Spank Out Day

Today is “Spank-Out Day”, dedicated to raising awareness about the damage that spanking causes to children, and encouraging parents to find gentle, positive, loving, respectful and effective alternatives to guide our children through life.

Since as long as I can remember I’ve been against spanking or any other type of corporal punishment. I was occasionally spanked by my mom growing up, and never spanked by my dad. So, I am not one of those people who made the decision not to spank after experiencing it first hand. However, I did experienced the lack of connection, and I know how harmful that is.

Since I became a mom, Dr. Laura Markham’s words always stay with me as I parent my daughters ‘Connection before correction.’ The message sounds so simple, and yet it is so powerful. If that’s your mantra as a parent, even if you thought spanking was an option, you would never spank your kids. If you take the time to connect with them, to really CONNECT with them, with their feelings, with yours… from that place, it’s impossible to make the rational decision to physically harm your children in order for them to learn a lesson.

For those of you who need a little bit more convincing or information about the negative effects of spanking, and who need effective alternatives to it, here are some articles that are absolutely worth reading.

Great readings about alternatives to corporal punishment:




Baby Sleep Myths

This past weekend I participated in the New Parents Expo held in Manhattan. It was a great event, and I had the opportunity to meet many of you in person (Thanks for stopping by our table!). It was my first experience participating in an event like this, and I’m really glad I did it! I love meeting new and expectant parents, and over 3,000 of them walked in the doors of this Expo, so I had fun!

Smooth Parenting Stand - New Parents Expo
Smooth Parenting Stand – New Parents Expo

Over the two days, I answered many questions about baby sleep and smooth parenting; and was able to (hopefully) break some myths around baby sleep. These were the most common misconceptions I encountered:

  1. Nursing & Sleep: “I am nursing, so I can’t do any sleep training;” or “If I sleep train him, my milk supply will decrease and I won’t be able to continue nursing;” or “This doesn’t work for breastfeeding moms.” All these statements are… FALSE. You can breastfeed your baby, maintain an approapriate milk supply and help him/her develop healthy sleep habits.
  2. Age & Sleep: “My child is too old for this;” or “We missed this train!;” or “This doesn’t work for toddlers.” All these statements are… FALSE. It is never too late to teach your child healthy sleep habits.
  3. Crying & Sleep Training: “It’s impossible to teach a child to sleep without leaving him/her to cry it out;” or “I can’t sleep train my child, because I know it will involve crying and I can’t handle that.” All these statements are… yes, you guessed it… FALSE. You can certainly sleep train your child without leaving him to cry himself to sleep, that’s my approach. I don’t believe in cry-it-out (CIO) either. There are many other ways to help your baby sleep, that do not involve CIO.

I know some of you might be confused about this, so I’ve decided to address each of this topics in detail. Stay tuned, this week’s article is all about ‘Nursing & Sleep.’ I hope you find the article clarifying and helpful to start your sleep coaching journey. Remember that you can always email your questions at We will choose two questions every month and I will answer them. Don’t miss that chance! We might pick yours!


Happy Mother’s Day!!!

The greatest honor of my life is being the mom to my wonderful daughters!

“The noblest calling in the world is that of mother. True motherhood is the most beautiful of all arts, the greatest of all professions.

She who can paint a masterpiece or who can write a book that will influence millions deserves the plaudits and admiration of mankind; but she who rears successfully a family of healthy, beautiful sons and daughters whose immortal souls will be exerting an influence throughout the ages long after painting shall have faded, and books and statues shall have been destroyed, deserves the highest honor that man can give.”

 – David O. McKay

What better gift than THE GIFT OF SLEEP for Mother’s Day?

Remember that in honor to Mother’s Day, I am offering a 10% discount on all my services (from private phone consultations, to overnights!). If you are sleep deprived, don’t miss this opportunity. Use the discount code LOVEMOM2011 at checkout

Wishing you a happier, smoother and easier parenting experience!



Get Your Pediatrician On Board

It is prudent to discuss any of your concerns about sleep issues with your child’s pediatrician before you start any sleep training program with your child. Is your baby gaining weight regularly? Are there any other medical problems that might be causing your baby’s sleep problems?  Are there any developmental conditions affecting sleep? Is there any reason why you shouldn’t go ahead with sleep training? Is there any sleep training method that is not advisable for your baby?

Your pediatrician knows your baby, and watched him grow and develop week by week, and will therefore be able to assess whether your child is ready to begin formal sleep training.  I actually require the families I work with to obtain approval to begin the Smooth Baby Sleep program from their pediatrician when their baby is around 12 weeks of age.  This ensures that your baby is developmentally ready to begin the process of sleep training, and that no medical issues will impede the process.

