Interesting parenting styles


That we follow with our daughters Julia and Luz.

A list of books on parenting and education.

Attachment parenting

Attachment parenting means to follow your instincts in parenthood which, in general, translates into being there for the baby when she needs it. That is, to pick her up when she cries, to breastfeed her on demand, to have her always nearby, to carry her around as much as possible (using baby wraps or a baby carrier), co-sleeping... As a result, the baby feels secure and nurtured enough ("secure attachment") to develop independence and self-confidence when ready. But above all, this is the most enjoyable way of raising your baby.

Some interesting sites:

And a great blog by Tracy Cassels.

The leading proponents of attachment parenting are William and Martha Sears. In Spain, a famous advocate of "crianza con apego" is Dr. Carlos Gonzalez. He has written a few beautiful and fun books on the subject: Bésame mucho: Cómo criar a tus hijos con amor, Un regalo para toda la vida: Guía de la lactancia materna, Creciendo Juntos etc. Some interesting videos from him are: El sueño en bebés. He says things like:

  • La infancia es fugaz. Que nuestra obsesión por corregirla no nos impida disfrutarla.
  • Yo no dejaría jamás llorar a mi hijo. Ni a mi esposa, ni a mis padres ni a mis amigos. Cuando una persona a la que quiero llora, voy a ver qué le pasa e intento consolarla.
  • Malcriar significa criar mal, con poco cariño, sin cubrir las necesidades básicas del niño.

La crianza con apego suele despertar muchas críticas pero todas son bastante rebatibles...

Sobre lactancia:



It is a sensible and practical thing to do, as many people put it, although there are also studies and interesting books to read on the subject. The most famous one is Sleeping with your baby by James J. McKenna. There is a great summary-pamphet by Tracy Cassels.

Quite naturally, we have been drifting towards co-sleeping with Julia, not only room but also bed sharing.

For her first month, Julia would sleep in our baby stroller cradle, which in our case is removable. We started by placing it on the floor, next to my side of the bed, in order to see her from above during her sleep. Soon enough Fabrice suggested to plug her onto our (large, 160cm-) bed, between us, and that worked even better since I could help her to sleep quite easily without getting up. Just stroking her head or putting back her fallen-out pacifier. Still, after a couple of weeks, it felt like that extra barrier was not needed and things could be made even easier. Even being so physically close to us, Julia would wake up the moment she was placed in the cradle if not deeply asleep. This was annoying... Specially at 3am after gently and quite successfully breastfeeding her to sleep. Furthermore, the fact that we had a trip to France soon ahead of us made me wish we did not need the cradle (we have a rather small car).

By the second month we decided to remove it completely. We placed Julia on the bed, between us, on her little mattress (in order to give us a sense of the room she was taking) and barricaded by Fabrice's side with a pillow. They say that breastfeeding mothers are really tuned to their babies and would never roll onto them, also tend to synchronise their sleep patterns. I quickly realised that this was completely true and I sleep happily in close proximity without any fear. However, for fathers, things are not as natural. They typically fall into a much deeper sleep and need time to develop the instinct to keep the baby safe. This is why we have this pillow, that is covered by a sheet so that it is fixed and there is no risk of falling on top of Julia.

We also follow all the usual recommendations not to have extra pillows or toys or blankets in bed, not to leave any space where she could fall into and not take drugs or alcohol.

It feels completely natural. It also facilitates breastfeeding since it allows me and Julia to barely wake up and go back to sleep without any problem most of the nights. When she does wakes up, I know it instantly and can react quickly to her demands so that she is never fully awake, does not get to the point of crying and does not choke. Cry-less nights! Already interesting. But cosleeping goes further than just these convenient and practical reasons. I love to sleep so close to this beautiful baby, wake up in the mornings to her joyful smile. If she is a bit excited at bed time, I simply caress her and hold her hands for a little while and she quietly and smoothly falls asleep. It feels right and both Fabrice and me, enjoy it immensely.

An interesting link in Spanish:

Playful parenting

PET parenting, Playful parenting

Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE)

Emmi Pikler & Magda Gerber

Summary from an article:

1. Talk to your baby, narrate and encourage participation

Inform your baby about what you are going to do before you do it. Children will be less anxious and this will help with their language development. Also, engaging your child makes him feel respected and builds initiative and competence.

2. Let your baby express himself

‘When your baby cries…wait,’ writes Carlisle Solomon.

