When I think of spring and summer I think of the sun, swimming, and bubbles. Blowing bubbles is a wonderful activity that you can do with children of all ages. There’s something magical about them, isn’t there?
While you certainly can purchase bubble solution, you can make your own for only a fraction of the cost. Most people know that you can mix water and dishwashing liquid to make the bubble solution, but there is a secret ingredient that many people leave out. The secret ingredient is glycerin. You can find glycerin at the pharmacy. If you can’t find glycerin, you can substitute light corn syrup.
When you blow a bubble, the bubble pops soon after because the water in the bubble evaporates. When you add glycerin or light corn syrup, it helps keep water in the bubble longer so your bubble lasts longer. You can also improve the quality of your bubble solution by using distilled water.
1 cup of distilled water
1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid
1 teaspoon of glycerin or corn syrup
You can use the solution immediately, but if you can let the solution sit a few hours. You will find the longer you let the solution sit, the better your bubbles will be.
If you want colored bubbles, you can add a small amount of food coloring to the bubble solution. Keep in mind that these bubbles may stain clothing or surfaces.
Want to have fun in the dark? Cut open nontoxic glow sticks and pour the liquid into your bubble solution for glow in the dark bubbles. You do not need anything else to make these bubbles glow. However, some people have been unable to get the glow stick solution to work with store bought bubbles. It works best with homemade bubble solutions. You can also use glow in the dark paint.
You can use jars or cups to hold the solution, but you can also upcycle your plastic food containers for this. Butter, sour cream, and yogurt containers are great for bubbles because of their small size and because they have lids making storing your bubble solution easy.
Small bubble wands can be made using pipe cleaners. Bend the end of the pipe cleaner in the shape of a circle, half moon, or star and wrap the end around the handle keep it in place. The fuzziness will help hold the solution giving you better bubbles.
For medium sized bubbles, experiment with different objects around your house. Cookie cutters, fly swatters, cans with the end cut off, funnels, potato mashers, and plastic berry baskets can all be used as bubble wands or blowers.
You can make large bubble wands using wire coat hangers. Bend the hanger so that it has a circle or loop at one end. You can bend the wire around a large round object to get a rounder circle. You may need pliers to bend it around the handle so it stays in place. Cover the sharp ends with electrical or duct tape. If you wrap fabric or twine around the loop of your large bubble wand, it will soak up more solution for better bubbles. Bend the entire loop up a bit so the handle doesn't get in the way preventing it from being fully submerged in your bubble solution. For these larger wands you will need to put your bubble solution in large shallow baking pans.
To make a giant bubble wand, you will need 2 feet of string and two 6 inch drinking straws. Insert the string through both of the straws. Tie the string together at the ends and pull the knot so that it is inside the straw. Dip the string wand into the bubble solution while holding onto the straws. Pull it out slowly and blow into the film of solution or use the wind to make a giant bubble. You may need to pull the straws apart and towards you to help form the bubble.
If you're like me, you've used incense in your home for years or even decades. It wasn't until last night that I questioned whether or not the smoke could be hazardous to breathe. Why after all these years did I wonder this?
Due to small space, I decided to put my newborn in my bedroom. The most recent studies on SIDS has revealed that smoking cigarettes around a baby can increase the risk of SIDS. It occurred to me that letting my 2 month old inhale incense smoke could be just as dangerous. The idea that my little baby could be more likely to die because of incense smoke horrified me. I decided it simply wasn't worth the risk.
So I did some research and discovered inhaling incense smoke may be dangerous no matter what your age. Some believe it is as dangerous as breathing secondhand smoke. Some studies believe it may be causing respiratory disease, particularly cancer of the respiratory tract. Other studies have shown an association of incense smoke with brain tumors and leukemia in children.
Incense smoke is dangerous because it gives off polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, otherwise known as PAH's including benzene among others. Not only is it dangerous to breathe some sources say burning incense can cause more air pollution than traffic at an intersection. Results of one study indicated that burning incense emits fine particulate matter in large quantities compared to other indoor sources. Indoor concentrations of PM25 can far exceed the outdoor concentrations specified by the US EPA's National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).
