The Wellness Roundup With Dr. Jill

Take Back the Night: Rethinking “Cry-It-Out” and Your Approach to Sleep Training


‘Tis the season for coughs and colds and seeing our patients visit the office a little more frequently than they did just a few months ago. I am also seeing plenty of moms who are run down and battling colds and fevers as well.  I will then ask about the quality of mom’s sleep since getting a restful night sleep is a key in allowing the body to recover from illness. In more instances than not, the response I get is a smirk, an eye roll, and a defeated answer of, “we normally don’t get sleep in our house since my child is a poor sleeper anyway.”

Scientists are gathering more and more evidence that sleep is a critical factor in our ability to function normally while we are awake, impacting everything from cognition and decision making to overall physical health and well being. Sleep helps our brain remove toxins and it helps our bodies recover from the myriad viruses and bacteria that bombard our immune systems on a daily basis. Restorative sleep improves our overall mood and outlook on life, it gives us the energy to exercise our bodies and reap all the benefits of the increase in endorphins, it allows us to be more focused at work and at home with our families, and it provides the foundation for being an awesome parent who is fully present for our children.

If there is one aspect of life where we should be selfish it is getting a good night sleep. That is why it is so important to help our babies learn to sleep early and effectively–so we can sleep, too!  Why, then, are so many parents having trouble getting their children to sleep well? I think the answer might be that parents, and moms especially, are putting their own needs on the back burner by allowing their desire to be a “good” parent and not harm their baby by letting the baby cry-it-out overshadow their own need to take care of themselves.

I just read an article entitled, “Stop Shaming Women for Teaching Their Babies to Sleep” where the author cited a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics that found that sleep training DOES NOT cause long-term harm to babies. The study refutes a 2012 study wherein the authors concluded that allowing a baby to cry for extended periods raised stress levels.  No parent wants to cause their child discomfort or worse, raise their stress levels, but chronic sleep deprivation suffered by both parents and their poor sleeper inevitably affects the family’s entire life and that I promise raises everyone’s stress levels.

Parents ask me about sleep training on a very regular basis–let me correct that–parents complain to me that their child is a terrible sleeper on a very regular basis and tell me they have read all the books and have gone on every website, blog, and Facebook group forum, but nothing seems to work. When I respond that the best way to help your child sleep well is to let him learn to self-soothe and, yes, cry it out, I take a deep breath and brace for the negative reaction. Unfortunately, I am often met with, “Oh no I’m not ready to let him cry like that” or “we tried it and he just cried the whole night so we didn’t keep trying” or more often, “I have to get up in the morning and go to work and I am already exhausted”.  In our current society, both parents are working and, yes, it is much easier to feed a baby or bring her to the parents’ bed when she wakes in the night crying since everyone gets back to sleep faster…but that quick fix each night creates a habit that can last for months and years and the lack of restorative sleep definitely adds up.

After committing to a week (or even less) of allowing the baby to cry or by redirecting that night time visitor back to his own bed without any interaction or stimulation, parents regularly report to me that they can’t believe they didn’t do this sooner since it actually did work!  They find that their consistent and predictable response during each night wakening created a new pattern that taught the child to figure it out without the help of an adult.  How empowering is that?! The paradigm shifts from feeling selfish (I need my sleep) to selfless (I gave my child an incredibly valuable tool that will benefit her for the rest of her life) and then the ripple effect begins…better sleep leads to happier family members, more productivity at work, more energy to be the best parent possible, and an overall improvement in the parents’ physical and mental well being.

I would never pretend that there is a quick fix to sleep training since every baby is different, every parent is unique, and every family dynamic is blissfully complex in its own way.  However, once parents face the reality of their situation and tease out the excuses from the fears, they find the strength to take back the night and help their sometimes very stubborn, willful, and hard-headed child learn to figure it out and get some rest. As my very wise husband always says, “If you can’t take care of yourself, then you can’t take care of the people who depend on you.” Children depend on their parents to be their role model and when families prioritize sleep they are fitting another piece into the right place in the puzzle of parenting. Sleep well!!

~Dr. Jill








Healthy Kids Pediatrics to Debut Their New I.P.S. (Instacare Phone System)

The Healthy Kids Team is working hard in the studio this weekend on a new I.P.S. (Instacare Phone System) for you and your family. You’ll soon have easy access to frequently asked medical questions and to the corresponding answers directly from Dr. Jill and P.J. when the office is closed. The I.P.S. will also feature improved access to billing and other administrative inquiries.

