Reviews by Amazon.com – “Attachment to and dependency on parents… is a normal, healthy aspect of childhood and not something that needs to be discouraged.” This quote from Attachment Parenting: Instinctive Care for Your Baby and Young Child sums up the attitude behind the growing shift in many Western cultures toward a labor-intensive but arguably more rewarding, effective, and “natural” way to raise children. This philosophy, termed “Attachment Parenting” by its champion, pediatrician and father of eight Dr. William Sears (author of the popular child-care manual The Baby Book, among others), sees infants not as manipulative adversaries who must be “trained” to eat, sleep, and play when told, but as dependent yet autonomous human beings whose wants and needs are intelligible to the parent willing to listen, and who deserve to be responded to in a reasonable and sensitive manner. As with Sears’’ books, there are no plans or schedules here, no specific prescriptions for what to do with your child. Techniques to facilitate connection and communication are outlined, but mostly the book is an exhortation to listen and to trust yourself, and to trust your child’s ability to convey to you what he or she needs.
Information is provided in a well-organized format that parents will find useful. Common questions regarding some of Attachment Parenting’s less orthodox tenets are answered, and each section of the book provides lengthy reading and resource lists, Web sites, and e-mail addresses. This book also provides a fairly broad discussion of how working parents can incorporate such a “high-touch” style of care into their busy schedules. The authors are sometimes painfully straightforward about the cost-benefit analysis parents must go through when deciding to work outside the home, but they do not patronize working parents by glossing over this difficult decision. They show how Attachment Parenting can be especially beneficial to these families and give advice on choosing child care, breastfeeding after returning to work, and the techniques for creating a breastfeeding-friendly workplace.
Given the overwhelming cultural paradigms that parents must resist if they are going to adopt this compassionate methodology, the book’s sometimes defensive tone can be at least partially excused. As a whole, parents will find this a good overview of some compelling arguments for Attachment Parenting and a wonderful resource for delving deeper into the issues it addresses. How much of it they choose to integrate into their lives is, as the book emphasizes, their decision to make, with their baby. –Katherine Ferguson