The danger increases when incense is burned in smaller rooms and rooms with poor ventilation. However, because it's been proven that inhaling incense can be dangerous no matter what the condition of the room, a better alternative is an oil diffuser.
Actually I should say the best alternative. Even burning scented candles may not be entirely safe. Several resources say the smoke from burning candles is also dangerous. Scented candles were found to create more soot than unscented candles. However, it seems the occasional burning of scented candles in a well vented area doesn't pose as much of a threat. They are most dangerous when burned repeatedly and in an unventilated room.
Now that I know what I do, I will no longer be using incense in my home. Not only will my family be healthier, I will be reducing my carbon footprint as well. I don't think I'll give up my scented candles just yet, but I'll be burning them less often and opening a window when I do. In the meantime, I'm going to look for an oil diffuser.
Today I was on a the Beyond Bump and Birth - A Place for Moms Facebook page and someone had a fan question about feeding babies rice cereal. It seems that feeding a baby rice cereal as his or her first food has some controversy. There were several moms that explained rice cereal is basically feeding your baby sugar. After researching the topic more I've come to the conclusion myself that there are healthier choices for feeding your infant.
The idea is promoted by Dr. Alan Greene in what is called the WhiteOut campaign. The reason I am on board with the WhiteOut campaign isn't because I think it contributes to childhood obesity. Dr. Greene thinks it's the root of child obesity. I think there are far more factors in the obesity epidemic than how you feed your infant.
However, the idea that rice cereal is mostly sugar is common sense.
The main ingredient is white rice flour. Nutrition experts and diet gurus have been telling us for years now that whole grains are healthier than white flour. Good carbohydrates vs. bad carbohydrates. For example, Jillian Michaels says to avoid white flour, rice, pasta, and bread.
She writes, "When a whole grain is refined, most of its nutrients are sucked out in an effort to extend its shelf life. Both the bran and germ are removed, and therefore all the fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Because these stripped down, refined grains are devoid of fiber and other nutrients, they’re also easy to digest — TOO EASY. They send your blood sugar and insulin skyrocketing, which can lead to all sorts of problems. Replace processed grains with whole grains, like brown or wild rice, whole-wheat breads and pastas, barley, and oatmeal."
So if we aren't supposed to eat it as an adult, why in the world would we give it to an infant as his or her very first food? Jillian actually explains it in her comment. It's easier to digest but is devoid of other nutrients. So of course Gerber is going to add nutrients to the cereal. It's the only way that it's remotely healthy!
Some advocate feeding your baby exclusively vegetables and fruits. However, Dr. Greene says you don't need to eliminate grains entirely. You can make your own whole grain baby cereal. If you do want to feed your baby using commercially prepared cereal, Gerber makes organic brown rice, oatmeal, and barley cereals.
One concern I had about changing to whole grains is that I would have to wait longer to begin feeding my baby solid food. Not so! It turns out you can begin feeding brown rice cereal at the same time you would start feeding white rice cereal. The current recommendations is to begin solids at 6 months.
She Has a Schedule...I Think
Skylar is now a month old...and I feel like every day is total chaos. It's not really. She eats about every 3 hours and plays for a half hour to an hour after she eats. She fusses but only truly cries when she's really hungry, during and after baths when she's naked, and when you change her shirt. (For some reason she hates putting her arms in and out of long sleeves.) She's a good sleeper. She doesn't sleep through the night but has cut down her nighttime wakings and feedings down from two to one about a week ago. I don't expect her to sleep through the night at only a month old so there's no stress there.
So why do I feel like everyday is chaos?
Well when I started researching attachment parenting I read about feeding on demand, avoiding baby trainers, and not watching the clock. I think I took this not watching the clock a bit too literally because I couldn't tell you what Skylar's regular feeding and napping times are. If she has a schedule, I have no clue what it is and it's driving me crazy!
The Baby Whisperer to the Rescue
So I started reading Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracey Hogg and her follow up book The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems. The first book, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, seems all about establishing a routine but remaining flexible. Both books are based on establishing an E.A.S.Y. routine which stands for Eat, Activity, Sleep, You. Basically you feed baby, play with baby, put baby to sleep, and have time for yourself. Repeat every three hours.
