Mayim Bialik Talks Attachment Parenting with CBB

06/04/2009 at 08:00 AM ET
Chris Weeks/WireImage

Having recently received a mommy makeover courtesy of What Not to Wear, actress Mayim Bialik is back to work after the birth of her second son.

We chatted with the former Blossom star — mom to Miles, 3 ½, and Fred, 9 months — about the makeover experience last week and here’s what she has to say about her newly expanded family and their adventures in attachment parenting in the final part of our two-part interview.

Celebrity Baby Blog: Tell us about your latest projects.

Mayim Bialik: I had a guest spot on Bones, and I just did this part on Saving Grace. I also optioned a set of novels called Rashi’s Daughters by Maggie Anton, so I’m working on that. That’s kind of it! I’ve been auditioning since Fred was 3-months-old or so. But being with the kids is most of what I do, most days.

How is it auditioning and working being a nursing mom?

It’s hard. Filming Saving Grace was the most that I’ve had to pump routinely. My first son didn’t really take a bottle, and I didn’t like giving bottles. But at this point in our life and career, we don’t feed solids until after a year, so he’s just in breast milk — it’s a lot of milk. But I remember when my first son started eating solids, it gave my husband a little more flexibility, activities and distractions. It’s just him with both boys. He’s incredible. He’s home a lot because he’s a grad student, so it’s not like it was a surprise for him or the kids to be with their father. But it’s hard.

Auditioning, I’m away for just an hour or so, but with Saving Grace they filmed really late, I was there for nine hours when I thought I’d be there three or four. It was hard, but an interesting experience to be a pumping mom for that day. I’ve never done that before, and give women who can pump at work so much credit. I have friends who’ve done it for a full year. I give people any credit for nursing and pumping, but I got a very small taste of the challenges.

Reader Izabela wants to know if you’re still breastfeeding Miles.

No, he’s 3 ½ now and he weaned a little after 2. He’s still very attached to the breasts. His “breast friends,” he calls them.

What other attachment parenting techniques are you and your husband into?

We do the EC thing, elimination communication. We bedshare. We are a natural living family. We make our own shampoo, our own granola, our own cleaning products. We’re a non-obnoxious green family I like to think! We’re generally kind of holistic.

For people who don’t know a lot about EC, or think it’s crazy, can you talk about how it works for you?

The fact is, it’s a huge time commitment to observe and learn the signals that babies give when they are born, and when they go to the bathroom. With my first son I started at six months, and it was pretty difficult. With our second son we started at day two and it was not very difficult. I do believe babies are born potty-trained. They’re born knowing, and are able to give subtle signals that become very prominent if you reinforce them.

The entire concept is not to potty train them, it’s not to do reward and punishment, I don’t clap my hands and say, “Good job.” It’s a very Zen, meditative experience of learning the signals, being able to respond to the signals. The level of communication you can achieve with an infant is really profound.

How is Miles with using the toilet now?

With Miles we started at 6 months, he stopped peeing in diapers at 12 months and was in undies at 18 months. This is with no coercion and no reward. He also did not speak. He could sign for potty before he could eat solids, walk or speak.

Did you get into this when you became pregnant?

I was always a natural, environmentally-conscious person, but we had friends who were doing the natural family living/homebirth thing – we’re also homebirth people – so we started seeing the choices and getting educated. We’re both very meticulous people, my husband and I, so we did a lot of research and reading about the scientific aspects of parenting. So that’s why we chose attachment parenting. It doesn’t work for everybody, but it works for us.

When did you become interested in the parenting style you chose?

I didn’t know much about it – I knew a bit about child development – but a friend of mine who has two kids started showing me how she was living her life. Another dear friend of mine was also doing similar parenting. So a lot of key people in my life started teaching us about it. At first, I thought a lot of it was crazy. I didn’t know what elimination communication was and it sounded totally insane, and now here we are with our 9-month-old pooping on a potty. So we love it.

Reader Nicole wants to know if Miles was born at home. We know Fred was. And how did Miles enjoy being part of Fred’s birth?

Miles wasn’t born at home. We had two days of labor and did natural induction because I had gestational diabetes. We ended up going to the hospital when I stalled at nine centimeters. He was born naturally at the hospital though.

Fred, yes, was born at home, and Miles was able to watch the whole thing from his high chair while eating granola. Fortunately it was a very fast labor because I think Miles would’ve been bored if it was longer than the hour and a half it was. He loves it, he still talks about it. It was something we talked about with our pediatrician, and believed very strongly in older siblings being present, and giving the choice. We gave him a choice before, we prepared him with videos about homebirth that our midwife prepared. Even during, I said, “If Miles wants to go the next room he can!” But he said, “No, I fine!” He got freaked out by the blood, but it was still nice.

Reader N.S. remembers reading about your contemplating whether or not to vaccinate the kids. What decision did you reach?

We are a non-vaccinating family, but I make no claims about people’s individual decisions. We based ours on research and discussions with our pediatrician, and we’ve been happy with that decision, but obviously there’s a lot of controversy about it.

Reader Izabela asks if you plan on sending the kids to school.

Miles is just 3 ½, so he hasn’t been to school yet, but we’re part of a home schooling community where he takes a little French class and we’re starting to explore what it’d be like to school in group settings, but not a school per se.

I’m starting to open a possibility in my life, as a side thing, of being of service in the home schooling community too and offering a science class, and I’m working on a curriculum for a Hebrew class, too.

Reader Erica wants to know how you’re using your PhD.

Whenever I have interaction with people it’s an opportunity to learn about the brain and human interaction. I have been doing some grant review for an organization that raises money for the syndrome I work with, which is Prader-Willi syndrome, but for the most party I use my scientific background to be called Dr. Mom in this house.

Do you anticipate using it in some professional capacity in the future?

The thing with that kind of neuroscience is that if you’re not doing a post-doc and currently doing research, it very quickly becomes a not-current degree. At some point, I could teach at a community college level. But very quickly the information in neuroscience outclasses your degree if you don’t stay very current.

What was your motivation for pursing a PhD?

I did my undergraduate degree in neuroscience and Hebrew and Jewish studies, and at that point there wasn’t acting stuff going on. I thought I’d want to be a professor. I thought I’d do a research professorship after my doctorate. But once I got married and started making parenting decisions, that’s when I realized that the general lifestyle of a research professor wouldn’t be compatible with nursing on demand and being with my kids all day. I wanted to finish my degree because I valued the research I did and cared about the syndrome I worked with, but felt it wouldn’t necessarily be compatible with my lifestyle especially because of our parenting.

Reader Erica wants to know your thoughts on your kids pursuing careers in show business, either as children or as adults.

I think for my kids’ temperaments, it’s not a good choice. They’re shy and gentle, especially Miles. He wouldn’t do well with people in his face telling him what to do. He does well with my husband and me in his face telling him what to do! But the industry is very hard for young kids. I started at 11 ½, which is considered late – many kids start when they’re 2. It wouldn’t work for a mellow, gentle lifestyle, which we promote for our kids. When they’re older, I guess it’s up to them what they do.

Reader Frum Fan wants to know if Kalamazoo will be released on DVD?

I did an indie film called Kalamazoo before I got pregnant with Miles. I don’t know if they’ll release it – they had problems with distribution – but it’s a sweet little film about three women who go to their high school reunion in the Midwest. Josie Davis was in it, who was in Charles in Charge, so that was pretty cool.

Reader Becky would like to know if you are planning to have more kids.

At this point we’re trying to cope with two! We’re still young so we have time to decide. They’re spaced two years apart, these two, and it’s close. I don’t think we’ll be doing that again.

Reader LJ wants to know what a typical day in your life is like?

If there is one! We do one home day a week when I do chores and make granola. We do things with other home schooling families about two days a week, like park days and French class. Other than that we do errands. I don’t do anything separate from the kids – that’s what life is like. If I have auditions, then my husband is home with them. Life is pretty mellow. We don’t eat out much – we cook at home a lot.

Are you vegetarians? Kosher?

I’m technically a vegan, but I do eat egg if it’s in things. And that’s how we raise Miles, too. I cook meat for my husband, which is Kosher, but we don’t have a vegan house, just Kosher house that has vegan options for everyone.

– Danielle

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Lis on

I like Mayim. She is obviously very smart but a lot of her parenting styles etc. seem pretty wacky – although I am trying to be open-minded to them. However…I just cannot wrap my head around a 3 year old watching his brother being born! That just seems inappropriate… Is it just me?

Christina on

Lis, I think it’s very common at homebirths for siblings to be present. It certainly was a few generations ago, when most babies were born at home. It’s not inappropriate at all, IMO. Birth is natural and a part of the natural cycle of life.

I see 2-year-olds at funerals all the time, why not a 2-year-old at a birth??

This is a terrific interview with Mayim! I can’t wait to read part 2. I have so much respect for her, not just in her personal choices regarding modesty and parenting, but also in her choices to put the “rat race” into perspective for her family. Honoring a healthy and “mellow, gentle” (to use her words) lifestyle, will benefit them all greatly in the years to come. Kudos to Mayim!

Kiki on

Good point Christina! I too have seen children at funerals which are sad circumstances that are difficult to explain to a child. So why not be present at a birth which is a happy experience!

