sleeping baby

It’s hard for my husband and Ito believe, but this September we did not attend one back to school night, make one trip to Wal-Mart for school supplies, or even buy one plane ticket to settle a child in college. With our oldest three children married and well on their way with careers and education, the fourth child serving a mission, and the fifth in her second year at BYU-Idaho, it’s safe to say our days of actively parenting our three sons and two daughters are over and done.

As a mother, I can honestly answer to my Heavenly Father and them individually and collectively that I did my best and that I am thrilled with the paths they are independently pursuing, the eternal mates they have been blessed to marry, and their strong shining testimonies of the gospel that inspire me.  

Of course, by the sheer nature and definition of parenting, there are situations and years that I would have handled differently, but for the most part there are very few regrets.

If I could do it all again, however, virtually years would have been easier and better for the entire family if I’d had the books I will share in today’s article. Both are available at Amazon and have a boatload of reviews that you can also view. Of course, these are both big parenting/health issues and there is never a “one-size-fits-all” answer for individual children and families. But if you are as desperate as we were for help in these areas, it is well worth your time to invest in honest trial of their approach.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child byMarc Weissbluth, M.D.

Our third child, a son now serving a mission in Brazil, had a very difficult labor that ended up as an emergency C-section. He was whisked away at birth to the NICU and I did not hold him or see him for 24 hours. Although he was just fine within a day or so and we left the hospital on time, he was clearly terrified and spent the next 4-5 years being afraid to go to sleep. (No, I’m not joking.) Neighbors and family all had ideas that didn’t work. He hated that crib! The long, long nights as he cried and cried sent this exhausted mommy to the library in search for anything to help.

The only solution that made a difference was to swaddle him tight, strap him in his little swing and to turn on the vacuum next to him. With a shuddering wail, he would sometimes settle down for several hours. It was always a mistake to turn off the vacuum, as he would awaken and need me full-time again. We brought him into bed with us, and that sometimes worked, but as he got older and bigger, no one slept. As a two and three-year old, he was still up many times a night, terrified and crying.

His colic filled his little tummy with gas, and it became so hard and bloated that with his fits of crying, he could actually roll himself over. Often nothing comforted him, and I cried right along with him!

We tried every book there was, but sadly, the one we needed wasn’t published until 2005 when he was in high school.

I learned about “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” from a fabulous young mom in our Ward whose baby is in bed sound asleep by 6 p.m. each night- for the NIGHT! Her own mother gives it as the primary baby gift for her own children, grandchildren and friends, and from this point onI will too!

In principle, it seems amazing and extreme, but we recently returned from a trip to Utah where we watched the schedule in action with a precious 14 months old granddaughter. The following is a REGULAR routine and has been in effect since she was 4-5 months old, give or take 15-30 minutes depending on readiness. They are not alone as friends in their ward live this schedule as well. In addition, my sister in Bountiful, Utah, reports that it’s almost a movement with the young moms in her ward.

6:00 -7:00 a.m. Baby wakes up, breakfast and play
9:00-9:30 a.m.Morning nap (without fussing or crying)
11:00 – 1:15 p.m. Play and lunch time
1:15 p.m.Afternoon Nap
2:30 – 5:30 p.m.Afternoon play
5:30 p.m.Dinner, bath, bedtime routine, rocking
6:00 p.m.Bedtime and sound asleep, (without lengthy fussing or crying)

Of course, there’s a 15-30 minute give and take for each nap and bedtime, but Yes! Babies NEED that much sleep and will sleep that long.Much of the book is counter-intuitive. “Sleep begets sleep!” quotes my daughter as they have used this book as a bible. The book covers a multitude of different situations and developmental needs as the child grows older.

In addition to the healthy baby she is raising, our daughter has been able to accept a wonderful and challenging online job, simply because she knows she can work from home each night without interruption.

In this book –

1) the baby learns how to put himself to sleep and stay asleep;
2) the parents learns how to read, understand and truly guide their child; and
3) the parents and child learn to respect each other and the top-priority need for a predictable schedule in order to function well.

