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A Book Review of Sage Parenting: Where Nature Meets Nurture

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding her son.

Sage Parenting: Where Nature Meets Nurture by Rachel Rainbolt, MA could have drastically changed how I prepared for motherhood. When I became pregnant I read What to Expect When You’re Expecting like it was the holy bible for pregnant mothers. Each month I read the corresponding chapter about 12 times. I enjoyed reading about my baby. I didn’t know that there was a whole world of parenting books out there and when I gave birth to Jack, while I spent the whole pregnancy following his growth, I wasn’t at all prepared to be his mother. I wasn’t even prepared for birth or the decisions made immediately after birth.

Sage Parenting: Where Nature Meets Nurture is similar to What to Expect When You’re Expecting in that it documents the course of events beginning with pregnancy and covers topics such as sleeping arrangement and breastfeeding, but the author ventures into topics that mainstream authors dare not go such as mother guilt, bed-sharing, discipline and attachment. There are no politics in this book. Rainbolt speaks directly about all topics close to her heart. She speaks honestly to the reader and pulls no punches.

The author manages to cover an exorbitant amount of topics in just under 400 pages. She accomplishes this by not wasting words. She says what she wants to say and moves on. There are no fluffy words to express herself in a diplomatic fashion yet she still manages to come across as gentle and nurturing. She tells you just what you need to know to get started exploring a certain topic and the references at the end of the chapters can be used as a guide for further reading. She is not spending time try to smooth things over with mothers who might disagree with her. She clearly had a mission in mind when she started on this venture and in my opinion she accomplishes it.

From the moment I opened the book I felt like the author was speaking directly to me. Almost every parenting value I hold is reflected in this book. She discusses the value of co-sleeping, babywearing, breastfeeding, gentle discipline and so much more. She backs up all of her recommendations with science and provides a valuable voice as a family therapist. She does not speak down to the reader in an authoritative manner. She uses her own experiences with each topic to bring a life to the subject that you won’t find in most parenting books.

The author gives credit to many practices that have been scoffed at by the mainstream such as coconut oil, amber teething necklaces and comfort nursing. She provides a strength based outline for your birth story. She has created a worksheet for the reader to prepare a safe co-sleeping environment in their own home. This book is chock-full of uniqueness that sets Rainbolt in a category all her own and I truly thank her for giving me and other gentle parents a voice.

I highly recommend this book for any new or pregnant mother. I enjoyed reading it and look forward to emptying my shelves of those other books and bringing this book with me on the journey of motherhood.

Abby Theuring, MSW