Back to School! Back to Routine!

As a parent, the first day of school can be a bittersweet cocktail of emotions. On one hand… “FINALLY!!! THEY’RE OUT OF MY HAIR FOR A FEW HOURS!” And on the other… “My babies are growing up so fast, they aren't going to need me as much anymore” :( We get it. But the easiest way to make this transition smooth and as painless as possible is to find a routine and stick to it! 

All summer long, your kids have been able to sleep in, have fun, and BE KIDS! But when school starts, the earlier bedtimes, earlier mornings, and constant rushing around to get everything done before that bus leaves, with or without you, can cause total mayhem! Not to mention the hassle it is to get your kids to share how their day was when they come home. Is it too much to ask for a little conversation!? 

We’ve compiled a list of “Top 5” suggestions from some of out favorite mommy bloggers, and Dr. D’Alesio herself, on how to help make your school week more enjoyable! 

  1. Prep the night before! Sunday nights can be lazy, so you can use that extra time to pack lunches, pick out outfits, or prep breakfasts in between finishing that last bit of homework that’s due Monday morning! 
  2. Have a morning and afternoon checklist that is easy for your kids to follow on their own. By keeping a routine, you can be better organized and more efficient to make your mornings that much easier. Example: Morning
    1. Bathroom: brush teeth and hair! 7:00
    2. Get dressed!
    3. Breakfast at 7:30 sharp!
    4. Backpack packed? Homework? Projects? Lunch?
    5. Catch that bus! 8:15
  3.   As well as a daily checklist, have a weekly calendar that spells out the various projects, due dates, field trips, meetings, and practices that are coming up. By being able to visualize what your week looks like, you can better manage your time and keep track of everyone’s schedules! 
  4. Parents! Use your newly kid free day to organize yourself! Tackle some of those projects you've been meaning to get to, but never really had the time. OR RELAX! That's right. We said it. It won’t hurt you to take “me time” for a change! It might do you some good!
  5. If you struggle with getting your kids to share their day with you, try the “Rose and Thorn” method like Dr. D’Alesio, inventor of Lily Method Pacifier Weaning System, does with her four girls! You ask your child the best part of their day (rose) and the worst part (thorn) to start the conversation. 

Whether you’re walking your youngest to their first day of preK or watching your oldest drive away to start their senior year of high school, knowing they’re growing up can definitely put a lump in your throat, but that's the result of being the amazing parent you are. 

Pacifiers and daycares go together like soggy puzzle pieces… they’re always questionable.

We have heard arguments on either side of the issue when it comes to the policies that daycares have against pacifiers. It’s becoming more and more popular among daycares to push parents towards weaning their kid before or soon after enrolling into daycare.

Many parents are thrilled that their daycare is willing to be a part of the weaning process, especially since children are in their care during the day! What could be easier! 

However, other parents are hesitant, knowing how overwhelming the weaning process can be and how disruptive it might be for other children at the daycare. They worry that the daycare providers won’t take it as seriously as mom and dad do. 

When researching the topic, we came across tons of stories about children, pacifiers, and daycares. Some were great to read, others, not so much. Everything from “my daycare provider helped us wean and it was great!” to “when we picked up our baby today, he had a pacifier in his mouth after we specifically explained that we are weaning, but the worst part was IT WASN’T HIS PACIFIER!”  Yikes.

We asked one local daycare owner her standpoint on the pacifier issue and she said, “Although I see the benefits of a pacifier, one purpose of daycare is to develop the children’s social skills. That is much easier when they are free to babble and play without the distraction of a pacifier. And, in addition to that, we don’t have to worry about pacifiers falling out and wondering whether or not it has been washed.  So from my viewpoint, weaning off a pacifier is kind of a win/win for both the parents and my staff.” 


If you have questions about sending your child to daycare with a pacifier, the best course of action is to ask the daycare provider directly.

Can pacifiers help reduce the risk of SIDS?

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death among infants 1 month to 1 year old, and claims the lives of about 2,500 infants each year in the United States. It remains unpredictable, despite years of research. When considering which babies could be most at risk, no single risk factor is likely to be sufficient to cause a SIDS death. Rather, several risk factors combined may contribute to cause an at-risk infant to die of SIDS.