In the follow up book, The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, Hogg seems a bit more rigid about maintaining a schedule. She seems to have abandoned the idea of a flexible routine and is leaning a bit more towards baby training. To get your baby to sleep longer at night, she suggests cluster feeding your infant at 6 pm and 8 pm and then doing a "dream feed" where you feed her a bit while she's still asleep. This way her tummy stays full and she stays asleep. This is called tanking, as in filling her tank (tummy).
Attachment Parenting and The Baby Whisperer
I figured the idea of cluster feeding and tanking would be something Dr. Sears, the "father" of attachment parenting, would be totally against. So I looked it up in The Baby Book and to my suprise and relief, Dr. Sears suggests cluster feeding and tanking.
Where they part ways is how Hogg suggests putting baby in the crib to fall asleep on her own, while Sears prefers staying with baby either by holding, feeding, or cuddling until she falls asleep. I find myself doing a bit of both. Usually at night when I need to sleep I will put her in her crib to fall asleep on her own. This only works if she is swaddled. During the day I am more likely to hold her until she falls asleep.
Lots of Details About My Baby...So Feel Free to Skip Down to Making E.A.S.Y. Work
I have what the Baby Whisperer calls a Spirited Baby. Little Skylar gets excited very easily, sometimes to the point that she gets overstimulated. When she's awake she is very physically active. She often seems frustrated that she cannot move and is stuck on her back or tummy. When she is on her back she is already trying to roll over to her side. She's so good at it that I am nervous letting her lie on my bed. I'm afraid one of these days she'll actually roll over and fall off.
When she gets in this active, excited state it's very hard to calm her down. Fortunately she doesn't cry. She usually just grunts but has been adding a variety of sounds to her repertoire. She has squeaked like a mouse, made sounds like a monkey, and most recently lets out a kind of yip. Mostly she seems a happy excited but it often turns into what seems like frustration and in the worst cases complete overstimulation. When this happens her arms and legs flail about and she seems unable to stop them.
Sometimes giving her a pacifier will calm her. It's pretty funny to watch. The moment her pacifier is in she drops her arms and her legs go still. If it's at night and she's still fussing I will swaddle her and put her to bed in her crib. If it's during the day, I will put her in the bouncer chair until she falls asleep or lay next to her on my bed. For some reason it's impossible to get her to sleep in her crib during the day. I thought this was because the room is so bright but it turns out she'll easily go to sleep if I am next to her reading, watching tv, or napping myself.
However now that she's starting to show signs of rolling to her side, I am very nervous about letting her sleep on the bed with me while I sleep. She also moves around a lot more. She's a restless sleeper and will lift and sort of kick her legs even when swaddled. This causes her to inch her way down the crib or bed. Sometimes in the crib she will even turn herself while still on her back. Last week she somehow inched and turned herself so much she had a foot stuck in the crib bars!
Last Thursday night, she reached such an excited state the only thing that would calm her was putting her in the sling. She quieted and fell right to sleep. So I took her out an put her in her crib and she woke up 5 minutes later! So I did it again. Same thing. Finally, I just gave up and let her sleep in the sling for an hour while I read a book. I took her out and put her in the crib. Fortunately she stayed asleep and I was able to go to bed.
Actually, sleeping for 5 or 10 minutes and then waking up after putting Skylar down is a pretty normal thing for her. She loves to sleep while being held. It can be downright frustrating that she only wants to sleep in my arms. I get absolutely nothing done on those days! Sometimes I do put her in the sling but if I need to cook or do dishes I worry about burning her. I also haven't mastered having her in the sling and doing any chores that require bending over yet. I feel like she's going to fall out. So I put her in her crib or bouncer and she's sound asleep for 5 -10 minutes and then wakes up wanting held again!
Making E.A.S.Y. Work
All of these little idiosyncrasies make me wonder just how well I can follow Hogg's E.A.S.Y. routine. If she hates sleeping in her crib during the day, obviously I'm not going to be able to put her down there to go to sleep. That would mean letting her "cry it out" and that's just not happening. I honestly think she doesn't want to sleep in her crib (which is in my room) because she's lonely. At night I am in the bedroom with her. Hogg says in her book Secrets of the Baby Whisperer that babies don't get lonely but I think that is completely crap.