Ashley on

I loved reading Mayim’s answers to all the questions! She seems like a great mom and I really like the way she is raising her boys.

erinbeth on

what a great interview! i love that she has decided on a very specific, researched lifestyle for her family, but makes it very clear that it’s not for everyone. she sounds very content with her life, and i’m glad her parenting style is working for them. i just hope that she and her husband remember to make time for just each other and keep that aspect of their family strong.

Jenifer on

I enjoy reading about Mayim. She seems so down-to-earth especially after I saw her on “What Not to Wear”. She makes some parenting choices that differ from mine but I totally respect her decisions.

brannon on

to each their own..but no Lis, you’re not alone.

Ellen Smith on

Way too earthy-crunchy Birkenstocky for me.

JMO on

Hmm well as I respect her choices because they are what she feels is right for her family I totally don’t get the whole focusing on potty training thing at such a young age. Kids are only babies once why is it so important to have them be in big boy/girl pants before two?? But I mean hey if it happens to work, yay for you, I just know it def. wouldn’t be a focus of mine!

I also find it odd that a baby is exclusively only given breast milk until a year. Every kid I know has had solid food (with formula or breast milk) by 7 months! I guess it can be done but that would be an awful lot of nursing going on! lol

But to each their own.

anonymous on

I’m surprised that someone with a phD in neuroscience would choose not to vaccinate their kids (I’m not judging, I just find it interesting). Some people might think she’s too crunchy, but I really respect her choices.

anonymous on

“Kids are only babies once why is it so important to have them be in big boy/girl pants before two??”

Well one big motivation I can think of is cost. Diapers are expensive!!! My husband and I have a relatively low household income so when we finally have children, we’ll be looking for ways to save money. Elimination communication might be helpful in that aspect (it’s the same reason why some mothers choose to breastfeed… not just because it’s healthy but also because they don’t have to waste so much money on formula!).

Amanda on

I really admire the amount of research, consideration and thought that Mayim’s family has put into their style and life. Regardless of my disagreeing with some of her choices, I can’t help but appreciate how much effort they’ve obviously put into them. My biggest pet peeve with other parents is when they DON’T put any, or much, thought into their parenting decisions.

I also apprecaite Mayim’s honesty regarding how much effort EC takes. I’ve considered it with my kids, but I don’t see if fitting into out lifestyle or with my kids (and my husband and my’s) temperments.

This interview makes me like Mayim so much more then I did knowing her simply as Blossom. I love hearing other people talk about parenting-sometimes I get ideas for what I can do, and sometimes I see areas that I’m making some mistakes in and need to do better or differently. Also, it helps me reaffirm that all parents struggle and that as long as I love my kids and keep trying to raise them well I shouldn’t beat myself up when we have bad days. Nothing’s perfect.

Michelle on

I like her and the answers she gave. She sounds like a great mom. I’m impressed with her determination and the effort she puts towards raising her kids. I think we would get along great!

sara on

i think its pretty awesome that she is doing what she is… i couldn’t imagine having the time or energy for it, lol!

Tippi on

I watched her What Not to Wear and she seems like a woman I would be friends with. It’s a shame she doesn’t get to use her PHD-but she has it and that’s really what counts. EC is really interesting to me-I wish this site would feature more celebrities that partake in this practice. I watched a segment on a news show about it-prob 4 years ago and it seems like an effective way to potty train-albiet time consuming. The attachment pareting is interesting but how do parents have private time when the kids are always sleeping in the same bed? Does that mean that one parent NEVER leaves the child? or is it that the child is always with SOMEONE that is a family member?

Lee on

to anonymous I think a person with a PHD in neuroscience would know more about how vacinations affect children’s brains in the long run. My sister had a friend whose son developed seizures after his vaccinations. I’m thinking Mayim felt that the risks in vaccinations outweigh the benefits. I also worked for a mother who was against vaccinations and with her living in California it worked out becuase you don’t have to vaccinate them to go to school but in New York, where I met her, you have to. She only vaccinated her older son enough so that he could go to school here. I’m not really sure what is the requirement in this state since I don’t have children, but I’m guessing if you have religous or other reasonings for not vaccinating your children, some or most schools will accept you.

Brianne on

Thanks for the interview! It’s so wonderful to see a celebrity so open about attachment parenting and other less-mainstream child-rearing concepts.

HeatherR on

“Way too earthy-crunchy Birkenstocky for me.”

That comment made me LOL! Hehe. I am the polar opposite of Mayim but she is still just so lovable. :) She gave such great answers to each question and is obviously intelligent! My lifestyle is nothing like hers but I admire that she is following her heart. Just think, she could have turned out like some of the other god-awful child stars (Lindsay Lohan!)

sally on

I HATE the term ‘attachment parenting’. I’m a mother and I am VERY attached to my child. But I don’t breastfeed for 3 years, I don’t homeschool, I don’t use cloth diapers, etc. etc. I think it’s an incredibly tough parenting style that offers the mother very little break. I for one, did BF my child, but I also fed her bottles so I could get away! I don’t co-sleep, but I do if she’s sick, etc.

I just think my style is ‘balanced attachment’ because I feel like if you don’t follow the checklist of the AP style, people think you’re somehow selfish or uninvolved. I personally think a happy mom is a happy baby.

mama2be on

I really enjoyed that interview! Though i don’t personally agree with all of her parenting styles (the EC and Non-vaccination), it was a very interesting read. I also thought it was funny how many times she brought up granola :)

It was great seeing her on What Not To Wear and hope to see more of her soon!

KC on

I loved this interview. While I don’t agree with all of the parenting choices, I love that she researched what was right for HER family, and doesn’t try and push it on others. That is fantastic. She seems like a fabulous person and wonderful mother.

becky on

can someone please tell me what on earth granola is???

momof3 on

What a great interview! I don’t personally subscribe to any of the parenting techniques that Mayim and her husband employ but I love that she’s confident about sharing her experiences, ideas and opinions without being preachy. It’s great to have an insight into other types of parenting philosophies–more interviews like this please, CBB!

luckymurre on

To each their own regarding parenting styles and choices, I say. She seems very down-to-earth and approachable and obviously loves her children very much. One question: can I have her granola recipe? LOL!

Kerri on

What a great interview! We definitely differ in some lifestyle choices, but I really respect how much thought and research she put into them. Also, she didn’t at all have the attitude that was she was doing was obviously best for everyone. With a respectful attitude towards others’ parenting choices, I can’t help but respect hers!

She seems like SUCH a sweetheart.

Christina on

@ Tippi, there are plenty of places in a home where parents can have sexy time together besides the bed. ;)

@ Becky, granola is a breakfast cereal (and snack food) of rolled oats, nuts, honey and sometimes rice, then baked until crispy. Similar to Muesli.

Heather on

To Sally:
Attachment parenting, and being attached to your child are two different things! Take a minute to google it if you have time, you will understand so much more!
I consider myself “AP” but I’m not totally green or anything. We cosleep, extended BF, and part time cloth diaper. Its all about the frame of mind you take in your parenting, not just a “term” or not just how you do things. APing is so much more than just breastfeeding and such.

And many Drs will say, esp for breastfed babies, that BM is all they really need in the first year. Check out the LLL website if you want to know more. Solids are for experimenting/learning in the beginning, not just for nutrition.

Thanks CBB for a great interview!

I like Mayim, I am glad to see celebrities coming out more about the AP way of parenting.

Louise on

To Lee,
Just because Mayim has a PhD in Neurology, does not make her any kind of expert in vaccines. Neurology is the science of the brain and nervous system, not vaccines. Mayim has no more specialist knowledge than the average person on vaccines. She has made her own choice, one I don’t agree with, but her choice is not more correct simply because she has a PhD.

almondarts on

Wow. Great interview, great family. Another one pleased to see this way of parenting publicised.

NYC_Nona on

Interview with Mayim was very interesting…smart, yet down-to-earth…I nursed my daughter until she was 19 months (longest I nursed any of my children)…our bond is amazing…she would not eat solids before her first b-day…we tried, she wanted no part of it…The “boob” was all she wanted…my husband and I shared our bed with her before moving her to her big girl room at 2 yrs old…we all do what we feel is right for our kids…to each their own…as long as everyone is happy, healthy…

Holly on

Finally a celeb mom I can relate to. We are also a non vaxing, ECing, co sleeping. :)
I don’t what the big deal with Ecing is. I knew when my daughter was going to poop. Why put a diaper on her?

MZ on

This is a great interview! I love how Mayim presented all her views…not “holier than thou” like some of the interviews come off as. I don’t agree with everything, but I really respect her. I’m also surprised how much I do agree with her on some things, now that I have a baby. Like, at our pediatrician’s recommendation, we’re delaying vaccines for our son till he’s 6 months old. I still believe that vaccination is important, and he will be vaccinated, but I wouldn’t have thought about delaying them before I had a baby. I was surprised to hear our doctor say that it would be healthier for him (not for every baby necessarily, but in our case it was).

L on

All seems a bit weird to me…maybe its just because I am not use to any of those things…the potty thing though is interesting..to each its own!

Emma on

Loved this interview. Mayim is like a lot of my friends, and other than the EC, we live a similar lifestyle. She seems like a great person, and I love seeing our less mainstream way of living promoted in Hollywood!

