When you have a baby there is a wealth of advice proscribed; What to buy, how to look after yourself and your child and what, when and how to feed it.
Yet the human race has survived for thousands of years without the benefit of nappy stackers and baby wipe warmers! Baby Wisdom: The World's Best-kept Secrets for the First Year of Parenting, by Deborah Jackson explores the ways that different cultures around the world and throughout history have looked after their babies, and what we can learn from their different approaches.
Every baby is born the same after all, naked and vulnerable, yet the ways we have evolved to bring up those babies differ wildly. For example, in the west we wrap our children in nappies for an average of two and a half years, whereas in warmer countries children run naked, and in houses with no carpets any mess is simply cleaned up.
Constant carrying of a baby and co-sleeping is regarded in most of the world as the norm, so that a child will always feel close to someone, be kept safe and warm and be easy to nurse. It is a fairly modern, western concept that children should be left to cry alone to make them sleep. Carrying, co-sleeping and constant contact it seems, also allows breastfeeding to be so much easier than the monumental task so many of us find it.
Deborah Jackson has performed a massive undertaking with this book. The writer and journalist, who has written for ‘Elle’ and ‘Natural Parent’, runs workshops for the Active Birth Centre in London and has made numerous television appearances, reviewed a huge range of literature and anthropological studies on the subject of baby care to produce this book. The result is a fascinating overview of attitudes to babies the world over, and an abundance of ideas for mothers to use when the ‘conventional’ wisdom does not feel right.
This is not really a book which you would read from cover to cover, although once you pick it up it is hard to put down. Rather it is one which you can dip into at almost any point and find some new perspective in the practise of childrearing. Whether you are a new mother looking for better ways to look after your child or simply curious about the world we live in, this book is a remarkable compendium of mother’s knowledge.
Buy Baby Wisdom by Deborah Jackson at Amazon.
About the Author: Jacqui O'Brien is the Editor of eParenting.