Customer Reviews: Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way
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on March 6, 2012
I definitely subscribe to many of the tenets of Attachment Parenting -- gentle discipline, baby wearing, breastfeeding, etc. Others I'm not so sure about -- as fascinated as I am by Elimination Communication, I don't think my kid will be going diaper-free anytime soon!

I know some people think Attachment Parenting feels preachy or dogmatic, but I just don't see that here. Yes, she has some strong beliefs. And she backs them up with facts and statistics, and also with her own personal stories and anecdotes about her experiences parenting this way. What I liked is that she's not trying to shove her ideas down my throat. She acknowledges that the ideas she promotes may not be for everyone, but she says she just hopes people take what works for them and leave the rest. That's a parenting philosophy I can get behind.
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on March 14, 2012
I loved this book. I am a practicing AP parent and I am not as die hard as Mayim. I suppose the only differences are, I do not do Elimination Communication, I allow my sons some TV, they are vaccinated and we have too many toys. I like how she covered every aspect of raising young children, from the birth, nursing, cosleeping, baby wearing and gentle discipline. Its kind of an all in one where you can do further research on each subject.

Which brings me to addressing some of the bad reviews I have seen on here. If you are looking for a book where AP has proven the kids turned out great you have to go no further then to read Dr. Sears' attachment book, he has wonderful grown up children . This book is about someone who has a very clear memory since she is only a couple years out of the very young stage and thats what I liked about it. There are numerous books on parenting, this is not your typical one, it is heart felt and personal. Also you do not have to be wealthy to practice AP, I am not wealthy, I work from home after my children are sleeping. It has not been easy but I know its the best way because I am listening to my instincts.
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on March 9, 2012
What I enjoy about this book is that it does a fair job introducing the reader to a lifestyle that bucks today's popular trends. She warns you upfront that most people will not agree nor be supportive, but that you are qualified to make these decisions, so dont back down to the pressure.

In truth, her discipline methods in some ways remind me of how God gave us freewill. She encourages modeling good behavior for your kids to immulate and discourages overt verbal or physical correction that would embarass or control too much, as she finds that the kids will naturally learn how to share and show their thankfulness when need be. I love that she shows the importance of breastfeeding and pushing through the pain as well as that of childbirth as she details the often neglected and horrible side of birth interventions.

Although she might not consider herself one, she appears in all ways a modern hippie. She is vegan, green, and anti consumerism. She also is still breastfeeding her 3 year old son. If that throws you off, just consider that at the end of the day the book is really an encouragement to consider how to love them. They are not accessories and this a once in a lifetime event. Dont screw it up! So turn off the tv, dont buying so many useless toys, make a gallant effort at choosing a job with less interference, be present, give of yourself (and your breastmilk) and your time and energy. Simply put - love them!
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on March 14, 2012
When I had my first daughter in April of 08' I chose to parent in a way that came from my heart. The minute she was born I knew I could never be apart from her. I had to hold her in my arms forever and keep her safe and happy. I did what came naturally. I breastfed her on demand, wore her around in several baby carriers, trying to find tha right one for us, and I wouldn't dream of putting her in a room all alone without me close by. I breastfed her for 18 mounths where she weaned herself, we co-slept till she was 2, and she only moved out of our room because our second, my son was a very loud and needy baby. My son was born in 10' and I proceeded to parent the same way. Often carring them on both front and back in our ergo carriers... He nursed over a year... My third arrivel in 11' and I'm doing the same things with her. It has come naturally, Attachment Parenting... I loved this book, and she really brings you into real life. I found it informative in all aspects dealing with AP as well as letting it be known we aren't blowing off our friends or family members, we're just doing what is right for our family... My husband and I have had but one date in the almost 4 years since our eldest was born. We were back home and my mother was in charge, we shot for dinner and a movie, but by the time dinner had come, we were almost falling asleep in our meals. We were home after paying the check and into bed with our kids... I wouldn't have it any other way... Way to help lighten the stigma about loving our children enough to put them first and not "fit them into our lives" I fit in to theirs... After all they chose me to be their mother... I can't let them down now can I... Great read...
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on June 5, 2013
Dr. Bialik claims that this book is not intended to be a "how-to" of raising children. It's not intended to be preachy or to make anyone feel guilty of their choices. She fails on all three. The book is definitely a "how-to" of raising children - her how-to. It's written very casually, but more often than not does come off preachy. And lastly and perhaps most importantly, she is hyper critical of anyone who does not parent the same way she does. She criticizes two parent working households, people who don't bedshare, moms who don't breastfeed, and more. (For the record, I am a breastfeeding stay at home mother and I found her comments about these topics judgmental.)

