Most helpful critical review
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Doesn't tell you what to do if usual attachment parenting stuff isn't working!
on 23 April 2011
First of all, if you already have The Baby Book you won't find anything practical in here that isn't in there, although there is more psychological advice on dealing with fussy babies. Likewise if cosleeping, babywearing and standard baby calming and coping techniques aren't working for you, then there isn't anything in here to help you.
Contents are roughly:
- chapter about the Sears high need child
- profile of a high-need baby, what you'd expect about being hyperactive, constantly feeding, unputdownable etc.
- about baby's cries, usual guff about why shouldn't let a baby cry it out, cites research by Bell and Ainsworth but no other research I don't think, no discussion of e.g. letting baby cry it out in arms which I'd have liked to have seen
- calming fussy babies - basically different ways to rock your baby, sounds to try, baby massage etc. to be honest if you have a fussy baby, I can't really believe that there will be anything in here that you haven't already tried that works
- feelings shared by parents of fussy babies - one of the better chapters
- survival tips - stuff like 'make sleep a priority' and 'be patient'
- mother burnout - surprised no mention of PND here, basically advice like 'rent a funny film' and 'avoid caffeine' and 'Take a walk'.
- sleep - basically suggests slinging down, swinging down, getting baby to sleep in a car etc. and of course cosleeping. Advice for frequent nighttime wakings is basically feed baby lots in the day (pretty much already feeding continously), increase daytime touch (doh, I can't put my baby down, how am I supposed to do that?), give them a full feed before you go to bed, get partner to help at nights, and increase sleeping distance (as if I can move without my baby waking up!) Nothing on what to do if you baby only naps in its sling and is getting so heavy your back hurts!
- feeding - talks about constant feeding but with no real advice other than deal with it the best you can, section on formula feeding does
- hidden causes of fussiness - medical causes of fussiness, possibly the better chapters in the book but doesn't talk enough about silent reflux as opposed to normal reflux
- various chapters on older high needs childs, basically advocating discipline style that is 'pick your battles', reward-based, and explanation-driven. Read Unconditional Parenting by Kohn instead which proposes a better alternative to rewards-based discipline
- survivors' stories
I guess the one thing that I got out of the book is the reassurance that fussy babies can turn out ok eventually and feeling that I am not alone!
From a practical perspective, I found the RIE/Magda Gerber/Emmi Pikler approach (and the idea that I hold and listen to a crying baby if their physical needs are met) much more useful and got a good balance between respecting my needs and my baby's needs.