Also how do you establish E.A.S.Y. if you are baby wearing? Whenever I wear Skylar she goes to sleep. I suppose it doesn't really matter where she's sleeping as long as I follow Hogg's advice about not letting her nap for more than 2 hours at a time during the day.
I also have to take my kids to school at 7:20 am and 9 am then pick them up at 2:50 pm and 3:40 pm. I sometimes have to wake Skylar to get her dressed to leave in the mornings and once it gets warm enough, in the afternoons I will be walking to the school to pick up my daughter. How do I fit that into the E.A.S.Y. routine? It's Activity. So what if I'm doing the Activity when according to the schedule she should be Eating or Sleeping?
Honestly, when I read Hogg's suggested schedule it feels like I'm reading a one-size-fits-all prescription. How can there be several types of babies (Angel, Textbook, Spirited, and so on) but only one schedule for all of them? That just doesn't make sense to me. (You can find examples of the schedule here.) How can this schedule fit every parent's schedule or lifestyle? I'm starting to understand why Dr. Sears says beware of baby trainers!
All I want is to do is establish a routine. For example, I want to start exercising in the mornings. So I want to know that Skylar will sleep from 8 am to 10:30 am every morning and that is my window for exercising. Or that from noon to 1:30 pm is the best time for me to get the laundry done. I don't want to "train" her to sleep in one and a half hour intervals and to eat precisely every three hours. I just want some predictability in my day!
I didn't discover babywearing until a year or so ago. It was long before I found out I was pregnant. I have to be honest. I thought the idea was weird. I thought the babies looked uncomfortable. I never for an instance thought I would be a babywearer.
Then I found out I was pregnant. So throughout my pregnancy I started paying attention to two types of people. The parents that wear their babies and the parents that don't. I found these parents mostly in stores while shopping and at the library. Then I learned some of it firsthand when I started babywearing.
Here's what I noticed about the parents that wore their babies:
Their babies were never crying despite looking cramped. In fact, the babies were almost always sleeping.
Both their hands were free to do whatever tasks they needed to do.
They talked to their babies about what was going on around them.
Even if people thought it was weird, no one stared or acting like they minded.
If they did stop, they admired the baby and could do so without the parent needing to move the baby closer for them to see. However, because the baby was being worn they didn't try to touch the baby. (This I didn't see but actually experienced while wearing my baby.)
Here's what I noticed about the parents that did not wear their babies:
The parents were lugging around a heavy carrier or car seat. In fact, I once saw a dad carrying a 6 month old through the mall in his car seat. I felt so bad for both of them! Who has the strength to do that?
Because they have to carry the baby in the carrier/car seat, they only have one hand free. Well at first. Eventually the carrier/car seat gets so heavy you need both hands to carry it.
Because it is winter, most of the time the babies carrier/car seat was covered with a blanket. Even if it wasn't the baby couldn't see much of what was going on around them.
Most of the time, I noticed parents rarely spoke to or interacted with their babies. Carrying around the carrier/car seat seemed no different than carrying a shopping bag or purse.
People often commented on how heavy the carrier/car seat must be forgetting the actual human being inside it.
If people do pay attention to the baby, because it's in the carrier/car seat they seem to think it's okay to touch him or her. I particularly find I have issues when small children are around. They get too close and want to touch the baby. And other kids carry germs!
People always wanted me to lift or turn the carrier/car seat so they could see my baby.
If they attempt to carry a very young baby in their arms and shop or look for library books...well forget it. Babies that can't support their head yet need both your hands.
My list of cons definitely outweigh the pros. Mind you, this was just the differences that I saw in public. When I started babywearing at home, I discovered something I was never able to do with my first four children. I could get things done! I could do housework, read a book, or go on the computer all with my baby right there at my chest. I could do things that I needed or wanted to get done while cuddling with my baby, talking to my baby, and bonding with my baby.