Laila on

Great interview!
So refreshing to see someone in Hollywood not embrace the world of material things and just simply focus on the well being of her family. Thirteen years ago I started worked for a woman who was super earthy-crunchy and breast fed her baby in the middle of meetings. And she drives us nuts about recycling and being green. Fast forward thirteen years later an I am now convinced that she was ahead of her time. Because I now find myself wanting to be “green.” It’s easy to judge someone like Mayim however if you stop and listen to some of the things it’s not outrageous at all, just different than the norm. I loved her on what not to wear; she did not allow Stacy and Clinton to bully her into wearing things that made her uncomfortable.

Lizz on

Finally, a celebrity who is also an attachment parent! I breastfeed, cosleep and delay solids. It is what is best for baby (IMO). My son is now a 12 month old healthy, advanced baby boy. Thank you for setting such an example for other mothers

Grace on

A “non-vaccinating” family only works if it’s surrounded by vaccinating families. It’s called herd protection, and it really does irk me that enough people might be convinced that that herd protection will extend to them, that we’ll get cultures of measles and mumps that use that community to evolve and become a threat all over again.

If it were just you and your family, fine. But it’s not, it’s a decision that benefits from the actions of a larger community while also creating a unique threat to that larger community. Absolutely maddening. Check out some of the illnesses run wild in Europe due to this exact mindset of “well, my kid’ll be fine if I don’t vaccinate”.

And don’t get me started on Jenny McCarthy and Oprah endangering children and communities with wholesale quackery.

Vixen on

I’m glad she has such a relaxed but dedicated approach to her parenting style; she sounds lovely.

However, I really wish the term ‘attachment parenting’ did not exist: it makes it sounds as though anyone who does not practise it is not attached to their child.

Anna on

I respect her attachment parenting lifestyle, but I don’t plan on using that parenting technique with my kids. People who I’ve talked to who do AP almost always say that their marriage/relationship suffers.

Maddie on

Funny how often everyone here repeated “to each her own”! I agree that their lifestyle sounds quite nice and mellow – wish it could work with my family but I just don’t see how, with both of us working full-time. But I gotta say – the vaccination thing bugs me. Can you picture parents in the early decades of the twentieth century saying “What? Protect my child against polio and measles and mumps? No, thanks. I heard from a friend of a friend of a friend that there might be a minuscule risk involved…”.

Gwen on

I really enjoyed this interview! I’m an AP mom (not especially green, but very AP). We homeschool now and love it.

I imagine that AP and EC (which we don’t do) sounds really wacky until you see it working “in person”. I’ve seen EC working for friends and it is pretty amazing!

ab on

I enjoyed watching her on What Not to Wear, but after reading this interview, I don’t understand why she even agreed to participate. It seems like clothes are the last thing she cares about. I feel like she does sound a little “holier than thou.”

HeatherR on

*Finally, a celebrity who is also an attachment parent! I breastfeed, cosleep and delay solids. It is what is best for baby (IMO). My son is now a 12 month old healthy, advanced baby boy. Thank you for setting such an example for other mothers*

Lizz- I’m sure you meant no harm with that comment but I found it a little rude. I have two sons that are also healthy and “advanced” (as you stated) and I was unable to BF, did not co-sleep, etc. Those are not the only elements of parenting that make you a good parent!

JMO on

“Well one big motivation I can think of is cost. Diapers are expensive!!! My husband and I have a relatively low household income so when we finally have children, we’ll be looking for ways to save money. Elimination communication might be helpful in that aspect (it’s the same reason why some mothers choose to breastfeed… not just because it’s healthy but also because they don’t have to waste so much money on formula!).”

well you right on that front. Does save money.

I also do wonder with all these kids now not being vaccinated (I too know a few) how do they go to public school? Maybe things have changed but back when I was in school if you didn’t get your vaccines you were not permitted to go, I’d assume it’s these kids will be home schooled? I also worry that we’ll have a lot of new outbreaks of old diseases. I’m not saying vaccines are a must but for years people have been getting them and very few of us have acutally had reactions to them. JMO of course!

fnhdl on

JMO – it’s my understanding that people can get a doctor’s note exempting them from vaccinations and still attend public schools. but I’m not 100% on that, just something I thought I’d heard before.

Lisa on

Great interview. This opened my eyes to different parenting styles. I had never heard of EC until I read this. Very interesting. I am not sure it would work for my family but I am all about getting babies potty trained early. Something to think about.

I like that Mayim has stayed true to herself and doesn’t care what the “norm” is. She should be proud of her parenting style…it works for her and her family and they seem healthy and happy. Good for her!

Jacquie on

For the person who said that ECing would be cheaper because you wouldn’t have the extended cost of diapers – I am pretty sure that Mayim is using cloth diapers and probably not a diaper service either. So really not a lot of extra expense there. I would have loved to do a lot of the stuff she does but quite truthfully I don’t have the discipline to do it! We did/do co-sleep, we did cloth diapers for our first daughter, and I tried to nurse as long as possible. It is interesting to read about other people’s way of parenting.

fuzibuni on

This interview made me really like and respect Mayim.
I think I would really get along with her.
Her parenting style sounds very aware and respectful of her children’s natural development.
I would do the same thing… but it must take a lot of dedication and effort.

It’s interesting to me that so many of the commenters seem to think her style is ‘wacky’ or ‘crunchy birkenstock.’ Makes me realize how far off the beaten path I must be myself… because everything she said sounded totally sane and right to me!

Samantha on

I am majoring in Behavioral Science and Anthropology and I’m a mother of 3. I’ve had unassisted home water birth, we don’t vaccinate, after seeing what vaccines did to my oldest daughter. I’m nursing my 3 yr old and my 1 year old currently. We cosleep and I have dabbled in EC but never been able to do it full time. Thank you for speaking out about your choices Mayim. I loved reading this article.

IllinoisAPMom on

This was a great interview, but attachment parenting isn’t about many of the things Mayim discussed. EC, vaccinating, living green. home birthing are not discussed in any of the AP principles. http://www.apipeoria.org/ideals/principles.html

It’s also not about making your own granola, homeschooling, circumcising (or not), cloth diapering, etc. Many people who ARE Attachment Parenting *choose* many of these natural lifestyle things, but they are NOT the definition of AP.

I really enjoyed the interview, but wish that it made the definition of AP more clear. All AP’ers don’t cosleep, for example. The AP principle refers to “Nighttime parenting”. Caring for your child during the night as you would care for them during the day… being attentive and emotionally responsive. Not shutting them in their room at night and ignoring them until the sun comes up. So, if an AP family doesn’t cosleep, they might have the crib in their bedroom so they can respond quickly when baby wakes, or they might use a monitor in the baby’s room so they can respond.

With regards to the natural living choices that Mayim’s family makes, the AP philosophy supports making EDUCATED decisions for **your** family, with the ultimate goal of furthering the emotional attachment between family members, and parenting in peaceful, gentle ways. For some families, this DOES look like Mayim and her more natural lifestyle. For others, that involves disposable diapers, full time work outside the home parents, formula feeding (with breastfeeding behaviors), vaccinations, circumsising, public schooling, because the parents make a researched, **educated decision**, about each aspect of parenting that fits THEIR family.

From, a totally AP (full time work outside the home, extended breastfeeding, selective vaccinating, co-sleeping, public schooling) Illinois Mom

Jo on

I have a real problem with people not vaccinating their kids.
It seems that we forget the real, life threating risks that diseases like measles, polio etc cause.
My father nearly died of whooping cough in the 1940′s, and his cousin died from polio.
As well, my mother suffered from permanent damage to her eyes after contracting the measles as a teen. She has very poor vision to this day as a result of contacting measles.

Beverley on

There was just a measles outbreak near here (suburbs of Philly) and all of the kids who got it were unvaccinated. It was just reported that one of them has died. I wonder if his or her parents would like to go back and make a different choice. Measles is completely preventable but can be deadly. Are the chances of being harmed by a vaccination so horrible that you would be endangering your children by not having them vaccinated?

As for the early potty training, it sounds like it’s the parents who are trained, not the kids. If Susan goes every day at 10am, it is not the same as a child who tells you and goes independently at whatever time it occurs.

Maddie on

Totally agree, Jo and Beverley. The only reason parents can comfortably choose not to vaccinate their kids is because most other parents have and so provide some measure of protection against exposure to dangerous and infectious diseases. Sorry, I know I already wrote about this (above) but I just feel very strongly about the issue.

care on

someone mentioned that they saw the results of what vaccines do to children. what does that mean exactly? i don’t have any children so i’m not sure what this means. i myself was vaccinated as a child. are there behavioral differences in children that have been vaccinated as opposed to those who have not? can someone shed some light on this subject. thank you.

Sarah M. on

Co-sleeping, I’ve spent the night at my aunts house many times. She usually has at least 1 kid with her, and we all wind up sleeping in the same bed due to lack of somewhere else to sleep. Sleeping with a child is like sleeping with a little, wriggly furnace. Not my thing. Breast-feeding, sometimes the mother isn’t able to. That doesn’t make her worse, more lazy, etc. And the kids are happy, healthy and ‘advanced’, also. EC, don’t really understand it. I know it probably saves a ton of money, but it just seems like more work than it’s worth. Homeschooling, I would prefer public school. Your kid is around others, other than family, during the day, and they get to build up their immune system, too. (Unless there is a special circumstance where your child cannot attend a regular school, of course.) Vaccinations, it doesn’t seem right not to, IMO. It puts other children at risk. That said, I have a cousin who doesn’t vaccinate her 4 boys. (I think she got a note from their pediatrician to give to their schools.) It was the choice she and her husband made. Her sister does vaccinate her 3 children.

