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C. Kirkpatrick "The Awakened Parent" (UK)

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Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting
Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting
by Laura Markham
Edition: Paperback

39 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All parents need to buy this book! You'll see your children change before your eyes :), 16 Feb. 2013
This is a book that I actually contacted the author to ask if I could review a copy. Dr. Laura Markham is the owner and writer of the wonderful Aha Parenting website, whose posts have long inspired and helped me both as a parent and as a parenting writer. I have felt incredibly privileged in the past to have some of my posts on here linked to by Dr. Markham herself, so it seems we're on a similar wavelength when it comes to our views on parenting and children.

I was so pleased when I saw she'd written a book at last, and, now I've read it, I am not in the slightest disappointed. I can honestly say I don't think I've got a bad word to say about this book, and that's impressive coming from me, as I'm pretty picky about parenting books ;)

However, just being told `this book is great, buy it!' is not really enough, and as you all know I love to know the `whys' before I make any decision and think all parents, no - all people - should have the chance to know the same, here they are:

Firstly, Dr. Markham does a brilliant job of really meeting parents where they are. She doesn't write in a way that assumes that none of us has ever taken a hand to their child, something that puts me off some otherwise wonderful books, because I think it alienates parents. It's unrealistic and unhelpful as it can make parents feel even worse about the mistakes they've made than they feel already.

Instead, she makes it clear that she admires her readers for wanting to learn other ways of being with their children, all the while acknowledging that they may well have had really awful feelings about their children, and may well have even acted on some of them but without judgement.

She knows that those of us who really screw up are already judging ourselves harshly enough, and do not need to be preached to by a parenting `expert' who sits on her high horse telling us about the one time she lost her temper and lightly smacked her child on the back of the hand in a misguided belief that it will make her appear more human to her readers.

I don't know whether Dr. Markham has ever done this, or has ever done worse, but by not referring to her own screw-ups directly, she neatly avoids alienating many of her readers, and this is a great bonus in any parenting book in my opinion.

Secondly, the structure of the book is very clear and simple, which makes it look much less daunting to read than some overly-wordy books. It is broken down into Three Big Ideas, which then interweave seamlessly into each others' sections so that you can see how peaceful parenting requires all three to be in place at all times.

The first is regulating yourself, which she explains clearly and succinctly and which had me nodding my way through every page. It links up pretty nicely with the conclusions I've been coming to about personal responsibility and acceptance of how our lives have been shaped, and gives not only clear reasons why we need to heal ourselves, but useful resources for how to get started and, most importantly, stop yelling!

The second `big idea' is fostering connection - this had the most impact on how my husband and I parent our children. We thought we were pretty connected with our children, compared to many parents, but suddenly we saw whole patches of our family life where we could do way, way better. Suddenly it was clear why our girls faffed around when they should be getting ready for bed while we called upstairs to them: "come on! get your pyjamas on!", and why they just yelled back at us when we told them why they should not be hitting their sisters while we tried to cook the dinner at the same time.

The third `big idea' is `coaching, not controlling', a concept that my husband and I are already very comfortable with as parents, but which I could see would be pretty mind-blowing for parents still stuck in the punishments and rewards way of raising children. However, as with the other sections, Dr. Markham weaves her way around this topic with compassion and a complete absence of judgement for her readers and it all makes absolute sense.

The whole book really was a whole series of `Aha' moments, even for someone who feels she knows a fair amount about peaceful and effective parenting! I will re-read this book once every couple of years, I think, and remind myself of the places I've slipped, and I already remind myself of the helpful little slogans she's thought up like `connection before correction' and `empathy with limits'.

In conclusion, I really cannot recommend this book enough - buy it, read it, get your partner to read it and see your children change before your eyes!

by Marcy Axness
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.18

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to change the world!, 20 Jan. 2013
This review is from: PARENTING FOR PEACE (Paperback)
I was asked a while back to review a copy of a book whose title really intrigued me: "Parenting for Peace", and I am so, so glad I was considered a good enough reviewer to do so because I have learnt so much, and gained so much confidence as a parent through reading it.

Many of my beliefs and instincts about parenting have been confirmed, and I have learned new skills and an even deeper understanding of the awesome role we play as parents.

