on June 28, 2004
I'm a full-time working mom of a 2.5 year old, incredible boy.
Initially when I read Sears my reaction was that to be a good parent I would have to quit working, spend my whole day breastfeeding and wearing my baby and never get a solid's night sleep again. (And, I've have to grind my own wheat, grow my organic vegetables and move to an unpolluted island...well, not quite, but that seemed to be the general drift.)
But, what the Sear's approach or Attachment Parenting approach to me comes down to this:
Know your baby.
Respond to your baby's cues.
Understand that your baby isn't a mini-adult who just happens to live in a diaper. Understand that your child comes with his own personality and developmental timetable. Understand that when he cries he needs you. Understand that cuddling, holding, touching your baby is good for him and is not "spoiling" him. Understand that being given a brand new soul to nurture can be exhausting, but that everything you do which demonstrates empathy will come back to you 10 fold in the bond you will have with your child.
I do wish that the AP "movement" was less associated with "crunchy granola" types of parents. AP (and the Sears as the best known proponents) is really doing what comes naturally: We are hardwired to pick up our babies and care for them when they cry. We are hardwired to feel the intense desire to protect them from discomfort. This isn't a "movement" this is how we are made, and Mother (and Father) Nature are brillant!
on March 16, 2004
I think this book is full of very interesting and useful advice. Granted, I took the advice that applied to my situation and left the rest behind. I can't understand why some reviewers seem to think that they can only recommend books that completely agree with their views.
Unfortunately, I didn't buy this book until after my first child was born and I was having problems breastfeeding and getting him to sleep in his crib (and getting no rest myself in the process). I believe that if I had I read this book before my son was born, I would have had a much easier first couple of months. I used much of the advice in the book when my daughter was born and can say that her infancy brought us much more enjoyment and relaxation.
Yes, Dr. Sears is a breastfeeding, cosleeping, and attachment parenting advocate, but I consider him in expert in these areas. I much preferred the helpful breastfeeding advice in this book to the damaging breastfeeding advice I found in the What to Expect books. I welcomed Dr. Sears' comments that letting my child sleep with me wouldn't cause the psychological harm and bad habits that the What to Expect books lectured me about.
No, I'm not an attachment parent or a stay-at-home mom. I've used more formula than I'd like to admit. However, I found this book useful and informative and not at all "preachy."
I've given this book to several expectant mothers and have always been sincerely thanked.
on February 24, 2004
I was quite skeptical of reading the series of parenting books by the Sears, as "shared sleep" was so foreign to me. But, having read this and a few of their other books, I am now thoroughly convinced that attachment parenting is a wonderful, beautiful, low-stress way to raise children.
This book covers EVERYTHING you need to know about taking care of an infant, including day-to-day things like bathing, feeding, burping, to major and minor medical situatations. My husband and I find this book very reassuring when, in the middle of the night, our newborn is acting strange or when we get lots of unasked for advice and we second-guess our parenting.
Frankly, I don't understand the criticism that says that the Sears preach an all-or-nothing method that makes parents feel guilty. The Sears do promote attachment parenting but they don't believe that "sharing sleep" is necessry for every family. They specifically write that each family is different and has to find what works best for them. There is an extensive section on how to continue breastfeeding if you are going back to work and how to make formula feeding a positive experience, if you feed with formula.
Give this book a read and form your own opinion. I am so glad that I did!
on May 6, 2008
I checked this book out of library when my first child was a baby. I now use AskDrSears.com website. This book is very comprehensive and a good reference book from attachment parenting perspective. I would also recommend to read about other perspectives.
If you need to go back to work then you may find that some ideas are not practical, but overall it is a good book. It talks a lot about breastfeeding, carrying your baby in a sling and co-sleeping. Sears don't tell you that you are a bad parent if you are not following all the ideas, they tell you to find what is best for your baby AND you. If it offends you or makes you feel guilty to hear a lot about attachment parenting, then this book may not be for you.
on January 26, 2008
I spent so much time reading this book when I brought home my baby girl. It has so much useful information for new parents and it's written in a very simple, non-condescending way. I always have it near by to check on things like introducing new foods, signs of allergies, what to give baby when she's constipated. It's a really great resource.
I did find it lacking on information around sleep (maybe that's why they wrote a book on Sleep?). This book is pro attachment parenting. I love the philosophy and have tried my best to practice it but I realize now, that hardcore attachment parenting is probably most difficult for mothers who have to work - whether it be from home or outside of the home. Really think your plan through!!! It is suggested that moms should always nap with baby. If I had a maid or a cook, maybe I would indulge in this practice every day! What do mothers who have to leave their child at a daycare or with other family members do when it's time for putting baby to sleep? I can't see anyone but me curling up in bed to make sure my baby naps properly! I believe the book gives you the pros and cons of returning to work vs. staying at home with baby. I would love love love to stay home for the next 3 years but I have to get back to work to help keep the roof over our heads!
Otherwise, this book is amazing. I would highly recommend it as a very important resource for any new parent.
on March 20, 2004
I think this book truly empowers parents to get to know their baby, and to choose the parenting style that is best for them. The things they advocate strongly, like breastfeeding and carrying your baby for much of the day, have been shown in scientific studies to be very beneficial for children. There are also many researchers who are finding much evidence in support of co-sleeping. However, we do NOT co-sleep, and I feel no guilt from this book. Over and over again he insists, "if you resent it, change it" and "where mom and baby both sleep best is the best solution." He advocates taking weekly dates with the spouse, and emphasizes that moms MUST take care of themselves to take care of their babies.