Each of these things depends on your individual family. While I personally wouldn’t use much of the techniques when I have kids, it seems to work for her family. And that’s all that really counts.

Mari on

{{{sigh}}} She is such a beautiful person…she speaks so well and is so careful with other’s feelings.

Lauren on

I do not agree with the vast majority of her parenting choices and find her choice not to vaccinate at all particularly irresponsible considering her education. The neuroscientists I have spoken to and been in meetings with all discussed how it drives them crazy when a celebrity’s word means more to the public than hardcore science. In other words, it drives them up the wall when people prefer to take Jenny McCarthy’s word as gospel over those of people who spend their lives devoted to education and research only to have it all insulted and discarded by people who read one Google article and think they know better. This “everyone’s a doctor” mindset is nothing more than a security blanket reaction to the unknown, which we as a species have never dealt well with.

All of that said, I loved Mayim on “What not to Wear.” Regardless of the fact that I disagree with virtually everything from her (former) wardrobe to her parenting choices, I can’t deny that she seemed like a wonderfully kind person. It can’t have been easy to go through an embarassing experience like that, and she was so sweet natured about it. She is also very well spoken and intelligent, which counts for a lot, and she clearly loves and wants the best for her family to the point of putting her career in Hollywood on the back burner. Mayim’s one person in Hollywood I can definitely get behind-even if we agree to disagree.

Mrs. R. on

I may not agree with Mayim on certain child rearing issues (particularly vaccinations – we’re a big pro-vacc household, I KNOW a child who died from measles last year, and it was totally preventable – her parents are VERY regretful that they bought the non-vacc hype now and have completely caught their son up on his)

BUT… I do feel like finally there is an interview out with a celeb mom who has done her research. Clearly her approach to life is a very naturalistic and holistic one, and that will influence her decisions. I have to respect any parent who would take on co-sleeping, extended BFing (past 1 year) and EC because those are two things that I just don’t share the philosophy on, but still respect.

gina on

I loved this interview with Mayim.

We too are an AP family, I bf until at least 2, delay solids, do not vax, co sleep, gentle discipline, homeschool my 4 kids, etc. It is very refreshing to hear a celebrity talk about this style of parenting.

Thank you IllinoisAPMom for describing the AP lifestyle. Cloth diapering, bfing, etc. are not the only things that help define the attachment parenting, and just because a person may not do those things, does not mean they are not praticing attachment parenting.

To me, AP is meeting my family’s needs rather than always doing x at y age every time for every child.

From Dr. Sears

“* AP is an approach, rather than a strict set of rules. It’s actually the style that many parents use instinctively. Parenting is too individual and baby too complex for there to be only one way. The important point is to get connected to your baby, and the baby B’s of attachment parenting help. Once connected, stick with what is working and modify what is not. You will ultimately develop your own parenting style that helps parent and baby find a way to fit – the little word that so economically describes the relationship between parent and baby.
* AP is responsive parenting. By becoming sensitive to the cues of your infant, you learn to read your baby’s level of need. Because baby trusts that his needs will be met and his language listened to, the infant trusts in his ability to give cues. As a result, baby becomes a better cue-giver, parents become better cue-readers, and the whole parent-child communication network becomes easier.
* AP is a tool. Tools are things you use to complete a job. The better the tools, the easier and the better you can do the job. Notice we use the term “tools” rather than “steps.” With tools you can pick and choose which of those fit your personal parent-child relationship. Steps imply that you have to use all the steps to get the job done. Think of attachment parenting as connecting tools, interactions with your infant that help you and your child get connected. Once connected, the whole parent-child relationship (discipline, healthcare, and plain old having fun with your child) becomes more natural and enjoyable. Consider AP a discipline tool. The better you know your child, the more your child trusts you, and the more effective your discipline will be. You will find it easier to discipline your child and your child will be easier to discipline.”

I can honestly tell you that for us personally, being parents to 4 kids (plus 2 bonus kids) that ap works best for us.

Someone else mentioned that is takes a toll on your marriage, so ap is not worth it. Kids flat out take a toll on relationships..ap or not.

NannyDanni on

Awesome I loved this interview. This is exactly how I plan to live with my family when I have kids, I have a few friends who already a.p and you can defintly see the difference between a.p’d children and ones not.
Btw e.c as Mayim said is NOT potty training, it is just communicating with your baby, all babies are born not wanting to soil themselves, we train them to use nappies.

eternalcanadian on

I always wondered what happened when she got her PhD. It is too bad she doesn’t plan to pursue a career with it as it sounded quite interesting and timely the research she did for it. She is right about it quickly becoming obsolete if you aren’t immediately into postdoctoral research or work after getting it.

Kim on

I agree with others who have pointed out that the only reason she is able to choose to not vaccinate her children is because others have vaccinated theirs. I have put my two children thru the torture of vaccines (probably more torturous for me) and it makes me so mad that parents just assume their kids will benefit from this herd immunity. Ugh!! Anyways, how is it beneficial to kids to wait until they are a year to give them solid foods? Some parents are so weird about things.

kris on

“she speaks so well and is so careful with other’s feelings.” – I may not agree with some of her decisions nor live my life the way she does but this commenters statement is why I still enjoyed the interview. She seems like a very sweet person who is so not full of herself. Very refreshing!

JMO on

I kind of would like to defend Jenny McCarthy that in a sense she has never once come out and said, “do not vac. your children!” She has always made it clear that it’s choice and one that should be researched for each individual. I have a friend that is a nurse who chose to give her son all the necessary vaccines except for one which I can’t remember if it was the MMR or the chicken pox (whichever they receieve at age 2 – sorry I’m kidless right now). Anyways she said that was the controversial vaccine that they do not know whether or not it’s linked to autism. The funny thing that I find is that in today’s world kids walk around wiht so many labels.
Was it just that 25 years ago nobody had a name for any of it or are kids being diagnosed with autism now at an alarming rate?? Also I find kids are also allergic to everything! Back when I was a kid you never heard of anyone allergic to peanuts now at the daycare I work out I think 1 out of 5 come in with the allergy or something similar! It does raise questions as to why kids are so different these days.
I don’t think there has been any proof that has been able to be upheld that says this vaccine causes this disease and until there is a day that comes that a doctor comes out and states that one is a risk then ALL children IMO should be vaccinated. It’s way too risky. Not to get into any more controversy but lets just put it out there that such a such vaccine may have the potential to cause autism in kids….would you rather your child have that or bury them from some other illness they’ve contracted?? Most of us would hope that neither would be the case but on a personal front if I had to choose I know which one I’d go with! JMO

kris on

” it’s my understanding that people can get a doctor’s note exempting them from vaccinations and still attend public schools.” – you are correct

french gigi on

saw her on ‘chelsea lately’ the other night…..she had a great sense of humor! she looked great and i think she has a beautiful voice. good for her on her parenting style, she does what works for her.

pia on

i think that she was careful to express that this is how their family is and it wasn’t as if she was preaching or judging – it just is. i agree wit most of her stuff.. the EC is amazing, a few friends of mine have successfully used this method and truly it is great. i couldn’t do it because it’s not my mode.
i liked reading this interview, cause i really like to read about how other people parent.. and this is a nice change of pace from the norm.

also, it’s a pity that in this country we don’t have ‘safe’ vaccines. they are not, no matter what people are told. in europe, they have vaccines that are much improved.. i wish the states would move forward and offer us these european versions of vaccines so we can keep our kids safe without the fear of horrific repercussions.

Beverley on

Our school district went to court earlier this year to protest a family which came in with children who weren’t immunized. Their reason was not religious, just anti-vac. And the judge allowed the school district to ban the family.

Susan D on

I cannot believe people think not vaccinating your children is a good choice. It’s dangerous and crazy, not a “parenting choice.”

Lou Lou on

She’s really into granola!

tribalbaby on

Wow,
I really enjoyed this non-sensationalising view of AP.
(though the vaxing issue always sends people crazy, but that’s a different issue!)
This is a fabulous post, that this Mom is EC’ing with a busy schedule, showing how it can be done part-time.

I’ll be interested in seeing and reading more.

I love practicing EC with my babies too. My 10 month old poops on the potty too!

Charndra

Xan on

Just a note that Sears’ attachment parenting techniques should not be confused with the aspects of natural family living that are noted above (including extended breastfeeding, cosleeping,EC, etc.). One does not equal the other.

MZ on

JMO, I believe it’s that now we have a name for it. I’m not talking about autism specifically here, just illnesses in general. It’s a combination of there being a name, better awareness, and misdiagnosis (overdiagnosis). I used to do research in childhood bipolar disorder and saw this a lot. When I did autism research, I worked with the head autism researcher at OSU Medical Center. He told me the 1 in every 150 number for autism diagnoses is inflated. I’m assuming he is saying kids are being overdiagnosed with autism, or maybe he was differentiating between autism and aspergers, i don’t know.

