Thursday, August 4, 2011

Research is power

A month ago, while we were out running errands, Mom and I stopped at a bookstore in search of parenting books. Specific types of parenting books.

Who am I kidding? My life is an open book. I was looking for books on attachment parenting and co-sleeping. (Suggestions greatly appreciated, for the record.) I was raised by hippies, I married a hippie, and despite my (former) denial, ladies and gentlemen, I AM A HIPPIE. A hippie who likes to do her research. 

When we were talking about adopting a dog, I read about dogs. Dog training, dog breeds, dog health. I even watched the Dog Whisperer, until I realized that it was the owners that needed retraining.

Anyway, we get to a Big and Noisy chain bookstore (which I NEVER shop at, for the record), and while standing in the "parenting" aisle, we were approached by a teenage employee.

Before I continue, please note that I love teenagers, especially employed ones. The ones that are engaged enough to ask "Is there anything I can help you with?" cheerfully are in danger of being attack-hugged. They are unicorns.

When I asked where the attachment parenting and co-sleeping books were (because I could find *zero*), RaisedByYuppies asked what attachment parenting *was*.

Mom, being the cheerful educator, attachment parent, and former lactation counselor, briefly explained the precepts of attachment parenting to RaisedByYuppies. (You would brag, too, if she was your mom.)

RaisedByYuppies then informed us that it's more fashionable to raise babies using the "cry it out" method, and that babies need boundaries. Given that I haven't been my sharpest the last month (or so) I ignored her ignorance, and Mom and I left, me in a huff. I'm still annoyed that I didn't say something smart and caustic to her. I did not ever claim to be a nice person.

Though, I suppose if I had punched her in the face while screaming about how important nurturing is, she may have missed my message. Maybe it's a good thing I restrained myself.

It was then, in the car when I was ranting about uninformed opinions and that as a matter of form, I don't take any advice from a teen working retail, that I realized: Librarians are smart, and libraries are full of books. Books they will cheerfully let me read FOR FREE. Without offering opinions.

This might be obvious to you, but I keep forgetting about the amazing resource that IS the local library system. Also? The Sunnyvale library has a KILLER selection of cookbooks. It's a great way of deciding whether or not you HAVE TO HAVE a specific cookbook in your collection.

We zoomed over to our local library, where I picked over the parenting shelves, hunting for books that appealed to my hippified self. For the cost of ZERO dollars, I checked out a dozen parenting books, which I have slowly been picking my way through. Some have been "eh", one was awful, and one has been GREAT. So great, I think I'm going to write the author a fan letter and give the book its own blog post.

Given that all experiences are opportunities for learning, here are mine:

- Never go to a chain bookstore. Buy locally from Recycle Books, on Amazon, or not at all.
- Libraries are amazing, but I'm so sad that they have DVDs there now. They might as well say "Watch a movie, literacy is doomed anyway."
- My hippiness has its limits. And that limit is Elimination Communication.


  1. AMEN, My Hippie Sister! I may carry a designer bag, have purple hair, and live in the burbs, but in my heart I too am truly a hippie. Maybe it stems from not liking rules?

    You cracked me up this morning and I thank you for that as I'm having a rough go of things lately. Between picturing you in the described circumstance and the reference to the Sunnyvale Library (which I read SunnyDALE and there were all kinds of Giles ponderings) I laughed - LOUDLY! So thanks - again.

    Hope all is well and you are having a tremendous time preparing for minishark - it truly IS the greatest adventure ever.

    Love the new DO and I am right there with you on the EC.

    Smile, it will make people wonder what you've been up to!

  2. Oh I agree...I think I have that same limit! :)

  3. Yay for libraries! Come check out lots of books. :)

    Librarians, by the way, will also cheerfully offer opinions, but will probably wait to be asked. We look at *lots* of books, all the time (although, sadly, do not actually get to read all day long), as well as following review publications and such.

  4. Also, your mom is awesome. Just wanted to mention that. :)

  5. Librarians everywhere appreciate the support! I'm sorry you don't approve of the movies, but they sure bring in a lot of people, many of whom also get books!

  6. Here are some links that I have run across. While I do not have any children, can not actually, I have found this blog very interesting. Hope these can help out.

  7. LOL regarding Elimination Communication. I draw the line there too.

    I've got three kiddos - 7, 5, and 14 months. And attachment parenting was what felt natural to me after they were born.

    You asked, so I'll feel free to let it rip with the advice:

    My ALL TIME favorite baby carrier

    This is a very personal matter and you should try a bunch. But my 3rd baby didn't leave that thing for the first 6 months. It was a godsend!

    We had a cosleeper like this:

    Which was nice, but once I learned to nurse laying down (GENIUS) it was pretty much just a barrier on the side of the bed to make sure the little tootsie pop didn't roll out.

    I love Dr. Sears' books on attachment parenting.

    And for sleep strategies - I read ALL the books 7 years ago (this means I haven't read some of the more recent ones) and this was my hands down favorite - with a real PLAN to follow to make sure your baby is sleeping properly. Which, I needed.

