Friday, December 9, 2011

Book Review Attachment Parenting: Instinctive Care for Your Baby and Young Child

I'm on a quest to finish all of these book reviews, so please bear with me. This book was one that I read a while ago, about six months ago. Katie Allison Granju has done a marvelous job of compiling research for her book about attachment parenting. This was another "appeal to the nerd" book because, again, tons of quotes from doctors, parents, anthropologists, child development specialists, psychologists, etc.

This is definitely a book I would recommend to those who already are considering an "attachment parenting" lifestyle for them and their families rather than those who are being introduced to it for the first time (I'd recommend Dr. Sears's The Baby Book in those cases), mostly because of the passionate way she talks about attachment parenting (i.e. calling a crib a "baby cage" and carrying babies around in "baby buckets" such as car seats, swings, etc.). It would probably be a little much for an attachment parenting investigator. However, she does cover some parenting decision that aren't covered very thoroughly in The Baby Book including choices about circumcision, cloth diapering, how to choose a childcare provider or pediatrician, and extended breastfeeding.  They're touched on in The Baby Book, but Granju goes into quite a bit of detail about these decisions.

If I was to have every mother read one chapter of this book, it would be the section on breastfeeding. She dispels myths about milk production (i.e. breasts need to "build up" milk so that baby has enough to eat, schedule feeding vs. cue feeding, and pumping as a way to increase milk production) and unloads a plethora of research about the benefits of breastfeeding. However, she also acknowledges that in a small percentage of cases, some women are physically unable to breastfeed, usually due to a medical problem (loss of too much blood during child birth, a hormonal imbalance, extreme stress, etc) and in these cases gives suggestion on how to "nurse" your bottle fed baby. I really liked how she addressed that breastfeeding is much more than the milk, it's a relationship, and that no matter what, a parent can have that relationship with their child.

A second "recommended chapter" would be the chapter on baby carriers. Again, there are a lot more types now than there were when this book was published, but she goes into the pros and cons of the basic carrier types (sling, front carrier, back carrier) and how to choose a baby carrier that is best suited for your needs.

Though she is quite zealous, she is very thorough and well thought-out. For example, I was on the fence about circumcising future sons, but Granju's section on circumcision (how it's unnecessary, the benefits of an intact penis, pain experienced during and after circumcision, etc.) certainly influenced me. Also, she includes literally hundreds of resources for parents including support groups, carrier types and manufacturers, breastfeeding help, and further reading. Since her book was published in 1999, I would love it if she revised and updated this book to include a "best of" list of resources since, obviously, the advent of the internet has significantly increased a parent's resources.

So, if you're curious about attachment parenting, opt for The Baby Book or Dr. Sears's The Attachment Parenting Book (it's more or less the "getting attached" section of The Baby Book with some added information). If you're pretty sure attachment parenting is the route for you and you want some added information about the benefits thereof, check out Attachment Parenting: Instinctive Care for Your Baby and Young Child by Katie Allison Granju.

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