Beyond the Sling – book review and giveaway

I’m a big fan of reading parenting books. I know some people think they distract you listening to your instinct. I believe a good book, with solid footing in science, common sense and compassion can help you separate what you do because it’s left over from your own childhood and how you are naturally wired to parent.

Mayim Bialik’s Beyond the Sling is very much that kind of book. Best known these days for her role as Dr Amy Farah Fowler on insanely popular American sitcom The Big Bang Theory, Bialik has a PhD in neuroscience in real life. She also has a breastfeeding counselling qualification and is mother to two boys. This book serves as a simple, joyful introduction to attachment parenting, the lifestyle she and her sons’ father have chosen for their family.

I read Beyond the Sling as an attachment parent. I nodded along to her description of attachment parenting: “It is for people from all walks of life who seek to parent gently and who believe that an independent adult is one who was allowed to form a healthy dependence and attachment to her caregiver in her formative years.” There was little that was new for me. However, it was so refreshing to read how another family does things on a practical level.

The book is organised around things babies need: a smooth entrance, milk, holding, nighttime parenting, potty. And things they don’t need: stuff, unnecessary medical intervention, pressure and punishment.

There are even a couple of sections on what mothers need, which is great to see since this style arenting is often equated with maternal martyrdom, which it certainly isn’t. You can’t parent well if your own resources are running dangerously low.

What stood out to you in the list around what babies do and don’t need? After reading the intro, I went straight to the potty section! Not that much is written about elimination communication (helping your baby to the potty rather than leaving her to wee and poo in a nappy) and it’s really interesting reading about how it works in a real family context.

Bialik demystifies the practice. I felt pretty reinspired to keep going with it but I’m still only managing to do it on a very part-time basis. The principles that underpin it make a lot of sense to me, though.

Bialik writes: “The investment and effort we put in when our children – no matter how we parent – affects them and us for the rest of their lives. EC is one investment we stand behind (no pun intended) all the way, but I think that the outcomes of EC can be used by parents even if they potty-train the conventional way.”

Beyond the Sling by Mayim Bialik-2

Then I flipped to the gentle discipline chapter. This truly was a breath of fresh air. We’ve been finding the world of parenting a three-and-a-half-year-old a tricky one. As Talitha develops her opinions and ideas and explores life and its limits, it’s sometimes hard to know how to relate to her in a way that is neither harsh nor permissive.

Bialik defines gentle discipline as: “parenting without violence, relying instead on respectful communication and seeking to see your child not as someone lesser or weaker than you who you can and should control, but rather as a partner in your life and a source of potential joy and loving interaction.”

Her examples of what this looks like for her family are extremely helpful.

I think this book is an especially inspiring read for a new parent who wants to feel able to trust her (or his) intuition. For me, it was both encouraging and entertaining.

I love Mayim Bialik’s writing. I actually read her blog on Kveller for a while before I realised that she was in The Big Bang Theory! I was excited to hear that she was writing Beyond the Sling, though it’s taken me a while to finally read it.

Pinter and Martin have recently republished it for a British audience, which I was delighted to see because I’m a big fan of theirs too. Do check out their other titles.

In fact Pinter and Martin are offering one of my readers the chance to win a copy of Beyond the Sling. Just tell me what stood out to you in the list of things babies do and don’t need and enter the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Beyond the Sling is available on the Pinter and Martin website for £7.99 at the time of writing.

Giveaway ends 12.00am on December 24th 2014. Open to UK residents only. Entrants’ email addresses will be passed on to the Circus Queen newsletter – you can opt out at any time.

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  • Ooo, this book is on my wish list 🙂 The thing that stood out to me was that babies don’t need ‘stuff’. I found that fairly easy when my two were babies – but we are drowning in things now they are a bit older. I need to figure out how to manage that. It is probably partially a product of the fact that we were moving a lot before but now we are settled. It will be interesting to see what happens if/ when we have another baby!

  • I absolutely love her and her outlook on parenting. I love that she is an actress in quite mainstream television as well as being a Dr in Neuroscience as it makes her attachment parenting ideas more accessible I think, people know her name but also know she’s pretty darn smart too. Really interested in giving this a read! x
    Fritha recently posted..Girls in games

  • ive been wanting to read this for ages, it’s been gathering dust on my wish list since ebony was a baby! The ec section sounds really interesting, as does the gentle parenting bit x

  • I have been wanting to read this book, having never read a parenting book before, as whilst I don’t think I am completely an ap, I definitely use elements of it in my parenting style. I think babies need holding, and a lot more than some realise, and I am grateful that I discovered babywearing so early on as it has made being an attached parent easier for me.
    Bex @ The Mummy Adventure recently posted..A Vegan Kid’s Christmas Party

  • Im surprised they need pressure as we are always being told to go easy on kids these days and now we have kids who dont know how to cope with it

  • I’m interested in what she says about nighttime parenting – we’ve embraced co-sleeping a lot more second time round; sometimes M’s in her cot and sometimes she’s in our bed, we just go with whatever works that night. I also practice part-time EC (and did with my first too) – we have our ups and downs but I absolutely love it. Can really recommend the book ‘The Diaper Free Baby’ which has lots of practical tips and support for occasional, part time or full time ECing.

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