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How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm (Review and Giveaway)

As a new parent, still finding my way, I’m drawn to stories from other parents. I think I am looking for some commonality in our experience. I want to read stories that make me think, “That’s how I feel, too!” I also want to read stories that might enlighten me to a different way of understanding my child and motherhood.

Mei-Ling Hopgood’s new book, How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm, is full of these types of stories. On the surface, this book is about cultural differences in parenting practices around the world. But by the end of the book, I was left with a feeling of kinship with parents around the world. I might have gleaned a few new parenting ideas from this book, but more importantly, it broadened my perspective of the many wonderfully different ways to raise a child.

I first heard of this book through a cool blog I discovered recently, Ms. Mary Mack. Created by the fabulous Nicole Blades, Ms. Mary Mack “takes an anthropological approach to motherhood.” A couple of months ago, Ms. Mary Mack hosted an interview with Mei-Ling Hopgood about what she learned from writing the book. I was intrigued and actually won a copy of her book through that post. Lucky me! I enjoyed this book so much that I wanted to review it myself and share it with you. (Nicole and I have also talked about exchanging guest posts, so stay tuned for more from her. In the meantime, definitely check out her blog, especially her Global Mamas series if you want to hear more cross-cultural parenting stories.)

How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm is Hopgood’s exploration of parenting practices from around the globe. Hopgood herself was adopted from Taiwan and raised in Detroit. Her first child, Sofia, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Buenos Aires figures prominently in the first chapter of the book “How Buenos Aires Children Go to Bed Late.”

I started reading this book in the midst of my research for my series of blog posts on infant sleep, so of course I was immediately interested in this chapter. Hopgood explains that in Buenos Aires, it is not uncommon to see babies and toddlers enjoying dinner with their families at a café at 10 PM, to be dancing at a multi-generational party at midnight, or to be conked out on two chairs pushed together at a wedding reception at 2 AM. This flew in the face of everything I was reading about infant sleep. All of the sleep experts said that routines were critical and early bedtimes essential to avoiding an overtired state. In fact, I had found these things to be true as well, and I hold our 7 PM bedtime routine to be fairly sacred. And yet – somehow, these Argentinean babies seem to do OK. They sleep a little later in the morning and after a wild weekend of late dinners and parties, they catch up on sleep during the week.

Hopgood doesn’t just describe her observations on parenting in different cultures. She also consults the experts, talking with pediatricians, professors, and anthropologists, and the book includes a rich bibliography of science and cultural commentary. In her research she seeks to understand WHY each parenting practice works within the culture. Her chapter on Argentinean sleep practices includes the opinions of Richard Ferber (“As long as they’re getting enough sleep, it doesn’t make too much difference.”) and James McKenna (“Your child being valued enough by you and integrated in your life is more valuable than enforcing a rigid sleep routine.”) I also fell in love with a quote she included from a paper by Oskar Jenni and Bonnie O’Connor: “The large diversity of children’s sleep behaviors among societies and cultures may in fact indicate that an ‘optimal cultural standard’ does not exist.”

To give you an idea of the other parenting practices covered in Eskimos, here are some of my favorite chapters:

How the French Teach Their Children to Love Healthy Food. I personally can’t get enough of the French and their food.

How the Chinese Potty Train Early. This chapter was fascinating to me and covered everything from elimination communication to all the reasons to wait on potty training. It was helpful to read about early potty training in the Chinese cultural context and to think about the pitfalls of attempting it in a culture where it is frowned upon (and worse to a child – shameful) to poop on the street, no matter your age.

How Aka Pygmies Are the Best Fathers in the World. Aka infants spend almost as much time with their fathers as their mothers. It’s a cultural expectation. Hopgood writes:

“A group of men gather around a campfire, talking trash, sipping palm wine, and holding their infants in their arms. If a dad tries to get his baby to suckle on his nipple to calm her while the mother is away foraging for the day’s meal, the other guys don’t bat an eye.”

How the Japanese Let Their Children Fight. As long as nobody really gets injured, they figure that children will learn to solve their own conflicts and at the same time, “value the pleasure and pain of being a member of a community.”