There are, as with most books, some downsides to this book, which I will elaborate on, but on the whole, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to any parent or parent-to-be.

The basis of the book is that most of us Western parents are now fortunate enough to be living in a culture where we no longer have to hunt food, fear predators or risk any of the daily dangers that our ancestors had to endure. This allows us to move the focus of our energies from `protection' to `growth'. By `growth', Dr Axness means not physical but spiritual or emotional growth - to a better understanding of how to be and how to raise better, happier, more co-operative people ie. a generation of people who could change the world.

She wends her way through seven `steps', starting with what we can do to make ourselves more whole in preparation for parenting. Obviously many of us only discover our desperate weaknesses and gaps through becoming parents, hence why this part of our lives is often the most dramatic in terms of spiritual growth.

The next steps are pre-conception, pregnancy, birth, the first year, the toddler years and the later stages of childhood. And this is my first criticism of this book: as with my feelings on the book Mother-Daughter Wisdom by Christiane Northrup, I am surprised and slightly irritated by the fact that over half the book focusses on a time which I imagine few people reading this book will still be in.

I am wondering if it is more common in America to buy books on parenting years before you plan to have children than it is in the UK, but in my experience, most parenting books are bought by...well...parents, which almost makes all the pre-conception stuff a bit redundant.

Having said that, Dr Axness at least doesn't devote pages and pages to advertising which vitamins to take in your pre-conception routine, and most of what is in this first half of the book is a) helpful to understand the choices you made at those times and how they might be impacting your children and your experience of parenting now; and b) a good basis for the chapters that come later. It is these chapters in which most of the science is discussed, how cells work and why they work that way, and what we can do to help or hinder them.

So, although you may feel irritated like I did, and be tempted to rush through this section if you already have your children in your arms, I recommend you don't, and that you persevere as what is related in these pages are helpful.

Within each stage, the book is then broken down into the author's seven Principles to Practice (which falls handily in a ever-so-slightly twee but very clever mnemonic): Presence-Awareness-Rhythm-Example-Nurturance-Trust-Simplicity. Again, the Principles to Practice section in the first few chapters provides a very helpful basis for a deeper understanding of the sections in the later chapters, so more reason to persevere with this first half of the book.

The other criticism I would make of this book is its obviously heavy influence from the Steiner movement. Happily, most of the Steiner teachings Dr Axness draws from are the same ones that make sense to me and fit well with our parenting ethos, but I was disappointed to read a very prescriptive bedtime plan in the toddler section:

"It should be early - during the seven o'clock hour so that she is asleep by eight at the latest - because it is healthiest for her and also it allows you and your partner time every evening..."

simply because it doesn't fit with the rest of the tone of the book, which is generally more accepting of different families needs and patterns (and this is one of my dislikes of the Steiner approach - this forceful encroachment on family life).

And I was also disappointed to read a very one-sided discussion of education choices, which spent many pages describing how wonderful Steiner schools are, and hardly anything on home education. The section on home education was also woefully inadequate, describing only the `home schooling' model and not really suggesting that there are many families who successfully manage to include in their home educating lives most of the principles she describes in her book.

Two of the things I loved most about this book were the author's willingness to show her own humanness as a parent, describing several points in her parenting path where she got things `wrong', and her repeated emphasis on it being more important to strive to improve as a parent than to be perfect already.

She also has many wonderful quotes that I want to write out and stick up all over my house as they gave me a lot of confidence in myself as a parent. I'm going to share a few with you here, as I feel they really help give an idea of the tone of the book:

"...remember that the single most pivotal ingredient in harmonious, joyful parenting is you - your confidence, conviction, and trust in yourself and in your child."
p. 283

A great question to ask yourself when deciding how to deal with something (this one actually comes from another writer, Pam Leo, of [...]):

"If I use this technique, system or approach, will is result in a stronger connection or a weakened connection with my child?"
p. 211

Some research the author cites:

"After reviewing studies from around the world, [psychologist Julius] Segal concluded that the single factor that most strongly protects children from being overwhelmed by stress is "the presence in their lives of a charismatic adult - a person with whom they identify and from whom they gather strength""
p. 376

On the the way children imitate the adults they love:

"So recall the master question: "Am I worthy of my child's unquestioning imitation?""
p. 297

In conclusion, this book is so full of gems of inspiration, insight, science and spirituality (in terms of increasing our understanding of life, not in terms of religion - this book is not based on religious teachings), that I would wholeheartedly recommend that anyone who reads and enjoys the articles on my blog, The Awakened Parent, makes their way to a book shop and orders a copy pronto!

