So I went and got me an Amazon widget to put on this blog with my favorite offline mainstream parenting books, only to find out that WordPress doesn’t support Amazon widgets! Oh well. I may consider a move to Blogger just to be able to use plug-ins, but I find the WordPress format so much more user-friendly, I think I’ll stay here for now.
In the meantime, here is my list of parenting-related books I recommend every mainstream parent, or one looking at AP from the outside in and seeking to understand the phenomenon (and want reassurance that she isn’t the only mom who finds it odd) read. None of the books are actually how-to parenting books; I think seeking guidance from real live people close to you is the best way to go. There is also reliable medical and parenting information galore online, at Dr. Hull’s website (listed in my blogroll to the right) , at the AAP’s website, and the CDC, to name just a few. But there’s nothing quite like curling up with a book on the sofa, just reading about motherhood and what makes moms tick.
The Paradox of Natural Mothering, by Chris Bobel. A semi-crunchy mom herself (she had a homebirth and selectively vaccinates), Bobel wrote her Ph.D dissertation on “natural” mothering and its philosophical underpinnings, and what attracts women to practice it. If you read only one book on this list, this should be it.
Parents Who Think Too Much: Why We Do It, How To Stop by Anne Cassidy. This book was referenced in an article I read about spoiled children (I think it was in the Boston Globe), and was the first book on the subject I read. Cassidy compares the overprotected, overstimulated, over-spoiled children of today with the children of yesteryear, discusses how the current situation came about, and how we can give our children an “old-fashioned childhood”… with a little benign neglect. A real eye-opener in the pre-Mommy Myth era (I also, naturally, recommend the latter book).
Bottlefeeding Without Guilt (or, in its repackaged form, When Breastfeeding is not an Option) is a bit of light reading that has earned its author, Peggy Robin, much scorn from APers. When Robin’s breastfeeding career was cut short due to a very bad bout of mastitis, she started to look at the assumptions surrounding breastfeeding advocacy with a critical eye. While her book is mainly anecdotal and doesn’t make any claims to scientific rigor, there is an interesting dissection of the “the world breastfeeding average is 4+ years” myth you see a lot online, and an early (mid-90s) recognition of the cluster of beliefs held by lactofanatics. Even if you don’t agree with anything written in this book, you’ll at least come away with an understanding of where the “militant breastfeeding cult” website got its name from.
Dr. Ferber’s much-maligned Solve your Child’s Sleep Problems is worth a read, if only to familiarize yourself with the concept of CIO as Ferber actually presents it. It has nothing whatsoever to do with how the APers portray him, of course. The part about helping babies to sleep through the night is only a minor part of the book, though, and the chapters about night terrors, bedwetting and other true sleep pathologies are clear, concise, and obviously professional.
As I said, a mere partial list, but enough to run up a nice bill at any bookstore for now. If any of you have suggestions for further reading on the subject or would like to discuss any book on the list at length, please leave a comment.
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