Parenting is by design meant to raise a child to be a member of a particular culture. In that context, it is obvious that we wouldn’t parent in the same way around the world. Yet, our conversations about parenting become competitive and judgmental so quickly these days. When Pamela Druckerman’s Bringing Up Bebe came out a few months ago, the parenting buzz debated whether French or American parents are better. Eskimos argues that there is no “better.” Different, sure, but not necessarily better.

How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm is a book full of stories of good parents and happy babies from around the world. It might open your eyes and encourage you to consider parenting a bit differently. Or it might just make you worry less about whether you are parenting the “right” way and get on with parenting from your heart. Surely that is what parents have been doing around the world, for several million years. Eskimos is an especially great read for new parents and parents-to-be. It will leave you thinking, “I can do this.” And throughout the book, Hopgood’s first-hand stories of motherhood make for intimate and engaging narrative.

Mei-Ling Hopgood and Algonquin Press have generously offered to give away 3 copies of Eskimos to ScienceofMom readers in the U.S. Apologies to our international readers – seems a bit ironic to exclude you from a giveaway for a cross-cultural book, I know. I’ll run the giveaway for a week and draw three winners on April 25, 2012.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below with a thought (any thought) on parenting across cultures. Do you have any experience with traveling to other countries with your children? Do you have a parenting tip that you have picked up from another culture? What do you think we do well in our culture? Or not so well? What is a universal challenge for parents around the world?

52 Comments
  1. help4yourfamily #

    I love the idea of parenting from the heart. It is so true that we all do better that way and that no one parenting style is the best.

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  2. Though I know very little about different parenting methods from other locations of the world (and know very little about my own parenting methods as a new mom), I was shocked at the times that children were out in Ireland. I spent a little time in Ireland after college and noticed that pre-teen children were always in the bars late at night. This stuck with me all these years thought it would be many years after my Ireland experience that I would have a child myself. You very rarely see children in bars in the US, but it was so common place in Ireland that I think I was the only one to really notice.

    Thank you for this review. If I don’t win the giveaway, this will still be a book that I will purchase. There is a lot we can learn from other cultures.

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  3. Missy tapper #

    So interesting! Parenting is such a universal experience, so interesting to draw on different cultures experience. Love the French and their focus on mealtimes!

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    April 17, 2012
  4. This book sounds great, thank you! I haven’t yet traveled with my daughter but strive to make her comfortable adapting because I hope to soon!

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  5. I love the James McKenna quote, as well as Ferber’s. I see stressed out parents in our American culture worrying if they are doing it “right” as opposed to watching your baby and having balance in the family. What works for YOUR family? Not, what does the book say I should be doing and, oh no, my baby doesn’t fit that description so something must be wrong.

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  6. What a shame! I’m in the uk! Going to try and hunt the book down though, would love to read it!

    Like

    April 17, 2012
    • Sorry! It’s a shipping issue. But the book is well-worth buying, too!

      Like

      April 17, 2012
  7. Gena #

    Sounds like a great read. I appreciate that it’s set up more as anecdotal than how-to, so you can take what makes sense to you and simply enjoy the rest. I think it’s the ability to read a parenting book and be able to make that distinction that trips us up. At least for me. I feel a pressure to follow all the rules of a certain technique or style, otherwise it won’t “work.”. But if there’s something that just doesn’t seem right to me, I get very conflicted, confused, and then the doubt sets in. Now nearly 18 months into this journey, I feel like I’ve got enough of a secure base with my daughter that I’m confident to try new things or dismiss them as not right for us, and be able to move on. The challenges will continue and my thirst for new info and approaches will continue, but I am looking for answers from a less frazzled, freaked-out place! As for cultural differences, living in such a diverse big city as I do provides me with all sorts of examples. Heck, going to Disneyland was a real eye-opener! I was shocked at how many families brought their 0-6 month olds, apparently unable to wait to share the fun with them until they’re actually old enough to know where they are. All I could think about was what a long, tiring day it must be for that family! But maybe that’s their regular lifestyle – so good for them! And late at night when my husband and I finally stopped for dinner, the restaurant was overflowing with all ages of little ones – at 10pm! Wow again I thought, it’ s going to be a long night in a hotel room for these families, trying to settle everyone down. But you know what – they’re on vacation! And if it’s cool with the parents, then don’t judge and appreciate that they’re having fun and throwing the schedule out. Just because I’m super-rigid with bedtimes and naptimes doesn’t mean it’s the only way or even the better way. It’s OUR way and it works for us, and the world continues to spin.

