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 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 January 3, 2013
I first read this book during pregnancy, along with many others. At the time, many of their suggestions seemed more like an ideal to aspire to rather than a parenting philosophy I'd be able to put into place completely. But when DS came along I realized how many of the ideas presented just make common sense for a variety of reasons.
Parenthood isn't meant to be a passing hobby, and choosing for convenience over the needs of a baby is irresponsible. Having said that, there are aspects of AP that are, in fact, quite convenient to everyone in the family.
Every try navigating a stroller up a snowy hill to a bus stop, negotiate the bus and then a crowded mall? Or steering through a crowd at a parade or festival? Try doing the same thing using a sling or baby backpack and you'll never want to go back. The baby gets to ride closer, is in less danger of being tripped over, you have more freedom of movement and can keep your hands free to move. Everyone wins.
Some people still argue about crushing babies in bed. If you have some sort of sleep disorder that causes safety concerns, you can still use the "sidecar" method or have your baby in your room, and you and your baby will likely get a better rest than with more severe methods.
One thing we did that I haven't seen in his books but wouldn't change is "naked baby kicking time" which is much less granola than it sounds. After bath time, we took DS to a warmed room to play on a mat and let him explore and kick etc. for a while. Stricter AP proponents would have people hold their babies nearly constantly, but babies also need time to stretch, kick and explore. Magda Gerber was a proponent of such play, and while not all her ideas mesh with mine, I think she had it right with this one. Constant carrying could end up as physically restrictive as "car seat baby syndrome" (when parents keep their babies in car seats for long periods) if taken to excess.
Another point that doesn't always come through is that some cases of colic may be linked to food allergies or sensitivities; eliminating common allergens from the breastfeeding mom's diet can be very helpful in these cases, but requires a level of commitment that some moms may not be willing to make. OTOH, if it helps soothe a colicky baby, there are many moms who would be willing to try, if the idea were suggested. Since it may not help at all (it may be hard to find the food culprit, and food may not actually end up being the cause of the colic in the first place), many doctors and midwives are reluctant to suggest it.
So often we are quick to take the "easy" option without realizing that in the long term, it is not easier at all. This applies to elective c-sections as well as breastfeeding. Even epidurals can cause more problems than they are worth if you end up with a subdural headache or other complication later on. Making educated, reasoned decisions based on your own circumstances is important. AP isn't all about martyrdom, but about making informed and flexible decisions to become a nurturing family.
on January 27, 2004
I love this book! My baby is 10 months old and the book has been our primary resource for raising our baby. I especially enjoyed the chapters on baby wearing, development, and keeping your baby healthy.
I gave the book 4 stars because the book is not for everybody. At first glance, well-meaning, loving parents might feel guilty (I know I did initially) if they are not able to incorporate all aspects of attachment parenting into their lifestyle. I, for example, work 3 days a week and our baby sleeps in a crib. However, upon closer inspection, Dr. Sears does advise to consider the attachment parenting concept as a philosophy, not as a child-rearing technique to be followed to the letter. His basic advise is "know your child and help him feel right." I do feel that he gives pleanty of practical information that is useful for many different parenting choices such as bottle-feeding with love, choosing the right formula, balancing work and parenting, and alternatives to the family bed.
Overall, I would highly recommned this book but keep in mind that if you are not open to the attachment philosophy or at least incorporating some of it into your life, then the book is not for you.
on January 9, 2004
Overall I recommend this book but it should be read with some others too. I mixed my style of parenting to overcome difficulties we were having at that time rather than one "right" method.
i find the push, push, push to breastfeed annoying, yeah we get it thanks! - I am medically unable and although I know it is the best way, it was not an option for me (I was having chemotherapy at the time). It would have been nice to be aware that by not breastfeeding I am not destroying my child's health and our bond.
I did wear my baby and she loved it. However, now at 11 months she is too heavy to wear continually and hates her stroller because she is used to being up at my height.
The section on depression is fairly daft and clearly written by someone who has never had depression. If this is your issue, perhaps better to seek advice elsewhere.
Lastly there are some inconsistencies, they say that by attachment parenting, which I did as much as I was able, I would nurture an independent child. My child is not, she is incredibly clingy and has been from 5.5 months. But they also say don't worry if your child is clingy as it shows you have a great bond - which is it?
Despite these critisms I still got some great ideas and advice from this book and still recommend it.
on December 28, 2003
There are lots of useful bits and pieces in this book. It really is essential to have.
But please totally disregard his advice on vaccinations and fluoride. Do a search on "vaccination myths" and learn how
vaccinations kill and maim children. eg They have mercury and formaldehyde in them. There is NO safe levels for these poisonous substances. Flouride is also a poison, rated 4/5 on the international level of poisons.
But he is totally correct that there is no alternative to breast-feeding. It is SO much easier to never have any washing up, to ALWAYS have ready food on hand, no matter where you are. And to have it ready the instant your baby cries.
And since breast fed babies poop is yellow and sweet-smelling, and formula-fed babies poop is green and foul-smelling, you KNOW it is going to help your baby for the rest of his life. Even if you have stopped breast-feeding, you might like to try visualisation and a manual breast-feeder and having the baby suckle you to get it going again - do a search on "male lactation" - if men can lactate, you sure can!!!!
Also, he doesn't do enough to stress the importance of giving plenty of water to your baby once she starts eating solid foods. (And maybe when she is on formula? who knows - this food is NOT what nature intended your baby to digest).
on May 13, 2003
After reading just about every book on the subject of babies and toddlers, this one in my opionion is one of the best. It is definately geared toward attachment parenting so if you do not feel comfortable with this style of parenting, then this may not be the book for you.
I found as some other reviewers did that some of the advice and info was a bit outdated or just plain unrealistic for today's families. But overall I thought it was very open for an attachment parenting book since it did talk about what to do if you cannot breastfeed or if you have to work. Being a mother who couldn't breastfeed because of medication I always ended up feeling like I wasn't providing proper nutrition for my daughter after I read other attachment parenting books, but not so with this one.
I just think if you are a new parent that you should check this book out. I found that wanting to stay home with my daughter, and letting her sleep in our bed made everyone I know think I was crazy and told me I was doing the wrong things. As a new parent you tend to trust what others say instead of going with your gut feelings on parenting. That's where this book made such a difference for me. It made me realize that everyone else's opinions(including Dr. Sears), should never ever make you doubt what you know and feel is right for your child. So although I don't follow the attachment parenting style all the way, I do believe in doing what you feel is right for your child and I think this book has been a great help in doing that!
on May 8, 2003
Dr. Sears is a pediatrician and father of 8, his wife is an R.N.
This book promotes a "concept" he calls attachment parenting, in reality this is really parenting the way it was before the medical establishment stepped in.
The primary concepts within are as follows:
Breastfeeding to allow for optimum nutrition and bonding between mother and child.
Co-sleeping with the child in the parents bed to promote bonding and to ensure childs needs are met quickly at night.
Wearing of baby in sling during the day to maximise contact.
There are other chapters dealing with nutrition, behaviour, high needs infants and newborns but they all follow the basic premise that children need their parents and that more contact is better - a need met is a need fulfilled.
I find that while Dr. Sears has very definite ideas, his primary advice is for parents to follow their intuition and to do what feels right. You can pick and choose what you want from this book.
I did in fact follow a lot of the ideas and have found that far from clinging, my daughter is one of the most independant children I know. I also seem to get more sleep than parents who put their children in cribs so it seems to be very parent friendly too.