Parenting Right the First Year

Photography:Opal Imagery

By Sarah R. Moore

This is an excerpt from an interview between Sarah R. Moore of Dandelion Seeds Positive Parenting and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., New York Times best-selling author. In this segment, we discuss the genesis of her incredible book, The Bottom Line for Baby.

Watch the full interview here, where Tina Payne Bryson discusses the book in more detail, along with brain science and the “why” behind the decisions we make about raising our babies. Below is an excerpt: the first in a series that I’ll be publishing in the coming weeks. 

At the bottom of this page, I’ll share my critical review of the book. Make sure to read why this book belongs in every home.  

Dandelion Seeds Positive Parenting: 

I’m here with Dr. Tina Payne Bryson to talk to you today about her fantastic new book, The Bottom Line for Baby.  As many of you know, I am a huge fan of her work. 

She has co-written, with Dr. Daniel J. Siegel, so many books that have substantially influenced the way that I parent my own child and the recommendations and the advice that I give to my clients.

The Whole-Brain Child was the first one I read. I’ve also loved The Power of Showing Up, The Yes Brain, and No-Drama Discipline, which I happen to have in moving boxes because we have just moved house (but I would hold them up on video here if I could find them, along with my missing silverware). You have now written what I’m guessing will soon be another best-selling book, The Bottom Line for Baby

How did you make the shift from older kids back to babies? 

Tina Payne Bryson: 

Thank you so much for talking with me about The Bottom Line for Baby. I’m so excited about this book. 

This was the first book I had a longing for as a parent, myself. 

As a new parent, I’m someone who really likes information. I feel more safe and secure when I’ve got good information. 

With my first, I felt like every decision I was making was so important and so paramount. So, I would read about it or I would ask people for their advice. It seemed like for every answer I got, there was a competing additional answer. 

There was so much competing information. I felt really paralysed oftentimes about how do I make this decision? What can I trust, you know? Who can I trust? 

Then at other times, I was getting unsolicited advice that I thought was not great advice, and I didn’t really know how to refute it because I was so inexperienced. 

The Bottom Line for Baby is the book I wanted and needed myself as a parent.  

I’m so honoured and have loved writing books with Dan. We will be writing more together down the road. 

I’m excited about this being my first solo book. It’s going to help inform parents. 

The Bottom Line for Baby has over 60 topics. They’re the ones we get the most conflicting information about. It covers co-sleeping; sleep training; circumcision, baby-led weaning; can we drink alcohol if we’re nursing?; is it okay to have my young kid in front of a screen?; all of those kinds of questions. 

Plus, it’s alphabetical, so you can just flip to the topic you want. It’s laid out like this: What are the main perspectives or arguments on this topic? Then, what does the science say? 

So I have reviewed the science on each of these topics, and that leads to the bottom line. 

Each section has a “bottom line” that explains when the science is really clear about the topic. It says, “Here’s what is recommended” or, “There’s not good science on this, but here are two things to think about for what works for your family.” 

In about a third of the entries, I give a little note from me that really talks about what I did, or what I didn’t do, or what I wish I had known, or something personal like that. 

What I love so much about this book, too, is that no matter what decision you make on any of these topics, you will not feel judged because every child is different; every family is different. And you know, there are very few absolute universals and ‘have-to’s, and every decision we make impacts all the other decisions we make. 

So, we can’t really ever tell someone that they should or shouldn’t do anything in particular, unless it’s a basic safety thing because there are lots and lots and lots of ways to be really good parents.  

My hope is that The Bottom Line for Baby will inform parents and give them a quick way to get the best scientific, up-to-date information on many topics. I hope parents will feel not judged, but rather, empowered to follow their baby’s lead, to trust themselves, and to do what works best for their families. 

I guess, too, my hope is that for all of those decisions that feel so heavy, that I can help parents go, “Okay, no matter what I decide on this, my kid’s going to be great.” 

It doesn’t matter as much as it feels like it matters, so take a little bit of the pressure and weight off. That’s what I’m really thrilled to share with parents. 

See next page for more…
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