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  8. Kristen #

    I’m laying on the floor on some pillows, next to my 11-month old son’s crib, trying to let him work through his desire to be held by me but my desire for him to learn to fall asleep on his own. We have done this so many times over the past several months, only to be interrupted time and time again by illness, house guests, you name it! I was drawn to this post in my reader feed because I often think about how moms in other countries don’t do things like this or worry about infant sleep as much as I do! I’ve always adored the “Babies” documentary because it reminds me that parents in other countries aren’t nearly so upright as we Americans can be, and I learn a lot from watching mothers in other countries be more relaxed and just follow their instincts. I would LOVE to read this book.

    Like

    April 17, 2012
    • I was thinking about the “Babies” documentary when I wrote this review. My husband and I watched it a couple of weeks before BabyC was born, and it left me with that same, “I can do this.” feeling. I will also point out that there are examples of parenting practices in this book that I definitely wouldn’t consider trying with my own child. That was interesting and also a welcome change to the feeling that we Americans are too helicopter or too coddling or too invested in having our children sleep on their own (whatever the current criticism is). I think sometimes we get this image of babies everywhere else being carried and snuggled and never crying, implying that we’ve gotten too far from our “evolved” parenting practices. But you’ll read in this book, for example, that Gusii mothers in southwestern Kenya are very responsive to their babies (feed on demand, etc) but they rarely look at or talk to their infants and toddlers, even when they are holding them or feeding them. These babies get all of their social education from other children once they are walking and more independent from mom. This works in this culture – mom focuses solely on baby’s survival and leaves the rest to the community – but I wouldn’t want to be that kind of mother myself! So many interesting examples in this book!

      Like

      April 17, 2012
  9. agburdett #

    Traveling in Thailand I was struck by how young children, even toddlers seemed to care for their younger siblings. They are given a lot of responsibility at a young age and seem to rise to the occasion.

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  10. I love the title! One of my meditations when I have forgotten my infants hat on a cold day is that cultures in the far frozen north seem to do okay and don’t freeze their babies. It’s my way of reminding myself to relax, enjoy, and not be too attached to doing it exactly right.

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  11. I’m not a parent yet but this book sounds fascinating! It is always so revealing to see what behaviors persist across cultures- perhaps these reveal some universal human values? For more unique practices, I suppose there is the question of what kind of person a child is expected to become in their society- cooperative? competitive? self-reliant? service-oriented? All of the above? I had a unique childhood in that my parents raised me in community, so that I had close relationships with families other than my immediate one. Even among four or five American families there was a lot of variance in philosophies (ESPECIALLY regarding bedtime, discipline, and food). Even at a very young age I understood that different families have different “ways of being” – I think cross-cultural experiences would have even more valuable in developing my senses of empathy, openness and respect for “the other”. If only everyone could get together for a global playdate!

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  12. Still five weeks from the arrival of our first children – twin girls – my husband and I have gotten so much advice on how to parent them. I’ve read one book on raising twins, and am somewhat aware of the unique issues involved with twin dynamics from several years as a Psychology undergraduate. But when people give me advice or I read something in a book, I tend to take it with a grain of salt. Not knowing what to expect, I find it hard to keep all the advice straight and, truth be told, I think my husband and I are both just kind of winging it. Not that we wouldn’t seek advice in the event of serious questions involving the health or safety of our babies. But I agree with the sentiment that American culture tends to be so uptight about things that, quite frankly, are unique to everyone’s experience. What works for some people won’t work for others. What works for one baby may not work in another circumstance. I’ve always tended to fly more by the seat of my pants, making every move based on the best information I have at the time, coupled with everything that’s gone before. I’ve made mistakes in life and I know I’ll make mistakes as a mother, but all I can do is learn from them and look at this upcoming adventure as another learning experience.