BabyCalm: A Guide for Calmer Babies and Happier Parents
BabyCalm: A Guide for Calmer Babies and Happier Parents
by Sarah Ockwell-Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.78

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love, love, love this book!, 28 Dec. 2012
I am delighted to be reviewing this book, because, quite simply, it is wonderful! I'll tell you why in a minute, but firstly I need to say that every new mother would do well to get hold of a copy of BabyCalm, and if you want to win one, don't forget to leave a comment and share this post, because I have a copy to give-away to one lucky reader.

BabyCalm is a book after my own heart. The very first chapter focuses on explaining why mothers' instincts are so accurate, and encouraging readers to trust them more. Sarah explains clearly how our culture has damaged our trust in our instinct and ways in which to strengthen that inner voice. She then wends her way in a gentle, heart-led manner through a host of topics most parents are desperate to understand.

I love her chapter called `A Toolbox of Calming Techniques', as I've often used similar terms when listening to a mother calling the NCT breastfeeding helpline. She explains how babies are parented in other parts of the world; a chapter that reminds me of Deborah Jackson's wonderful, out-of-print book, Baby Wisdom.

There are no fewer than three chapters on that rather scary topic of baby sleep, discussing the ins and outs of sleep training, what normal baby sleep looks like and how to survive the first year of erratic sleep patterns and help yourself to get the sleep you need as a parent.

Sarah then goes on to explain about attachment theory, and how the opposite of what most people believe is actually true - allowing your children to stay close to you until they're ready to become independent makes for more confident children not less!

I think the chapter on birth trauma and bonding is incredibly important, as our feelings about our babies' births is so often glossed over and considered trivial in light of having given birth to a healthy baby; and yet traumatic births can leave huge marks on both mother and baby, which has its own effects on their relationship.

Lastly, Sarah tackles the transition to motherhood, and how we grow into our new roles as mothers with the support (or rather more often, lack of support) our culture offers us. So few parenting books have anything at all to say about the huge change we have to negotiate in ourselves as mothers, and BabyCalm stands out brilliantly in this respect.

I have only one criticism to make of this book, and that is the few instances when it is suggested that babies will get to a certain stage by a certain age; and I say `few instances' because most of the way through, Sarah makes sure to emphasise and honour the differences in babies and children in this respect. But, for example, in the chapter on Raising Confident Children, Sarah writes:

I can quite often spot a child who hasn't been allowed to attach fully to its parents, particularly the mother, as a baby, for they are often the ones who tend to be clingiest as a toddler, pre-schooler or new school starter.
I have a child who was not ready to leave my side until she was at least six-and-a-half years old, and I know many other children who are similarly clingy, despite being lovingly held close, sleeping in their parents' bed, breastfeeding until they were ready to wean etc.

From the tone of the rest of the book, I am 100% certain that this is an oversight of Sarah's, because she comes across as incredibly accepting of every heart-led choice parents make, and respectful of children's varying needs, but if I was reading this five years ago, I may have been feeling really very dismayed that my school-age child was still so wary of being apart from me and wondering what else I could have done. As it is, I know it's just her nature and I'm OK with that (now!).

But that really is my only criticism - this book strongly supports mothers and respects and honours their journey. Sarah offers parents a loving, non-judgemental, compassionate read, with suggestions that shows a great depth of respect for parents and their babies and always with the caveat that `this may not be the right thing for your baby - experiment'.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 22, 2013 6:13 PM GMT

Love Bombing: Reset Your Child's Emotional Thermostat
Love Bombing: Reset Your Child's Emotional Thermostat
by Oliver James
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

102 of 111 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A great idea but lacking in a few places, 28 Dec. 2012
I really wanted to read this book for two reasons: one negative and one positive. Initially I thought it sounded like a wonderful idea, but my negative reaction was `why make something special out of something that should be so commonplace?'