There is no guaranteed way to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, but some way to reduce the risk of SIDS for your baby are:

  • Offering a pacifier. Recent studies show that the use of pacifiers during sleep can help prevent SIDS by up to 90%. There are many theories on why SIDS is reduced with pacifier use. These may include tongue position, threshold for arousal, airway potency and sleep position. If your baby isn't interested in a pacifier, don't force it. Try again another day. 
  • Place your baby on their back to sleep, rather that their stomach. Babies who are placed on their stomachs to sleep have a higher risk of being suffocated. This isn't necessary when your baby is awake or is able to roll over without help. 
  • Keep the crib as bare as possible. Use a firm mattress and avoid placing your baby on a thick quilt, fluffy padding, or pillows. Also, don't leave fluffy toys or stuffed animals in the crib, these may interfere with breathing if your baby’s face is pressed agains them. 
  • Don’t overheat your baby.  To keep your baby warm, try a sleep sack or other sleeping clothing that doesn't require additional covers. 
  • Baby should sleep alone. Having your baby sleep in the same room as you may be your preference, but adult beds aren't a safe place for infants. Your baby should have their own space to sleep. By bringing your baby in bed with you, you are putting them at risk for being smothered by blankets or worse. 
  • Breastfeed your baby, if possible.  Breastfeeding for at least the first 6 months may lower risk of SIDS as per the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

Knowing that using a pacifier may help reduce their risk of SIDS, Dr. D’Alesio, a pediatric dentist in Pittsburg, Pa and inventor of Lily Method Pacifier Weaning System, encouraged the use of pacifiers with all four of her children up until age 1. 

For tips and more, check out some of these great, informative sites!

You Know You're a Parent When...

It’s the most stressful, demanding and tiring job out there but also the most rewarding and satisfying. That’s right- parenting! There are some things you will never fully understand until you have kids of your own. In honor of National Parents Day, enjoy a compilation of memes that any parent can relate to!

A clean house? Not anytime soon - at least until your kids are old enough to move out!

Your children can’t hear you when you ask them to clean their rooms, but as soon as you go to unwrap a candy bar (your 2 minutes of happiness), they miraculously have flawless listening skills!

Just when you think you have five minutes of "me" time- nope you’re wrong.. you’re wrong every time.

You would literally do anything to have some peace and quiet for however long (or short) that may be.

No more looking forward to the weekend. You have responsibilities 24 hours a day seven days a week now.


Extended Pacifier Use and Smoking

Extended Pacifier Use and Smoking

Can the extended use of a pacifier hurt your child down the road.

Interview with Dr. D'Alesio of Bye Bye Binky

This blog post taken from to discuss the finer points of the pacifier weaning system and its benefits.

Ok, so let me start by saying how freaking cool the Lily Pacifier Weaning System is! I mean the pacifier is my best friend annnnd worst nightmare all rolled into one rubber nipple.


So what is the deal with sucking and why do babies want to do it the second they pop outta ya?

Non-nutritive sucking habits (the medical term that describes an infant’s need to suck for comfort) can be seen as early as 13 weeks of the pregnancy. You know. You’ve seen it- those adorable ultrasounds with the thumb in the mouth! So, yes, infants have an innate need to suck. This sucking reflex is most prominent during the first few months after birth, but can be present for up to a year. Babies do this as a way to calm and comfort themselves. Some babies master being able to self-soothe easier than others, so if your child really likes the pacifiers or thumb…well, let’s just say that they are already advanced at a young age!

I mean clearly I don’t want my 16-year-old son to have to remove his pacifier right before he gets his first kiss, but overall what do you think of pacifiers for our little ones? Are they a good thing or a bad thing?

As a pediatric dentist and mom, I LOVE PACIFIERS!!! As a mom, the #1 reason why I wanted my kids to use a pacifier is because more and more recent studies have shown that pacifiers help reduce the risk of SIDS. The other reason why I love the pacifier is because it can help calm your child down. As a pediatric dentist, I would much rather have a child sucking a pacifier versus sucking their thumb. You can get rid of the pacifier (especially now with the Lily Method), but you can’t get rid of the thumb!

At what age should parents consider getting rid of the pacifier and why? I don’t want to put you outta business here, but when is THE PERFECT time to pull the plug ( no pun intended)?

Ideal age to get the child off the pacifier is by the age of 1. The sucking reflex is not as strong as it was at birth. Speech pathologists recommend it by this time to help aid in proper speech. Dentists recommend it by the age of 1 to avoid dental arch malformations. ENT doctors recommend it by this age to help decrease the chance of ear infections. Personally, as a mom, I also think the longer you wait the harder it is to wean your child.

Are there certain types or brands of pacifiers that are better than others?

Let’s just say, if I saw your child as a patient, I would be able to not only tell that your child is a pacifier user, but I could tell you what brand of pacifier your child is using. I see the most detrimental dental changes with the Soothie pacifier. All of my kids loved the Soothie in the hospital, but I quickly transitioned them to the Nuk style pacifiers that have the orthodontic bend in the nipple.  