    Like another poster said, whether I win it or not I intend to read this book, as I find anecdotal experiences the most rewarding to hear and think about when dealing with similar situations. I think hearing from others and thinking about their observations – particularly others who live lives informed by cultural values unlike our own – is one of the best ways to form our own opinions on what’s right and wrong, good and bad, helpful and harmful. It gives us an opportunity to adopt practices that we may not have been aware of previously, and to understand more fully why we reject certain practices or beliefs. Thanks for the review of the book. I can’t wait to read it!

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  13. My stepmother is Thai — very interested to hear how her experiences growing up are different from what she sees here in Canada. Looks like an interesting book!

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  14. Melanie Vida #

    Reading French Kids Eat Anything now – the cultural differences are so interesting. Will definitely check it out. (BTW, the thought of my husband offering a nipple to one of our boys makes me giggle!)

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  15. Annette #

    I am Mexican, and one of the things culturally that has served me well (so far!) in parenting my 2 kids is the ability to be flexible. Argentina is not the only Latin-American country where kids stay up late and are included in all kinds of festivities – Mexico is another country where this happens. While I don’t keep my kids up until all hours on weeknights when we all have to be up early the next day, weekends are fair game; they are the days when we go with the flow and try to be less rigid, allowing the kids to enjoy their time at whatever function we’re at or we’re hosting. The longer summer days especially lend themselves to this. This book sounds so interesting, and I love the fact that it’s just an exploration vs. a how-to. Because really, parenting is not a one-size-fits-all thing! Thanks for your insightful review!

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  16. Lebotanica #

    Great review, really makes me want to read this book! I so welcome a book that, while highlighting differences, brings us all together in this parenting experience we share. We have so much to learn from eachother!

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  17. jing #

    I am so looking forward to reading the French mealtime. I cook my daughter’s meal seperately from the rest of the family because I don’t want her to eat too much salty food. Need some inspiration on that! Thank you for your review.

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  18. Laura Miller #

    So important to remember that there is no best way…instead there are a multitude of expressions of conscientious parenting. Our culture, politically and personally, is so quick to take sides and make stands; I guess it’s no surprise that discussions of parenthood are usually no different. Looking forward to reading this book, either from the drawing or the library. Thanks!

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  19. Adding this to my summer reading list now, thank you.

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  20. mar #

    i think the cultural differences between each generation is fascinating. so much changes in each successive generation that it’s hard to know how humanity as survived as long as it has! i wonder if moms will increasingly become more paranoid, i mean, cautious, about things or if the pendulum will begin to swing the other way.

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  21. Sounds like a really good book!
    Thank you for your insight, it was interesting:)

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  22. soralette #

    As a new first-time mom, this book sounds both fascinating and reassuring. I hate how modern mainstream American parenting seems to combine the worst of controlling their children/their children’s worlds and lives too much (not letting a child fail at something, lose a game, get a bad grade, etc) and giving in to the child too often (bribing too often, giving in to tantrums to make the tantrums “stop”, etc)… so I’m definitely interested to read how things are done elsewhere!

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  23. soralette #

    Sigh. I had a comment typed up, but the site ate it when it forced me to log in. Let’s try this again.

    As a new first-time mom of an eight-week old, I’m definitely interested in reading this book; it sounds both fascinating and reassuring. Trying to buck the modern mainstream American parenting trend of combining the worst parts of being too strict (e.g. not allowing your child to fail at anything, ever) and too lenient (e.g. giving in to tantrums to make them “stop”) gets difficult, and it seems like most of what’s out there are guidebooks on how we’re all “doin’ it wrong” — seeing how other cultures do things and have their kids turn out okay sounds wonderful, lol.

