Mayim Bialik: Women Don’t Need To Fear Their Bodies & Birth

Mayim Bialik: Women Don’t Need To Fear Their Bodies & Birth

Attachment parenting advocate Mayim Bialik has been highly vocal in promoting a natural take on family life. The former child star, who first stole our hearts as Blossom in the 90s, is now raising two young boys – Miles, 5, and Frederick, 2 – with husband Michael Stone.

Earlier this month we happily announced that Mayim will be joining the Celebrity Baby Scoop team as a guest blogger! Recently we had a chance to chat with the Big Bang Theory actress about everything from home births to breastfeeding, and the challenges that come with completing a PhD with two young boys at home!

CBS: Please share your birth stories. How can we help shatter some some of the fear-based myths about childbirth? Please give us some statistics on the benefits of home births and intervention-free births.

MB: “I think the ultimate message is that for those that want to have a natural birth; there are ways to do it successfully and healthily. It is beneficial to the mother and the baby. I refuse to give in to a set of beliefs that makes women afraid of their bodies and birth. I have been very open about our birth stories; my first son was born in a hospital after a weekend of labor at home, but I didn’t use any pain medication and my second son was born at home unassisted until pushing, with my almost 3 year old watching the whole thing from his highchair. It has been documented that most births can proceed successfully if left uninterrupted and without medical “interventions” – but you need to be surrounded by a community that understands that birth doesn’t progress a centimeter an hour. That’s not normal nor has it ever been.”

CBS: How did you manage your PhD studies with newborns/sleep deprivation?

MB: “I had my first son when I was done with my coursework, so by the time he was born; I was in the data collection phase of my graduate work and could be with him all the time. I’m still sleep deprived (I am still nursing my younger son 4-6 times a night), but I have the support of women who help me manage to get my head around this new way of life through support groups such as La Leche League. It’s when we fight, get angry or become resentful about the lack of sleep that we “can’t function”.”

CBS: What is your best advice to new moms who are struggling with breastfeeding? Do you believe that some people just aren’t ‘cut out’ for breastfeeding?

MB: “Barring extremely rare genetic conditions, 99% of all women can successfully breastfeed if they are given the proper education and resources to do so. Can some women not tolerate the challenges breastfeeding sometimes presents? Yes! But, it’s not for me to tell them to do so if they choose not to pursue it further. We all do the best we can with the support and resources and education we have.”

CBS: How do you manage motherhood and career?

MB: “I have a husband who’s completely dedicated and committed to being with our kids while I’m at work. I pump when I am away from my son, and I give my boys all of my time as their caregiver when I am home.”

CBS: Do you want your kids to enter showbiz? Why or why not? Why do you think so many child stars have struggled?

MB: “I don’t think show business is compatible with our lifestyle and our kids. They don’t have the personality for it really- they don’t smile on command; they’re very shy. I think the reason why some child stars struggle, or have struggled is because mental illness is pervasive in our society whether you’re in show business or you’re not.”

CBS: How do you and your hubby keep the romance going, do you have special date nights?

MB: “We don’t use a nanny or babysitters (laughs) we haven’t had a date in 5 years! Our time together is when they go to sleep; that’s why they go to bed at 6p.m.!”

CBS: We love you on Big Bang Theory and recently read that you said it was the most challenging sitcom you had worked on. Please explain.

MB: “Big Bang is a show where they keep you guessing. They play with the lines until the very last minute. It’s a very creative, keep-you-on-your-toes sort of set.”

CBS: Any other upcoming projects you’d like to share with us?

MB: “I’m coming out with a book about parenting by intuition. It will be published by Simon & Schuster in the spring of 2012. It will focus on holistic parenting and will have anecdotes from our experiences from an attachment parenting household.”

Filed under: Exclusives,Mayim Bialik

Photo credit: Denise Herrick Borchert

30 Comments »»

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  1. Anonymous

    Breastfeeding at 2 years old? 4-6 times a night? That’s a bit excessive. I’m all for breastfeeding, but isn’t there a stopping point?

