- Series: Sears Parenting Library
- Paperback: 769 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; Revised edition (March 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316778001
- ISBN-13: 978-0316778008
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 868 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two (Revised and Updated Edition) Paperback – March, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
William and Martha Sears, a pediatrician and a registered nurse respectively, team up with two of their doctor sons to update their 1993 guide to "attachment parenting." Advocating a "high-touch style of parenting to balance the high-tech life of the new millennium," the authors teach new parents how to bond with their babies through seven fundamental behaviors, including breastfeeding, "babywearing" and setting proper boundaries. When parents keep close to their babies by bringing them into bed at night and picking them up when they cry, the infants develop better, the authors argue; rather than becoming spoiled, they become more healthy and independent. From tips for a healthy birth, getting your baby to sleep and feeding him the "right fats," to information about early health concerns, the major steps in infant development and troublesome but typical toddler behavior, the authors of this comprehensive volume (who share their own parenting experiences along the way) are assured and reassuring experts.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
William Sears, MD, and Martha Sears, RN, are the pediatrics experts to whom American parents turn for advice and information on all aspects of pregnancy, birth, childcare, and family nutrition. Martha Sears is a registered nurse, certified childbirth educator, and breastfeeding consultant. Dr. Sears was trained at Harvard Medical School's Children's Hospital and Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, the largest children's hospital in the world. He has practiced pediatrics for nearly 50 years. Together, the Searses have authored more than 40 pediatrics books.
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I absolutely did not find this book to be an attachment parenting manifesto. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised that many of the tenants of the AP movement are in line with my (desired) parenting style rather than some sort of granola/coffee shop socialist/impossible to execute approach to life with a child. The Sears give suggestions for all different scenarios, AP or not. For example, while they do state many times that breast feeding is best, they also give plenty of information about a safe and loving way to bottle feed if you can't or won't breastfeed. Other reviewers said that the book makes them feel that if they're not breastfeeding, sharing the bed, quitting their jobs, and wearing their baby everywhere (including to the bathroom), that they are horrible parents. I did not feel that way at all. The Sears provide different ways of handling feeding, sleeping, and so on, and encourage you to make your own choice. I have done some things that they have suggested, and some not. I breastfeed and waited 2 months before bottle feeding expressed milk. I've tried baby wearing, but I have one of those rare babies who doesn't like to be held a lot who screams her head off when I put her in a sling. So she spends a lot of time in her bouncy seat wherever I am, instead of on me. I did not quit my job, and she will be going into daycare soon. She does not sleep in our bed, as I am terrified of smothering her, and because I need some sleep myself. So she sleeps in a bassinet next to our bed and we're able to attend to her immediately. The Sears were pretty clear about being anti-pacifier and because of that we instructed the hospital not to give her one under any circumstance. After spending several consecutive hours with our fingers/thumbs in her mouth (and I couldn't put her to the breast for hours because of cracked and bleeding nipples), our resolve crumbled and we gave her a pacifier...then ran to the store to buy several more. But I didn't feel the need to throw away the book once we "went against" it.
I took the advice of another reviewer and combined this book with Penelope Leach's Your Baby and Child and have found both to be valuable resources.
The Sears' overall message (as well as Penelope Leach's) is that you need to be open-minded as a parent, and do what works best for your baby, for you, and your lifestyle. It will be next to impossible to find something that parrots back to you everything you think you should be doing--or want to be doing. Parenting is hard, and it is a learning experience. This book is a good guide (not instruction manual) through that process.
Some of the very best parts of this book have to do with child development. The basic toys recommended are so useful. The carefully described sequence of events leading up to sitting, crawling, and walking are fascinating. The advice about working with toddlers is very excellent. Also very helpful was the chapter about fussy babies. The attitude taken by the authors, as well as the techniques advised in this chapter, were extremely helpful during my baby's first few months.
In terms of the attachment parenting advice, my own opinion is that most of it is solid. We provided our young son with all the nurturing he seemed to want, and he's now a lively and independent toddler. This book provided us with many helpful ideas for tuning into my son's wishes and needs. I think this book is a little too quick to put down the intentions of parents who don't practice Sears methods, which is why I think some parents dismiss this book as guilt-inducing. But this did not stop me from getting a great deal out of the book. I have yet to find a parenting book that I agree with entirely -- I pick and choose ideas, depending on my instincts and my son's needs. Several important aspects of attachment parenting work very well for my family, and so this book is very helpful.