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  24. Jenny #

    I’m due with my second in a few weeks and really trying to rethink some of the things I obsessed about as a first time mom. I live in a city that is nearly 70% Hispanic with immigrants from many different countries. Many of our close friends are first generation immigrants. As we all become parents, it’s fascinating to see what things we each get obsessed about. For example, in some cultures you NEVER leave your child with someone who isn’t a blood relative. Kids go everywhere with parents and “babysitters” al la the Babysitters club are unheard of. Some of my friends were horrified that I would leave my 2 year old with a high school student. I also recognize the kids asleep under the dinner table. We have several friends from Latin America who want to start dinner plans at 8:30 with kids. We put our son to bed at 7 so this was a problem for us until we realized they wanted us to just bring him along and thrown him on the couch when he got sleepy. It makes you relax a little about being a “bad parent”. As long as my kid is well fed, well loved, and happy, I’m pretty sure he’ll do OK.

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  25. Another great topic here. I think there are two great lessons from your distillation of the book:
    1. Frequently there are no absolute rights or wrongs in parenting– a diversity of styles can result in happy, well adjusted children and families. 2. Cultural norms do have value. The shared wisdom of your milieu frequent does foster good parenting practices. This is especially important in our modern era, where people tend not to live in multigenerational households– where grandparents live with new parents who can impart valuable knowledge.

    Thanks again. Will also add this to my reading list.

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  26. Sarah #

    Hey Alice, thanks for the review. I’m definitely going to get ahold of this book somehow, for me and also for my sister, who is expecting her first in August. Even though I haven’t been commenting recently, I’ve loved reading your blog! Thanks so much for making the effort to write such thoughtful and interesting posts.

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  27. Alison #

    I am not a parent yet and I have never thought about this before. How fascinating. I would love to read it.

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  28. Claire S #

    I love seeing pictures of baby wearing around the world as well as hearing about breastfeeding practices. It is amazing how varied the simple act of calming children can be.

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  29. Olivia #

    I also thought of “Babies” when I first started reading this post. On a trip to China and Mongolia in 2007, my husband and I noticed that toddlers wore “bottom-less” pants (think chaps without diapers) and were outside more often than inside. This was their version of EC and potty learning.

    I love that it boils dI think that Parents just have to do what works for their families.

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  30. the speech monster #

    I think the universal challenge for parents is to raise their children to be successful and happy in the way their culture perceives it and that in itself, as you pointed out, is different, therefore leads to a myriad of parenting styles.

    thanks for reviewing and recommending this book; it sounds particularly interesting to me. i work with a very culturally diverse population of children in a school district in australia (and even tho i’m currently based in canada – temporarily – which is closer to the USA, i still have no chance to win this book giveaway, boo!), and have lived in a few different countries and experienced various cultures.

    personally, growing up in an asian culture and then dealing with children in western cultures opened my eyes to all sorts of differences in parenting styles. in my family, we were never allowed to “talk back” to our parents or really have any ground to negotiate anything. there was a great emphasis on getting ‘A’s in school, respecting those who are older, and being disciplined. (pretty stereotypical, i know. therefore, reading “tiger mom” was not as horrifying for me as it was for some of my caucasian friends.) most caucasian parents of kids i work with parent very differently: there’s lots of talking about feelings, negotiations, and a lot of parents are wary of their kids’ self esteem – almost too precious about it, imho. having said that, i do think there is a lot to be learned from the typical “western”/anglo style of parenting in building confidence and self esteem in one’s child.

    i’m not too sure about how other cultures do sleep or food (other than how the french parents do food with their children; americans seem to be obsessed with that. http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/13/why-french-parents-are-superior-in-one-way/)

    from a speech and language development point of view i’m more inclined to the anglo way of stimulating and encouraging their kids from a young age to participate in discussions and talk, versus the typical asian or east asian style of parenting where, and i’m stereotyping and really generalizing here, the more passive and quiet the kid, the better. in my classes where i am supposed to correct kids’ speech and language skills, i often have to almost ‘retrain’ some parents of asian backgrounds to engage their kids more; play and talk more with them, because practice is the key to success or at least some improvement. but the good thing about the asian parents is, because they are so focused on their kids’ education, when you tell them to do something, they do it diligently and REALLY work hard at it. however, some other parent from other cultures might work at it, but then not push their kids so much because they are ‘too tired’ or not enjoying it so much anymore…

    and then it leads me back to why parents from other cultures parent differently: because they perceive success and happiness differently. so i agree, there is no “better” just “different.” and i have learned over the years of my work and travels to respect that (and at times still have to remember that).

