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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 26 September 2013
This book was alright. It very clearly explained the tenets of attachment parenting, however I found it a little bit patronising. I think the intention of Dr Sears is very good, and I am on-board completely with AP, but the book had a lot of sweeping generalisations without much evidence to back them up (only references to "the evidence shows..."). Also the tone is very "down home-y" and old-fashioned, like advice you would get from your grandfather: slightly awkward and not very up-to-date with current sensibilities. The most useful chapter for me was about what AP is not. This list of common misconceptions about AP helped me to explain it more clearly to others and address issues that came up with family who hadn't heard about it.
Overall, it had some bright spots, but there may be better books about AP out there. Maybe even by Dr Sears!
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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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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 6 September 2010
This book reassured me that I wasn't mad in disliking some of the things my friends felt they ought to do to their babies (mostly from the influence of Gina Ford et al) and pointed me in the direction of a better, happier way of doing things.
My child is now three and I can honestly say I have never regretted the decisions it helped me to make - to carry her, listen to her and care for her how and when she needed it. She is a delightful, calm and happy little girl and although the first year was very 'full on' in terms of time invested this book made me realise it was healthy and right for it to be so - and I loved every minute of it - and we then experienced none of the 'terrible twos' syndrome everyone else moans about and continue to have a wonderful relationship. And no, I don't have grandparents on hand, and my husband is only home weekends, so seriously anyone can make it work.
The format is easy to read - it might seem a bit flitting about if you read it cover to cover, but who manages that with a small baby around! It is very much a ready reference book to turn to as each stage comes up - though reading the first few chapters in pregnancy would tune you into the principles and set you up before the baby arrives.
I haven't read any of the other Sears books, but would definitely turn to them if I needed further help. I now routinely buy this book for friends as a far longer lasting present for mum and baby than clothes or toys.
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on 5 June 2008
Quite simply put, this book confirms all that I was doing already and supports my intuition on, what most others consider, excessive or overindulgent parenting. There are some impractical elements eg. not everyone can rely on extended family or friends to help out and avoid 'mother burnout', but otherwise this book and its contents have given me total confidence to continue with what I believe is right, and so far my baby is a fantastic example that it works.

I do wonder why it is that parents are made to feel guilty for loving and caring for their children in an intuitive way, or are we meant to produce offspring on the basis that they become a type of 'accessory' in this modern materialistic lifestyle of today? Parents should fit in with babies not the other way around. May be this is why the world's gone mad!
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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 8 April 2014
My partner and I were following our instincts when raising our son, which seemed to relate to the Attachment Parenting style. To me, a lot of this book is common sense, but it's great to see the benefits that can be reaped from parenting in such a way. I have also found it useful when trying to explain my parenting choices to relatives who don't understand my methods and have followed conventional parenting practices themselves. A good read, I would recommend to anyone who is interested in attachment parenting or even just interested in breastfeeding - as much of this book suggests things that make the breastfeeding journey less of a challenge and more rewarding :)
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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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