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Mothering the Mother Birth Services

Book Reviews by Mary Paliescheskey


Published in Mothering the Mother

Birth Services Quarterly Newsletter


  The Irreducible Needs of Children

  Birthing from Within

 The Children's Hospital Guide to your Child's Health and Development

 Infant Potty Training

 Recommened Reading- NEW

  • More about Books






    Book Review

    The Irreducible Needs of Children

    T.B. Brazelton, MD and S.I Greenspan, MD

    by Mary Paliescheskey, Birth Guide

    Mothering the Mother Birth Services

    Dr. Brazelton and Dr. Greenspan take a hard look at our society and how we raise our children. Together they find the six irreducible needs of children. Without adults to fulfill these needs, children will not thrive and flourish. In addition, emotional scaring could result from a constant denial of these needs.

    I was very excited to read a book which addresses the needs of children with such honesty. As adults and parents, the needs of our children should be foremost in our minds and hearts. The authors, with compassion and concern for children, point out the short comings of our society. They educate so that parents can make informed decisions on how to meet the needs of their children. It is easy for us to justify our actions. The authors remind us of the effects of our decisions.

    The authors are not only speaking to parents, but to the government and institutions that serve children. Changes need to be made at the organizational level in order to truly meet the needs of children. However, parents or primary caregivers are the main influence. Each chapter discusses what parents can do to help fulfill their responsibilities to their children’s well-being.

    The authors call into question the way we raise our children with extended periods in the care of constantly changing child care providers. Since the first need is for ongoing nurturing relationships, current daycare models which include high turnover rates for providers denies children a basic need. This may be hard for parents to accept. Brazelton and Greenspan acknowledge the financial needs for families and discuss ways to limit the long term effects of daycare on children.

    Each irreducible need is discussed with honesty and compassion for family situations. The authors explain their thought processes and make recommendations for parents to help them fulfill that need.

    Each chapter of the book is dedicated to detailed discussion of each need. The first six chapters are devoted to the needs. The final chapter contains information about making changes for the future. There is an extensive appendix which includes the touchpoints model, developmental growth charts, questionnaires, and a listing of organizations to help parents.

    For more information or to buy this book click the link: The Irreducible Needs of Children: What Every Child Must Have to Grow, Learn, and Flourish

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    Book Review

    Birthing from Within

    Pam England and Rob Horowitz

    by Mary Paliescheskey, Birth Guide

    Mothering the Mother Birth Services

    Birthing from Within is a new philosophy on childbirth preparation. The premise is that women know about birth and need to validate their own perceptions. It carries a multi-sensory, holistic approach with interactive assignments and creative participation.

    The author feels that her most significant contribution is the introduction of birth art to childbirth preparation. “My work with pregnant women has shown me that giving creative expression to secret hopes and dark fears is a vital part of childbirth preparation.”

    The book does not present a rigid program. You are intended to pick and choose the assignments. You select ones that appeal to your personality and needs. You can gain a lot of insights by just reading the book. However, working through the art projects, journal assignment, interviews of other women, and evaluation of cultural differences will help clarify your feelings and clear your fears.

    The book contains information on moving from pregnancy to parenthood. There are chapters devoted to parenting, baby-proofing your marriage, and preserving your birth memories. The appendix is extensive and contains information on nutrition, breach tilt, pain technique worksheets, and reminder cards to take with you.

    I like that this book has a chapter examining the father’s experience of birth. The author acknowledges that the father is not a coach, but an equal participant in the process and may require support tailored to his needs. This viewpoint can be neglected in many childbirth texts.

    The section on coping with labor contractions is very well done. Twelve different strategies for pain management are discussed (medication is discussed in a separate chapter). Specific assignments are given using ice to simulate contractions.

    This book is not intended as an obstetrical text. It’s emphasis is on the mental preparation of a woman for the emotional process of birth. Each section of the book has a variety of assignments that address the same issue. Each choice is slightly different so that each woman should find one that appeals to her personality. Most section assignments are illustrated with real examples from women who have attended Birthing from Within childbirth classes.

