The Attachment Parenting Book
By William and Martha Sears
Little Brown & Company, 2001
Reviewed by Molly Emmons
Crescent City CA USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 19 No. 4, July-August 2002, pp. 142-143
An easy-to-read guidebook, The Attachment Parenting Book supports a natural and compassionate method of parenting. Dr. William Sears and Martha Sears, RN, have published more than 15 books on birth, breastfeeding, and parenting. They coined the term “attachment parenting” to describe a way of raising children and being in tune with their needs.
Breastfeeding mothers who have read any of the Sears’ books know they can rely on the them for balanced, constructive information that is backed by medical studies, experience, and a philosophical stance that is in keeping with La Leche League’s values. This book is no exception and does a great job of focusing on the hows and whys of attachment parenting for a general audience.
Attachment parenting involves physical closeness with your children, in the belief that knowing your baby and her individual needs is the best way to make parenting decisions. “When parents open their hearts and minds to their baby’s needs and emotions, they use many of the tools that we describe in this book to respond to those needs and emotions and fit them into their own lives. The important point is to get connected to your baby and stay connected as your child grows,” the authors write.
The Sears’ clearly identify what attachment parenting is and isn’t, debunking many of the myths surrounding it and explain, for example, that it is not newfangled, but rather “based on the ways that many traditional cultures care for babies and mothers.” They also address the issue of spoiling, which some critics claim is the result of attachment parenting: “Attachment parenting is not the same as giving your baby everything she asks for. Parents must learn to distinguish between a child’s needs and a child’s wants.”
According to the authors, the methods of attachment parenting are built on several building blocks known as “the Baby Bs”: bonding at birth and beyond, breastfeeding, baby wearing, belief in the signal value of a baby’s cry, bedding close to baby, balance and boundaries, and beware of baby trainers. Each of these building blocks gets its own chapter where the ideas are carefully explained with quotes from contributing parents in support.
Some of the ideas in The Attachment Parenting Book will be familiar to anyone who has read other parenting books by William and Martha Sears. This easy-to-read book does a wonderful job of providing an overview of their philosophy in one volume.