Please do not start sleep training if your child is sick or running a fever.  There are certain illnesses and conditions that can interfere with your child’s sleep quality, like: nasal congestion, teething, ear infections, colic, GERD, yeast or urinary tract infections, sleep apnea, night terrors, milk allergies, etc.  For a detailed list of conditions that affect sleep and what steps can be taken to minimize their impact, please review chapter eight which discusses special considerations.

Much love, Diana-

Baby Back To Sleep

Not too long ago, pediatricians and other health care providers used to think that babies should sleep on their stomachs. However, research now shows that healthy babies are less likely to die of SIDS when they sleep on their backs. Therefore, placing your baby on his or her back to sleep is the number one way to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Every sleep time counts, so do not make exceptions to this rule for short naps, and make sure all caregivers place your baby to sleep in the same position. Studies show that babies who are used to sleeping on their backs, but who are occasionally then placed on their stomachs or sides to sleep, are at significantly higher risk for SIDS. This risk is actually greater (sometimes seven to eight times greater) than that of infants who are always placed on their stomachs or sides to sleep.

Therefore, make sure that everyone putting your baby to sleep (grandparents, babysitters, nanny, daycare team, friends…), knows about the best positioning and they all place your baby in the same position.

Once a baby has the ability to roll over the neck muscles are stronger and the chance of SIDS decreases. When infants roll over on their own, there is no evidence showing that they need to be repositioned and back to their backs.

Much love, Diana-

Constant Night Wakings

Smooth Parenting Approach to Sleep:

Angelina ~ Constant Night Wakings

Is your child waking up constantly at night or during naps? Angelina used to wake up several times throughout the night before her mom seeked the help of Smooth Parenting. I’m proud to say that Angelina doesn’t wake up at night anymore! Learn more about their past and current situation from Angelina’s mom:

Angelina’s main sleep challenge was her constant night wakings. She would wake up 3 – 4 times during the night, every night.

Angelina_Smooth Parenting

She would have her first waking at 9:30pm, her second around 12:30am and her third around 3:30am and so on. I would go in, nurse her and she would fall asleep until she was about 9 months old. After 9 months, she would no longer fall asleep while nursing and she would stay away sometimes for over an hour.

At 11 months old, I contacted Diana for help! She prepared a detailed plan to help Angelina sleep better, without those dreaded night wakings; which included a schedule that was perfectly tailored to Angelina’s natural cycles.

That night I decided to implement the plan, I was prepared for a long night with tea, chocolate and a good movie to distract me. She woke up as usual at 9:30pm and to my surprise, she fell asleep after a few minutes of implementing the plan. I stayed up until her second waking – which never happened, so I was the one who was losing sleep for no reason! She had the usual third night waking and fell asleep after a couple of minutes. I was shocked!

The next night she only woke up once and fell asleep very quickly. Ever since she has been sleeping 11-12 hours straight and falls asleep more easily for her naps as well. I no longer need to stay in the room and creep out hoping that I do not step on a squeaky floorboard!

Smooth Parenting has definitely changed our lives! Thank You!”

Brooke B. Mom to Angelina, 11 months old

Boston, MA United States


Baby Sleep and Daylight Savings (Spring Forward)

3 Ways To Help Your Baby Adjust to The New Time


By Diana Gonzalez Blanco. Founder, Smooth Parenting.

The beginning of daylight savings is getting closer and many parents are wondering what to do to maintain their baby or toddler’s sleep habits, despite the time change. We ‘spring forward’ to Daylight Savings Time (DST) on Sunday, March 13th 2011* at 2a.m. by setting our clock forward one hour. This means clocks are moved forward by one hour at 2:00a.m. standard time, and the time becomes 3:00a.m. daylight savings time (DST).

Baby sleep challenges are not uncommon during daylight savings time adjustments. Still, there are some general tips that you can follow to have a smoother transition, regardless on how you decide to adjust your child’s schedule to the new time:

  • Continue your bedtime and naptime routines. The regular and familiar routines you follow when putting your baby to sleep should be maintained.
  • Keep your baby’s nursery dark, so the daylight (and nightlight) changes do not interfere with his/her sleep.
  • Carry on promoting positive sleep associations.
  • Remember that consistency is still key.
  • Change your watch and clocks to the new time before going to bed, March 13th.

In addition to these measures, there are three basic approaches we can follow to help children with the transition, that you will find below.

Those of you with “early risers” will probably be better off not doing any adjustments in your child’s schedule. Your child will automatically start waking up 1 hour later (according to the new time – DST), which will probably be a blessing to you.

1. Gradual ‘Pre- Spring Forward Day’ Transition

On Wednesday, March 9th 2011, you do two things:

1st) Wake up your child’s 15 minutes earlier, from her last nap of the day. For example if her last nap of the day is usually from 12:30pm to 2:30pm. On Wednesday, March 9th, she should sleep from 12:30pm (same time), to 2:15pm (you wake her up 15 minutes earlier than usual).

