Beginning with its publication in 1946, Dr. Benjamin Spock’s “Baby and Childcare” was the go-to guide for millions of parents when it came to child development. In fact, for the next 52 years it was second only to the Bible in book sales. Dr. Spock was a Yale graduate, and a pediatrician, with additional degrees in child psychology. To some, his views were controversial. His basic premise could be summed up as Laissez Faire; if it feels good, do it. So it follows that whenever my sisters and I stepped out of line, as kids often do, my Mom blamed Dr. Spock.
Though too late for my Mom and her generation, there’s a new expert in town when it comes to bringing up baby. And that would be Alicia Silverstone.
In her new masterpiece, “The Kind Mama: A Simple Guide To Supercharged Fertility, A Radiant Pregnancy, A Sweeter Birth, and a Healthier, More Beautiful Beginning”. The title alone beats “Baby and Childcare” hands down. And unlike Dr. Spock, there’s nothing controversial about her suggestions- at least among her fellow trendoids on the Upper East Side.
Alicia (I feel like I know her already after seeing her in Clueless) stirred up some controversy among those troglodytes residing in Flyover Country two years ago by posting a video on YouTube in which she pre-chewed her son’s food, and then…..well….you’ve seen how birds feed their young. Back off-It’s Nature’s way, Man!
Since then, she’s perfected her philosophy of child- rearing:
Bananas are a “naughty food” for babies. (I don’t know why, just take her word for it.)
The diaper industry is “pseudoscience” (Oooooh-Kay!)
And of course she affirms the view of fellow medical authority Jenny McCarthy that vaccines harm child development. And Jenny McCarthy is on The View. Case closed!
In the book, Silverstone displays her insight into obstetrics, gynecology, and pediatrics, and not even Spock could attempt that. Here’s the science:
The womb is a “baby house” and an expectant mother should avoid consuming meats, dairy, and processed foods. As Dr. Silverstone explains: Such foods “track toxic sludge through your baby house.” My dad was a gynecologist, and I never heard him mention that. But then again, he never starred in a feature film, so what did he know?
So what’s for dinner?
Plants..Lots of plants. Not only are they yummy and stylish, they eliminate the need for pharmaceuticals. As she notes, in addition to nourishing the resident of your “Baby house” and keeping the carpets free of “toxic sludge”, a plant diet “supercharges your fertility!”
More? Ok. Once your child is born, study his or her expressions After a hearty meal of pre-chewed food, odds are your offspring’s digestive system will need to move things along. With careful observation, you’ll discern when it’s “time to go”. Quicky pick him or her up, and head outside. As Alicia says, Babies should “leave their business in the grass” But if one lives in a fashionable high-rise duplex, near Sutton Place, what are the options? The park, perhaps? And does a parent have to clean up after, just as dog owners do?
Some “traditionalists” will no doubt criticize the ideas in this breakthrough manifesto, but in reality, many of the ideas the author puts forth are the culmination of ages of accumulated human wisdom. So if an expectant mom wants to follow Alicia Silverstone’s advice, there are two options:
One is to buy the book.
The other is to find a nice tribal village hidden somewhere along the Amazon, and revel in those ages of accumulated wisdom. First hand, yet.
Of course, choosing option two, though far more authentic, would mean a life without Starbucks, and Manaus, Brazil is woefully lacking in decent Sushi. Then again, that may not matter. It’s not clear whether a California Roll leaves behind “toxic sludge” or not.