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  31. Mariam #

    Learning about early toilet training in India led me to EC my own babe. 🙂

    Like

    April 17, 2012
  32. Ladybuggsmama #

    Really, as much as we look for the “right” way to raise children, just the review of this book points out the endless ways that people achieve it in other countries. Children are resilient, and tho we may panic with anxiety over what diaper to use, food to feed first, or time for bed, I think Im learning that most kids will be just fine, in spite ofbtheir parents, so long as they’re raised with love and respect…but that anxiety….ooooooohh. it sucks you in! Sigh..

    Like

    April 18, 2012
  33. I’ve heard that in France school starts at 3 as most people live in apartments and winters are freezing cold. Rather then staying at home bored out of their minds, they go to school. I thought that was pretty strange. Until I moved into a 2 bedroom apartment with my husband and 2 kids. Now I wish they went to school at 3 here too.

    P.s. I am very curious as to how Eskimos keep their babies warm. Seriously. And more importantly, how to they manage to procreate in the first place? I mean if I lived in an igloo, I would want clothes on at all times. Brrrrrrrrrrrr!

    Like

    April 18, 2012
  34. P.s. what about an e-copy or kindle copy of the book so international readers could enter too (FYI, I live in Australia but I also have a u.s. shipping address, so I’d still like to be in the running)?

    Like

    April 18, 2012
  35. dnvrmama #

    This sounds like such a wonderful book. I also marvel at *anyone* who can keep their baby with them while they enjoy their community of friends without worrying about schedules. I always wondered how they managed in other countries. Our bedtime and nap-times are sacred since the sleep never gets “made up” and community comes later for us.

    Like

    April 18, 2012
  36. What an interesting subject! I am a former anthropologist, now mum and yoga teacher to new mums, and will definitely check out whether this book is available in England. Many thanks for drawing it to my attention!

    Like

    April 18, 2012
  37. Katherine #

    Being a parent has definitely made me more flexible, but I’m still very schedule-driven. I worry that I’m missing special moments, and I have to actively work on living in the moment. I think that’s one thing that we could improve upon, especially with how much technology keeps us tied to our jobs.

    Like

    April 18, 2012
  38. Looks like a great book!! The diversity in parenting across the globe fascinates me, I love that scene in the Babies documentary where the Mongolian baby is brought home from the hospital on the back of a motorcycle or when the African mother cleans her son’s poop off her knee with a dried corn cob. Oh the stressful bubble I create for my son..this book would be refreshing.

    Like

    April 18, 2012
  39. We lived in Paris for a month when my son was 18 months. The most valuable tip I took away from the experience was to let my son be. They let their children discover who they are by their own exploration, rather than micro managing their every experience. This is a fine balance, it could look like neglect, but it’s not…it’s just permission for a hyper American mom (me) to sit back on a bench for a bit and let her child figure out how to slide down the slide on his own.

    Like

    April 18, 2012
    • This is such a struggle for me – the balance between “protection” and micro-management! Good luck 🙂

      Like

      April 19, 2012
      • Good luck to you too! Finding that balance seems like an ongoing struggle!

        Like

        April 19, 2012
  40. Interesting! It seems like motherhood is more “natural” in a lot of other countries, whether it be cloth diapering, breastfeeding, natural birthing methods, etc. I remember when my husband visited Honduras he commented on a church service he attended and how there were tons of kids present, but none of them were “fussing” – most mothers had their babies in a sling or carrier (easy access for instant attention or nursing) and he said it made an obvious difference. As American moms I feel like we could learn a lot from international moms about not medicating/managing as much.

