hemp (preferable) or soy milk.

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup coconut oil slightly warmed.   Do not oil the pan.


Strawberry compote:

4 cups Strawberries chopped and macerated.

2 Tablespoons Maple Sugar


 Honey Whipped Coconut Cream:

One 15-ounce can full-fat coconut milk refrigerated for 12 hours.

Scoop all of the white coconut cream off of the top and use none of the clear liquid. 

1/3 cup honey or more to taste (optional)

1 teaspoon vanilla or more to taste (optional)


1) Adjust the rack to the center of the oven. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2) Prepare the coconut cream first. Using a hand mixer in a large bowl or stand mixer, mix the cold coconut cream from the top of the can with the honey and vanilla. Refrigerate.

3) In a large bowl combine the coconut flour, Arrowhead Mills mix, , maple sugar/coconut sugar, and salt. Mix until coarsely combined. Add the egg,  milk, and vanilla extract. Use a spoon to work the liquids into the flours.  Add the oil slowly while mixing with your hands. Work the butter into the flour mixture until the dough sticks together when pressed, about 2 minutes.

4) No need to butter the pan. A buttered pan will cause misshapen cakes.  Dust a work surface and rolling pin with some of the Arrowhead Mills flour.  Roll out the dough into a ½-inch thick slabphoto-81.
Use a 2-inch diameter round cookie cutter or a glass. Press straight down when cutting – don’t twist. Gently lift the shortcakes from your work surface and place them evenly spaced on the cookie sheet.

5) Bake until slightly browned on top, about 30-35 minutes. Serve while still warm, or reheat just before serving in a toaster oven set on low. Store shortcakes tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (or for up to two weeks in the freezer).

6) While cakes are baking, chop and macerate (my daughter did this with a potato masher!) the strawberries and mix in 2 tablespoons of maple sugar. Let this sit and then mix again before pouring on cakes.

7)To serve hot, pour 1/3 cup Strawberry Sauce over one  shortcake and top with a dollop of Honey Whipped Cream. Put another shortcake on top and top that with 2 tablespoons of strawberries and another small dollop of cream! MMMMMmmmmmm

The coconut cream will keep in the fridge for 24 hrs. The cakes can be kept on the counter covered for 24hrs (fridge or bag will turn them to yuck.) Leftovers are suitable for breakfast 😉photo-82










If you like this, you might also like: Angel Food Cake!




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