A real-world guide to Attachment Parenting from the Big Bang Theory actress, neuroscientist, and mother Mayim Bialik—a book hailed by Dr. William Sears as “delightful” and by Ricki Lake as “a fantastic guide to birth and parenting that is packed with invaluable wisdom.”
Mayim Bialik was the child star of the popular 1990s TV sitcom Blossom, but she definitely didn’t follow the typical child-star trajectory. Instead, Mayim got her PhD in neuroscience from UCLA, married her college sweetheart, and had two kids. Mayim then did what many new moms do—she read a lot of books, talked with other parents, and she soon started questioning a lot of the conventional wisdom she heard about the “right” way to raise a child. That’s when she turned to Attachment Parenting, a philosophy and lifestyle popularized by well-known physicians like Dr. William Sears and Dr. Jay Gordon.
To Mayim, Attachment Parenting’s natural, child-led approach not only felt right emotionally, it made sense intellectually and instinctually. She found that when she followed her intuition and relaxed into her role as a mother instead of following some rigid parenting script, both she and her children thrived. Taking into account her experience as a mother (and her scientific background), Mayim presents the major tenets of Attachment Parenting, including:
Baby wearing: How to “wear” your baby in a sling or a wrap to foster a closer bond with your child—it’s possible even for mamas with bad backs (and with big babies)!
Breastfeeding: Learn how to listen to your baby’s cues rather than sticking to a rigid schedule—and why people on airplanes love a nursing mother!
Gentle discipline: How to get your child to behave without yelling, threats, or time-outs—it really is possible.
Co-sleeping: How to avoid “sleep training” and get a great night’s sleep for the whole family.
Without the pretense and luxuries typical of so many Hollywood actors and parents, Mayim describes the beauty, simplicity, and purposefulness of Attachment Parenting, and how it’s become the guiding principle for her family. Much more than a simple how-to parenting guide, Beyond the Sling shows us that the core principles underlying Attachment Parenting are universal and can be appreciated no matter how you decide to raise your child.
Bialik, former child-star of the TV sitcom Blossom, is now a neuroscientist with two young sons. A proponent of "attachment parenting," Bialik discusses the philosophy's main components, including co-sleeping, baby-wearing, extended nursing, and natural birth, using her own experiences as a mother as well as her background in neuroscience to illustrate and shore up her points. The core of the author's text focuses on what she considers to be baby's needs, including a smooth birth (preferably without unnecessary medical intervention), breastfeeding (she became a certified lactation education counselor), holding, and nighttime parenting (including safe co-sleeping). She also includes a chapter on "Elimination Communication," a potty training method that relies on parents' recognizing baby's signals (the diaper-free route, she admits, is not for everyone). While passionate and committed to attachment parenting, Bialik approaches her subject with a sense of humor and the awareness that not every parent will embrace all its tenets. Nevertheless, she makes a convincing case for the benefits for children, including healthy brain and social development, ability to develop trusting relationships, and good self esteem. Attachment parenting proponents will welcome Bialik's openhearted message and advice to follow one's instincts, and even readers who are skeptical will enjoy Bialik's warm and nonjudgmental voice.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Be Open Minded and You will Enjoy
Beyond the Sling is smart and intriguing. No matter your preconceived notions about parenting or attachment parenting, you will surely take something away from this book. There is indeed something for all. This book challenges new parents to step out of conventional roles and comforts to establish deeper and meaningful relationships with their babies. Beyond the Sling has allowed me to throw a few more valuable tools in my parenting toolbox that happen to apply to my beliefs that I didn't even know we're options before! The author does her best to try and relate to people different from herself, I think she still comes off out of touch. The parents she describes that apparently live her lifestyle as well don't actually seem that different from her. I would have liked to see more of a dollar by dollar breakdown of how these people are making attachment parenting work. Unless you lived a simple life before, one would have some major work to do to get to the point of time she is at in her life. All in all this book is worth the read, it's quick and an excellent reference.
Read with caution
I enjoyed the book. I'm a teacher, nanny and mom and I agree with the author in many aspects but sometimes her decisions sounded insane to me. As all parenting books, it's very preachy. I don't care how many times she tries to save face but her book is as preachy as they come. I like a lot of aspects of what is called attachment parenting but I don't label myself. I'm a loving mother/caregiver trying to make my own well informed and intuitive decisions. I wish you'd take this book, or any parenting book/advice in that same light - get informed, reflect, take what you think works for you and your family and relax and have fun. Parents are making themselves crazy and making their kids crazy with all this anxiety.
Such a wonderful and empowering book on motherhood, parenthood and following your instincts. I love how she shows that all attachment parenting is not identical but equally valuable. While we may not do everything each chapter leaves something to be learned. Highly recommended.