    For more information or to buy this book click the link:

    Birthing from within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation



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    book review

    The Children's Hospital Guide to your Child's Health and Development

    Children's Hospital Boston: A.D. Woolf, MD, MPH editor

    by Mary Paliescheskey, Birth Guide

    Mothering the Mother Birth Services

    The Children’s Hospital Guide to Your Child’s Health and Development (ISBN 073820241X) is a comprehensive book. It covers pregnancy through school age children. This book is an excellent and one stop manual for pregnancy, childbirth, child care, and child development through school age children.

    Inside the front cover is a list of the most common emergencies for children and where to find instructions in the book. These include pictorial instructions for infant and child CPR, head injuries, bleeding, poisoning, and allergic shock. Fifty-three pages of the book are devoted to emergency care.

    The majority of the book discusses common childhood illnesses. The illnesses are listed in alphabetical order. Each illness has sections describing symptoms, causes, prevention, what you can do, and what a doctor can do.

    Important information is located in pink highlighted boxes. ‘When to call a doctor’ box is divided into emergency, call immediately, call today, or at your next checkup. Descriptions of the child’s symptoms that would require each action are listed. Each symptom is a bulleted item so that the instruction is clear.

    Child development is well covered. Developmental milestones are listed for each age group. Common parental concerns are listed and addressed. The text is easy to read and the sections have titles so you can skim each area for the items that interest you.

    Difficult topics are also discussed. Not only concerns about how to select child care, but the big issues of drug addition, learning disabilities, sports and safety, and sexuality.

    An excellent resource book for any parent’s library.

    Table of Contents:

    1. Before Baby Arrives

    2. Meeting Your New Baby

    3. Your Baby's First Month

    4. Your Baby's First Year

    5. Your Toddler

    6. Your Preschool Child

    7. Your School-Age Child

    8. Your Child's Doctor and Health Plan

    9. Leaving Your Child in the Care of Others

    10. What to Expect When Your Child is Sick

    11. Preparing for and Handling Emergencies


    For more information or to buy this book click the link:

    The Children's Hospital Guide to Your Child's Health and Development
    The Children's Hospital Guide to Your Child's Health and Development

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    Book Review


    Infant Potty Training By


    L. Laurie Boucke

    by Mary Paliescheskey, Birth Guide

    Mothering the Mother Birth Services

    Infant Potty Training promotes a philosophy new to Western culture: training infants to use a potty instead of a diaper. Boucke learned this technique from a woman who lived in India. Boucke has modified the technique to fit better with Western society. “...interest in this method has been steadily on the increase, and parents have requested more detailed information…”

    The author is very clear about the time involved and that infant potty training is not for every family. She states the importance of positive attitude on training. The focus of the training is teaching parents and care givers to recognize the baby’s signals.

    The book is very specific and gives detailed instructions. Parents choose a verbal signal such as ‘sssss’ to indicate they want the baby to go. Instructions for choosing a receptacle for the waste are discussed. The book is full of pictures of happy babies going on the potty.

    Instructions for the various stages of infant potty training are included. At first, baby’s need to be held over a receptacle. Then they are supported on a potty of appropriate size. After they become stable sitters and walk, they become more independent users of the potty. Boucke states:, “For those of you who feel a child is too young to start toilet training until he takes the initiative himself, the alternative is to let the diaper ‘catch’ everything for 2-4 years.”

    The first portion of the book instructs parents in the methods. It includes aspects like part-time training with discussion of success rates and when to start training. Boucke indicates that the best success rate for this method was with babies who were younger than 4 months. However, success is possible with older children. It just may take longer and involve more luck. “Readers must bear in mind that each baby is unique and will develop at its own personal pace.”

    Boucke states that the following lifestyles and philosophies are compatible with infant potty training: Attachment Parenting; Continuum Concept; La Leche League; Gentle Childbirth and Nesting; Postpartum Honeymoons; Baby Massage; and Homeschooling.

    A section is devoted to dispelling the myths about infant potty training. Testimonials from mothers in the USA as well as around the world are included. The last portion of the book is devoted to cross cultural studies from Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

    To buy this book Infant Potty Training : A Gentle and Primeval Method Adapted to Modern Living
    Infant Potty Training : A Gentle and Primeval Method Adapted to Modern Living




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