Then I remembered reading about how Penelope Leach (who kind of `invented' time-out) said she actually hated the very premise of time-out but that she was writing in an age when smacking children as a punishment was considered the only way to discipline a child, and in order to get parents to stop doing it, they needed to be given something else they felt might work. So maybe that's what Mr James is doing when he suggests parents give their children special time...?

The basic premise is that you give a struggling child intense and long, if possible, time with just one parent doing whatever he or she wants and with lots and lots of `I love you's from that parent. The book is divided into a `why' section, a `how to' section' and then the largest section is parents' stories from families who've tried it and for whom the technique of Love Bombing has `worked' (and some from a few where it hasn't worked).

Anyway, I read the book, feeling half sceptical, and half intrigued, and here's a tidied up version of the notes I wrote while I was reading it:

I'm feeling dubious about this. I try to ensure my children get plenty of this `love' and `time to choose' all the time, and I have noticed the competitiveness between my children that ensues when I single out one of the children for one-to-one time.

However, I have also noticed the vast improvement in our children when we give them time like this when they're struggling with something so I guess the premise makes a lot of sense.

He suggests that nearly everything should be allowed and the child really should be in control, but I find myself worrying about the `can I watch tv all day?' idea, in that I've noticed a very big deterioration in the emotional well-being of my children when they've watched a great deal of television, so I'm wondering if this couldn't end up being counter-productive in some respects?

Maybe my scepticism about the whole idea is that none of my children really are as out of control as some of the children in the book? Maybe this is a fantastic, amazing resource for creating a turning point in families where the child really has become `lost' in some way.

He does suggest that it's possible to do Love Bombing in short bursts, such as half an hour daily or so, which seems far more feasible to me (some of the parents actually took their children away to hotels for the weekend!).

I really loved reading some of the insights from the parents who tried it, for example Dawn's mum wrote:

"We have learnt to go to the place where she is at, rather than drag her to ours, it's incredibly rewarding. We are getting to know the child that she is rather than the one we would like her to be in theory."

I like to think we already do this with our children, but it's always good to have a reminder as we are far from perfect and often slip into that too-busy-to-really-notice-the-children mode that some parents seem to reside in 100% of the time (which are clearly the sort of parents this book could create incredible revelations for).

My criticisms of the book are this:

1. I would like to see an acknowledgement of the possibility of giving children more control over bigger areas of their lives, not just in very short bursts.

2. I don't like that it's labelled as a `technique', but then I guess that could be appealing to many parents in the same way taking a pill is - you feel like you're actually doing something proactive about a problem.

3. There are far too many stories of hotel stays and trips to expensive places like posh restaurants and theme parks . It's very off-putting as it's just not feasible for many families and these stories could very well alienate many parents very quickly.

4. I have looked and looked in the book, and there is nothing about how to manage the hurt feelings of the siblings of the child being `Love Bombed'. This really frustrates me as I have four children. Creating time for just one of them means taking that child away from the family completely ie. not just into another room, or doing something with just them, because otherwise all the other children want a look in, or suddenly need you urgently and Daddy just won't do (I think we've all experienced this phenomenon!)

Taking one child out for the day inevitably involves spending money, unless it's nice weather and what they want to do most in the world is have a walk and a picnic. It also takes up a lot of time when the other children will want the same at a later date...and by the time you've got through all four of them, it's probably time to start on the first again.

(I joke to my children that they have a `baton of dissatisfaction' that they pass from one to the other. Just when one child's current issue seems to have passed, another one picks up the baton and needs our attention!)

So what if your child urgently needs time with you alone, but you have no one who can care for your other children? Take one up to your bed and cuddle up with them hoping no one else notices? That works for a few minutes, I've found, but invariably one comes to ask for something and then what do you say? `Sorry, I am having special time with your sister at the moment, you'll have to wait'? Yes, that would work if the people we were dealing with were adults, but unfortunately they're not, they're children, so they don't just say `OK, I'll ask later, let me know when you're free'. They don't even say `OK, but can I have some special time later on as well?'. No, usually they say `Aw[...] I neeeeed yoooooooou noowwwwww, Mummeeeeeeeeeey'. Or they go away and come back thirty seconds later with some other `need'.