    Reply
    • HMMM

      You would think. I’d be damned if I’m being woken up that many times by my toddler who should be sleeping through the night!! Breastfeeding is great but yeah just like anything there has to be a point where it ends!

      She seems like a very bright educated person. Some things I agree w/ and others I do not but to each their own. We all have our different ways of doing things.

      Reply
      • MM

        It isn’t accurate to say that a toddler “should be sleeping through the night.” This is a current cultural belief but it is not in sync with anthropology/biology.

        I don’t know how to log in to post the link to it but I highly encourage every mother to visit the web page of The Natural Child project and read the article “Should My Baby be Sleeping Through the Night?” by Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC

        Reply
    • HMMM

      You would think. I’d be damned if I’m being woken up that many times by my toddler who should be sleeping through the night!! Breastfeeding is great but yeah just like anything there has to be a point where it ends!

      She seems like a very bright educated person. Some things I agree w/ and others I do not but to each their own. We all have our different ways of doing things.

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        Really?! You’d be damned if you provide your child with food? I feel sorry for your damned neglected kids. What a pitty it must be that they starve for your selfishness.

        Sleep with your baby and nursing is easy. They are right there next to you. Why did you have a child if you don’t intend to nourish it and provide for it and care for HIS NEEDS?

        Reply
    • Anonymous

      What business is it of yours to decide what age is excessive? Some people think 6 weeks is excessive, 6 months, 1 year, who draws the line, you? Breastmilk has a LONG list of nutrients and factors that you will NEVER find in a mashed up jar of dead carrots. Breastmilk is LIVING FOOD and has all of the necessary components to break down and utilize all of the nutrients it provides. Sure she can choose to wean her son and deprive him of the most nourishing food on earth, or she could just hook him up to a cow’s utter and call it a day. It’s her baby, it’s her life, she is doing what works for her and what her quite intelligent and intuitive brain and HER OWN CHILD is telling her he needs. If breatsmilk had a limit it would stop producing after x months for every single mother regardless. And guess what, if you keep nursing, the milk keeps flowing…MAGICAL. Those who say they “dried” up generally had latch issues, didn’t breastfeed often enough (ie night weaning to early), couldn’t keep up with pumping demands if they were away from child, and nutritional deficits or hormonal imbalances or pregnancy. Otherwise there is no reason the body will stop producing milk EVER.

      society is the one with the issues here, women have been shamed for breastfeeding for ages, but it’s perfectly acceptable to ban your child from nourishment and bonding just because you deem it excessive? Again, where do you draw this conclusion from and what is your appropriate age and why?

      Reply
    • Anonymous

      I bf my son until just over 2 1/2 years. And, even though he was a very independent toddler and ate decent for his age, just six months earlier (at 2 years) he was nursing 4-6 times a night, easily. I got a lot of flack for it from people like you but I knew what was right in my heart and, sure enough, he even totally weaned before 3 years. BTW, 3 years is the average child-led weaning age in cultures that don’t have a negative reaction against bf moms.

      Reply
    • Sol

      It may be excessive for you and your child but it isn’t that way for others.

      Reply
  2. Anonymous

    what does her husband career consist of? And is she home schooling her older child?

    Reply
  3. Anonymouse

    I love it! Finally a celeb parent I can relate to!

    Reply
  4. Louise

    interesting and inspiring view on parenting! although I wouldn’t be able to nurse my child multiple times at night(!) for years, I love to hear when women breastfeed for years. My own son refused after 8 months, much to my regret…

    I certainly think intuition and the focus on the needs of your child are underestimated values in parenting these days in our society. I regret not having let my child sleep next to me when he needed it. At 4, when he went to school, he woke up several times at night. It was merely a struggle and about disciplining him, but in retrospect I think letting him sleep next to me would have solved the problem. He simply needed to be close to me tobe reassured. I think we tend to ‘drill’ children to much. They have to adapt to OUR needs.

