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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 17 February 2002
Forget your conventional baby manuals by Dr.Spock and the like. Send Gina Ford packing, and sack that nanny who knows best. Babies on schedules who are required to be 'convenient' are liberated! This book will reassure you in every way about following your intuition and your instincts. It doesn't just present one model for babycare, but describes a flexible world where baby's needs come first. We are so out of touch with these, that parents today have lost the art of breastfeeding in their sleep, or doing housework with a baby in a sling. But do not worry, the Sears will guide you through these skills and more, and make it all sound perfectly normal, healthy and achievable. Unlike many childcare gurus, the Sears eat humble pie as they tell how they came to fully appreciate the importance of attachment parenting after having four of their own eight babies. Their anecdotes are reassuring as you wonder how on earth to be 'attached' and get dinner on the table for 6pm. But the Sears are very accommodating and reach out to the working mothers, the adoptive parents and the 'burnt-out' parents in their readership.
The book is magaziney in style, with columns that jump all over the place, such that as you turn the page it can be hard to know where to continue reading. The multitude of subheadings and quotes add to this, so I wouldn't recommend it to the highbrow academic. But the authors must know that most reading for new parents is done in snatches here and there, rather than long cover to cover stints. Buy this for baby-shower presents, and for new parents. We do not have a rounded enough view of babycare without more of this type of baby manual.
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on 19 February 2005
This book has been my saving grace!
I owe so much of mine and my baby's happiness to these people! If you think i'm being over-dramatic buy this book, read it, and do for your children what they deserve. Raise them with respect, empathy and love - isn't that what every parent should do? Forget Gina Ford - and the rest of the 'baby trainers' and let yourself enjoy raising your baby. Everyone we meet comments on how contented and happy our little girl is - and she is. She is 5 months old, still soley breastfed and thriving. Even the health-visitors can't believe it. If i hadn't discovered these books then i dread to think what might have happened - i probably would have followed the advice of the likes of Gina Ford and destroyed my relationship with my little girl.
The techniques in this book - the 'Baby B's' as they are so called are wonderful. Breastfeeding, babywearing (putting baby in a sling), bonding, believing in baby's cries and bedding close to baby are advocated but you are not made to feel like a failure if you cannot perform all of them.
The books of the Sears Parenting Library truly are excellent. I have read all of them - and believe they should sit on the bookshelf and liberate the mind of every parent. By following these parenting practices i have full faith that we will be raising responsible, successful and compasionnate children who really understand love, emotions and caring for others. Isn't that what every parent wants for their child?
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on 14 May 2013
I find that while reading this book, there's so many mums I want to read bits out to - the psychology of children is flawless in my opinion (and I have a psychology degree) so it really helps to understand where our little people are coming from. Sears comes across as completely non-judgmental which really helps if you feel you've made mistakes before when looking after children, be it your own, your siblings when you were younger or other people's children. When my firstborn came along 2 years ago, I was recommended the baby whisperer books, and although I tried to stick with it for a whole 3 months, it felt unnatural to me to leave my baby sobbing while bent over him patting him on the back for ages. I was confused and upset when my baby didn't conform to what the baby whisperer said. The difference with this book is that I always feel calmer about a situation once I've read Sears thoughts on something that I'm having trouble with (fussiness or clinginess to pick one example). There's also a great section on working as a parent while maintaining your attachment - which they know a lot about since there's not much maternity leave or care provided to mothers in the States much past 6 weeks.

The sections are based around the 7 Baby Bs:
1) Birth Bonding: how the beginnings affect early attachment.
2) Breastfeeding: how it helps in getting to know your baby, what they call 'Baby Reading'.
3) Baby Wearing: research clearly shows how children who are carried fuss less and they are so content that they spend a lot of time in quiet alertness, learning a lot about their environment. They just seem so much calmer too.
4) Bed Sharing: the benefits of bed sharing for mothers and babies. The fact is that most babies sleep best when they are close to their parents. Personally, we have co-slept with our baby since I fell asleep breastfeeding one night and realised the next morning how well we had all slept! Sears is again non-judgmental about whichever way you decide to sleep.
5) Belief in baby's cries: "a baby's cry is a baby's language" ie they communicate through crying - they have different cries for different emotions, which you pick up the more time you spend with your baby. Babies don't cry to manipulate, they cry to alert you to their needs. "The more sensitively you respond, the more baby learns to trust his parents and his ability to communicate".
6) Balance and Boundaries: about balancing your own needs with those of your baby and the rest of your family. Because it's extremely important to not "neglect your own needs and those of your marriage"
7) Beware of baby trainers: "This restrained style of baby care, which we dub baby training is based upon the misguided assumptions that babies cry to manipulate, not to communicate, and that a baby's cry is an inconvenient habit that must be broken to help baby fit more conveniently into an adult environment...a distance can develop between baby and parent - just the opposite of what happens with attachment parenting"

The overall theme of the book is for you to learn to rely on your own instincts and decide for yourself how best to parent your own child.

