Archive for Love – Page 2

Intentional Links: infant crying and fussing: what parents need to know

crying babyI’m renaming my¬†recurring links posts “intentional links” rather than “Wednesday links” so I can bless you with great links on any ol’ day. ūüôā

In this edition: infant crying and fussing. Here I’m selecting links that help us understand unexplained crying (rather than cry-it-out sleep methods).

The Frenzied Cry: How to Calm Your Baby. A couple of interesting suggestions for¬†reducing colicky crying¬†when the usual stuff doesn’t work: eliminating foremilk in breastfeeding and adding pro-biotics to baby’s diet even when breastfed.

Infant Crying, Fussing, and Colic: A Thinking Parents Guide from Gwen Dewar has a great deal of insight about why babies cry and what you can do to calm them. She says babies are soothed by feeding (Shaw et al 2007), skin-to-skin contact (Gray et al 2000), and gentle touches that are combined with other forms of communication, like talk or eye contact (White-Traut et al 2009). Fascinating: in a study of 3 groups that included London parents, Copenhagen parents, and a group that practiced “proximal care” — holding baby 80 percent of the time, responding quickly to baby’s cries, and feeding frequently, “the London parents had the least amount of physical contact with their babies‚ÄĒ50% less compared with the parents practicing proximal care. These parents also had the babies who cried the most.”

Simple Ways to Calm a Crying Baby by Darcia Narvaez.¬† This piece focuses on¬†babies who fuss and cry¬†a lot at night. Dr. Narvaez’s key points: 1) A parent‚Äôs presence helps to calm babies who awaken in an upset state, 2) ¬†Calming infants helps infants learn to calm themselves. ¬†She offers a list of methods for calming baby back to sleep including recreating the womb, relying on familiar sounds, and skin-to-skin contact.

Why Infant Carrying Soothes a Baby When Nothing Else Will from Dr. Greg.¬† Do you have a baby who fusses unless you are carrying him?¬† “It turns out that carrying an infant triggers a¬†three-way mechanism in the brain that suppresses involuntary muscle movements & struggling while also dramatically reducing the infant‚Äôs heart rate.¬† These changes happen almost immediately.¬† In fact, this process is such an automatic response to¬†being carried¬†that it could almost be considered a¬†previously¬†undiscovered reflex.”

Image credit: Phaen Din (

Wednesday Links: Girls and Body Image

Today I have some great links for your about girls and the development of poor body image.

Tips to Encourage a Positive Body Image in Girls.¬† Body image shifts dramatically in early elementary school.¬† The author suggests that what moms say about their own bodies influences their daughters’ attitudes.

The Media and Body Image from WebMD. We all know the media perpetuates the “thin is beautiful” message. This article says we don’t have ban media, but suggests practical ways we can help our daughters look critically at media messages. The article, like the previous one, points out the impact on a daughter¬†of¬†her mother’s attitude toward her own body. This article also¬†warns fathers about how they talk about women in front of girls.

Improving Your Body Image Through Catholic Teaching by Dr. John Acquiva.  A theology of the body approach to improving our perception of our bodies. This book might give parents some tools for talking to a daughter about poor body image.

Exercise Improves Body Image for Fit and Unfit Alike.¬† Research suggesting that regular exercise, and not the actual level of fitness, improves body image. This article is focused on adults, but it gives us yet another reason to put together a family-centered fitness routine.¬† AHA! That’s the topic of the Fall 2015 issue of Tender Tidings!

Image Credit: Eugene Seergev (

Wednesday Links: Strength-Based Parenting

Here’s a good one.¬† Intentional Catholic parents may be interested in this recent study (published in Psychology) about the benefits of “strength-based parenting”:

“Children are more likely to use their strengths to effectively cope with minor stress in their life if they have parents who adopt a strength-based approach to parenting.¬† Strength-based parenting is an approach where parents deliberately identify and cultivate positive states, processes and qualities in their children. . . This style of parenting adds a ‘positive filter’ to the way a child reacts to stress. It also limits the likelihood of children using avoidance or aggressive coping responses.”¬†

What is meant by a positive filter? I believe it’s a parent’s loving verbal intervention when a child is in the early stages of distress or confronted with a demand on their time, abilities, or¬†emotions — a demand that stretches them in some way.¬† If the child is upset or worried, we can coach our child in responding in a healthy way to their concern, in¬†a manner that draws on their strengths.

This approach contrasts with a parent’s inclination to “fix” their child as if he’s broken or defective, and sending that message to our child even if we don’t intend to do so.

If you’re interested in identifying your child’s strengths more clearly, perhaps you’d enjoy this book by Jenifer Fox: Your Child’s Strengths.¬† I don’t usually recommend books that I have not read myself, but this seems to be a useful and engaging book about how to think about our children’s strengths.



Breastfeeding reduces risk of childhood leukemia.¬†¬†A study from the JAMA Pediatrics concluded that breastfeeding for 6 months or longer reduces a child’s risk¬†of leukemia by nearly 20 percent. ¬†“The authors suggest several biological mechanisms of breast milk may explain their results, including that breast milk contains many immunologically active components and anti-inflammatory defense mechanisms that influence the development of an infant’s immune system.”

Raising Competent Children with Grit by Laura Markham.  12 tips for giving kids confidence and perseverance in the face of obstacles.


Free on-line parenting class.¬† The Center for Parenting Education is offering a free class on “The Right Attitude for Discipline that Works”.¬† June 16¬†8:30-9:30 p.m. EST.¬† “Yes!¬† It is possible to maintain a strong relationship with your children and build their self-esteem even as you discipline them.¬† Learn specific techniques and attitudes that will allow you to remain calm, clear and confident.”