Bialik, former child-star of the TV sitcom Blossom, is now a neuroscientist with two young sons. A proponent of “attachment parenting,” Bialik discusses the philosophy’s main components, including co-sleeping, baby-wearing, extended nursing, and natural birth, using her own experiences as a mother as well as her background in neuroscience to illustrate and shore up her points. The core of the author’s text focuses on what she considers to be baby’s needs, including a smooth birth (preferably without unnecessary medical intervention), breastfeeding (she became a certified lactation education counselor), holding, and nighttime parenting (including safe co-sleeping). She also includes a chapter on “Elimination Communication,” a potty training method that relies on parents’ recognizing baby’s signals (the diaper-free route, she admits, is not for everyone). While passionate and committed to attachment parenting, Bialik approaches her subject with a sense of humor and the awareness that not every parent will embrace all its tenets. Nevertheless, she makes a convincing case for the benefits for children, including healthy brain and social development, ability to develop trusting relationships, and good self esteem. Attachment parenting proponents will welcome Bialik’s openhearted message and advice to follow one’s instincts, and even readers who are skeptical will enjoy Bialik’s warm and nonjudgmental voice. (Mar.)
"At once conversational, informative and progressive, this book should be compulsory reading for anyone who has even considered becoming a parent." Ricki Lake
Many readers will recognize Mayim Bialik as the star of Blossom, a sitcom from the 1990s. Celebrity parenting books often feel like a pathetic attempt at a comeback tour, and I didn't expect to like this title, but Bialik holds a PhD in neuroscience, is a certified lactation counselor, and writes with a pleasing and conversational style. Attachment parenting is hardly new, but she breaks it down into its most basic form, covering expected topics such as why natural labor and breast are best, the importance of nighttime feedings, and (of course) babywearing. VERDICT Bialik strikes the right combination of medical information, parenting advice, and personal experience. More ambitious readers will appreciate Ruth Newton's The Attachment Connection (2008), another solid title on attachment parenting. A surprise recommendation.
An alternative-methods parenting guide. Feeding and sleeping schedules, potty training and early independence. These are the three maxims actress and mother of two Bialik claims parents must let go of in order to raise a child in the attachment parenting way. This "green" method of parenting "seeks to create a generation of children who love and respect people and the earth because they have been loved and respected by their parents." Guidelines set by Attachment Parenting International include natural childbirth, breastfeeding, sensitivity to the child and bonding. The author provides examples from her own experiences regarding these strategies. She recommends the use of midwives and doulas to help with childbirth in lieu of doctors and painkilling medications. Bialik explains breastfeeding on demand, holding the baby in one's arms or via the use of a baby carrier and the use of a family bed. Other advice includes saying no to all the gadgets and stuff available for babies and toddlers, avoiding unnecessary trips to the doctor for minor ailments and alternative approaches to discipline. Perhaps the most controversial suggestion is the idea of elimination communication--the ability to learn when a child, even a newborn, needs to pass waste products. Bialik claims that any child would prefer to eliminate into a potty rather than a cloth or disposable diaper. By learning the nonverbal signals that all children demonstrate, a parent can determine when the infant or child needs to use the potty and rush him or her to the appropriate location. The author admits parents must be willing to endure numerous accidents before the method is foolproof. Reminiscent of the back-to-the-land parenting methods of the 1960s, the book provides alternative ideas on childbirth and childrearing for today's modern parent.