Can you tell this has irked me a little?

I would recommend this book, really I would, but I really would like to see Oliver James tackle this issue of multiple children in a more realistic way in future editions, and also to make it seem less expensive and put less emphasis on the lucky families who can afford hotel stays etc.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 16, 2015 1:11 PM BST

Mother-Daughter Wisdom: Understanding the Crucial Link Between Mothers, Daughters, and Health
Mother-Daughter Wisdom: Understanding the Crucial Link Between Mothers, Daughters, and Health
by Christiane Northrup M.D.
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.32

39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment after all the good reviews on here :(, 20 Aug. 2012
I bought this book because I thought it would be rather pertinent to me, having four daughters, but I'm very sorry to say that it has been a rather large disappointment. So much so that I have given up on it not even half-way through!

When I first opened it, I thought it looked great - right up my street. She talks about the spiritual side of parenting in the introduction, and about how patterns can be repeated through the generations, particularly along matrilineal lines. I know this to be true not just from looking at my own family, but those of my friends as well. I loved the idea of a book about parenting that took this rather esoteric idea seriously.

I also liked her analogy of a woman's life being a series of rooms in a house, moving up towards the attic. I can see quite clearly that the ancient ideas that women's lives have stages that match something around seven years each are accurate.

However, the book then went down-hill when I turned to chapter one only to have to plough through a whole load of information about pre-conceptual care. Why on earth any woman buying this book is likely to need this information is beyond me. If you're at the stage of wanting to conceive (ie. when the information would be helpful), you don't yet have a daughter (or not this one you want to conceive anyway!) so probably won't have picked up a book about having daughters. If you already have daughters then the information is entirely irrelevant.

It wouldn't be so bad if she just referred to it in passing as a potential explanation of why you might have certain health or emotional issues based on your own mother's pre-conceptual care, but, no, she explains at length what vitamins and minerals you might need and how you should look after yourself before you conceive.

I was irritated by this, as you may have gathered, because it felt like a real waste of time. I carried on reading in case I was missing something, but felt cheated. Anyway, I persevered but found the same kind of treatment being given to the early months of parenthood - how to parent a baby in the `fourth trimester'. Thank you, Dr Northrup, but I've already done that bit and would have been unlikely to be plodding through a great tome like this book at the stage when it would have been useful ie. in the first weeks after giving birth.

Sadly, there's more: quite a few things in the book that I simply disagreed with based on more than nine years now of reading, learning, talking, living and writing about parenting issues. Usually I can put up with bad bits when it's worth it for the gems that a book also offers a reader, but there were so many in only the first half of this book that the `bad-to-good' ratio was just too high for me.

Among the other good things were her description of our own boundaries as parents being imagined as an `external placenta' is very helpful and sensible, and the importance placed on the conception of ideas as well as the conception of children being a part of being a woman. She also explains the impact of our culture on how we mother our children, which really spoke to me.

I listed some of the major negative issues but won't go into them in great detail. The point was that they disappointed me in their directiveness and, with some of them, their inaccuracy:

"Most infants can start learning how to put themselves to sleep by the age of six months or so." p.128. This simply isn't so, and I know many parenting writers would agree, including Kathy Dettwyler
"...two books offer very practical, humane approaches for training your baby to sleep well..." p. 128. I just can't stand the idea of training babies, but maybe that's just me
On page 170 she tells us that children will kiss and cuddle their mothers, and tell them they love them, simply in order to get what they want. I disagree with the idea that children are born this manipulative and am irritated that she doesn't say that this is only really likely to happen when love and cuddles are used in this way by parents in the first place
Her description of `time out' for tantrums on page 176 filled me with dismay - "[do not] try to comfort her" (appropriate in some cases, but not all); "[turn] your back to her" :(
Her ideas about discipline are surprisingly draconian for such a forward-thinking book
On page 301 her ideas about gender differences seem to conflict directly with what she writes a few pages later, which is confusing and unhelpful
In addition to these things, despite writing brilliantly about guilt, she then undoes it all by writing an explanation of the root of inappropriate guilt which is too unbending to be accurate to many women - it certainly wasn't accurate for me at least!