So, my best gal pal was about 22 hours into being a new mama and was purposely withholding giving her babe the pacifier for fear that breastfeeding wouldn’t work if she gave in when all this kid wanted to do was suck! These lactation ladies really put the pressure on! Poor baby and poor Mama! I hear so many mixed opinions on this, what do you think?

Personally, I successfully breastfed all four of my girls and they were all given a pacifier within 24 hours of being born. Also, a new research article from Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) stopped routinely giving binkies to breastfed newborns in hopes to increases their exclusively breastfeed babies from 80% to 90%. After tracking 2,249 babies born between June 2010 and August 2011, they noted that exclusive breast-feeding dropped from 79% of infants between July and November 2010 to 68% between January to August 2011.

 I encourage the pacifier.

Tell me about taking my kiddos to the dentist. What should parents expect? When should you go for the first time? Is there a way to prepare the tiny humans?

The American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend seeing a dentist BY THE AGE OF 1. A pediatric dentist will review your oral health routine, evaluate your child’s teeth and gums, discuss your child’s diet and also brushing and fluoride use. You can prepare your child by reading to them about going to the dentist or even take them with you when you go to see your dentist, so they can follow your positive lead.

Hands down best teething remedy you have up your sleeve?

POPSICLES! Anything cold feels great on the gums. Other treatment remedies include oral analgesics or teething toys. Use of over-the-counter teething gels are discouraged due to potential toxicity of these products in infants. 

Biggest teething myth out there?

There are many myths out there associated with teething such as fever, difficulty sleeping, fussiness, drooling, nasal congestion, and diarrhea. Personally, though, with my girls they ALWAYS had diarrhea within 10 days of the teeth poking through the gums. Whenever I had to stock up on Butt Paste, I knew a tooth would be coming in soon!  

If you had to pick one food or drink out there to have your kids avoid what would it be?

JUICE. Parents don’t realize how bad it is for the teeth especially when advertisements are saying “healthy” or “100% fruit juice”.   I only recommend water and plain white milk to drink on a daily basis. Special occasions, such as birthday parties, are when my kids can have juice or other sweet drinks.

I don’t know who this Elmo guy thinks he is and why he has SO MUCH pull with my daughter, but he does, and he happens to be the reason my daughter now allows us to brush her teeth (brushy brush video), but if other kids don’t have a small obsession with this red creature, what would you suggest? Any good tricks when you first start brushing your kid's teeth?

Start early! Before teeth erupt, use a soft cloth to wipe the child’s gums. Once the first tooth erupts, the child should be using a tooth brush.

I always recommend the parent brush their child’s teeth first and then let the child play with the toothbrush AFTER the brushing is complete. Start a routine early and your child will know what to expect.

What is the deal with fluoride? Is it bad for little ones? I mean it IS in our drinking water, but why do we avoid it at a young age and then want it when they get older?

Everything in moderation. Too much of anything is not good for you (even too much water can be bad for you). Recent studies are showing the topical fluorides, such as mouthwashes and toothpastes, are better than the systemic fluoride or fluoride supplements. There is caution with young children because you don’t want them to ingest excessive amounts of fluoride, but once a child can swish and spit, I recommend a mouthwash with fluoride in it. It truly does help in the prevention of cavities.   

So, you’re the expert and I am clearly NOT, but if all my babe’s baby teeth are just going to fall out why does it matter how well we take care of them, besides the obvious (stinky breath)?

The baby teeth serve the purpose of maintaining space for the permanent teeth and also aid with chewing.   It is so important to maintain a healthy smile because unfortunately cavities can become a life-threatening infection if not treated.

One of my daughter’s besties was playing outside and knocked her tooth out. She happened to be with Grandma at the time and good ole Grams popped the tooth in some milk and rushed off to a pediatric dentist. The dentist said this was the BEST thing she could have done to save the tooth! What do you think? Did Grams do the right thing?

I am so impressed with Grams. She absolutely did the right thing! (As long as this was a permanent tooth. Baby teeth can just go right to the tooth fairy). Placing the tooth in milk will increase the chance of survival for the tooth once it is reimplanted in the child’s mouth. One other better recommendation would have been to place the tooth back in the tooth socket and hold it in place until the dentist was able to stabilize the tooth….but you would want to make sure Grams doesn’t pass out!

Thank you so much for chatting with me about this annnnd giving my readers a chance to win the AMAZEBALLS Lily Pacifier Weaning System!


Dr. Alene D’Alesio is a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist and a mom of 4 girls (ages 6 and under)! who all loved the pacifier.  She is the Program Director at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Dental Residency Program.  After struggling to get her first daughter off the pacifier, she knew there had to be an easier way for this transition, and that’s when she invented the Lily Method.