Now I think parents that don't wear their babies are weird! Maybe weird is a bit strong of a word. But I want to stop these parents carrying a heavy carrier or car seat and tell them there's an easier way! I want to tell them their hands can be free and their baby at their chest. They don't have to tire their muscles and ignore their little one. They can get done what they need to do and bond with their baby at the exact same time!
There's all these pros and I haven't even touched on the benefits for the baby. How they cry less, it's easier to breastfeed them, or how they are able to see the world around them and learn faster. It can even help mothers with postpartum depression! I was convinced that babywearing is awesome just from the practical benefits.
Here's more on the benefits that go beyond just the practical ones:
But what about safety? Let's go there. The biggest concern seems to regarding because they get covered by the material of the sling and suffocate. Please explain to me how a baby gets suffocated when it is right there with you? Are these parents falling asleep or are they drunk? What kind of parent is so out of it that they can't safely have a baby quite literally on them? No, I am not ignorant of the rule about making sure a newborn baby's chin is not resting on her chest. But when I am wearing Skylar, I am constantly checking on her. All I have to do is look down. Are these parents wearing their babies but not actually looking at them? They are babies not coats. You can't put thee sling on and just go on your merry way without still being an attentive, responsible parent.
Since we're talking about babies faces being covered, let's talk about how babies get covered while in their carriers and car seats. I understand it's winter. I even admit I do have a Cozy Cover on my daughter's car seat. But the only time I cover her face with the flaps is if there is a high wind or it is snowing. The first thing I do after putting her in the car if I do have her face covered is fold up the flaps off of her face. The first week I was driving with her I was constantly paranoid that the top flap would fall down and suffocate her until I learned how to fold it under so it stays in place. She's so small I have to leave the Cozy Cover partially unzipped and fold the bottom flap under as well.
I have been in the grocery store where the babies face is covered either with the Cozy Cover flaps or a blanket the entire time while indoors! I have had situations where I had to fight the urge to go up to a parent and ask them if they could please make sure their baby was still breathing. And if they are doing this in the store I am sure the baby is completely covered in the car as well. There's no way that is safe.
My point is this. You can't blame the slings for these accidents. You have to blame the parent for being negligent. Some of the safety warnings on the link I shared earlier are just common sense. I find it kind of sad that these warnings need to be given. Don't climb a ladder when wearing your baby. Don't wear your baby while mowing the lawn. Don't put loose items in the sling with your baby. Don't cook while wearing your baby.
Lastly, I want to address the idea that the babies look so cramped. I noticed in the first twenty minutes or so after being born that my daughter has a very sensitive startle reflex. She also seems to have less control over the flailing of her arms and kicking of her legs than my other babies had. She tends to get overexcited and when she does, flails her limbs out like she's trying to somehow propel herself forward by arms and legs alone. For some reason when she is awake and you give her a pacifier, it causes her to stop flailing her arms and legs and she's able to calm down.
This sensitive startle reflex has been a huge issue in getting her to sleep. My baby girl does not sleep well unless she is swaddled. I call it turning her into a "baby burrito." When I had my other kids they hated being swaddled and I hated how it looked. For little Skylar, it is the only way she can truly relax. She loves to sleep like a "baby burrito." The same effect happens when she is in the sling. The sling essentially swaddles her and she is able to calm down and relax. So what looks like being uncomfortably cramped is actually very comfortable and soothing.
This post is part of the Babywearing Blog Hop! Click here to find more great posts on babywearing!
I could bore you with the serious explanation of Singles Awareness Day or you can just go here and read about it yourself. The truth is it's pretty self explanatory.
When I first started this blog, I created a post of 20 Empowering Songs About Being Single. Well, that was nearly three years ago. I was tempted just to repost it but I figured it might be fun to add some more songs to the list. Surely there have been some new songs about being single since then. I also have a few older songs that I missed the first time around. Oh and some songs on this new list aren't quite so empowering.