    (i’m from Holland, so my english is not perfect, sorry about that)

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Louise first off your English is great.

      further, We all make mistakes in parenting, trial and error. I admit with my son I made lots of mistakes and still am. Like you I nursed my son but didn’t realize that his nursing for 45 minutes each time was TOO long, he was NOT effectively getting my milk out, so that and other bad decisions such as night weaning early on and timing feeds, and starting solids too early, caused him to stop before a year as well, he was always so tiny and still is. I struggled but I didn’t seek out support to help me fix the problems. Like you as well he also had issues with night time, I can see why now! And when I had our daughter I chose to parent completely differently and watch and listen to what my daughter told me she needed. I breastfed on demand and coslept, guess what, she DOUBLED her weight in no time, had an enormous supply and let down, she could eat in 5 minutes, which brought it’s own issues. We worked through it…anyway, my son ended up starting to come to our bed, more and more each night. We decided that he was telling us he needed us and there is nothing wrong with that so we let him come to our bed and stay unless we need more space or the baby is not feeling well etc…

      Look up transformative parenting, peaceful parenting, gentle parenting, the natural child project, aha parenting, effective parenting…you will find some great tips and advice to help you reattach to your son and make changes. One step at a time.

      Reply
      • Louise

        Thanks for your sharing your story, that I can totally relate to! It’s good that we are open to learning and growing as mothers. And thanks for the tips, I’m going to check it out.

        Reply
        • Anonymous

          Louise, I think that is what makes a GOOD parent. One that is willing to admit their mistakes/missteps and CHANGE. And be open to help and advice from others, especially experts. :)

          There is another site parentingscience. com and it has some interesting evidence based information regarding parenting and children. Very insightful.

          yourparentingsolutions .com/ ages-stages

          Reply
  5. EllenD

    “Barring extremely rare genetic conditions, 99% of all women can successfully breastfeed if they are given the proper education and resources to do so.”

    -This is simply not true. It is unfair to women to oversimplify the mother-infant dyad in such a way. Besides, the definition of “successful breastfeeding” cannot be defined. By whose standard is this statistic measured? LLL? WHO? AAP? Healthy People? Given the incidence of technology assisted pregnancies and preterm deliveries, as well as other variables, many mothers cannot “successfully breastfeed” as defined by these groups (exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and continued breastfeeding for a year or more) no matter how much education and resources are given.

    That being said *most* women can successfully breastfeed if they desire to do so AND are given proper education and resources.

    Not 99%.

    Reply
    • JulieZ

      EllenD, You are so right. well said.

      Reply
      • Dorothy

        The current accepted statistic is that 2% of women can’t breastfeed due to specific physical issues. I don’t believe that takes into account breast augmentation which can cause problems for some.

        Still, it’s much lower than we’re lead to believe. The majority of problems for those who have issues are caused by mismanagement and could potentially be overcome or avoided with better education of the medical staff (and nosey family members as well).

        Reply
    • Maria

      If we left women alone to birth and didn’t drug them up, then yes, they would be able to feed their babies. How do you think our species has survived? it’s not until drugged births and separation between mother and baby did women start to have breastfeeding problems.

      Reply
  6. JulieZ

    Every child is his or her own unique being just as every parent is different. What works for some will not work for all and what works for one may not work for most. I am eagerly awaiting the day when everyone will have the confidence to parent based on her own thoughts and not by trying to follow someone else’s lead. Let us not judge and let us not label anymore. This is what is causing the divide.

    Reply
  7. Anonymous

    I nurse my 2 year old 3-5 times a night, and so do many of my friends. It’s not that unusual, there IS a stopping point, when my baby says so.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Amen! Still nursing my 18 month old! 2-4 times. People act like it’s a big deal but when you co-sleep it is a RHYTHM.

      Most mamas barely wake up and the baby doesn’t either.

      The mams saying they can’t understand it are the ones who get up out of their cozy warm bed, walk all the way down the hall, pick up the heavy baby, walk to the chair, sit and feed baby trying not to fall asleep so you don’t drop him, rock baby back to sleep, lay him down, walk back to bed and try to get back to sleep….I wouldn’t do that 5 times a night either.