While I strongly believe in vaccinating (I did a ton of research and couldn’t find any legitimate research that vaccines cause autism), I believe in smart vaccinating. We’re not vaccinating our son for chicken pox, and we chose to delay vaccines because both my husband and I have autoimmune diseases and our son’s pediatrician said there is some research to suggest that vaccinating on the traditional schedule could cause our son to have immune problems because he is already at such high risk, so that waiting until his immune system was a little stronger would be wiser. So, I do understand why people are wary of vaccines.

Andrea_momof2 on

Well, not my cup of tea but that’s ok, my parenting obviously wouldn’t be her cup of tea either ;)

Although I agree, I’m very pro vaccinations, but if someone doesn’t vaccinate their children and they get sick, it’s really not my problem as it was THEIR choice. I know my kids are safe.

JMO on

Thanks MZ for the info and I agree w/ much of what you said. I too may hold off on the scheduled set of vaccines (esp. chicken pox but I think some can wait until they’re a bit older) but my kids will def. be vaccinaed against the most serious diseases. My mom used to say that there was a day where your kids would get chicken pox and other parents would actually bring their kids over to get them as a means of “getting them over with!” – I guess now w/ a vaccine they figure there is no need for kids to get them but I also heard that people who have had them are at a higher risk for adult shingles?? Guess I should do my research before I have kids!

It is nice to read about other parenting choices and def. great for discussions!!

Faye on

These are the principles of attachment parenting:

http://www.attachmentparenting.org/principles/principles.php

Cloth diapering, elimination communication, being green, not vaccinating…none of these are tenets of attachment parenting. But a lot of people who practice attachment parenting do some of these things.

Michelle on

I was a school nurse in Ohio for several years. If I remember correctly (and policies haven’t changed), children were required to have proof of current immunizations (as in series completed or in process) to attend school. They could be exempted for medical, religious, or personal reasons, but in our school district, parents had to fill out and sign a form stating such. However, if the child started a series (i.e. had the first DTaP, but not the rest of them), he or she had to finish that particular series unless there was a medical reason not to (i.e. adverse reaction).

wowfornoobs on

I *love* Mayim, and I love this interview! She seems like such an intelligent, respectful woman. And I love her parenting styles!

As far as vaccinating, I see the pros and cons of the issue. I think my ultimate desire is for more “green” vaccines, much like they have in Europe (which an above commenter also mentioned). That said, like MZ said above, I’ll selectively vaccinate and will delay vaccinations as well.

April on

It is my understanding from both 2 pediatricians and internet research of my own that “mercury” is not an ingredient in the MMR vaccine any longer. There has never really been any real proof at all that this vaccine has been linked to autism. I chose to vaccinate my son because in my opinion it is the safest route to take. All it takes is a Tylenol before the shot(s) to keep the fever at bay and then every 4-6 hours for the next day as well. It is also understanding that most of the “problems” caused by vaccines is from high fevers afterwards. At least in several cases I know of for sure. It is a personal choice but there really only is one right choice in my opinion. I don’t believe this is something to even have to choose really. Choose to home school, choose to co-sleep, choose to breast feed for 3 years, choose a plethera of other things but children need to be vaccinated to keep them from contracting life threatening illnesses. All it takes is one person in your community flying to a different country and bringing the illness back and there could be an epidemic from all the unvaccinated people. It is a simple choice in my opinion.

Debbie on

When someone’s child who isnt vaccinated contracts something deadly and they die. THEN will they reconsider?They will have to live with that consequence? If they can live with it if the child dies, well then they made the right choice.
I personally would never put my children at risk, Vaccinations do not cause Autism it has been proven over and over again…..

gina on

Susan…I am glad that we live in a country where we have the right as parents to make decisions for our children such as to vax or not to vax. But to sit there and make such a statment as it’s dangerous and crazy is rude and uncalled for. Deciding not to vax my kids was a long long long process that I did not take lightly. Over a year of research brought me to my decision, weighing the pros and cons of the vax issue. I respect your right as parents to vaccinate and the same should be done in return.

Allowing the goverment to to make medical decisions for us is a dangerous thing. We want the freedom of decision for elective c sections, but the other hand we want mandated vaccinations. You can’t have it both ways.

MD on

Gina, I don’t think anyone is arguing for mandatory vaccinations. I think people just hope that common sense prevails and that people vaccinate their kids, especially since there is no credible research out there that would support the position that vaccinating is more dangerous than not vaccinating.

Vax issue aside, it was a great interview. The way she explained stuff was really straightforward and interesting. I didn’t see the What Not to Wear episode – how did she turn out?!

victoria on

awesome interview- thanks forr sharing her thoughts I love hearing about people who make different choices-
i too am very attachment based- I wore all my chidlren in carriers, co sleep and extended breastfeed – i cloth daiper too- love it!!!!

Lisa on

My nephew no longer receives vaccinations. Tests have shown that he developed no immunity as a result of his previous vaccinations. His immune system has been messed up from day 1 and that’s why he was unable to handle the vaccinations like another person’s immune system would. His doctor and his mother came to the conclusion that it didn’t make sense to poke him with needles knowing he is receiving no benefits. It worries me. Everyone in my family has had vaccinations, so there’s a little bit of a protective bubble there, but outside of his home, who knows what he is exposed to because other children who can be vaccinated aren’t. His little immune system may not be able to fight off something that could be prevented if other people around him were vaccinated.

I appreciated that Mayim spoke about her parenting style in a way that seemed open and understanding of other peoples’ styles. It was probably the first time I read about this and didn’t feel like the person would think I was wrong for not agreeing. I would like for other people who don’t vaccinate to consider my nephew’s condition. He can’t help it and his immune system can’t defend him against these illnesses that can be prevented.

eternalcanadian on

I just had to jump in regarding the vaccination stuff. While there still is no concrete “yes, vaccinations cause autism” it is clear that there is “too much of a good thing”. I mean have any of you parents looked at the vaccination schedule? I am gobsmacked at how many, was it 25 at last count, that children are supposed to get by the age of 2? I have a photocopy of my childhood vaccination schedule, and it shows that I only got three vaccinations by the time I was five. This was in the late 70s. When I was “of childbearing age” meaning I went through menarche, I got another vaccine. I also got the polio vaccine. That was it, a total of 5 vaccines until I started university and got the meningitis vaccine (it was required for those living in on-campus housing) and started working in a hospital where I was required to get the Hep A & B vaccines. So yeah, it is not so much a “don’t vaccinate your kids” but a “space the vaccines out over the years, not bam all at once.”

Monica on

nice interview. i just am confused how long the bedsharing last. To me it is unsafe to share a bed with an infant. anyways to each his own.

Susan D on

Gina, maybe you should check out this site: http://www.jennymccarthybodycount.com. I stand by my comments.

Sara on

let’s not forget about the “studies” on an autism/vaccine connection that were happening in the late 90′s when being non-vaccinated started to become trendy. studies we now know were purposefully falsified.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article5683671.ece

personally, while i think there might be too many vaccines, there are some that should not be optional to protect a child (and those around them).

E on

I loved this interview. We’re an AP family and also a non-vaccinating family as well.

As I was reading the comments, I felt the need to correct a few things.

Number 1, the MMR NEVER contained mercury – it is a LIVE vaccine (which means it sheds). Live vaccines do NOT contain mercury, some dead vaccines do. Even though they say its Thimerosal free, it’s not. That’s like saying Decaf coffee has NO caffeine in it. It does, just very small amounts. Same with “Thimerosal free” vaccines. Most of the Thimerosal has been replaced with another metal – Aluminum.

2, Each state has exemptions. Medical, Religious, and Philosophical. Check out NVIC.org to see what your state exemptions are.

3, Trust me, anyone that is a non-vaccinting family does NOT believe the whole “herd immunity” theory. Don’t worry, we’re NOT mooching off of your kids “immunity”. We believe that there are better ways to maintain health, preferably through homeopathic care.

Single mom in Miami on

I LOVED the interview. I wish I had her as a friend lol

I am a single mom to an almost 9 yr. old and an almost 3 yr. old, both boys. We sleep in the same bed and love it (most nights lol).
My older son was only breastfed for 8 months because of ignorance on my part but my youngest is still bf and will keep going until HE decides.
I did delayed solids with my 2nd.
My first has all his vaxes unfortunately but my 2nd child will remain unvax for now.
For those that don’t know you can get an exemption for your child to attend public schools when you don’t vax. There are 3 exemptions and some states have them all or some. There is Philosophical, Medical and Religious. My youngest has been in daycare since he was 8 weeks old and we have the Religious Exemption.
You can find more info here http://www.nvic.org/Vaccine-Laws/state-vaccine-requirements.aspx

And just as an FYI, I am one of those that has done her research and does not believe in Herd Immunity. I find it ironic that those that believe in it get scared when an unvaxed child is sick. If vaccines really worked why do vaxed children STILL get alleged vaccine preventable diseases?

Emily on

I have to say that we have pretty opposite parenting styles and philosophies, but I loved this interview. It was SO nice to read an interview about someone who was not defensive or attacking about their choices. She is obviously very confident in her parenting but doesn’t judge others who make opposite choices, and I think that is awesome. This was a great read.

