The Attachment Parenting Book (Sears Parenting Library) Paperback – 25 Dec 2001
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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!
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.
Overall, it had some bright spots, but there may be better books about AP out there. Maybe even by Dr Sears!
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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