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Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D.: Parenting Right the First Year

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

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

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

Dandelion Seeds Positive Parenting:

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

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fan of her work.

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

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

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

Tina Payne Bryson:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Tina Payne Bryson

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

Dr. Tina Payne Bryson The Bottom Line for Baby
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Tina Payne Bryson, cont.

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Tina Payne Bryson

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

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

Video excerpt of Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., introducing her incredible book, The Bottom Line for Baby.

Dandelion Seeds Positive Parenting:

Those are precisely the things that I love about reading this book. It has been oh, I don’t know, probably since I was in grad school a thousand years ago that I finished a book in two nights. I finished your book in two nights because it was compelling. I wanted to know what the research said.

My child isn’t a baby anymore, but I wondered, “How’d I do?”

It’s beautifully organized and it’s so logical. As you mentioned, this is not the “how-to” book.

For me, this is the WHY book. Why do we do things the way that we do? And that alone made me want to keep reading.

Again, the organization and the personal touches — oh my goodness, reading it for your Diaper Genie story alone would have been worthwhile for me. So let me just put that out there.

Tina Payne Bryson: 

It’s the most embarrassing, mortifying story that I still can’t believe I put in print. It’s just one of those new mom moments where you realize you did something really stupid. 

Dandelion Seeds Positive Parenting:

The fact that you humanize this book throughout makes it not just the science, but about the real people that we all are, because we all have those mortifying moments. Believe me. I have plenty.

Thank you for being so real. These stories and your research make your book so easy to read.

So let me get straight to some brain science with you.

And now, former baby here. I confess. I used to be a baby. I don’t remember much of it at all.

My daughter, on the other hand, claims she remembers the womb. I don’t personally remember the womb and anything after it for a good long time.

So, if we don’t really remember our earliest months our earliest year on Earth, how do we know that any of it matters?

Tina Payne Bryson:

That’s such a great question.

***

Stay tuned for the rest of the interview, where Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., continues the conversation about the “whys” of parenting for connection.

Or, you can see our entire conversation now in the full video

You may also like this blog post: Attention-Seeking Behavior: 3 Important Reasons Not to Ignore It (and What to Do Instead).

Recommendation for The Bottom Line for Baby by Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D.

Tina Payne Bryson is no stranger to writing straightforward, easy-to-understand, and best of all, easy-to-implement parenting strategies. Her writing simply makes sense: it’s not only logical, but it also speaks to the hearts of parents who want to do well for their kids. It’s the perfect balance. 

With so many parenting books available, why do I recommend THIS book by Tina Payne Bryson for parents of babies?

As we discussed, this isn’t simply a “how to” book. Many of her other books with co-author Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., provide proven, connection-based approaches to handling many everyday parenting scenarios. 

Instead of “how to,” this is the WHY book. This book gives us the science we need to feel confident that no matter who challenges our parenting decisions in our personal lives, we have the science at our fingertips to validate our choices. I can think of few tools more practical or empowering. 

Even more, it helps us quiet our inner voices that may make us question how we’re parenting our babies.

Just as What To Expect When You’re Expecting was the recommended “must-read” for many years, this book should be not only on the shelves, but also in the hands, of all expectant and new parents. It’s the book we all need now. We need it today, in this age of parenting. Every page of The Bottom Line for Baby is relevant. 

It’s empowering. It’s practical. It’s — dare I say — downright entertaining as Tina Payne Bryson humanizes it throughout with her own personal anecdotes. It’s easy to turn the pages for the sheer enjoyment of her writing, while learning and absorbing all the practical science along the way.

She shares the science in a way that doesn’t leave you wondering why you should make the choices you do; it reads nothing like a textbook.

It “translates” science into heart-understanding. When I read it, it felt as if I were holding the wisdom of some scientifically sage and gifted grandmother, guiding me through all the things my new parent-brain yearned to know. 

Tina Payne Bryson, in The Bottom Line for Baby, gives us not only the science to make smart decisions, but also the sense of peace we need to trust the book as the go-to resource we need on topics that might otherwise feel overwhelming.  

Perhaps what I love most about Tina Payne Bryson’s approach, and specifically The Bottom Line for Baby, are that everything she writes about is from the framework of connection. Attachment science is her guidepost; her recommendations help foster secure attachment in our babies and children.

From what better perspective could she possibly write?


Additional recommended reading by Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D.  and Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.:

No-Drama Discipline Dr. Tina Payne Bryson
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