Saturday, June 16, 2012

There Now Exists ... The Other Baby Book

Dear gentle Reader,

As the second oldest of eight naturally-born children, and the latter half of those born at home, I've absorbed a lot of residual information about birthing, caring for and raising children.  Before my pregnancy, I'd never heard of terms like "attachment parenting" or "elimination communication" and I didn't know that such concepts even had names.   I didn't know people had such vociferous opinions on things like bottles, pacifiers, strollers, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, separate-room-sleeping, or any other number of child-rearing options.

I was just involved, more or less, in the process of raising my siblings, and assumed, more or less, that the things we did were pretty normal.  My mom is an invaluable, treasured resource for all this information!  Conversational, wise, with thoughtful information about options, approachable, friendly.  Experienced, with stories to back it up, and humble, knowing you will ultimately choose what is right for your family.

We don't all have access to that, though.  Not all of us had the experience of seeing child-rearing in action for twenty-four years with younger siblings, with natural, instinctive methods that usually bucked the popular trends.  Not all of us have a mom that is willing to share, or with parenting ideas that are similar to our own, or understanding enough to know that we might disagree.

Enter The Other Baby Book: A Natural Approach to Baby's First Year.

This is, first and foremost, a book about instinct.

It is a wealth of information for new mothers.  Even if my mom did pass on every word of advice she could think of, I wouldn't be able to remember it all - but it's all stored in this book!  (Highlighters at the ready - you will want to mark this bad 'un up!)  Authors Megan Massaro and Miriam Katz have stormed the world of conventional, medical-office parenting with this little guide!

You may have no clue how you are going to raise future (or current!) children.  You may have a few vague ideas, but haven't necessarily figured out the ins and outs of what you want.  You may not even know that there are options for things that are taken for granted in our current society.  You may not know that your built-in parenting instincts are alive, well, and strong, and contain more wisdom than any strange pediatrician or Spock that doesn't know your family!  Or, prepared parent that you are, you may even have it All Figured Out!

Regardless of where you are at ... This book will liberate you to operate with instinct.  The authors beautifully present child-rearing methods with a variety of options on a number of topics, ranging from breastfeeding to diapering to weaning.  Suggestions, choices, and resources will be named - but the reader is never made to feel guilty for choosing their own path.  They are only enabled to know that they have the freedom to do so!

Megan and Miriam have done their research and provide the numbers for your reading pleasure.  Sound, factual evidence backs up many methods that have historically been instinctive to parents, lending support to your decisions when they seem to go against the grain of modern parenting advice - as many instinctive choices do - and giving you a little cannon-fodder for when relatives question your decisions.

This book is a refreshing, cleansing breath of fresh air when it comes to the world of natural parenting.  Instead of offering judgment and criticism, it only contributes information to allow you to make discerning, educated decisions, instead of simply going with a general "flow" because everybody else is.  Not everybody has the rebelliousness required to scoff in the face of all modern advice and do what seems natural and right to them - but with this guide at the ready, you will have the courage to make your own independent choices!  Parents of all opinions and schools of thought can be brought together to learn from and enjoy this guide to simple parenting.

Chapter topics begin with birth and progress through seven basic aspects of parenting in the first year: touch (nurturing), milk (feeding), sleep, potty (diapering and other options - yes ... other options!), relating (connecting), eating (when solid foods are introduced) and flow - letting go!

Author Megan Massaro
Author Miriam Katz
I was surprised to see in print many of the nameless, natural choices I had seen my own parents make over the years.  I didn't know that these choices had names (who knew holding your kid was a highly-controversial parenting method with clubs and Web forums to back it up!?).  But they had to come about as method because, over the years, dispassionate scientific parenting has taken the controls away from parents that were raising their children by instinct and with love.  The once-age-old traditions are often forgotten and disallowed, and parents that hold their babies a lot are "bad" because a doctor somewhere said it would prevent the child from being independent.

Pish, posh.

When a parent is allowed to make their own decisions for each child (and with each child, they may be different choices!), wonderful, beautiful things happen.  My mom, my primary example in child-rearing, is strong-willed, courageous, and willing to do what she believes in despite public outcry and the strong (and frequently-voiced) disapproval of relatives and acquaintances - but for those of us that don't have such a strong trust in our instincts, this book will provide the encouragement to believe in our God-given ability to parent, raise, and nurture children.

This book does not teach you.  It allows you.  It does not make decisions for you.  It informs you that choices do, in fact, exist.

You may be planning to have kids one day.  You may still be in the planning-to-get-married one day stage!  Or you may have several precious little ones of your own already.  Don't wait around; treat yourself to this wonderful gift and blossom into the role you were created for!

As a bonus - this book, operating outside the realm of big manufacturing companies, will inadvertently allow the new parent to save an awful lot of money.  Fully prepared for the arrival of Baby H now, Mr H and I still have only one thing from the big-name Babies store.  Who do you think is promoting all of those strange, innovative products (often made from strange, innovative materials with strange reactions to our body chemistry!) that you simply must have?  The good folks selling them, of course.  Some of the ideas in this book spared me even a few more dimes I was planning to spend, when I learned about other options that were available to me.  Curious?  I thought you might be!

Want to peek into The Other Baby Book community right now?  Check out the website, read the blog, like the Facebook page, and follow on Twitter @OtherBabyBook!  And by all means - read the book!

Mrs H

The authors sent me a copy of their book to read for review.  I was not paid for this review; my opinions are my own (and you know they always will be!).  I could have posted an awful review, but this book was way, way too good for that.  

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