The big downfall to this book is the lack of practical advice. For instance, while he acknowledges that co-sleeping isn't the best solution for some families, he doesn't offer much in the way of other advice. I really recommend supplementing this book with Elizabeth Pantley's No-Cry Sleep Solution (read when your baby is a newborn!!) and Gentle Baby Care. These, especially the sleep book, offer great, hands on practical advice to supplement the responsive, loving baby care theory that Sears promotes.
on February 9, 2004
If you are attracted to the child-centered basics of Attachment Parenting: babywearing in slings, a shared family bed and lots and lots of bonding to produce independent, happy, trusting children--then this is the book for you. It is very comprehensive (and LARGE!), so you don't need to buy separate books on health & medicine, breastfeeding, developmentally appropriate toys, etc. This will get you through age 2, at which point you probably don't need to be consulting books.
I almost didn't buy this book, based on the negative review I read from the reader from Stockton, California. He stated that in this book, "my role in the care and rearing of my child is relegated to being secondary to that of my wife's." That scared me! I didn't want this to be the model my husband and I use raising our children. But I gave this book a thorough read (the latest edition--maybe this reviewer read an older one?) and found his claim to be completely wrong. Over and over, Dr. Sears and Martha Sears discuss the roles that fathers can play in their children's lives. A couple typical samples besides entire sections entitled, "Attachment Parenting Includes Fathers," "Bonding After Cesarean Births: For the Father" and, "For Fathers Only" in their Postpartum Family Adjustments chapter, among others:
Page 44: "studies on father bonding show that fathers who are given the opportunity and are encouraged to to take an active part in caring for their newborns can become just as nurturing as mothers."
Page 94: "For dads who are novices at caring for babies, massage is a hands-on course in baby handling. Also, it's important for baby to get used to dad's touch as well as mom's. Babies thrive on different strokes."
Dr. Sears also gives some man-to-man advice on sex after childbirth and instructions on an especially comfy sling position just for dads called the "neck nestle." He even writes (page 293), "I felt a real high the first time I put Stephen in the neck nestle and snuggled him securely against my chest for a walk. As we strolled together, I felt a sense of completeness. Sometimes I wore him for hours at a time."
Additionally, we find out from the text that Martha is active in her career as a lactation consultant and R.N. in the family pediatrics office, and that Dr. Sears writes his books from home, common practices that modern parents employ to balance work and family. There is even an entire chapter entitled, "Working and Parenting." This is a child-centered philosophy, so it follows that cutting back on work hours or working from home, if possible, are encouraged. They DO have 8 kids, which makes them definitely not mainstream America (!), but their claim that this makes them baby experts is pretty convincing. They share really practical tips, especially regarding feeding active toddlers and all sorts of medical information that you definitely want to know when (or before) something is wrong with your child. Special sections address topics like adopting kids (the Sears family includes an adopted daughter) and parenting disabled kids (they also have a son born with Down Syndrome).
My only criticism of this book would be that it might be awkward for me to read this as a single mother; the authors don't seem to be adept at understanding the circumstances of this situation beyond expressing sympathy and suggesting father substitutes.
on November 11, 2007
I had MANY baby books and eventually got rid of them all but this one. This book has everything you need to know, from a terrific developmental reference chart, to what to do if your baby wakes up with a huge swollen pink eye (very helpful index). My second baby was collicky, and again, this was the most helpful and reassuring book for me. This book cover's literally EVERYTHING. I think this book should be sent home with every new mother from the hospital.
BUY THIS BOOK!!
on June 8, 2004
Mothers, Mothers, Mothers ...we need to stop being critical of one another. I was appalled at some of the negative reviews I read for this book. If you do not agree about something fine, but women need to support one another in mothering. I feel Dr. Sears did an excellent job of providing that support. The information is excellent and beneficial for our babies. Note: babies do not come into this world with an instruction manual. It is our duty as mothers to follow our own instincts and wisdom.
The negative reviews brought up guilt alot. Let me ask you something...Do you feel guilty when you don't use a car seat? Guilty if you smoke in the house? Guilty if you drank while pregnant? Sometimes guilt is a good thing.
If we are honest, truely honest with ourselves, we can use that as an indicator of what is not working. Go with what is in your heart...if it doesn't feel right, it's probably not. And what about baby?... If they could choose how they would be mothered what would THEY choose?
Listen to your baby, listen to your heart. Let that determine your parenting...it is priceless.
A wonderful book on parenting for both mothers and fathers is
LET THE BABY DRIVE...Navigating the road of new motherhood by
Lu Hanessian. A powerful book for ALL MOTHERS!!! NO GUILT TO BE FOUND!!!
on March 23, 2013
My husband and I picked up our son anytime he sniffled. I breastfeed him until he was over 2 (on demand until 19 months) and let him sleep with us. It's embarrassing, but my son had the biggest sleep problems of any child I knew. Somehow, from only reading this book, I thought that he would sleep whenever he needed to. (Especially if we were carrying him or soothing him, etc.) Did I read this wrong? The problem, I think, was that all of the rocking and holding during his sleep times got him used to sleeping in motion so he would scream uncontrollably if we put him down to sleep. He was tired and starting to get aggressive and crying lots during the day.
In the end, we used the Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. But motionless sleep (i.e. hold him when awake but down to sleep) and developing an organized and age-appropriate rrhythm to the day has helped my son and my new daughter go to bed with no problems. The trick is in the timing — if I time it right then my daughter falls to sleep smiling. Both of them are very, very happy kids. I always get compliments on how smiley they are.
With the crying it out debate, I always worried about causing my children emotional problems versus causing sleep deprivation problems. If we can get the motionless sleep and routines right then maybe we can prevent both.
Just my two cents worth. I know that we are all trying to do our best out of love for our children. Take heart.