Over the last couple weeks I've been reading some 'baby' books as part of my 'nesting' phase in preparation for our new baby's arrival. This being my '2nd round' per say, I am very aware that there are many varying and differing opinions 'out there' on parenting techniques and philosophies. In all honesty, I wasn't that intrigued by these types of books last time around. I think that because I was a first time mom, I found them intimidating and sometimes 'scary' because I really didn't know what I was getting myself into. But things are much different this time. Maybe it's because I'm on to baby #2, or maybe it's because it feels like a 'reading' time of year, but over the past couple weeks I've really enjoyed getting ideas from differing angles and learning more about different parenting philosophies.
Since becoming a mommy, I have learned that it is common for many people to share their opinions with you (whether it be blatantly or subtly) Sometimes these opinions are greatly appreciated and other times they can come across as if it is 'the right way' which sometimes left me feeling judged, intimidated, or overwhelmed. After reading and re-reading some books over the past couple weeks, I have been personally challenged to broaden my horizons and learn to accept and embrace varying parenting styles and techniques. Coming from a Mennonite background, I find that I often come across critical of others or judgmental. I shouldn't blame this solely on my background, but it is somewhat true. (I am aware that I do tend to have a negative attitude that surfaces quickly) If you grow up being taught that a particular way of thinking is the only 'right' way it can sometimes lead you to look down on others rather than accept and embrace them. (something that a lot of churches need work on if you ask me) This type of thinking makes it easy to judge others who do not think or act like mind idly. Anyway....I'm not here to debate religion or my faith but rather write a bit about what I've been learning over the past week.
I'd like to highlight two different books in this post today. They quite differ from one another, but I have really enjoyed them both and would recommend them both to new parents or parents with young children. Reading and re-reading these books this past week has made me eager to pick up more 'baby books' this time around and continue to learn about different philosophies and techniques! (of which I realize I will never 'master' but it's fun learning all the same)
The first book that I'd like to recommend is called "On Becoming Babywise" by Gary Ezzo, M.A., and Robert Bucknam, M.D. I was recommended this book by a few different people when I was pregnant the first time, and I have found it to be a really easy read and one that I continued to reference and lend to my friends. I've now read it through for a 2nd time as I have been preparing for baby #2. I am aware that this book has sparked much controversy (apparently so much that they've actually removed it from the library at my Midwife Centre - this actually bugs me and baffles me a little...as I don't like the idea of books being removed from a library because someone 'disagrees' with what's in it - anyway....another rant for another day) I really do think that much of the controversies over this book are about the 'cry it out' method and the concern that you may not take your baby's health as the #1 importance when following the 'suggested' ideas in the book. I do agree that the author of this book comes across very judgmental to other parenting philosophies (including those of La Leche League and Attachment Parenting). But, after reading it a second time, I still stand firm that this book has your baby's health as #1 in mind over sleeping through the night and that there is much to learn and gain from reading the book. Many of the ideas in the book really resonated with me. I can understand how some would be offended by the author's 'tone' of voice as he does come across rather 'cocky' in his belief that all babies should and can be sleeping through the night by such and such an age. I have learned that this is NOT the case. You can follow his methods to a "t" and there is always an exception. Our little guy did not follow this book perfectly and was often up in the night. So take and leave what you like from the book...I still think its a good read. I really appreciated the books emphasis on full feedings and introducing and implementing an eat/wake/sleep cycle. I intend to use this book as a reference for our next baby. Some of it might work, some of it might not. But I appreciate much of what I read from it and a would encourage others to read it also. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion...but you can't have one until you read it yourself (the whole book...not just a review).
The second book I'd like to recommend is a very new one on the market! I just picked it up from the library at our Midwife Centre and loved it so much that I read it in just 4 days! It is VERY different from previous book I just recommend. The book is called "Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving
Children the Attachment Parenting Way" by Mayim Bialik, PhD (2012). I would not call myself an 'attachment parent' by any means as there was a lot of philosophies in this book that I did not resonate with such as constant baby wearing, demand feeding or regular co-sleeping. BUT, what I did appreciate from this book was the authors non-judgmental way of writing and 'down to earth' REAL parent experiences. (by the way, she is the star from TV sitcom Blossom and The Big Bang Theory...kinda cool). She has written this book in a way that I can appreciate others who parent this way. I was greatly encouraged by reading her stories and I really appreciate her realistic examples and attitude when it comes to parenthood. This book has given me some great advice on expectations, relationships, and disciplining techniques that I really appreciate. I personally need to continue to work on making realistic expectations for myself and this book confirmed this again in an encouraging way. Becoming a parent is a huge stepping stone, and life will NEVER be the exact same as it was before. I really appreciate talking to others and reading from others who understand this and help to encourage parents in this new season of life. Another aspect of the book that I appreciate is it's endorsement of natural birth. I really support natural birth and home birth (when it is safe) so I appreciated her encouragement and information about this as well. I
have left this book being more open and appreciative of other
mother's who parent using the 'attachment parenting' methods. It is really well written and a very encouraging book. Even if you don't consider yourself and 'attachment parent', I really recommend reading this book!
I'm going to leave it at that. I'm sure I could say more. I hope this was encouraging and informative...maybe it got you more interested in reading or more open to learning about others' opinions. This whole parenting thing is quite the adventure...no one is perfect at it! I've found that this lovely Fall weather has made me excited about sitting down with a warm drink and a good book with a breeze coming through the window! I just LOVE the Fall! (what a good time to have a baby! haha)
I'm off to bed...not that I'll get much sleep. I'm almost 38 weeks pregnant and very very eager for baby to arrive! I admit, I'm excited and nervous all the same. I'll keep you posted with our 'news'!
Happy Fall Reading!