When reading this book, I realised that I'd been parenting the exact same way without realising there was a name for what I did! To me, I was just doing what naturally came to me. Attachment parenting is a natural way to parent, and this book helps to explain it in detail in a helpful way, without coming across as patronising or judgmental. It makes me want to get all their other parenting books and also buy their books for other mummies I know!
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on 18 January 2005
This book has a lot of sound advice. The approach is basically to show your babies a great deal of empathy in the early months and even in the first few years. The values proposed are well evidenced and simply feel right to raise well adjusted connected and understanding children. Thankfully this book doesn't have much padding either. I would definitely recommend it to new parents.
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on 28 February 2005
This book is wonderful - full of sensitive caring advice from people who not only are parents (of 8 no less!!), but also have medical training to boot. This is the way everyone would parent if it were not for the flood of manuals from the 'baby trainers' which have left many parents scared to follow their instincts and others thinking it's okay to force babies into unnatural routines.
When our daughter was born I knew crying it out, scheduled feeding and other such nonsense didn't feel right but was losing faith when I repeatedly got the "rod for your own back" comments. I didn't know about Attachment Parenting or the Sears. This book was recommended to me and I found it so refreshing. Finally some parenting advice that is baby-centred instead of parent-centred. It's nothing new but it really makes sense. This back to basics approach is the way babies are raised in so many parts of the world.
So if you think babies need to be nurtured through affection and not trained to be quiet, complient, convenient members of the family then this book is for you. In fact all books in the Sears Parenting Library should be required reading for all parents and parents to be. Buy them all!
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on 5 June 2007
If you think it feels 'wrong' to let your baby cry, if you want to hold and bond with your baby as much as you can, if you want to breastfeed for as long as you can and if you want to sleep in the same bed with your baby. In fact, Dr. Sears helps you to see that you are doing what is best for your baby-- it's everyone else who's weird!! Don't listen to all the rubbish about spoiling your baby etc and use your instincts!

I will be buying this book for every first-time mum I meet from now on...!
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on 17 June 2008
It's so ironic: attachment parenting has been around for thousands of years, but because modern parenting practice has screwed things up so royally, we now need to be redirected towards simple truths like: hold your baby, carry your baby, breastfeed your baby. (As opposed to: push your baby around in a pram, make them a separate bedroom or nursery, and feed them formula from a variety of heavily marketed bottles and other paraphernalia). So the Sears' approach is hardly rocket science, yet it's heralded as revolutionary.

The thing is, by the time you've heard the words "attachment parenting", you've probably come across the seven principles of this book. Even if you haven't, you can gather them by reading the back cover copy. This book is primarily for people that have really lost touch with their own intuitive understanding about parenting, and need a book to tell them what they already knew. Indeed, reading the other reviews on this site, it's obvious that the people who loved the book are those who say things like "it gave me the confidence to trust my own intuitions"; "confirmed all my ideas" etc. I prefer to buy books to teach me things I didn't already know, not confirm what I already did.
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on 30 May 2012
If you are surrounded by people who keep telling you that you are spoiling your baby, that you are holding them too much, that it is healthy for them to exercise their lungs by crying and other such annoying or old fashioned advice then this is a good book for you, especially if you are a first time mum who wants to follow their instincts and believe that what a young baby wants is what they need. Gives the confidence and some scientific back up to throw in people's faces when you reach the point that you can no longer smile and say thank you for your opinion, then totally ignore it!!! Four stars purely because some of the facts and advice is just obvious!!
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on 4 May 2015
What an amazing book, i am planning my first baby and this book has opened up a world of possibilities that are basically common sense but seems to be so far away from what most people practice. Its nice to know that the writers are both medically qualified and parents with children that are all different. I don't like all the boxes everywhere and had to go back every now and then to make sure i got everything but i enjoyed it over all. I have noticed that a few people are slightly offended by the very traditional Husband and Wife dynamic of the book but you have to remember that this is written from very honest experience and so i don't believe this is a bad thing. I would highly recommended this book to any parents or parents to be even if just to open their mind to different possibilities.
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on 14 April 2015
This book tells you what you already know deep down in your heart. Get this book before baby trainers get you. It was like music to me ear - everything I would've done following my intuition stands there, scientifically proved.
If I can add one word of criticism, it would be about baby carrying. The authors can't say enough good things about it but my daughter is a living proof that not every baby loves being in a baby carrier. When she was 1 - 2 months old she was screaming her head off regardless of being carried or laid down to bed. Now at the age of 5 months she does accept it but doesn't love it and she can stay calm only as long as I keep on moving. The story presented by the authors about sitting in a restaurant and enjoying a dinner with a baby in a sling sounds like a fairy tale to me.
However my experience only confirms the overall message from the book: every baby comes into this world with its own personality and our job is to adjust our world to this little person, not the other way around.
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