There are plenty of other reviews and thoughts at

As a sidenote, our own son eventually outgrew his inability to sleep and more than made up for it during his teenage years. We have joked that sleeping is now his “talent” as he can fall asleep (and stay asleep) at the drop of a hat. I, however, will always empathize with mothers with babies who have sleep difficulties … and continue to give them this book!

The Acne Cure by Terry J. Dubrow, M.D.

Acne is a common situation for many, if not most teens and ranges from mild to severe. During these difficult, turbulent years, the last thing you need is your face to be a mess, but that was the case for our kids, and of course, breakouts and flare ups happened when you needed and wanted to look your best. It seemed that if there were emotional or social challenges, the acne got even worse. It was heartbreaking.

I had moderate, normal-range acne as a teenager. My husband had a more extreme case. But our children, especially boys all had a much more difficult experience than either of us.With all three boys,after trying all the over-the-counter products and Pro-Active (how much money and time did we spend on all of those????), we went to the family doctor, who provided some prescriptions that didn’t even phase the condition of their skin. We were not allowed to see a dermatologist within our health plan without exhausting all the resources from the pediatrician.   With the failure of all prescriptions, we finally had a referral to the dermatologist. Our oldest son went on Accutaine as a senior in high school in 1998-1999 and it worked, and he was done. Our second son required two rounds, (as a sophomore and then as a senior) and then he, too was on his way.

Our 3rd son (the one who couldn’t sleep as a baby) was much worse, much sooner.

After 2 rounds of Accutaine (as a freshman and then again as a senior in high school) his skin was beautiful for only 6 months after the 2nd treatment ended.   It quickly started flaring up and breaking out. He was getting ready to submit his mission papers and knew that another 6 month round of Accutaine treatments would delay his mission departure. And would the doctor even allow him to do a third round of this extreme chemical? Not to mention that, but what if he got on his mission and couldn’t get it under control?

In prayer and desperation I went to the internet. I found information overload with websites galore touting weird diets and expensive products. With ones that seemed reasonable I went one step further and Googled a “review” for the product or program before spending any more money.

Finally a book on with more glowing reviews than I had time to read surfaced. The book was at my local library. I got it, and went to town reading and figuring out the system.

To my delight, the doctor-author, Dr. Terry DuBrow, actually a plastic surgeon, operates an acne clinic in the Los Angeles area and had a very simple approach to this complex problem. He medically defines the challenge of acne in simple to understand language. Then provides information on several over-the-counter products and techniques for using them.

Here’s where things get interesting: The amounts, times and application methods are completely different than on the packages!   In addition, an ice-pack treatment (weird, I know) is critical to the success of this program.

We were desperate. Cooper’s face had flared up so badly that we went and got all the products immediately.

The only one that was difficult to find was the “glycolic acid” which we eventually found at a cosmetic store in the form of a foaming cleanser.

To our great surprise and delight, the terrible inflammation started to recede within 2-3 days. Within a week or so, the improvement was noticeable for everyone. Within the month, it was like he’d been on a drug that was really working, and by 6-weeks to two-months, it was not too different than when he’d been on Accutaine!

He has been using this method faithfully now for two years. When his mission call came, a top priority became learning to know if the products were available in Brazil, and if he could get ice for his nightly ice packs at the MTC.

Mind you, this was nearly 10 years after we’d first started the struggle with acne with our oldest son.
How I WISH we had known about this!

At this time, it has made a huge difference for others in our circle.

Will it work for you or your child? Once again, go to Amazon and read the reviews.

Carolyn Allen has been providing weight loss inspiration since 1999 both online and in community venues in the Washington, D.C. area. Her favorite food is steamed broccoli (lots of it!) with a little butter and lemon-pepper. Her book, 60 seconds to Weight Loss Success, is available for free through the first of week of September from her website, or at Learn more about her herbal health tonic and colon cleanse at