1. Love Song by Tesla
2. Desperado by The Eagles
3. So What by Pink
4. Someone Like You by Adele
5. What the Hell by Avril Lavigne
6. Maybe by Sick Puppies
7. I'm Just Fine by The Letter Black
8. You Call Me a Bitch Like It's a Bad Thing by Halestorm
9. I Don't Give a Damn by Avril Lavigne
10. No More Drama by Mary J. Blige
11. Survivor by Destiny's Child
12. I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor
13. I'm Just Here for the Music by Paula Abdul
14. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift
15. Fuck You by Ceelo Green
16. Haven't Met You Yet by Michael Bublé
17. Somebody That I Used to Know by Goyte
18. Blow Me (One Last Kiss) by Pink
19. Here I Go Again by Whitesnake
20. Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) by Kelly Clarkson
If you are single like I am, today is just another day to make fun of. Or maybe you are depressed that you are single. (I'm sure at some point this evening I will shed at least one tear that I don't have a date. Or that I had to buy myself candy.) Perhaps you just are covering up your loneliness by complaining about how commercialized this holiday is and are blaming the greeting card industry. You don't actually know if the greeting card industry is to blame, but it sounds right. Well, my venting singleton, here's the lowdown about where Valentine's Day came from. Where Does Valentine's Day Come From?
Was Valentine's Day created by the greeting card industry like everyone says?This is partially true.
Paper Valentines were so popular in England in early 1800s that Valentine cards began to be assembled in factories. The reinvention of Saint Valentine's Day in the 1840s has been traced by Leigh Eric Schmidt. As a writer in Graham's American Monthly observed in 1849, "Saint Valentine's Day... is becoming, nay it has become, a national holyday."
In the United States, the first mass-produced valentines of embossed paper lace were produced and sold shortly after 1847 by Esther Howland (1828-1904) of Worcester, Massachusetts. Her father operated a large book and stationery store, but Howland took her inspiration from an English valentine she had received, so clearly the practice of sending Valentine's cards had existed in England before it became popular in North America. (I'm starting to think everything that has ever been cool comes from England!) The English practice of sending Valentine's cards appears in Elizabeth Gaskell's Mr. Harrison's Confessions (published 1851). Since 2001, the Greeting Card Association has been giving an annual "Esther Howland Award for a Greeting Card Visionary."
The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, making the day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas. The association estimates that, in the US, men spend in average twice as much money as women.
If it was reinvented, who create the first Valentine's Day?
The history of Valentine's Day — and its patron saint — is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.
One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men — his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl — who may have been his jailor's daughter — who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.
While some believe that Valentine's Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine's death or burial — which probably occurred around 270 A.D — others claim that the Christian church may have decided to celebrate Valentine's feast day in the middle of February in an effort to 'christianize' celebrations of the pagan Lupercalia festival. In ancient Rome, February was the official beginning of spring and was considered a time for purification. Houses were ritually cleansed by sweeping them out and then sprinkling salt and a type of wheat called spelt throughout their interiors. Lupercalia, which began at the ides of February, February 15, was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
In Great Britain, Valentine's Day began to be popularly celebrated around the seventeenth century. By the middle of the eighteenth century, it was common for friends and lovers in all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. By the end of the century, printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one's feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine's Day greetings. Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began to sell the first mass-produced valentines in America.
So there you have it...it's all Esther A. Howland's fault.
This book was hit and miss sometimes but overall it is definitely worth the read. It's also a quick read so you can get it done in between baby's naps and feedings.
I had really expected more regarding how to work with my baby's schedule. Instead the book just referred me to another book Secrets of The Baby Whisperer by the late Tracey Hogg. I felt this was a total cop out. I was looking for more advice about working with my baby's routine not just three questions at the end of a chapter on the topic asking my if I prefer a schedule or not to schedule. Hello!? If I didn't want a schedule or routine why in the world would I be reading this book?
I did disagree with the scheduling advice the authors gave to some degree. It seemed to contradict itself at times. In one part they are saying that you need to establish a "routine" because you can't actually schedule a baby but then in another section they talked about a mom who put her baby to bed every night at 10 PM from the very start and he slept until morning. (Yeah right!) This seemed completely out of place with the earlier chapter about letting go of your expectations of life with baby.