    And the cliffnotes' version:

    If you want to talk sleep theories, I'm happy to. With my first son I would not let him shed a tear. And to this day he is still a nightmare sleeper...With the second two I had the philosophy that you have to TEACH them to sleep, more specifically, to put themselves to sleep/back to sleep. It has worked much better. There were some tears, about 10 min worth, but not until they were about 6 months. On the advice of my pediatrician (who I call my back up man) between 4-6 months you have a window of opportunity to teach them to put themselves to sleep. So you need to "give them an opportunity" to do so.

    I realize this is way premature and probably way more info than you want right now. And I certainly hope it doesn't spark a debate. But it was what I could tolerate and what made sense to me at the time. And it worked. And that is what I love about that book, it prepares your babies in a gentle way for learning to put themselves to sleep.

    Congratulations and best of luck! There is NOTHING in the world better than your own baby. Nothing. I envy you getting to experience that feeling all over again.

    PS I was born and raised in Sunnyvale (I live in CO now)- was just there yesterday for work and drove past that very library. Growing up my mom had to limit me to 10 books per visit. Is the statue of the little boy reading still out front?

  8. LOL, I read tons of books too but I have found out that it is best to do what your heart is telling you.

    We tried co-sleeping for a while but it just did not work out for us (but remember I do have twins. Twins ARE different). So they sleep in their own room but slept in one bed for quiet a while. They still are in one room though.

    (btw. they recommend co-sleeping here! It's supposed to help preventing SID.)

    You will be a great mom. No fears (easy to say after I survived the first year. It is hard not to fear the first months but it gets a lot easier....)

  9. I was all about the attachment parenting with my girls (10 and 7 now) but EC is a new concept to me and, NO--I want to be able to leave the house now and then!

  10. You are so damn lucky to have a mom with that background!

    I think we should start calling attachment parenting instinctive parenting.

    By instinct you would hold your baby, breastfeed your baby, love your baby, comfort your baby if no one told you that your baby was "supposed" to only eat every 3 hours and sleep for 4 hours, etc.

    For your mom: Have you seen the information shared by Susan Colson with "Biological Nurturing"? Very interesting stuff. Makes me feel like a doofus for not thinking of it sooner as it solves all those early breastfeeding frustrations that I've seen my clients deal with for so long.

  11. I liked all of the Sears books, and I loved Becoming the Parent You Want to Be by Davis and Keyser. All of the Your X Year Old by Ames were helpful along the way, too.

    Congratulations! Enjoy parenting and have faith in your feelings and decisions.

  12. I get most of my fiction books from the library any more. It's a great money-saver, and then I don't have to spend energy disposing of a book I probably won't read again. If I totally love it, I'll buy a copy for myself. Likewise if I'm desperate and need a book NOW!

    I'll buy reference books, but if it's a topic I'm not familiar with, the library is a great way to figure out what's worth my money.

  13. I love all the LOOONG comments on this post! nothing gets mamas typing like asking for parenting tips... :) I have a 21 mo son and a daughter on the way in 3 months (yay!) I wanted to co sleep SO BADLY, but I was not getting any sleep at all, even after 2 weeks, so J went in a bassinet in the hallway. It was just hearing all his noises, I couldn't sleep through any of it. Babies are loud sleepers! That way, he was still close enough, but far enough away so I could sleep. Which is weird, I sleep like a dead rock ordinarily. Before I had him, I was worried that I *wouldn't* wake up when he needed me!
    All that is to say, DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. I love reading all kinds of parenting tips/blogs/books, etc, they are good ideas, but if you have in mind to follow a specific theory or whatever to the letter.... Chances are you won't. But don't let it make you feel guilty, because every baby and mama and daddy is different. I think I'll try co sleeping with Little Miss, but at least I won't freak out this time if it doesn't work the way I expect it to! :) Good luck, and also remember to get lots of supportive help for those 1st few weeks. They are a DOOZY! :)

  14. Hello! Research is power! I have worked in pediatrics for 27 years and the advice we give must be researched based but inituiation has its place as well. I don't mean to burst any bubbles here but in this area we have had 3 suffucation deaths from co-sleeping. Statistically that is too many! The AAP does not recommend it as sees no benefit to the child. Please check out the website from my pediatrician/husband although with a note like this he would rather be just a fisherman.

  15. Hi Jasmine,

    I'm really glad you asked about suggestions for parenting books because I am an avid reader of child development, nutrition and education books. I read them all because I like to hear other opinions and take what is useful to me and my situation. My favorite book and the most useful to my spirit is called Everyday Blessings - The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting by Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn. I wished I had read it before my pregnancy, maybe I could have weathered the morning sickness with a better attitude.

    I have two boys, both of which were breastfed and both slept with me. I didn't know about attachment parenting or otherwise, all I knew is that I was able to sleep much better with my baby right next to me. They would wake up and start nuzzling me and I could feed them right then and there with minimal disruption to both of us. They are 9 and 5 now and sleep on their own, in their own beds just fine. Either my husband or I will give them a cuddle for a few minutes while they go to sleep and then they're out for the rest of the night.