Jo on

Single mom in Miami-
The reason that some children get sick even after being vacinated is that not every child develops immunity.
My son took part in a study a few years back where he was vacinated, and then a blood test was done some time later to see if he was immune. Luckily he was, but the nurse told me that a certain small percentage of children will not, for whatever reason, develop immunity. These children usually will not get sick because others around them are immune and will stop the spread of the disease.
I would love to hear your explanation of how small pox was irradicated through vaccination- it is no longer found due to dilagent and through vaccination. Also the rates of polio, diptheria etc have plummeted- how do you explain that?
I do feel that children should only be vaccinated against serious diseases, I would not vaccinate against chicken pox as if you get it in childhood it is not serious. I have done extensive reading about vaccinations, and I have yet to see and HARD proof that there is a greater risk in vaccinating when weighed against the risks of the various diseases.

burnice on

God, I got through about 25 of the comments and then thought I might puke at how many of you find it necessary to point out that you don’t agree with her parenting style, “but to each their own.”

Why even say it if the 5 posters before you said basically the exact same thing?

/boring

ps. Awesome interview.

NannyDanni on

Wow americans get a lot more vaccines than us in the U.K I think. We certainly don’t vaccinate against chicken pox, and parents do take their children over to others houses with the pox so their children catch it. Majority of children who have it young just get itchy and its over with. I had it at 5 and I was perfectly fine, my mum had it at 35 and was so ill with it cos she’d never got it as a child.

EAG on

“I would love to hear your explanation of how small pox was irradicated through vaccination- it is no longer found due to dilagent and through vaccination. Also the rates of polio, diptheria etc have plummeted- how do you explain that?”

It’s called better sanitary conditions, better living conditions and the removal of DDT on our food supply. Also, these diseases were going down on their OWN before vaccination. Search for the graphs, they’re online. How did the cases of Scarlett Fever go down? There’s no vaccine for Scarlett Fever. Nature always finds a way. Just like if we keep vaccinating for every little thing, nature will find a way to evolve and develop a stronger, mutated virus.

Chiara on

I very much respect Mayim’s choices, and the obvious thoughtfulness with which she’s made them. She sounds like an intuitive, intelligent and fun mom.

I hasten to point out, though, that this kind of parenting takes an incredible amount of time, and — to be blunt — money to achieve successfully. Mothers who must work cannot be around to observe when their children are ready to go to the bathroom at all times, and standard day care facilities aren’t equipped to give such individual attention. Parents who can’t afford to stay home all the time barely have time to get their errands done if they want to spend any amount of quality time with their children, let alone devote a day to making granola.

This is not a knock on her AT ALL; I’m sure she’d be the first to admit this (given her comments on pumping, etc.) Just pointing out that she’s made very specific choices in her parenting that not everyone has at their disposal — not because of philosophy but merely because of logistics.

CelebBabyLover on

EAG- So you would prefer that children come down with life-threatening dieases?

Jo on

EAG-
Not to be rude, but you don’t know what you are talking about.
Sanitary conditions have not improved in much of the world since small pox was irradicated. There are slums in the world that are as bad today as they were 50 or 100 years ago, so to say that improving sanitary conditions removed smallpox is not true.
Also, sadly to say, some third world countries STILL use DDT. Google it if you don’t believe me.
Polio was not ‘going down on its own’ before the introduction of the vaccine.
Attitudes like yours infuriate me. You have not stated one fact in your post.

Margo on

I agree with Burnice!!

I also practice AP, and have annoyed alot of mum’s talking about the way I do things. I’m just fascinated by this alternative parenting as I had no idea about it, and want people to know of the option. I hope to take a leaf out of Mayim’s book and speak of it without sounding judgemental or defensive, but it is hard when you have so many people judging right back at you for co-sleeping, cloth diapering, extended breastfeeding and not letting your baby cry it out. We also do baby led weaning (youtube that if you haven’t heard of it). The book ‘the Continuum Concept’ has changed my life!!

I’m thrilled Mayim has given this interview, hopefully more people will learn about alternative parenting options and be more open to change. Most of my family were totally against AP, I think now it was because they didn’t trust their instincts and just listened to their parents and ignored their babies needs. Now most understand what we are doing and seeing how happy we all are with the set up. It makes me want to have like 6 children. And yes, financially it’s a burden, we are poorer than we have ever been (as we do 100% care shared between my partner and I) but we’ve never been happier.

I find EC fascinating but find it hard to see signs of anything ‘about to’ happen with my 9 month old son. He lets me know as soon as he is wet however, so we are frequently changing nappies. His code word since he was 3 months old is ‘geng’ and the first time he went swimming he said it – he hates being wet (apparently a virgo thing) so I’m guessing he will be easy to toilet train.

I like how Mayim doesn’t praise for going to the toilet. We spend so much time telling kids how ‘amazing’ their artwork is when they know it is average, or making food colourful or tricking them so they will eat it – they then get expectations about how they should be treated, self esteem problems, to say the least. Can’t wait for part 2!

——-

This was part two – the first part of the interview was the one linked regarding her appearance on What Not to Wear last week.

– CBB Staff

N.S on

Wow, did I start a discussion or what? (I asked Mayim the vaccination question.)

I loved the interview – and think she’s a great gal, who has the right approach to motherhood.

And I’d also like to point out that the “herd immunity” theory is not something non vaxers believe in – they don’t “rely” on it. In fact,most non vaxers will tell you they’d rather live in a non vaxed community.

“Herd immunity” is bull. Pardon the pun.

Great interview, thanks CBB.

Sandi on

Just wanted to chime in on the Chicken Pox not being as dangerous if you get it when you’re a child. My friend’s son had a very severe case and was very ill. He was hospitalized for quite some time due to it. My children got the Pox vaccine.

Vaccines aren’t always going to prevent disease totally. Some vaccines will make the illness less severe. I get the flu & pneumonia shots yearly as I have low tolerance to both. I have had both, and I truly don’t want to go through either again!

My thing is… if I can do something to prevent pain & suffering for my kids, I’m going to do it. People are going to make their own choices, and we all just have to trust that they are making the decisions based on discussion, research, etc. MOST people love their children unconditionally:)

I didn’t breastfeed my children due to personal choice. My daughter is a 4.0 student in high school, and my son is a genius. They are healthy, happy, active, etc. Go figure, I must have done something right along the way:) My son still loves to sleep with a parent, though, and I have no qualms about that. It’s not anything we encouraged along the way (both my kids were in cribs in their own rooms from the get-go). I think some kids just need that extra time :)

EAG on

http://www.vaccinationdebate.com/web1.html – Graphs.

You know what, I would “risk” it. It’s not really a risk if you know how to treat it. My mother had mumps, she’s alive. My grandmother had measles, she’s alive. I had chicken pox, I’m alive. I don’t see these “life-threatening” diseases as a threat. In fact, I see them as a chance for a child’s immune system to develop properly without the use of injecting poisions, aborted-fetal cells and animal tissue. Kthnx

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/B/excipient-table-2.pdf – Vaccine ingredient list.

Besides, your kids are vaccinated right? Your vaccines work, right? Don’t worry about unvaccinated kids spreading disease. If vaccines work, there should be no worries.

Sandi on

My grandmother survived polio, too. But the damage that it did to her body, and the stress that it played on her family would never make it worth the risk to me. She was a young mom of three when it stole her health. Her youngest children were sent to live with family while her husband attempted to run the home and farm on his own. She did finally learn to walk again, but lived the rest of her life with post-polio syndrome and adult-onset diabetes which came on shortly after the polio. She had a tough life, but always stayed positive.

I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t take the risk… But that’s my personal choice. Other people may not feel the same. And that’s their choice. However, if their child comes down with one of the dreaded diseases and dies (as we have seen mentioned in earlier comments), that child never had the choice.

MD on

EAG – “if vaccines work, there should be no worries”. Seriously? Flip that around – maybe YOU have no worries (for your unvaccinated kids) because vaccines do work. If you have actually done any real research on the issue, you would know about vaccine failure (a previous poster has already talked about this!). And I find it strange that you deny the actual real risk these diseases present. So perhaps you or your child live through one – but perhaps you inadvertantly spread it in the meantime to someone with a compromised system that dies from it.

I guess I don’t understand how people strive to take a “holistic” and “natural” approach to health (which I agree with, by the way, but within reason) – but somehow don’t extend this approach to their community as a whole.

Jo on

My final comment ( I swear!)
Firstly, I admire much of what Mayim practices, love her attitude toward breast feeding and cloth diapers.
How lucky we are in the developed world to have the choice about vaccines. All over the third world children die from disease preventable, by vaccines, by poor hygene, poor nutrition. I think myself the most fortunate person in the world because I have these choices.
An interesting read

http://www1.wfubmc.edu/articles/Vaccines

Sophy on

EAG, there is no human tissue (fetal or otherwise) in vaccines. As for animal tissue – unless you are a vegetarian, animal tissue is entering your body every day anyway. It’s no big deal for the human body.

If you survived these diseases when they are live and full strength, then you could have survived the vaccine, a weak or dead strength. You would have the same immunity but without the danger or death or disfigurement. Yes, it’s possible to survive (some of) these diseases, but the toll it takes on your body when the virus is full strength is not always worth it.

At the end of the day, this decision doesn’t just affect you, it affects others around in the community, people who are much weaker and more vulnerable than you.