It had some great tips about getting out of the house and considering my favorite place in the world is already the mall (with or without a newborn) the tips will work well for me. My library also has reading time called Babies and Books. However, a new mom without these resources (or who hates the mall) might be throwing the book at the wall.
Another complaint I had about the book is the authors talk way too much about having a toddler. The book's title is "The New Mom's Guide" not the "Second or Third Time Mom's Guide." In the end, the tips to "find pockets of time" and "do what works for you" was pretty disappointing. That's just common sense. I don't need to read a book to know that.
Overall though I did like the advice about letting go of "getting things done" and "achieving goals." I tend to be a Type A personality that likes to check things off of my to do list. The advice to let go of that mentality and just enjoy my baby was great. I also gave the book an extra star because it is one of the few books written on this topic.
I heard about attachment parenting a few years ago and assumed it was something that only...well...how do I put this? I thought only weirdos practiced attachment parenting. All I knew about them was that they breastfed their kids until they were old enough to ask for steak and that they all slept in a family bed. I was kind of a jerk and idiot because this is the most extreme of attachment parenting. It turns out there is an attachment parenting spectrum and not all advocates are quite so hardcore.
It also turns out I've been practicing some aspects of attachment parenting for the last 19 years and didn't even know it.
I've always been the type of person who wants to read the material of the originator. While there are dozens of other books on attachment parenting, this book is by the pediatrician Dr. William Sears, who was the first to coin the term "attachment parenting."
Because I started reading this book with such preconceived ideas about what attachment parenting was, I was pleasantly surprised to learn the original concept wasn't quite so "crunchy granola" for a lack of a better term. Dr. Sears explains his philosophy on attachment parenting and backs it up with science. He expands on the seven basic principles of attachment parenting which he calls the B's:
1. Birth bonding (Rooming in after giving birth and continuing to bond in the early weeks and months)
2. Breastfeeding (However, he respects the choice to bottle feed. In fact, he lacks the Nazi-like attitude that breastfeeding must be done to be a good mother. In fact, Dr. Sears says "Don't let anyone make you feel guilty for not breastfeeding.")
3. Babywearing (Wearing your baby in a carrier or sling)
4. Bedding close to baby (I was surprised to find out that Dr. Sears is not an advocate of the "family bed." He explains that his children did co-sleep with him and his wife but all did so one at a time and eventually moved to their own beds.)
5. Belief in baby's cry (This simply means understanding that a baby's cries are how he communicates his needs. A baby does not cry to manipulate the parent.)
6. Balance and boundries (This means taking care of yourself, your partner, and the rest of your family in balance with taking care of your baby. Boundries means you don't give your child everything she wants, just what she needs and you practice discipline while respecting the child.)
7. Beware of baby trainers (This means you adapt to your baby's schedule as opposed to making your baby fit yours. You feed on demand and avoid methods such as crying it out.)
I was highly impressed with this book. It was a great introduction to attachment parenting and wasn't so hardcore that it completely scared me off. Dr. Sears even explains that you don't have to practice all of the principles to be an attachment parent. Parents will use these different tools to different degrees that works best for their family. I loved how Dr. Sears emphasized that if you don't take care of yourself along with caring for your child, you won't be the best parent you can be. This is truly a holistic approach that takes into consideration every family members needs.
My only complaint is that it doesn't have as much detail about how to practice some of these tools. For example, there are several different types of slings and baby carriers. It takes some practice to learn how to use a sling or carrier safely. This information was not included in the book. Another example was there wasn't any information about where Dr. Sears stands on issues such as cloth vs. disposable diapers or when to start feeding a baby sold food. I would have liked to have seen topics like these included. Perhaps they are in his other book titled The Baby Book. I would also like to know how to apply the principles of attachment parenting to older children which I believe are addressed in The Discipline Book and Creative Parenting.
My name is Julie Cornewell. I'm a 38 year old free-spirited woman, widow, divorcee, feminist, writer, artist, and single mother of five wonderful and creative children ages newborn, 8, 12, 17, and 19. My spirituality sustains me throughout it all and is central to my life. I'm also a newbie to attachment parenting. Oh and sometimes I'm dating.