Her book was interesting for a basic introduction to attachment parenting. Some of her stories were cute and entertaining.

However,the negatives far outweigh the positives. In addition to those things mentioned above, her chapter on medicine is very strange and incorrect. She claims that ONLY Western medicine is filtered by the liver and recommends that everyone use "folk medicine" (her words) instead. It's a great example of how a heavily educated person can still be dead wrong about things. Anything taken orally is going to be filtered by the liver whether it's a Tylenol or herbal teas; that's the entire purpose of the liver. If she's trying to save her liver the work, she just needs to stop eating period. Again, how is it any different putting calendula on a wound than putting antibiotic ointment? At least the ointment will prevent infection. Either way, you're still interfering with the body's natural processes, which is what she claims she doesn't want to do. I also strongly question giving ice chips to a baby for teething pain. The child can choke or cut their gums on the chips. Then, when she says that she doesn't vaccinate her children, she lost all respect from me completely.

As some other reviewers mentioned, her chapter on bed-sharing was interesting but really made me wonder about the condition of her marriage. Overall her priority seems to be children first, children always. This is definitely not a healthy attitude for her marriage or even for her children. In the end, I fear that it is the children who suffer most from this type of attitude, as many marriage crumble under the weight of a "child first" policy.

To sum, I would NOT recommend this book to others.
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on April 22, 2013
So, I was very interested to read this book, as I love the ideas behind APing, and since I grew up knowing who Mayim was, I thought it would be fascinating to see her journey with motherhood. However, I was quickly disappointed. I found the book to be preachy, full of contradictions, and just not written that well. Also, for people who are already familiar with Attachment Parenting, her stories were remedial and ho hum. I didn't feel like I found anything new in this book. I also felt as if she wrote it by the seat of her pants, as it was almost a stream of consciousness in its style.

She was so disdainful of SO many parenting styles- for example going to what I assumed was Target and seeing women with their strollers and carseats (horrible, horrible mothers), but she didn't go into what people who actually HAVE to use a carseat do when they need to get somewhere. No you don't need a billion products to contain your baby, but you do need a carseat, and Im guessing that since she lives in LA, she does drive. I carry my baby and wear him pretty much everywhere we go, I breastfeed, stay home with him, co-slept til he was 7months, and consider myself VERY in tune with his needs. Therefore, her telling me the virtues of these things was moot. I guess I just felt like she is beating a dead horse in a sense. People who are going to read her book are most likely already well versed in the tenets of some form of Attachment Parenting. There was nothing new here. What WAS new was her talking about how lazy, disconnected, and unaware mothers who don't share her ideals are. If I couldn't have breastfed for any number of reasons, I probably would have been brought to tears by reading her section on breastfeeding. We know that breast is best. Its not always possible. So why beat it into everyone that unless you have cracked nipples, had a hard time latching, and all that jazz, you are essentially robbing your baby of its "birthright"? (her words). It just came across as highly sanctimonious and holier than thou.