Since we’re posting links, here’s an interesting one:

http://www.medpagetoday.com/Blogs/14538

Jen on

Animal tissue may enter our digestive tracts, but it never enters our blood. But with a vaccine it does.

Many vaccines have come from growth on aborted fetal tissue and some of us are not ok with that.

If you are going to preach community responsibility, then I would like to see everyone else do the following: stop driving cars that guzzle gas and make accidents more dangerous, using disposable diapers that fill landfills and contaminate water, and failing to recycle and thus damage our earth.

New Shoes on

Just an honest question for the non-vaxers:
Why don’t you believe in herd immunity? What is the rationale behind this belief?

I’m not trying to attack your beliefs. I am just really curious. I am trying to understand the anti-vaccination point of view. So far, I’ve heard a lot of statements about not believing in herd immunity but I haven’t heard any real explanations for this. Please enlighten me.

CelebBabyLover on

Jen- Can you give some links to back-up what you said about fetal tissue?

Sandi and Sophy- I agree with you both! I also know two people who survived Polio but now have to live with the damage it did to their bodies (and at least one of them had such a severe case of Polio that it nearly killed her.). Also, my father had the measles as a kid and my mom had Rubella (German Measles) as a kid. They both survived, yes, but not everyone is as fortunate. On their own, measles and german measles usually aren’t fatal. However, they can cause complications that such as encephalitis (swelling of the brain) or meningitis (swelling of the meninges, the protective lining between the skull and the brain). It’s these complications that can be fatal.

Also, if an unvaccinated pregnant woman contracts Measles or German Measles (and has never had the diease before), her child can be born with birth defects such as blindness. Measles and German Measles can also cause miscarriage or stillbirth.

Simiaraly, Mumps can also cause complications in an unvaccinated woman who contracts it (again, without having had it previously) during pregnancy. Outside of pregnancy, Mumps can also cause deafness and other complications.

Anyway, suffice it to say I am pro-vaccinations! And guess what? I am also on the Autism spectrum! There is no solid proof that vaccines cause Autism, and I certainly don’t believe they were what caused mine. One of my parents, while not on the spectrum, displays what are known in the Autism community as “Autistic Traits” or “ASD Traits”. Therefore, I strongly believe that the thing that caused my Autims is the same as the thing that gave me life in the first place…My parents genes!

Sophy on

If you are going to preach community responsibility, then I would like to see everyone else do the following: stop driving cars that guzzle gas and make accidents more dangerous, using disposable diapers that fill landfills and contaminate water, and failing to recycle and thus damage our earth.

I would like to see people do those things, too.

jessicad on

I love this interview! I had no idea she was so relaxed and down to earth, I love how she stated her parenting style yet said understands that different things work for different families. Awesome.

In terms of vaccines, I’d only feel comfortable not giving them to my daughter if I knew everyone else had them, and that would be very selfish of me. My daughter would be at the mercy of other kids having vaccines to keep her healthy, you have to weigh the benefits vs risks, and risking her life is not a chance I’m willing to take, or risking the life of another child she could get sick by not being vaccinated. I talked to her dr about spacing them out instead of so many all at once, she reluctantly agreed to do it. This discussion could go on for days..so I’ll stop there haha.

Rachel on

Read this for a behind the scenes account of Mayim’s recent WNTW appearance: http://tinyurl.com/lgtusx

Dana on

No solids before 1? Good job for her getting the kid on the potty so early, but using your breast as the only source of the kid’s food for 1 year? I guess she was mostly w/ her babies, because she said she didn’t pump often. It gets pretty tiring after 6-9 months and that’s with the kid on solids.
Also I hope she won’t loose the knowledge from the Ph.d. I personally don’t understand why some people go to school for 10+ years just to stay at home w/ kids and homeschool…

Dawn9476 on

At least with Mayim’s homeschooling, it won’t be be heavy on religion and light on everything else. And her kids will probably be educated where any college they went to go to will be an option. Can’t say the same for a lot of religious families that home school.

burnice on

Google is your friend.

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&q=fetal+tissue+in+vaccines&aq=3&oq=fetal+tissue+&aqi=g10&=Google+Search&=I%27m+Feeling+Lucky&fp=1mZ_-PL2Zjc

Looks like the Catholic Church has weighed in on the fetal tissue being used to propagate viruses issue.

Here are my reasons for non-vaxing:

1) Without being someone trained to read all the research, I don’t think I have time to do all the necessary reading to FULLY understand both sides of the issue. I don’t like to do something without fully understanding its implications.

2) What I have read seems to indicate that while vaccines may present some immediate benefits, the long-term viability of immunization is not clear. Booster shots will likely be necessary.

3) My understanding is that many of the studies have been undertaken by the vaccine manufacturers themselves (conflict of interest, anyone?)

4) My understanding is that many “experts” who help the FDA decide what should be on the vaccine schedule are also in the pockets of vaccine manufacturers.

5) Should something happen to my child because of a vaccine reaction, I am ultimately responsible for that decision. Congress has made it nearly impossible to directly sue the vaccine manufacturer – you have to take your case through the bureaucracy of the “National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Information” before you can even be allowed to sue (i.e. roadblock). I’d imagine that could take years, at best, to work through the process and actually have a trial or see any compensation, if ever. I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to quit my job and stay home to take care of a vaccine-injured child. I’ll take my chances with childhood diseases; at least then I don’t have myself to blame (knowing that the choice existed).

Stephanie on

Great interview! Thoughtful questions, Thoughtful answers. I really enjoyed reading it.

The part about “schooling in a group setting, but not in a school” is intriguing to me. It’s definitely something we will look into/consider when our girls reach school age.

velika on

I think that many people do not realize that vaccines have not been proven to *cause* autism — but they haven’t been proven *not* to cause it either. This is the legal standard that allows them to remain on the market despite overwhelming anecdotal evidence — from people who have no financial or other interest to make that claim — that there is a correlation.

Many of the diseases that we are vaccinating against are not lethal — and in many cases, the worst possible outcome of the disease is less likely than an even worse complication from the vaccine. (In other words, your child is far more likely to become brain damaged from an MMR vaccine than from measles itself.)

Until vaccines have been proven in a repeated, transparent, double-blind study to not cause or increase the likelihood of causing a disease, no parent should be required to take that risk with their child. (And NO, no such study exists.)

Sophy on

This is the legal standard that allows them to remain on the market despite overwhelming anecdotal evidence — from people who have no financial or other interest to make that claim — that there is a correlation.

Anecdotal evidence is always flawed, but even more so in this case I would argue, because now we are in the media age where people are able to broadcast their views freely. And if someone is able to broadcast their anecdotal ‘evidence’, anyone watching is more likely to make tenuous conclusions about their own situation. For example if Jenny McCarthy states as fact that vaccines caused her son’s autism, a mother with an autistic child watching at home could easily jump to the conclusion that their child, too, must have been damaged by the vaccine, where the thought wouldn’t otherwise have occurred to her. You get a multiplying effect of anecdotal evidence, which makes it more common but no more valid than it was to begin with. A hunch, or a gut feeling, is not evidence. Vaccines are an easy scapegoat for parents who have suffered great tragedy, now moreso than ever.

anonymous on

“I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to quit my job and stay home to take care of a vaccine-injured child. I’ll take my chances with childhood diseases; at least then I don’t have myself to blame (knowing that the choice existed).”

Huh? This doesn’t make any sense. So if your child suffered long-term complications as a result of contracting an illness such as measles, you could afford to stay home and take care of them then? The misinformation spread on here astounds me. I used to be very anti-vaccines but then, after doing my research, I realized how foolish I was. I was most definitely be vaccinating my children in the future! It’s my belief that the benefits far outweigh the possible risks. Do people even realize the complications that can result even from “run of the mill” illnesses? For example, mumps can cause sterility in men. Do you want to render your son incapable of having his own biological children someday just because you chose not to have him vaccinated? It’s not fair.

anonoymous on

I haved always liked Mayim and I grew up watching her show, but her choice of parenting is just too far out there for me, guess it works for her!!! Good luck with that Mayim!!!

dawn on

I love mayim. I’ve always watched her show “blossom” she seems like a cool and down to earth mom. but I don’t understand why everyone is so uptight about her decisions. why are they so taboo? since the beginning of time, women have practiced these same things.

Lisa on

It still amazes me how many people push vaccines yet have no idea how they work – like polio. Y’all realize the polio shot doesn’t prevent transmission or infection of the polio virus, right? That’s just not how it works. The oral vaccine prevents transmission, but it’s also a live vaccine and sheds (and caused thousands of people to become infected with the virus). That’s pretty much how all vaccines work, either they don’t prevent transmission/infection but don’t shed, or they shed and can infect others but prevent *you* from coming down with the disease.

IMHO on

I’m an AP mom and I think it’s ludicrous that someone would get upset that we call ourselves AP. I mean, really? (referring to an earlier comment). Just because you are attached to your children, does not make you an AP parent. Nor does EC or homebirthing. There are basically 7 principles to AP, and Mayim does them all and then some. I only wish I had EC.