    I carried them in a baby sling until they were too heavy and could take them anywhere in this fashion. They were so content that I could go to restaurants, yarn stores, anywhere and they were happy.

    They are truly the best things that have ever happened to me and I am so excited for you and your family.

    Love to you,

  16. Congratulations! I also recommend the Dr. Sears books, as well as reading whatever you can get your hands on. Then store all that information in the back of your brain. When Baby Knitmore comes, follow these 2 bits of advice TO THE LETTER. DO NOT DEVIATE:

    1. LISTEN TO YOUR GUT INSTINCT. Even with a screaming baby on zero sleep at 3am if you take a deep breath and let it out slow, your gut will tell you what to do. Listen to it. Trust it.

    2. DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU/YOUR BABY/YOU FAMILY. Regardless of what the books say, the only thing that really matters is if it works for you.

    And that is my best advice.

  17. I'm probably repeating what others have said above, but: trust yourself! No matter what any parenting book says, what's right is what works for you, your baby and your household. Parenting books, even the good ones, tend to be a little militant about their opinions and advice.

    Enjoy the crazy parenting ride! All the best to you and your family!

  18. I am glad that you are reading up on attachment parenting. I got so many comments on how I needed to let my babies cry it out. I have never regretted ignoring the advise, listening to my instincts, and addressing my kid's needs (like feeding on demand, not on a schedule).

    Congratulations and good luck.

  19. Yay for attachment parenting and co-sleeping! (and yay for your Mom, for being awesome in this regard, as in so many others!). I will echo the above comment about nursing lying down - best.thing.ever. I had to do it because of a back problem, but would definitely recommend it, as I think it lets both of you get the most sleep. Another good book is the No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley. I felt like I was the only mom I knew who wasn't willing to go the cry-it-out route, but I was also needing some help with sleep issues, and found this to be a very helpful, supportive book with lots of good suggestions (written by a mom who's all in favor of co-sleeping but also teaches you how to help your child sleep independently when you AND the kiddo are both ready for that). Best wishes to you and the shark bean!

  20. My hubby and I both looked into the co-sleeping. I pointed out the pros, reduce the chance of SIDS. He would point out the negatives, dangers of bedding etc..

    We ended up compromising and purchased a special bed that attaches to our bed but is safer than our baby being in the bed.

    love have recommended it to several people since.

  21. First lesson of motherhood is to go with your gut and ignore the stupid :)

    While I don't have a book to recommend, I can definitely recommend the forums on for all things AP. Tons and tons and tons of information on anything you can think of from a natural perspective. including EC :)

    Best of luck to you.

  22. Congratulations.

    Read all the books you can. Some of them will contradict others. Take what you like, forget the rest. Then, plan to spend about nine months getting to know your baby, before you get too set in your ways with him/her. (I read somewhere that babies do not walk until about ten months because they would ordinarily develop "in utero" until that point, except then their heads would be too big to give birth to. So they are born underdeveloped and must continue to develop outside the body for this long time.)

    Nurse your baby. Let him/her get plenty of sleep. Notice his sleep and eating patterns.

    Another podcaster was discussing baby carriers and it cracked me up. For thousands of years, mothers have been carrying their babies around for about nine months, and now we have to buy equipment - expensive equipment - to do that. Just seems really YUPPIE to me. I had a baby back pack, a lovely, early back pack and carried my kids around some in it, as it freed up my hands. I also did a whole lots of cooking, washing up, cleaning, etc, with one hand while they were little.

    When my grandchildren came along, I learned that I hadn't forgotten how.

  23. I'm chiming in because Suzie said something I like: take 9 months to get to know your baby. I was stressed out at the beginning because AP is all about listening and responding to your child's signals and I felt like such a bad mama because I couldn't tell what they were. In time we got to know one another, though, and now almost 8 months later we're doing pretty good. An aside: the women I spy on in the ravelry forums who EC seem to spend a lot of time hanging their babies over toilets and feeling defeated when they don't catch poops and pees. It's not for me, either. I am a proponent of cloth diapering, though.

  24. I never learned about attachment parenting before having kids but after reading a few books/blogs after having my second I realized that a lot of my parenting practices coincided with that parenting method without really having a name for it(other than the fact that after trying for MONTHS I found I truly was unable to breastfeed without supplementing--very disheartening to me but I move on).

    In parenting right from the beginning I responded to EVERY cry my baby had, wore them in a sling as often as I could, rocked them incessantly, while we didn't necessarily co-sleep(my son did for the first several months) we never prescribed to the "cry it out" method and both kids finally slept through the night some time after a year old.

    I firmly believe that it's AWESOME to be educated beforehand (I wish I had been) but even after reading all the books, you are going to feel the rhythm of your baby and respond. No two children are alike!!! I'm harboring baby #3 right now and if he/she is just as unique as my first two, I know that I'll be responding just as uniquely to his/her needs :-)

    I'm so excited for you guys and I wish you the best!


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