I feel like it is worth discussing, that since this book has been published, her marriage has dissolved. I do applaud/(and understand) her for making her children the focus of her entire life, but it seems that since she has had a divorce since this book was published, all was not as peachy as she proclaimed. I am not over here on my high horse either. I have learned that a child can strain even the most solid marriage. I had problems with balancing caring(yes, caring) for my husband with caring for my son, without compromising either relationship or my values in raising my son. I am not saying the family bed is good or bad, i am not saying that any of what she did is good or bad. I am saying that if you decide to make your children the center of your entire life, you better know that someone is going to fall by the wayside. I definitely placed my husband second for a short while when I was getting to know the ins and outs of my infant sons routines. I am sorry to hear that she divorced, and sorry for her pain. I just wonder how the values she so strongly used to raise her young sons didn't contribute to a larger problem which could possibly harm them more than say, not having to say please or thank you would harm them.

There are many beautiful ideas in this book. The idea I came away with the most is the issue of "stuff". My son eschews toys to simple household items. I love that, and I intend to take her advice to draft a letter to my friends and family asking to please not gift unnecessary toys and whatnot. I wish Mayim all the best with her parenting and her children are very adorable. I just wish I hadnt spent $13 on this book. I should have taken it out on loan from the library instead...
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on June 7, 2012
I loved this book!

Confession: I knew nothing about Attachment Parenting before about a month ago. I heard Mayim talk on Doctor Radio on Sirius Satellite Radio for about 10 minutes and was hooked. I came home, ordered the book and started reading. Soon after I ordered the book, I heard about the TIME Magazine cover "Are You Mom Enough?" and all the controversy surrounding that and I read more about AP. I'm hooked.

Mayim wrote a wonderful book. It's very easy to read and follow. I think it's just as much like a memoir as it is an introduction to AP. There was some research pieces thrown in because Mayim understands research (which I appreciate) but also just as many anecdotal suggestions from her own personal experiences. Also, I really loved the Resources section at the back of the book - it's not just a listing of books she used/mentioned, but has a little sentence about the book from Mayim.

I do not have children yet, but I do work with 0-3-year-olds through home visits - so I have a lot experience with young children. I've shared a lot of the same child rearing ideas over the years - natural birth, breast feeding, use of slings/carriers, cloth diapers (had never heard of EC!), less stuff (especially less stuff with batteries!!), and even less pressure and punishment, but I never had a name for all of my feelings/opinions. I love that I found AP through this book!

Mayim's style of writing is first person as if you're sitting down to coffee with your best friend; very personable and honest. I laughed out loud a few times at some of the things the wrote. I'm going to have my husband read this book (he will) and maybe even get copies for my mother and mother-in-law when we become pregnant so they can understand a little better about where we're coming from with our parenting ideas.

I recommend this book to anyone who is new to AP and/or looking for a different way of parenting than what has become "normal" to everyone else.