Oh and to the reader who was offended that anyone would “push” potty training…you don’t push anything. You just watch your child’s signals and follow suit by teaching them to identify that feeling with a certain sound or sign, then you provide them with a bowl or potty. It’s more complicated than that, of course, but it’s not about pushing. And again, they are only kids once, why spend their infancy worrying about diaper rash, and filling up landfills, or buying $20 a package diapers? Especially when that $20 should be spent on great, earth friendly, natural wooden developmental toys?!

amanda on

wow, the interview was interesting, but not as interesting as all the comments posted. i can’t believe i sat here and actually read all of them!! i have a 2 yr old son who slept with my fiance and i until about 5 months ago. we put a bed in our room for him and thats where he sleeps unless he wakes up and wants mama. my friends and family all think its “babying” him, but i havnt noticed any negative side affects. so cool to here that its actually how alot of people do it.

as far as the vaccinating goes, my son has had all of his vacs, and i feel good about it. i have never met anyone who has had any kind of negative reaction, nor read about anyone. i think that it is a personal decision and shouldn’t be anyone else’. i wish there were natural vaccinations, i would be all about that. but until then, i think everyone should just worry about doing what they think is best and not what everyone else is doing.

SD on

Come on people, common sense here.. VACCINATE YOUR KIDS.

We are VERY fortunate to have these vaccines available.. many children die in third-world countries of diseases and illnesses that can be prevented by vaccines. If those kids’ parents could choose to vaccinate and protect their children, there would be no argument.. they would do it in a heartbeat.

Natural medicine didn’t work 100 years ago and doesn’t work today. That’s why people only lived half as long as we do now.

-S.

Charndra at Tribal Baby on

“… I totally don’t get the whole focusing on potty training thing at such a young age. Kids are only babies once why is it so important to have them be in big boy/girl pants before two?? … I just know it def. wouldn’t be a focus of mine!”

- Don’t worry – it’s quite different to potty training – it is gentle, responsive and fun, it just slots into your activities, and the baby uses a diaper at other times – it’s a lovely way to enhance your communication, not a strain or chore. They are still babies – they are lovingly cuddled as they go inyour arms over a bowl perhaps, or on a warm potty. It is lovely.

We practice EC and love it. We practice EC and love it. Your baby can WEAR a diaper yet not use it. EC is great for reducing waste, washing while it enhances your relationship in often unexpected ways.

My baby says ‘sssssssss’ when he needs to go – I can hear him even from the next room. Perfectly, all the time? No – that’s why he wears training pants or cloth diapers when I’m not attentive or am busy – to catch the accidents as a diaper does. The difference is, he doesn’t use diapers full time – only part time!

Curious? Pop by my site if you want to give it a go – I can help you get started with my free guided tour of Baby Pottying.

Lots of fun, and flexible too.

Charndra

http://www.parttimediaperfree.com/

Zach on

There’s no ‘tried and true’ method for raising your kids perfectly. The big message I got from this interview was that no matter what parenting technique you decide for your children, research and education should always be taken seriously.

Amanda (12) said “I love hearing other people talk about parenting-sometimes I get ideas for what I can do, and sometimes I see areas that I’m making some mistakes in and need to do better or differently.” I completely agree! I’m not a parent yet (I’m only 23), but observing other parents’ techniques can only help, if only to show you how you could or why you may not make certain decisions.

No matter what, I completely respect and greatly appreciate Mayim’s willingness to open up about nonconventional and obviously controversial parenting decisions she has made. She really puts a sane spin on methods that could seem far-fetched.

Delanea on

Vaccine efficacy is measured by CORRELATION, not true science. When is the last time you were swabbed with droplets of measles or flu to make sure your vaccine was effective? You can say that the decline of “vaccine-preventable” diseases was due to introduction of vaccines, but what about the dramatic increase in severe allergies, SIDS, auto-immune disorders, cancers, MS, diabetes, and autism? BIGGER ISSUES TO ME. These dramatic increases cannot be attributed to improved diagnostics or population growth. If you are going by correlation studies, then you could also assume that all of these recent increases can be attributed to increase in number of vaccines. And for the record, every state except for VA and MS allow vaccine exemptions for moral, religious, or philosophical reasons to all public schools and daycares. VA & MS allow only for medical exemption. I follow a similar lifestyle – EC, cloth diapering, non-vaccination, homebirthing, homeschooling, cosleeping, vegan/organic lifestyle….it works for us, but it may not work for everyone. Now with respect to putting the “public” in jeopardy by non-vaccination, NATURAL immunity is best. Don’t go out when you’re sick. Thank goodness for freedom of choice in the USA.

Sarah on

I was vaccinated, my family was vaccinated, everyone I ever went to school with was vaccinated and there was never any problems that arose ever…..I did however have an uncle who had very painful polio and died early in his life. Open heart surgery isn’t “natural” either but boy it’s sure saved some lives, hasn’t it? I would rather die that sit back and watch my daughter die of smallpox or some other horrible disease that can be eradicated by modern medicine. In a perfect world yes it would be wonderful not to stick your child with needles, but as we all know, life is not fair, nor is it perfect.

I sit in the middle of the other issues. I used Cloth diapers at home, biodegradable disposables such as gdiapers when out), and breastfed. I want my enviromental footprint to be small on the planet, but I am not taking any chances with my kid.

mochababe73 on

I found it to be a little crunchy as well. I agree with some of the posters about certain aspects. While I respect what she and her husband are doing, I know that this wouldn’t be right for me. There has to be some me time at some point, or I would go insane. I breast fed my kiddos for a year, but I did the whole pumping thing at work, and let me tell that it’s not easy stopping work to do it. But, I knew that I could ride it out for a year. I have my boys vaccinated.
To each his own, but I know for a fact that this wouldn’t have been a lifestyle in which I was comfortable. She said that she was already environmentally conscious so this was a natural progression for her.

Nicole on

First, I suggest reading this: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article5683687.ece

Second, for the person that said that they would be held responsible if their child ended up having problems because they chose that they should get vaccinated. Wouldn’t you also feel responsible if your child ended up dying because he/she didn’t get vaccinated because of your decision and he/she contracted full blown measles and his/her body couldn’t handle it. It pretty much is a possibly damned if you do or possible damned if you don’t situation.

Personally for me, my daughter just got vaccinated. She’s two months old. I also got her hepatitis b shot at two days old. I’ve always been vaccinated (especially since being in the military) and I’m perfectly healthy and normal. My daughter had no bad reaction to her two month shots. Not even a fever. I do co-sleep with her (and for the commenter of not feeling comfortable with that, I have never rolled on her and I’ve been co-sleeping since I was released from the hospital – single mom). I do use disposible diapers. I work 9 hours a day and she goes to a daycare with other kids on base. We all have our personal choices on how to raise our children. In my mind though, I prefer not to risk her not being vaccinated and possibly being that one case where she catches it and ends up dying. Also, my great cousin had Polio that gave him very limited use of his right leg because it was paralytic polio and he never fully regained the use of his right leg.

Rachel on

For all of the pro-vac Moms that ASSume non-vac Moms rely on “herd immunity”

“herd immunity has not existed in this country for many decades and no resurgent epidemics have occurred. Vaccine-induced herd immunity is a lie used to frighten doctors, public-health officials, other medical personnel, and the public into accepting vaccinations.”

Read this article: http://secretsofnaturalhealing.blogspot.com/2009/12/forced-vaccinations-and-myth-behind.html

Please educate yourself and stop blindly trusting your Dr and the media when it comes to your child’s health.

itznia on

I have absolutely NO problem with breat feeding but there comes a time when your child needs to start being an individual – breast feeding at 3 years old may stiffle his ability to be independant as he grows. Stop being selfish and let him discover the world without being attatched to your breast.

Ady on

If you eat egg “in things” then you are not vegan. That is all.

Amita on

“Reader N.S. remembers reading about your contemplating whether or not to vaccinate the kids. What decision did you reach?
We are a non-vaccinating family, but I make no claims about people’s individual decisions. We based ours on research and discussions with our pediatrician, and we’ve been happy with that decision, but obviously there’s a lot of controversy about it.”

And Mayim Bialik has a Ph.D IN NEUROSCIENCE! (http://gdsajj.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/actress-with-phd-in-neuroscience-does-not-vaccinate/)

HA! CHECKMATE!

Take THAT, militant, fascist pro-vaxers who stereotype anyone & everyone who’s anti-vaccine as just being ignorant, uneducated conspiracy theorists blindly following a “blonde bimbo” Playboy celebrity like Jenny McCarthy! Even HIGHLY EDUCATED PEOPLE (not just those in the “alternative healthcare” field, but also MDs [including immunologists, neurologists & pediatricians], PhD’s, neuroscientists and more!) are aware of the truth about vaccines and are increasingly starting to speak out against the corrupt, profit-driven establishment that pushes vaccines & meds without any concern for the countless lives that are damaged or destroyed by them, and totally ignorant as to whether they’re truly safe & effective!

Mayim Bialik has a Ph.D in NEUROSCIENCE! So she knows (and has likely herself seen) firsthand the kind of damage that vaccines do to the brain — and just like the majority, if not all non-vaxing parents, after weighing & balancing all the information and research, she made an educated decision to NOT vaccinate, realizing that the ILLUSION of “protection” from vaccines (the so-called “benefit”) does NOT outweigh the MASSIVE RISKS of vaccines and its potential for causing lifelong damage!!!!

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