      Roll over, open shirt, baby latches, snooze…wake up 3 hours later to hungry baby, pop boob back in shirt and bring out the other one, latch baby on, snooze.

      Reply
  8. Anonymous

    Just live and let live…
    I mean, this quote? “Sure she can choose to wean her son and deprive him of the most nourishing food on earth, or she could just hook him up to a cow’s utter and call it a day.”

    How does that make me feel, as a mother of two children who were both weaned by 6 months? It makes me feel like crap. How is that condescending attitude going to help get your point across? It’s only going to make other mothers, who love their children and are doing their best, feel horrible. If Mayim doesn’t mind getting up that many times a night and breastfeeding for a long time, then she should continue it and enjoy it and no one should stick their nose in her business. There needs to be respect for all sides of the parenting spectrum here. We all love our kids, we all want the best for them.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Did you choose to wean them? For selfish reasons? Or because you didn’t have adequate support/knowledge/help to continue? If you look back do you think that with some support you could have nursed longer? What if you had access to milk sharing such as eats on feets or milkshare or LLL? What if You could have found another nursing mama to provide your child with human milk or even just support to pinpoint any issues to help you keep going?

      If you chose to stop nursing just because then that’s not the same if you were “booby trapped” by lack of help/support or bad advice or were truly having pain/difficulty that you couldn’t overcome etc….You aren’t to blame for that. And next time you will more experience and can work to prevent that from happening.

      This is not the same thing as someone intentionally choosing not to breastfeed for selfish/ignorant reasons (even then they have been failed by society as well for making bfing shameful/dirty/odd/strange/not the norm…) or someone shaming other moms for breastfeeding at all or how long they wish.

      Reply
  9. Anisa

    Most likely if she is Bfing her toddler that many times per night they are co-sleeping. Good for them. There is no “getting up” that many times per night.

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    I love her. I bf my oldest until 8 months because I was ignorant. My youngest is 4 and he just weaned about 3 months ago.

    I agree with everything she has said there. And for those that get offended, too bad lol. Cow’s milk is made for cows. Yes, for diff. reasons some of us gave it to our children, own it. Stop trying to play victim and just take responsibility for your decisions even if they were done before you knew better.

    Reply
  11. Becky

    My 2 year old (28 months) still nurses countless times throughout the day and night. I love that we sleep together. I love that he knows I’m there for him. And I love love love knowing that I’m not alone in this and seeing other moms- particularly ones that have a voice like Mayim’s- practicing this same parenting. I’m 21 years old. Had my son at only 18. Had a terrible, unplanned C-section. But you know what, breastfeeding him was and is very important to me. And I’m damn proud of myself for making that decision. Thank you, Mayim, for all that you’ve done. You inspire me.

    Reply
  12. shanon

    I’m breastfeeding my 6 month old and don’t plan to stop until she is ready. I’m not sure why people are so offended by a mother feeding her toddler. I don’t comment on other people’s eating habits, why do people care about my childs eating habits? I’m lucky to have a pediatrician that is still nursing her 21 month old. When I heard this, I was so happy and reassured.

    Reply
  13. Anonymous

    Lovely! I will definitely read her book! I had a home birth and I’m breastfeeding my 9 month old, I plan to do so until he feels ready to stop. The PNW culture I live in is very pro breastfeeding/alternative living, I love it! I know women who are still nursing 3-4 year olds, both mom and baby greatly benefit! This was refreshing to read :)

    Reply
  14. Momnonymous

    I loved Mayim Bialik all the way back in her Blossom days — she just has that charm on screen where you want to keep watching her. It’s fantastic how smart and lovely and well-adjusted she’s turned out to be, and I am glad she has a regular role on TV again! As for the childrearing, more power to her. As a fellow attachment-parenting mother whose children are older, I will predict that her ‘shy’ sons will become wonderfully confident and self-assured in their own time.

    I will definitely look for her book when it comes out!

    Reply

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