Thursday, January 27, 2011

Book Review: What Your Pediatrician Doesn't Know Can Hurt Your Child A More Natural Approach to Parenting by Susan Markel MD

What Your Pediatrician Doesn\'t Know Can Hurt Your Child: A More Natural Approach to Parenting
Well anyone that knows me will tell you I am not a big fan of most of the parenting/baby books out there.  Bonfire material mostly...I have been known to say, "That's why I haven't written my book would be one page long stating, "Don't read any books!"

Anywho,  low and behold I was sent a copy of the above book.  Title - right up my alley, of course.  The following was the gist of the cover letter accompanying it:  

It’s a really interesting book that encourages mothers to take a more natural approach, and to trust their instincts when it comes to raising emotionally and physically healthy children. As a pediatrician who has devoted her career to the support and promotion of breastfeeding, along with more accurate evidence-based information for parents, I’m quite gratified to see my book finally published and on bookshelves. It is the culmination of my efforts to create mindful and compassionate parenting, beginning with the best and most important start: breast milk and nothing but.  Further, throughout, the book I discuss ways for readers to respect the environment, to avoid raising a generation of super-consumers and to bring peace of mind into our lives without harming either our vulnerable children, or our surroundings. If you have ever been frustrated, or simply not satisfied, with traditional medical advice that is being given to new parents, or if you are eager for accurate information, you will likely find my book quite enlightening.  The first chapter, FROM BIRTH ONWARD, explains the real story behind standard (and often unnecessary) newborn medical procedures such as treatment of bilirubin, eye prophylaxis, hepatitis B vaccine and others.

Here is Dr Merkel's back round - I was impressed:
Board-Certified Pediatrician who has a private consultative practice special­izing in parent coaching and child health. A graduate of Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, I became a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics in1981, and an International Board Certified Lactation Con­sultant (IBCLC) in 1997. For many years I was a medical liaison for La Leche League and a member of the research advisory counsel at Attachment Parenting International. You can read more about her philosophy, which is expanded upon in the book, at her website:

I have to say, "Love this book with the exception of Chapter 6 - The Good Enough Mother - which I recommend you just skip right over or since I have spurred your curiosity read it but please, don't practice it.

I received your book today and am about half way through.  So far, I absolutely love it except for chapter 6, not quite sold on the "Transitional object" in theory or practice. I think the introduction of such at 6 month is too early if at all. Don't you think as a culture we are too attached to objects instead of people? I feel if you wait for the child's readiness for independance they will do so without the need for an attachment object. If babies/children are neglected or left then yes I assume they would need something but otherwise it's a poor substitute for a person and scary when a child can go nowhere without the object. I just don't buy the theory even though I realize why it would "work"  but your basically pawning off your baby to an object.  If an older child chooses to drag a favorite toy around I don't think it should be discouraged but to reinforce the idea to a 6mo doesn't sit right with me That object will never do what a real person can.
Anyway just me feedback so far I will keep reading.

p.s. - Dr Merkel did respond to say that she will take it into consideration if the book goes into reprint.

Conclusion:  I am going to be very honest and blunt here.  I live in what I consider a poisoned environment every day (professionally), please do not take offense I don't mean you!  So, it is not always easy and sometimes very lonely, swimming against the current. Many of us have discussed socialogica/psychological reasons why people have to stick to their ways of thinking, but suffice it to say that it makes them feel safe that way, to have their team rules to play by and root for. This is addressed somewhat in the book, I have to give Dr Merkel credit for "sticking out her neck" although in general the tone of the book is very positive , but in being positive she brings out the fallacies of those poisoning ways of thinking.
(ie the AAP)

I think that most of you will really like the book and that it will help you to take a stand against the nay-sayers. Would it help to have them read the book? Probably not. It might make it worse as they would have to take a stand against the ideas in the book which make them feel uncomfortable. 

Hey, it is what it is....  Personally I felt somewhat vindicated since much of the book is information and ideas that I have been trying to circulate and share for years.  Frankly,  if it weren't for the wonderful books by Bill Sears MD, I would have surely jumped off a cliff by now!