And now for a quick honesty check. I’m not a psychologist, pediatrician, nutritionist or expert of any kind. I’m a mom of a 3 year old boy named Joel who is an extremely persistent and sensitive kid, with a creative soul, a clever mind and a huge heart.
Joel was never what you’d call an “easy baby” and the early years were full of challenges. We had the kind of soul crushing sleep problems you hear horror stories about full of tears, vomit and lots of shouting. We worked with 5 sleep consultants and ultimately stumbled upon our own makeshift sleep solutions = comfort and cuddles. Every kid is different and there is no formula to parenting. However all those sleep consultants and parenting books gave us a lot of wisdom around routine and healthy habits. Sleep and nutrition are closely connected.
People often make comments about what a “good eater” Joel is. For some kids maybe healthy eating does come naturally, for us it did NOT. Joel refused to be spoon fed, so we stumbled upon BLW (baby led weaning). He had all the typical tantrums around meal times. We knew from experience we had to stay consistent for all our sakes.
Forming good habits around food took a lot of trial and error, discipline, perseverance and research. I started journaling because I needed to keep my thoughts in order. Over the years friends asked for help with food problems with their toddlers and having a written reference became even more useful.
Over the last 3 years I’ve read DOZENS of books / articles (the good, the insane, the useless) and hope to distill some of this knowledge down for others who are struggling, confused or just looking for some guidance. Here are a few of my favorite reads:
Baby Led Weaning – Gill Rapley & Tracey Murkett
No Bad Kids – Janet Lansbury (if you read nothing else, read this! it’s my parenting bible!)
Mothering Our Boys – Maggie Dent (written by mother of 4 boys and educator, great insight into raising sons)
Playful Parenting – Lawrence J Cohen (explains how humor and connection can solve most struggles)
No Drama Discipline – Daniel J Siegel & Tina Payne Bryson
How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen – Joanna Faber & Julia King
Simplicity Parenting – Kim John Payne
Kids, Parents & Power Struggles – Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
Raising your Spirited Child – Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
Sleepless in America – Mary Sheedy Kurcinka (yes I have read all of her books, if you think you might have a “spirited child” you should too!)
Bringing Up Bebe – Pamela Druckerman
Self-Reg: How to Help Your Child (and You) Break the Stress Cycle and Successfully Engage with Life – Dr. Stuart Shanker
Remember no matter where you are in your parenting journey it’s never too late to make changes. Maybe you have a toddler with terrible eating habits and you want to avoid the same mistakes with baby number 2. Or maybe you are pregnant and reading all the books you can get your hands on before the baby arrives. Perhaps you’re a grandparents or caregiver who is noticing issues that might be resolved with diet. If you are having any doubts about health problems always consult a medical professional. Sometimes there are underlying medical problems that can be solved with routine and diet alone.
We wish you the best of luck and please share your stories with us so we can continue to learn as well!