    Thanks for the post & interesting topic! Look forward to finding the book at the library soon! 🙂

    Like

    April 19, 2012
  41. When I lived in Costa Rica for a year after college, I lived with a host family and their four children, one of whom was born while I lived there. It took some adjusting for a 23yo American to get used to life in a small home with six other people! I recall being shocked by some parenting choices–one of the funnier ones is that they were very concerned with ensuring that the baby had an innie belly button, and had various techniques for making that happen, such as warming the umbilical stub with heated-up fingers. I was later somewhat embarrassed to send them pictures that showed my own son’s outie (though not embarrassed enough to be willing to do anything to change the direction of his belly button…).

    Like

    April 20, 2012
  42. It’s so interesting to think that parents around the world are raising their children to be happy and productive members of their specific cultures…it’s obvious and yet surprising at the same time!

    Like

    April 21, 2012
  43. Hey, Alice! What great comments you’re getting. Very pleased to see you’re passing the “intel” on to other readers/parents. Mei-Ling Hopgood is doing the world grand favors with this excellent book. It really opens up your mind to goodness of differences and restores the faith that, yes, the way you’re doing things is exactly the right way because it works for brilliantly for *your* family. (And thank you, too, for the kind Global Mamas shout-out.) Looking forward to our blog cross pollination project. Ha!

    P.S. Read this post on Motherlode this morning and it reminded somewhat of the message of Mei-Ling’s book: Just Parent, No Philosophy Required. http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/18/just-parent-no-philosophy-required/?smid=tw-NYTMotherlode&seid=auto

    Like

    April 22, 2012
  44. Thank you for recommending this book… I am constantly curious about the parenting styles found in other cultures and have been feeling a little bit bombarded by one way of doing things in North American culture lately…

    After witnessing the fact that many in India do not use diapers, but let their children roam free bottomless to do their business, I was intrigued when it came to diaper/potty my own children. One other thing i remembered from India was a mother and grandmother traveling with a baby boy, perhaps about eight or nine months old on the train. They kept him diaperless most of the many, many hour ride and wiped up his pee whenever he went on the seat. At some point they did put a diaper on, and then removed it and returned him to being bottomless. It seems they knew when he was going to do his poop!

    I discovered infant potty learning/diaper free books when my first was born and after tuning into his cues and keeping him diaperless or in just a cloth diaper with no cover, by seven months old he was being pottied for pees and poops. He was doing all his poops and some pees on the potty before a year and completely diaper free just after turning two. I am “late stater” again with baby number 2, who is now doing almost all poops in the potty, but still not making a strong effort to catch all the pees (I love that I can do this part-time!) but know we are headed in a similar direction. For me the result has been not just poop in the potty instead of stuck to bums, but children who are confident and aware of their bodily functions, and us as parents aware of our children’s needs.

    More cross-cultural parenting hacks, stories and just plain old help when we are in the trenches is much needed — thank you to the author of the book you are featuring! And thanks to you and all the commenters on this post 🙂

    Like

    April 23, 2012
  45. Neide #

    I wish I could enter the giveway, but I’m Brazil. I hope Amazon deliveries the book here 🙂 Actually, I’m addicted to your site!!! I’m mother of two boys (a 2 years old and a 8 months old) and found it researching about sleep trainning. My baby doesn’t want to sleep at all. Now I think he may need sleep trainning, but first I need to prepare myself to do it. In our culture it’s almost a crime let the baby cry even for a minute. Go to bed late and bad sleep associations are so normal as well. But even to the brazilian standarts my baby is too demanding… Well, congrats for you fantastic website!

    Like

    April 24, 2012
    • Sorry that the giveaway is limited to U.S. residents:( I hope you can find a copy of the book! And I’m glad to hear that you found my writing about sleep training helpful. It is a difficult decision and even harder to implement, I know. But a baby that doesn’t sleep well takes a toll on everyone, baby included! I definitely understand preparing yourself first though. You need to be mentally prepared and make a plan so that you can stick to it and be consistent for your baby. Best of luck!

      Like

      April 24, 2012

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