Coping with Sleep Deprivation

Source: Wikipedia

The other day I had a very interesting question come in from a new mom.  She asked if I could write on how to cope with the sleep deprivation that comes with being a new parent.  It’s a great question and I’m sure one a lot of parents would like to hear advice on, but my first thought is that most people aren’t going to want to hear the answers I’m going to give.  So I start … [Read more...]

Facing Fears: Avoiding or Changing Fearful Memories

Source: Unknown

As parents one of the things you can be almost certain to face as your children age is the experience of fear followed by avoidance. Children (and adults for that matter) often end up in situations where they become quite fearful of something and, thanks to the mind’s negativity bias (e.g.,[1][2]), they not only have a higher likelihood of focusing on these negative situations, … [Read more...]

Recovering and Moving on from Crying-It-Out


Crying-it-out and the modified controlled crying are sadly almost mainstays of modern parenting.  So much so that people who don’t use them are often thought to be weak or asking for trouble with their children.  Some doctors even tell their new mothers that they have to use these methods if they want to “help” their child learn to sleep.  With this, many family embark on the … [Read more...]

Stress and Synchrony: Implications for Sleep Training

Difficult Baby Banner

Infant stress is a large part of why many of us proponents against baby training feel this way.  The rise in cortisol that accompany babies being left to cry alone without comfort are argued to affect the infant negatively (though the degree is up in the air and quite likely variable based on infant temperament and family history).  However, one of the main reasons people use … [Read more...]

Are We Setting Up Parents to Sleep Train?

Credit: Unknown

I spend a lot of time thinking and writing about infant sleep.  Though I write about a lot of things, this topic comes up more than any other.  One of the things I have struggled with recently is trying to understand why so many people speak about the need to turn to cry-it-out (CIO) or controlled crying (CC).  It’s as if there are no other options available to them, though … [Read more...]

The Power of Napping

toddler sleep

By Tracy G. Cassels There have been quite a few articles in the past year suggesting the almighty importance of sleep.  Which it is.  It’s hugely important.  The problem is that they have been taking modern standards of sleep, including one chunk of sleep at night, looking at outcomes to do with deficits there, and then applying them to all individuals.  As if there really is … [Read more...]

An Open Letter on Child Care

child care

This letter appeared in my inbox the other day and I thought it was so wonderful I asked if I could share it.  I have worked in daycares and as a nanny and I've seen some of the things Helen speaks of.  It is so important that we understand how the care we provide for our children either ourselves or via others will impact them for their entire life.  This is a beautiful … [Read more...]

The Effects of Parental Stress: SRCD Research


By Tracy G. Cassels This second piece covering some of the newest research out there in child development will focus on what I have encountered to date on the effects of parental stress on a variety of outcomes.  We all generally know that too much parental stress can be negative for everyone in the family, but let’s look at some of the specifics on how this … [Read more...]

Sleep Research and Parenting: What’s Relevant?

sleep parent

By Tracy G. Cassels To read this article in Spanish, click here. There’s a new piece in the Huffington Post (and many other news sources) about some research out of UC Berkeley presented at a recent conference (SPSP, the largest social psychology conference there is) which found that poor sleep affects our feelings of gratitude to our partners.  In fact, it may make us … [Read more...]

Is Post-Partum Depression a Modern Day Problem?


By Tracy G. Cassels Let’s first be clear – we know post-partum depression is a worldwide phenomenon, it exists in developing nations, sometimes at higher rates than in Western ones[1][2].  This shouldn’t be too surprising, though, given that it is more common amongst low-income families even within Western societies[3].  However, what I question is whether or not we can … [Read more...]