This isn't laziness or neglect. Instead, it allows you to observe and work out the cause of the distress, and it gives your baby the opportunity to learn how to self-soothe and the freedom to express their emotions.

‘Don’t distract your baby from her feelings by bouncing her on your knee or singing a cheery song,’ writes Carlisle Solomon. ‘Trying to jolly your baby out of crying will only make her feel disconnected and out of tune with you. Imagine if you were upset and your trusted other responded with a big grin, spoke in a singsongy voice, and tried to humor you out of it.’

If your child is angry, let them be angry. Don’t try to solve his problem, distract him or make him happy. If the anger isn’t released from his body, it creates stress. Trying to fix things for him will give him the message that not all feelings are okay. Children, like everyone, need to feel heard and understood. Sometimes they need you to empathize. Sometimes they want to be held. Other times they need space. Waiting and observing helps you respond helpfully. Also, naming feelings (i.e. “You seem angry.” or “You seem frustrated.”) not only gives a helpful vocabulary to identify their feelings, it shows that you’re tuned in.

3. Dummies

‘If you choose to offer a pacifier, it’s very important that as soon as you see your baby push the pacifier out of her mouth when it’s offered, you put it away.’

4. Caring routines

Rather than seeing routines such as nappy changing, bathing and feeding as labourious tasks to be rushed through, try to slow down and use them as a caring opportunity to communicate and bond.

‘[T]his helps the baby feel secure because he learns to anticipate what will happen next and can participate when he is able.’

5. Baby-led feeding

‘Babies should never be coaxed, cajoled, or forced to eat. They should eat however much they want, and not one bite more!’ writes Carlisle Solomon.

‘To help baby learn to eat when he’s hungry and stop eating when he’s satiated, we need to observe closely so that we’re attuned to his cues. Then we need to honor what the baby communicates to us.’

6. Prioritise your baby’s sleep schedule

Adequate sleep is essential for a happy, healthy baby and a calm family. This means establishing a sleep routine and prioritising it.

The principle of allowing babies to cry so they learn to self-sooth also applies to sleeping — within reason.

7. Limiting intervention

Rather than rushing in to solve our children’s problems we should allow them the opportunity to find their own solutions and to discover and cope with the fact that life involves struggle, disappointment and compromise.

‘When an adult routinely steps in to solve every little, or big problem, a baby can quickly learn to look for help rather than attempt to find a solution for himself, and giving up and relying on an adult for every little thing becomes a habit,’writes Carlisle Solomon.

‘Not only is a child robbed of a sense of self-satisfaction and accomplishment, but his sense of confidence and self-reliance can begin to erode as well.’

8. Toys

Not anti-toys, but instead recommends simple toys that can be used in a variety of ways to encourage her imagination, creativity, attention span, competence and understanding of properties like gravity, weight, size, shape, malleability, balance etc., such as a cotton napkin, plastic hair rollers, colanders, pot holders, plastic nesting cups, or an empty plastic bottle. (This means no toys with songs, bells, whistles, sirens and certainly no television.)

According to this philosophy, the more passive the toy, the more active the child needs to be to play with it.

Turn off the television. Playing without the distraction of the TV lets your child decide what interests him and may even help him develop concentration.

9. Praise

Praising kids for doing difficult social or process things like waiting, sharing or persistence.

Reflecting or acknowledging “achievements” is more helpful than praising. “Yes, you jumped off the rock!” instead of “Good job!” allows you to share in your child’s excitement, but in a way that mirrors how they feel, not how you judge it.

10. Honor what he can do physically.

Not putting a baby into a position he can't get into himself, such as propping him up with pillows in a sitting position. Healthy babies will invariably reach these developmental milestones and rushing the process may frustrate them and even lead them to feel disappointed in themselves.

11. Sit and observe.

Watch your child play, without distractions or planned activities, ideally for at least 15 minutes three times a day. Occasionally, the parent should comment nonjudgmentally about the child's activity -- "sportscasting" in the RIE lingo.

12. Follow your baby's lead.

During playtime, let him choose a toy or a new place to explore. Create a safe space where he can play and never have to hear “No, don’t touch that.” This way you can relax, and your child won’t need to unnecessarily feel like he’s done something wrong.

13. One primary caregiver:

An infant needs an intimate, stable relationship with one constant person with whom they “attach.” This is necessary for the healthy psychological and physical development of the infant and a pre-requisite for the child’s ability form secure relationships later in life. Secondary caregivers—another parent, grandparent, nanny or carer—are important but too many can be destabilizing.