Side note - I am a speech-language pathologist who currently works exclusively with 0-3-year-olds. Mayim's boys were late talkers and she chose not to have them evaluated or in any kind of "speech program." That is perfectly fine with me. 80%-90% of my caseload are probably simply "late talkers" who just need a boost and/or monitoring to make sure they continue to develop their speech skills. However, it's that other 10%-20% who have more going on with their development that is hindering their speech. That's why early intervention was developed, to catch the children who have developmental delays and need intervention. With all of that said, Mayim's "Baby Doesn't Need Pressure" chapter talks about not pressuring your child to be part of the "normal" curve. I respect that her mother-in-law, husband, and especially her pediatrician were supportive about the developmental "lateness" of her sons' speech development. I also respect the idea of knowing your child well enough to not compare them to others and letting them develop at their own pace. However, if you feel that your child is not where they should be with any part of their development, and/or if your pediatrician thinks that intervention is needed, please do it. It won't hurt anyone to see if there are delays and generally early intervention is a free program.
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on February 6, 2013
This book is probably the fifth attachment parenting book I've read in less than a month. I can't get enough info on the subject, yet despite that couldn't stand this book and didn't even finish the last two chapters because it was that bad. All the info I had already read in other,better books. Granted, if this was someone's first intro to AP they would learn a lot about the basics, but I have to say, I would hate to see this be anyone's intro to AP.
To set my perspective for you, I have had 3 kids and none were raised AP although my last came the closest because he was breastfed and I had very strong feelings about the nurses and doctors telling me how to nurse him. I chose to listen to my intuition and because of it he was the only child I managed to nurse successfully. This, and many negative experiences of my hospital deliveries (such as when the nurses actually pushed my son back in when I was delivering him because the doctor hadn't arrived), as well as getting to know mothers who did homebirths successfully made me realize that maybe hospital birth wasn't ideal. It all lingered in my mind for years as I regretted that now that my husband had a vasectomy I wouldn't get the opportunity to do things differently. Recently we have been given the gift of being able to reverse the vasectomy and now, after all this time, i can't get enough info on birthing and AP.
So now that you know where I'm coming from, here's my beef with this book.
Mayim has a way of amplifying all the "negative" aspects of motherhood to such an extent that it makes me nervous about having kids again. She talks about all these wonderful things she gives up to have kids and has a gift for making parenting sound like the most joyless, pleasure sucking venture ever. I get that there are rough patches in the first year, but she makes it sound like a never ending misery. She does say a few nice things about how sweet it is to sleep with her kids and cuddle them but for the most part i caught myself thinking, eegh, what am i getting myself into having another baby? That's so negative and depressing.
Secondly, Mayim has a certain way of speaking down about other people that really bothers me. The way she refers to people who ask questions about her parenting style and all the advice given by well meaning folks who think they know what's best for your baby was just very snooty and unloving. The way I see it, if you're 100% comfortable with the way you've chosen to raise your kid then people's comments shouldn't cause such irritation
Most people just need to be informed. They often really are just trying to be helpful.
When i got to the sharing chapter she relayed a story about how a kid hit her with a toy castle and the kids mom asked him to apologize. Mayim's stance was that since the kid was not intentional he shouldn't have had to apologize and that the mom was being pushy. Mayim also said she felt uncomfortable when kids were told to apologize to her. I feel a lot of snootiness in Mayim's attitude toward that moms parenting style, which personally, i totally agree with. Mayim gave an example of how kids would act on a desert island and she is correct, a kid that has nobody teaching them how to behave kindly and appropriately will be a little monster, yet apparently she thinks that's what a child should be. I would definitely not want to set up a playdate with her kids as I get the idea from her book that her children do whatever the heck they want because they feel like it and so therefore it is right for them. Scary.
For anyone interested in AP I would suggest looking elsewhere as this book was painful to read and comes from a very negative perspective imo.
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on June 20, 2012
I don't think I could of LOVED this book MORE. It is simply an amazing introduction into the benefits of Attachment Parenting (AP) and is so diplomatic and encouraging, letting you know how your first year of parenting is going to go and how you can make things a lot easier for yourself and baby. Even if a Mom wasn't wanting AP or even knows that that is, but was into breastfeeding or certain things as a starting point, I still think it would be an excellent choice. I think I will absolutely recommend this to any new Mom. She's got a fantastic resources section at the end to point you in the direction to each part of new-parenthood issues like breastfeeding, sleeping, medical care, etc.

I think her book absolutely lends itself to normal-people-living and that's really the point of the whole entire book is like "yeah I realize I may be a well-paid actress... BUT don't let that stop you from incorporating these healthy principles to raise your children by". She talks about them having the same cars for quite some time and living a very frugal lifestyle. The way her and her husband work is actually the same way we do (albeit she gets paid significantly more) in that hubby stays at home and she works (if I recall) ~3 days a week on her sitcom.
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on March 15, 2012
I really like how Mayim talks about different options for raising kids, but in a non-judgemental and science-backed way. While I wouldn't do some of it myself, I really related to the politiness, sharing and medical intervention chapters. A good read and really recommend it to new moms or expecting moms.
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