Mad Men star January Jones and Alicia Silverstone of Clueless fame have joined the pack of celebrity parents who practice startlingly alternative parenting techniques.
Jones told People.com that she ate vitamin pills made from her own placenta after giving birth to her son, because of its rumored health benefits. “Your placenta gets dehydrated and made into vitamins,” she said. “It’s something I was very hesitant about, but we’re the only mammals who don’t ingest our own placentas.” The practice eases post-partum depression.
In a video posted to her blog, The Kind Life, this morning, Silverstone can be seen pre-chewing her baby’s food and spitting it directly into his mouth. “I fed Bear the mochi and a tiny bit of veggies from the soup,” she writes. “He literally crawls across the room to attack my mouth if I’m eating.” Pre-chewing and mouth-to-mouth feeding isn’t an unheard-of practice, but doctors advise against it, warning germs and infections can spread easily.
Where do eccentric parents get their ideas? These books about offbeat parenting will bewilder you with their practices they reveal, and perhaps have you reconsidering conventional parenting wisdom.
In “How Do Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm,” a first-time mom from Michigan trots the globe to learn how parents raise their children in other cultures and finds that foreign parents could have a lot to teach us. Chinese parents sometimes fully potty-train babies within six months; French parents are far more adept at teaching their children to try all kinds of food; and Argentinian parents see no problem with letting their kids stay up all night.
A baby without a diaper can seem like a disaster waiting to happen, but in “The Diaper-Free Baby,” Christine Gross-Loh suggests ditching the nappy far sooner than conventional wisdom prescribes—even as early as 15 months. According to Gross-Loh, infants do communicate when it’s “time to go”—it’s just a matter of learning to tune into their natural cues. This one may sound like more of a mess than it’s worth, but Gross-Loh points out that going diaper-free can help parents save thousands of dollars and bypass complications like rash and infection.
In recent years, attachment parenting, a philosophy that places importance on building security through emotional sensitivity, has gained traction as well as stirred controversy. In “Beyond the Sling: A Real Life Guide to Raise Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way,” Mayim Bialik, star of Blossom and Big Bang Theory, shares her experience of raising two children according to the philosophy. Tenets include: sleeping together as a family, breastfeeding according to the baby’s needs (and not an arbitrary rigid schedule), carrying a baby in a sling instead of a stroller, and disciplining without shouting or time-outs. Though the practice has known drawbacks—the increased strain it puts on parents and the lack of empirical conclusions about its effectiveness—Bialik presents her happy children as proof of its success.
No More “Here Comes the Airplane”
As it turns out, Alicia Silverstone’s bird-like feeding ritual isn’t without expert backing. Gill Rapley’s “Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods—and Helping Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident Eater” challenges the notion that babies must be fed with a spoon and argues that weaning should begin as early as possible. And one of the suggested methods is none other than the Silverstone Way: pre-chewing.