So you all know I’m a hippie, right? I made my kids’ shampoo for the first five years of their life, I don’t use paper towels or commercial cleaning products, I use naturopathic and holistic medicine rather than Western medicine, I don’t own any toys that require batteries, I believe in natural birth as an empowering and profound experience for women, and I don’t shave my legs. You get it: I’m a total hippie.
Well, as you can imagine, conventional parenting magazines never sat right with me because they simply didn’t address the things I needed to know as a parent interested in cloth diapering, sustainable parenting, and how to stop well meaning family from buying your kids every battery-operated toy in existence for every birthday and holiday. There used to be a print magazine called Mothering that was THE parenting magazine for moms (and dads) like me. It is now available only online for environmental reasons at Mothering.com and it is a tremendous resource for those interested in what’s referred to as Natural Family Living. Read the rest of this entry →
The recent study by Dr. Cynthia Colen has a lot of us in the breastfeeding world up in arms. This study declares that benefits of breastfeeding may be “overstated” and our very own Jordana Horn has indicated that this could be an end to Mommy Wars since everyone is just doing their best and we are all good moms and other such positive messages of unity and happiness which I wholeheartedly support!
However, the issues are the following:
1. Academics. This study is not the end all be all of studies. The journal it is published in is not, in my opinion, the foremost journal to look for for this kind of research. The study was based on statistical associations which are not always correlations (they are not the same thing!). It is not a faultless study. It is not “right” simply because it was published. In academia, things are published all of the time which are later edited, revisited, re-analyzed, dissected, contested, and reviewed. That a study exists doesn’t make it a talking point for us moms everywhere. This is an academic paper designed for a statistics and social sciences audience, not for us to use to bolster any particular opinion or lifestyle choice we make based on our lives, work schedules, and decisions. And I would say that even if the study supported breastfeeding. These kinds of papers are not meant for public consumption to draw conclusions about our particular situations. Read the rest of this entry →
Now that awards season is over, I am pretty sure it’s OK and authentic to say that I am tired of writing about dresses, SPANX, and expectations of wins and losses. I feel like writing about parenting again. So here we go.
I read a piece on the internet about whether or not to “force” children to kiss their parents or grandparents (or anyone else for that matter). It included the author’s decision to let her child know that when she gets kisses she’s “happy mama” and when she doesn’t get kisses, she’s “sad mama.” Argh. Yeah, that is so not my parenting philosophy or vernacular, but what do I know?
Here’s the thing. The thing about truth is that it’s true. The thing about parenting is that everything seems to change with every situation and it’s sometimes hard to tell what “true” is. I’d like to take this example of children not wanting to kiss certain people as an example of when truth trumps parenting. Read the rest of this entry →
Recently, Kveller has been running a series of posts with professional sleep coach Batya Sherizen, in which she answers readers’ questions about issues they are having with their children’s sleep. I’m not a professional sleep coach and I respect people like Batya, but there are actually other perspectives on sleep, and I wanted to share some of the “other side.” I speak from the perspective of someone who got (free) sleep advice from people who don’t support sleep training and I also come from my training as a Certified Lactation Educator Counselor. Some of us don’t prescribe to sleep training, especially for the first year, and especially if you are breastfeeding. Here’s why.
I wrote a book a few years ago called Beyond the Sling. It was a very straightforward, very honest, very accurate portrayal of what Attachment Parenting looked like in my home. More specifically, there were chapters on my experiences with natural birth and homebirth, breastfeeding on demand as well as extended breastfeeding, not using harsh discipline or punitive discipline, the magic of baby-wearing, and other such enthralling AP-related topics.
And of course there was a chapter on sleep. Sleep training and sleep management is one of the most profitable and difficult topics for new parents. I chose to safely co-sleep with my sons, participating in the subset of co-sleeping known as bed-sharing. That means my sons and I shared–and still share on many nights–a sleeping surface. As I discuss in my book, this arrangement is not for everyone and it is most certainly not for people who cannot or will not abide by the rules of safe co-sleeping. However, from my experience as a mother of two breastfeeding and securely attached children, as well as a Certified Lactation Educator Counselor (C.L.E.C.), I have a lot of things to say about babies and sleep.
Here are the reasons why I don’t believe in sleep training. If you want to be conservative about the matter, these beliefs of mine hold most strongly for children under 6 months of age. Read the rest of this entry →
Yesterday on Raising Kvell, Tzipporah La Fianza wrote a post about her frustrations with attachment parenting, and why she stopped associating with AP. Today, Mayim responds.
Hey, Tzipporah. So… I’m kind of in the middle of a divorce and I am really stressed and it’s really the least fun week I’ve had in a long time, but did you think you could sneak this one by me and I wouldn’t respond!? I mean, come on, sister. I WROTE A BOOK ON IT!
In all gentleness and camaraderie, I would like to respond to some of your points as best as I can as someone who is not a perfect AP mom, or a perfect any kind of mom (ask Carla Naumburg), but just a plain mom who has also been through the parenting wringer, AP and otherwise, and lived to tell about it. Read the rest of this entry →
Time Magazine put a picture of a mother breastfeeding her 3-year-old son on their latest cover, and the whole world started talking. Several news and media sources contacted me to get my opinion on the matter, and here’s what I had to say:
I have never read Parenting Magazine. Well, maybe I have thumbed through it in a doctor’s office once or twice. I don’t tend to read “conventional” consumer-heavy magazines. Too much molding everyone and their kids to be the same image of “normal” that modern obstetrics and pediatrics wants to sell us: buy this, buy that, you need this gadget and that gadget.
Not my thing, but whatever. There’s something for everyone, and the “natural family living” publication, Mothering Magazine (now Mothering.com) was made for mamas like me, so fine. To each her own.
Hoo-boy. My book, Beyond the Sling, came out a few months ago. It went well. I was on The View, Nightline, and GMA. Big magazines interviewed me and the reviews were really positive overall. I didn’t make the NY Times bestseller list (seems you have to be a horribly mean/strict/abusive mama to really capture the interest of Americans!), but I was really pleased with the overall outcome of the book release: we went into a third printing the week it came out, Kveller threw me an awesome party at kosher/vegan Cafe Blossom, and seven of the Maccabeats came to the party (but who’s counting?). I mean, come on: in my world it does not get much better than that.
Imagine my surprise that I and my book have become something of a mini-sensation again in the past two weeks! First, Howard Stern (who I both am repulsed by and find utterly fascinating) mentioned he’d love to talk to me about how I “don’t believe in diapers” (his quote, not mine; we practiced Elimination Communication (EC) but used cloth diapers until we had the system down at about 15 months and much as I “believe” in hamburgers but don’t partake in them, I do “believe” in diapers). Read the rest of this entry →
If you know my dad, you know that this is well within the realm of “normal” for my father and his email communication with me. In fact, it’s one of the less bizarre emails I have ever received from him. But besides alerting me to the fact that if my dad knows about this Alicia thing, I should probably write about it, it brings to light a larger parenting issue that’s been on my mind lately about where our comfort zone is, and what happens when someone does something outside of it. Read the rest of this entry →
Mayim Bialik is the grandchild of immigrants from Eastern Europe and the mother of two young boys. She is best known for her lead role in the 1990s NBC sitcom Blossom, as well as her current role as Amy Farrah Fowler on CBS' The Big Bang Theory.