2nd) Move your child’s bedtime back 15 minutes each night. For example, if your child’s normal bedtime is 7pm. On Wednesday, March 10th, she should go to sleep at 6:45pm, 15 minutes earlier than usual.

Your child’s whole daily schedule the following day moves back those 15 minutes.

This way, you will have shifted your baby’s schedule back by one hour by the time you have to move your clock forward one hour. Therefore, your baby would be in his normal schedule the first day of the Daylight Savings Time.

See the chart below for guidance. Note that this chart assumes baby’s current bedtime is 7pm and waking time is 7am.

Date Transition Steps Current Time (Standard Time) New Time(Daylight Savings Time)
Wednesday, March 9th Wake up your baby from her last nap of the day 15 minutes before than usual. If she normally wakes up at 2:30pm, wake her up at 2:15pm. 2:15pm 3:15pm
Move back your baby’s bedtime by 15 minutes (From your usual 7:00pm to 6:45pm) 6:45pm 7:45pm
Thursday, March 10th Move back your baby’s daily schedule those 15 minutes, from the night before. 6:45am 7:45am
Move back your baby’s bedtime another 15 minutes. 6:30pm 7:30pm
Friday,March 11th Move back your baby’s daily schedule those 15 minutes from the night before. 6:30am 7:30am
Move back your baby’s bedtime another 15 minutes. 6:15pm 7:15pm
Saturday, March 12th(Spring Forward Night) Move back your baby’s daily schedule those 15 minutes from the night before. 6:15am 7:15am
Move back your baby’s bedtime another 15 minutes. 6:00pm 7:00pm
Sunday, March 13th (First Day in Daylight Savings) Regular waking time 7:00am, under the new time (DST) 6:00am(Doesn’t Apply) 7:00am

2. Gradual ‘Post- Spring Forward Day’ Transition

The day after the daylight savings time starts, Sunday, March 13thth, 2011, your baby will most likely would wake up one hour later than usual (based on the clock).

That day, you have to wake her up 45 minutes later than her regular schedule. For example, if her regular waking time under ST was 7am, with DST that becomes 8am. However, you will not let her sleep until then. The first morning after the DST change, let her sleep only until 7:45am (45 later than her regular waking time).

Therefore, starting then you should make sure your child’s naptime and bedtime are 45 minutes later than her regular schedule the first day; 30 minutes later the second day; 15 minutes later the third day; and by the fourth day, she will be adjusted to the new time.

The whole daily schedule adjusts to those changes accordingly. By doing this, your baby would be going to sleep and waking up at his regular times, based on the Daylight Savings Time, by Wednesday March 16th.

See the chart below for guidance. Note that this chart assumes baby’s current bedtime is 7pm and waking time is 7am.

Date Transition Steps Current Time (Standard Time) New Time(Daylight Savings Time)
Sunday, March 13th (Daylight Savings Time in Place since 2am) Let your baby sleep 45 minutes over her regular waking time (7am in our example) 6:45am(Doesn’t apply!) 7:45am(This is the current time this day)
Move your child’s bedtime 45 minutes later than her regular bedtime (7pm in our example) 6:45pm 7:45pm
Monday, March 14th Let your baby sleep 30 minutes over her regular waking time (7am in our example) 6:30am 7:30am
Move your child’s bedtime 30 minutes later than her regular bedtime (7pm in our example) 6:30pm 7:30pm
Tuesday, March 15th Let your baby sleep 15 minutes over her regular waking time (7am in our example) 6:15am 7:15am
Move your child’s bedtime 15 minutes later than her regular bedtime (7pm in our example) 6:15pm 7:15pm
Wednesday, March 16th Wake your child up at her regular waking time (7am in our example).Continue the day with your child’s regular schedule. 6:00am(Doesn’t apply! Old Time) 7:00am

3. Immediate Transition

The day after the daylight savings time starts, you follow your baby’s regular schedule based on the Daylight Savings Time. Therefore, on Sunday March 13th, 2011 you switch your child ‘cold turkey’ to the new time and follow her regular schedule.

You will most certainly have to wake your child up in the morning, since for her it’d be one hour too early, and go on with her day as usual. This option tends to be harder on children since (like adults) they would be ‘loosing’ one hour of sleep the first day.

Regardless of the approach you decide to take, remember that every child is different and they will adjust differently to changes in their sleep schedule. It takes several days to adjust to the new times, so be prepared for your baby to want to wake up later than usual on occasions, to be crankier than usual during the afternoon, and/or to be sleepier during the first days of the transition.

Be patient, loving and consistent to ensure a smooth and successful transition.


*2011 Daylight Savings starts:

  • Sunday, March 13th at 2 a.m. in the United States and Canada
  • Sunday, March 27th at 2 a.m. in most parts of Europe
  • Sunday, April 3rd at 3 a.m. in most countries of the South Hemisphere (Australia, New Zealand…)

For a full list of the DST start dates around the globe, click here:

Much love, Diana-