And the thing I hated the most? The product placement! This woman is obsessed with vitamins and with promoting her favourite brands and her closest friends. She repeatedly refers to specific medicine companies and her favourite authors throughout the book and at the back has a whole resources section devoted to telling you which brand she thinks you should buy. This is more than the general `books you might like' appendix at the back of many books and reads more like a doctor's prescription, something that just doesn't sit well with me at all.

In my opinion, this one issue completely invalidates everything else in the book. I just don't understand how you can really trust someone who is clearly doing her best to use her name and her reputation to sell far more than just a book?

So, Dr Northrup, I'm disappointed. I'd heard good things about you, and especially about your work around the menopause and how you've empowered women, but I feel I've really wasted £11.60 and too many hours of reading time on this book and I'm delighted I've decided to stop reading it and use my reading time more wisely on books that annoy me less!

PS. I do find it ironic that she writes about narcissism but she has a huge big photograph of herself on the cover of the copy I was sent, which looks different to the version on even though that's where I received it from! ;)
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 23, 2015 6:15 PM BST

How Mothers Love: And how relationships are born
How Mothers Love: And how relationships are born
by Naomi Stadlen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for everyone, not just mothers, 27 Jun. 2012
A few years ago, I was strongly encouraged by several people to read Naomi Stadlen`s first book, What Mothers Do: especially when it looks like nothing. I think one of my favourite things about that book is its tagline: Especially when it looks like nothing. In my opinion, both What Mothers Do and Stadlen's latest book, How Mothers Love and how relationships are born ought to be required reading for everyone, not just parents. Maybe then we'd have a chance to create a culture where the work parents do is valued the way it should be!

In How Mothers Love, Stadlen explains the complicated, terrfying, overwhelming and seemingly unfathomable feelings and emotional work that parents, particularly the primary carers of children, experience and how they are changed by that experience.

Until one is a parent, it is easy to think that all it takes is to give birth to a baby, feed him, clothe him and care for him and that's it, you're a parent. But as anyone who has done it will know, that is the easy bit, and in this book, Stadlen eloquently describes the development of parents in all its depth and beauty, using quotes from mothers who've attended her Mothers Talking groups over the last twenty years.

Stadlen explains not only how we learn to love our babies, but how that process is affected by many other things - our relationships with our own mothers; the existence of a first-born; the state of our relationship with our baby's other parent. She writes about support and about how we make choices about how we parent our babies and what the affect of that support and those choices might be.

I found myself repeatedly nodding or smiling in recognition throughout the whole of this book, just as I did with What Mothers Do. If you loved that one, then definitely get hold of a copy of How Mothers Love and re-read both of them every time you ask yourself why on earth you're doing this job!

Breastfeeding, Take Two: Successful Breastfeeding the Second Time Around
Breastfeeding, Take Two: Successful Breastfeeding the Second Time Around
by Stephanie Casemore
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended for both mothers and breastfeeding counsellors alike, 27 Jun. 2012
Stephanie Casemore is a woman on a mission. In her own words, she experienced breastfeeding `failure' with her first baby, and, through the process, became determined to learn all she could to enable her to breastfeed her second.

With Breastfeeding, Take Two, she hopes to help other mothers find their way through the pain of not being able to breastfeed their first baby so that they can move on and find peace in mothering their second, hopefully including a happier breastfeeding experience along the way.

The book is split into two sections. The first section aims to help mothers disentangle their previous experiences of breastfeeding, and the second discusses ways to use that knowledge to move forwards and support your attempts to breastfeed your second or third or fourth baby.

Stephanie's style is kind and encouraging, skilfully unpicking the mess of feelings of failure, mistrust in your body, guilt and grief that is often felt by mothers who wanted to breastfeed and found they were unable to.

She discusses the importance of understanding how our society and culture influences our breastfeeding experiences - the media, advertising, and what we see if baby-feeding before we have our own babies.

On the topic of support, she explains how everyone is likely to be doing their best, but is also influenced by our bottle-feeding culture, discussing why some support is more helpful than others, and encouraging readers to think about the support they received when they were breastfeeding their first babies.

The feeling of loss of faith in our own bodies is explored in detail - where that comes from and how to tackle it, including the impact of self-fulfilling prophecy.

