Thursday, 14 February 2013
I had really expected more regarding how to work with my baby's schedule. Instead the book just referred me to another book Secrets of The Baby Whisperer by the late Tracey Hogg. I felt this was a total cop out. I was looking for more advice about working with my baby's routine not just three questions at the end of a chapter on the topic asking my if I prefer a schedule or not to schedule. Hello!? If I didn't want a schedule or routine why in the world would I be reading this book?
I did disagree with the scheduling advice the authors gave to some degree. It seemed to contradict itself at times. In one part they are saying that you need to establish a "routine" because you can't actually schedule a baby but then in another section they talked about a mom who put her baby to bed every night at 10 PM from the very start and he slept until morning. (Yeah right!) This seemed completely out of place with the earlier chapter about letting go of your expectations of life with baby.
It had some great tips about getting out of the house and considering my favorite place in the world is already the mall (with or without a newborn) the tips will work well for me. My library also has reading time called Babies and Books. However, a new mom without these resources (or who hates the mall) might be throwing the book at the wall.
Another complaint I had about the book is the authors talk way too much about having a toddler. The book's title is "The New Mom's Guide" not the "Second or Third Time Mom's Guide." In the end, the tips to "find pockets of time" and "do what works for you" was pretty disappointing. That's just common sense. I don't need to read a book to know that.
Overall though I did like the advice about letting go of "getting things done" and "achieving goals." I tend to be a Type A personality that likes to check things off of my to do list. The advice to let go of that mentality and just enjoy my baby was great. I also gave the book an extra star because it is one of the few books written on this topic.
Tuesday, 12 February 2013
I heard about attachment parenting a few years ago and assumed it was something that only...well...how do I put this? I thought only weirdos practiced attachment parenting. All I knew about them was that they breastfed their kids until they were old enough to ask for steak and that they all slept in a family bed. I was kind of a jerk and idiot because this is the most extreme of attachment parenting. It turns out there is an attachment parenting spectrum and not all advocates are quite so hardcore.
It also turns out I've been practicing some aspects of attachment parenting for the last 19 years and didn't even know it.
I've always been the type of person who wants to read the material of the originator. While there are dozens of other books on attachment parenting, this book is by the pediatrician Dr. William Sears, who was the first to coin the term "attachment parenting."
Because I started reading this book with such preconceived ideas about what attachment parenting was, I was pleasantly surprised to learn the original concept wasn't quite so "crunchy granola" for a lack of a better term. Dr. Sears explains his philosophy on attachment parenting and backs it up with science. He expands on the seven basic principles of attachment parenting which he calls the B's:
1. Birth bonding (Rooming in after giving birth and continuing to bond in the early weeks and months)
2. Breastfeeding (However, he respects the choice to bottle feed. In fact, he lacks the Nazi-like attitude that breastfeeding must be done to be a good mother. In fact, Dr. Sears says "Don't let anyone make you feel guilty for not breastfeeding.")
3. Babywearing (Wearing your baby in a carrier or sling)
4. Bedding close to baby (I was surprised to find out that Dr. Sears is not an advocate of the "family bed." He explains that his children did co-sleep with him and his wife but all did so one at a time and eventually moved to their own beds.)
5. Belief in baby's cry (This simply means understanding that a baby's cries are how he communicates his needs. A baby does not cry to manipulate the parent.)
6. Balance and boundries (This means taking care of yourself, your partner, and the rest of your family in balance with taking care of your baby. Boundries means you don't give your child everything she wants, just what she needs and you practice discipline while respecting the child.)
7. Beware of baby trainers (This means you adapt to your baby's schedule as opposed to making your baby fit yours. You feed on demand and avoid methods such as crying it out.)
I was highly impressed with this book. It was a great introduction to attachment parenting and wasn't so hardcore that it completely scared me off. Dr. Sears even explains that you don't have to practice all of the principles to be an attachment parent. Parents will use these different tools to different degrees that works best for their family. I loved how Dr. Sears emphasized that if you don't take care of yourself along with caring for your child, you won't be the best parent you can be. This is truly a holistic approach that takes into consideration every family members needs.
My only complaint is that it doesn't have as much detail about how to practice some of these tools. For example, there are several different types of slings and baby carriers. It takes some practice to learn how to use a sling or carrier safely. This information was not included in the book. Another example was there wasn't any information about where Dr. Sears stands on issues such as cloth vs. disposable diapers or when to start feeding a baby sold food. I would have liked to have seen topics like these included. Perhaps they are in his other book titled The Baby Book. I would also like to know how to apply the principles of attachment parenting to older children which I believe are addressed in The Discipline Book and Creative Parenting.
Friday, 8 February 2013
I just recently gave birth to my 5th child on Jan 29th and am at risk for developing postpartum depression because I have suffered from severe depression in the years since having my last child. Because I have never experienced postpartum depression, I wanted to read about women that have so I know what to look for.
I think Down Came the Rain by Brooke Shields is possibly the most well known book about postpartum depression. I read this book years ago, but had no understanding of depression at the time and found her description of her pain and extreme thoughts melodramatic. They aren't. I now understand what Brooke went through to some extent.
The parts that were about her experience having postpartum depression were excellent. I was also captivated by her account of her traumatic birth experience. I had normal healthy vaginal deliveries with all five of my kids so I was truly shocked by what Brooke experienced. Her description of what she went through emotionally were no holds barred. I have yet to be so frank about my thoughts during my struggle with depression so I applaud her for baring it all. It took a lot of courage to write and publish her story.
I also enjoyed her account about what it took for her to even conceive a child. How and when she learned that her first pregnancy was no longer viable was absolutely horrifying. (I don't want to give any spoilers.) She is an unbelievably strong woman.
Unfortunately, she is not a strong writer. While the subject matter is intense and the book was considered a breakthrough at the time it was published, this book is far from polished. So much of it is repetitive. It seemed to have been assembled piecemeal and desperately needed editing. These less than stellar parts read almost like they were from her diary or journal.
I wish Brooke had included more about her experiences on Paxil. It's interesting that she talks about the various side effects of this drug and how it's not addictive. Current research shows the exact opposite. It has some serious side effects and the withdrawl from it is a nightmare from what I've read.
What I wish Brooke had left out was the last few sections that talked extensively about her relationship with her mother. The subject matter didn't seem to really fit with the topic of postpartum depression. It felt almost like filler, like she was trying to reach a specific page count and had nothing more to say about her actual postpartum depression experience.
Her postpartum depression experience also seemed very shortlived. This is not a criticism but I'm interested in reading about someone who did not have such easy access to help. It's hard to deny that Brooke's money was a key to how quickly she was able to receive treatment. However, I found it odd that other reviewers complained about her nannies helping her. In reality, she only had a nanny for two weeks while she was suffering from PPD. That's hardly someone that is living in the lap of luxury.
What shocked me was that while it was shortlived, I didn't realize PPD could come on so quickly. I've always heard it doesn't occur until a few weeks to a year afterwards. Brooke's suffering seemed to start within hours of giving birth. I could relate to the fear and anxiety about her depression coming back. I can't help but wonder if only a person that has suffered from depression or knows someone who has could truly appreciate this book.
Overall this was a good book but it could have been a great one with some good editing.
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