Stay tuned…  


An Office of Super Heroes at Healthy Kids Pediatrics

Dr. Jill Garripoli, Healthy Kids Pediatrics, Nutley NJ PediatricianDr. Jill Garripoli, Healthy Kids Pediatrics, Nutley NJ Pediatrician

Dr. Jill Garripoli, Healthy Kids Pediatrics, Nutley NJ Pediatrician

Dr. Jill Garripoli, Healthy Kids Pediatrics, Nutley NJ PediatricianThey might not be faster than a speeding bullet or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but they sure are an incredible team.  The everyday heroes that work at Healthy Kids Pediatrics are passionate about your child’s well being.  Thank you for continuing to trust our practice.  It is our pleasure to provide exceptional pediatric care.  (and to dress up and have fun once in awhile, too.) 


Never Underestimate Your Baby

The Healthy Kids Safety Tip of the Day:

“Tiny infants less than 4 months old may seem small, helpless, and stationary, but they can absolutely fall from couches, beds, and changing tables. My motto to parents is “never underestimate your baby” since they can spontaneously flip over and roll off surfaces. Never leave an infant unattended to prevent this unexpected, but very common accident.” -Dr. Jill Garripoli

Dr. Jill and Celine Dion: A Rock Star Pediatrician with a Rock Star Performer

Dr. Jill Garripoli Pedalino, Celine Dion, & Marcello Pedalino

When Dr. Jill is driving home after a long day at the office, she can often be heard singing her heart out to Céline Dion🙂 What a thrill it was for the Healthy Kids team to meet the pop icon before an amazing performance! -HKP

“If you follow your dreams, it means you follow your heart. If you do follow your heart, then I think you can’t go wrong.” – Celine Dion

Understanding the Basics of Diabetes: What You Need To Know

Peter “P.J.” Pimpinelli, PA-C

Your child has probably seen one of his or her friends go to the school nurse everyday to get a shot or take a quick break during a ball game to grab a snack.  I say “probably” because an estimated 1.3 million kids in America have type 1 diabetes.

As an adult now, who has dealt with this since my teens, I wanted to share some information that will help you better understand diabetes so that your child can have the healthiest and happiest future possible.

The warning signs of diabetes include symptoms such as excessive thirst, frequent urination, unintentional weight loss, feeling tired much of the time, and extreme hunger.  If at any point you notice any of these symptoms, it is crucial that you schedule a visit with your provider right away.

Diabetes is a disease in which the body’s ability to metabolize (break down) glucose is impaired.  There are two main types of diabetes- Type 1 (formerly referred to as “juvenile” or “insulin-dependent”) and Type 2 (formerly referred to as “adult-onset” or “non-insulin-dependent”) diabetes.  Both of these conditions lead to hyperglycemia (high levels of sugar in the blood stream), but what’s the difference?

Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) occurs when insulin (the hormone that metabolizes carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in our bodies) becomes deficient after beta cells (the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas) are destroyed.  It most commonly occurs in childhood, however, about one quarter of cases occur in adulthood.  T1D is an autoimmune disease, which means that the body’s immune system attacks itself, resulting in a condition such as this.  Risk factors for developing T1D are not very well-defined, but it is believed that genetic and environmental factors play a role in its occurrence.  Patients who are diagnosed with T1D require insulin injections and frequent blood glucose testing to keep their condition controlled.

Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) is characterized by insulin resistance.  In T2D, unlike in T1D, the body produces insulin but has a difficult time absorbing it.  It most commonly occurs in adulthood; however, over the past 20-30 years there has been a steady rise in cases (alongside of childhood obesity rates) with T2D now composing about 20% of pediatric diabetes diagnoses.  Risk factors for developing T2D include genetics, obesity, ethnicity (more common in Native American, African American, Hispanic, Asian American, and Pacific Islander children than in the general population), female gender, and conditions associated with insulin resistance (for example, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). Patients who are diagnosed with T2D usually begin treatment with diet, exercise, blood glucose testing, and sometimes oral medication to keep their condition controlled.  With time the pancreas begins to tire out and slows down its insulin production and it is at this point when insulin injections may be required.

While T1D cannot be prevented, many studies show that the risk of developing T2D can be reduced with regular physical activity and a healthy diet.  It is extremely important to have regular well checks to discuss preventative care with a provider to screen for conditions such as these and to promote healthy habits.  The earlier diabetes is diagnosed, the better the outcome.

Take it from someone who wears a small insulin pump everyday-  modern medicine and advanced technologies have made living with T1D  surprisingly manageable and there are exciting new developments on the horizon.  Establishing a new routine and a sense of normalcy can be as stigma-free as you choose to make it.

Wishing you and your family continued health and happiness.



Rated “5 Stars” by Health Grades, Peter “P.J.” Pimpinelli, PA-C teams up with Dr. Jill Garripoli to make the award-winning dynamic duo of medical providers at Healthy Kids Pediatrics in Nutley, NJ.  The 2500 square foot medical home features partitioned sick and well waiting areas as well as a private feeding nook.  If you or someone you know is expecting and would like to join the Healthy Kids family, call our office at 844-437-5455 or send an e-mail to


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