Then the big, scary subject of judgement and guilt is tackled, something I feel passionate about and often touch on on my blog, The Awakened Parent ([...]). I learnt a lot reading this chapter, particularly about how Stephanie turns the whole guilt thing around so that it's clear that it is, in fact, grief that we are experiencing.

She goes onto explain why we have such strong feelings about breastfeeding failure, and describes ways in which it may be helpful to tackle that grief so that you can move on and enjoy the experience you have with your second child.

When thinking about subsequent breastfeeding experiences, Stephanie encourages mothers to explore their expectations, the issue of control, and the meaning of the word `failure' in order to know how to improve your chances of breastfeeding your next baby.

The second section focusses on explaining the normal biological course of breastfeeding, how to help yourself get as close to that as possible, and also the consideration of what happens if it doesn't work out again.

Stephanie explains things in way that causes those `a-ha' moments, where suddenly the things that had been niggling you become clear and you finally understand them. My favourite example of this was about support, right at the beginning in the introduction. I've always known that encouraging a struggling breastfeeding mother to stop isn't helpful, but her explanation as to why is just inspired:

"Too often the support women receive is the equivalent of a marathon runner being told in the last mile of her race that it's okay to quit, she's tried hard, and that if she is tired and in pain, it's okay not to finish."

Does this book fit well with my The Awakened Parent ethos? Yes, absolutely. If you're looking for a book that will help explain what's going on behind breastfeeding `failure' and help you, in a non-judgemental, supportive way to find your way to be able to breastfeed future babies, then this is absolutely it. I have no hesitation in recommending this book wholeheartedly not just to any second time parents but to anyone who struggled to breastfeed their first and wishes to be able to make sense of it, and to my breastfeeding counsellor colleagues as well.

Write to be Published
Write to be Published
by Nicola Morgan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute must-read for any aspiring author, 24 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Write to be Published (Paperback)
I think that every aspiring writer should read this book. Nicola knows exactly what she's talking about. She's not only experienced in writing fiction, but also non-fiction. And she has so much contact with the publishing industry that her book must be very accurate (in fact, I'd say it certainly is, endorsed, as it is, by industry professionals).

She covers how to get your writing up to scratch first of all. Handy tips that will help any writer improve his or her work and if you struggle with any of them then, as she says, you need a more in depth book looking at that particular issue.

Then she goes onto explain how to get an agent, or how to get the interest of a publisher.

She's very straight talking, and very amusing at times, making it a relatively quick read, but don't think that that means that there's not much in it! You'll come away from it with so much information and help that you'll be amazed.

Three in a Bed : The Benefits of Sleeping with Your Baby
Three in a Bed : The Benefits of Sleeping with Your Baby
by Deborah Jackson
Edition: Paperback

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars reshaping our views on parenting, 18 Mar. 2002
This book really challenges the modern ideals behind parenting. My grandmother believes firmly that babies should be made to get used to sleeping on their own in a dark room. Deborah Jackson tells us the opposite, and provides research and evidence to back up her opinions. As a health care professional and graduate, I am trained to not take things at face value and I now totally believe that this is the only way to care for babies. Jackson's way of writing is kind and non-prescriptive and totally non-disapproving of parents who might not want to follow her advice. She emphasises the fact that she does not want to be yet another baby care author, but someone who brings to our attention the way babies are meant to be brought up if we consider nature to be the 'right' way.

The New Pregnancy and Childbirth (Penguin health books)
The New Pregnancy and Childbirth (Penguin health books)
by Sheila Kitzinger
Edition: Paperback

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very empowering book, 6 Nov. 2001
Although the author makes it obvious she is anti-intervention, the book is clearly intended to promote choice above all. We mustn't forget that most women would still have very little choice at all if it wasn't for Ms Kitzinger. The book does not discourage hospital births with interventions, but discusses all the options encouraging the mother to make her own choice.
Her book is not too simple but not too intellectual and encourages women to be pro-active in their approach to their pregnancy. It gives advice on how to not bow under the pressure that many doctors put on women to have the birth/ante-natal care the doctor wants rather than what the woman wants.
The pictures are beautiful and there are small descriptions of personal experiences set into the main text which are lovely to read.
I am half-way through this book and I keep referring back to the bits I have already read.

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