1$. Establish a routine:

If your child’s days are consistent and predictable, she’ll start to anticipate what will come next. When what she thinks will come next actually does, her sense of security is reinforced.

15. Time outdoors:

You can bundle them up or strip them down as the weather dictates. Being surrounded by nature—leaves rustling, wind blowing, clouds moving, sun shining and ants crawling—is at once soothing and intriguing.

16. Car seats and strollers:

Putting a baby into play centers, exersaucers, walkers, swings and bouncy seats restricts a baby’s freedom to move and develop in a natural way. Also, overusing infant seats and strollers for “convenience” deprives babies of the human touch they need for optimal brain development. And finally, using swings and seats that vibrate to help soothe or induce sleep can create a dependency that can be challenging to break.

17. Allow interactions and explorations between babies:

to unfold without rushing in to sweep the babies away from one another. You can monitor them to make sure they are safe, but allowing contact is healthy.

18. Expectations should be developmentally appropriate:

Don’t expect her to have self-control when her brain is too immature to have developed self-control. Don’t expect him to empathize before he is old enough to have developed empathy. This only sets them up for failure.

19. Be consistent:

Choose your no’s carefully and then mean them. Nothing creates a neurotic kid faster than saying, “No you can’t have that,” and then ten minutes of crying later, caving in.

20. Don't label:

Labeling your child anything—be it “shy” “energetic” or “a little monster” (even in jest)— gives them scripts that they then live up to.

21. Plan for the tarry time:

Children operate on slower timetables than adults. If you know it takes your kid twenty minutes to walk to the car because she likes to stop and admire the flowers or count the steps or trace the hubcap with her finger, then head out to the car long before you would if you were alone. This way, your child won’t feel rushed or pressured and you can prevent the meltdowns that make things take even longer. Certainly, you can’t always do this—but the more often you do, the more likely she’ll cooperate when you are in a rush.

22. Be honest:

If you are upset with your child, don’t try to act like you aren’t. If she senses one thing (anger and annoyance) but hears another (“sweetheart”) it’s confusing and makes it hard for her to both trust her instincts and you. (If you are upset, try to model how to deal with your frustration and anger, remembering that little eyes are always watching and learning.)

23. Don't overreact:

Your upset can scare a child and amplify her response. Come close to the child and empathize, but let the child choose if she wants to be held. This response helps a child be more authentic.

24. Don't humiliate:

Don’t talk about your child in the third person in front of them, “You wouldn’t believe what Derek did…”). Don’t chastise him loudly in front of others. (If he does something you don’t like while playing in a group, kneel down and whisper in his ear, “I don’t like it when…”). Don’t mock him or roll your eyes at him when he’s talking.

25. Don't ask your child to perform for you or for family, or for friends.

This includes things as seemingly harmless as saying “Can you tell me what color this is?” or asking your child to sing a song. Children should not be expected to be sources of on-demand entertainment. Likewise, don’t make or even encourage them to kiss or hug you or anyone else as in “Can you give Grandma a kiss?” Physical expressions of love should come from a genuine place.

Our own style

instinto ante todo...

dormir con la teta...

hasta donde RIE no puede...

Education and creativity


"The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don't tell you what to see". Alexandra K. Trenfor

  • La educación prohibida: Una película sobre la educación centrada en el amor, el respeto, la libertad y el aprendizaje. ("¿Pero no quieres tener un título, ser alguien en la vida? Yo ya soy alguien en la vida!")
  • Born to learn is a fun, thought-provoking series of animations that illustrate ground-breaking new discoveries about how humans learn. Also Responsible Subversive, a social network for people who want to connect and discuss how to change the world by changing the way we raise our children.

Time line with alternative educations:

Differences between Montessori and Waldorf:

Why to play, play, play until 7


The problem of applying it at a young age...


Baby-led weaning

Baby-led weaning lets the weaning process in the hands of the baby. This is the method we have chosen and you can follow our progress in our page on "Julia-led weaning".

Growing up with several languages

Cada uno hablamos a Julia en nuestro idioma materno, Elena en español y Fabrice en francés. Este es el método más practicado en el multilingüismo (One person one language).

Las primeras palabras de Julia fueron papá y mamá en el mismo día, mientras viajábamos en el tren nocturno de Moscú a St Petersburgo. Lo grabamos en vídeo.