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

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30 Comments on "Mayim Bialik: Women Don’t Need To Fear Their Bodies & Birth"

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Anonymous
Guest

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?

Anonymous
Guest

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.

HMMM
Guest

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.

MM
Guest

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

HMMM
Guest

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.

Anonymous
Guest

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?

Anonymous
Guest
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… Read more »
Sol
Guest

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

Anisa
Guest

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.

Anonymous
Guest

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.

Becky
Guest
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… Read more »
shanon
Guest

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.

Anonymous
Guest

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 🙂

Momnonymous
Guest

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!

Anonymous
Guest
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… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
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… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest

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

Anonymouse
Guest

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

Louise
Guest
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… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
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… Read more »
Louise
Guest

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.

Anonymous
Guest

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

Anonymous
Guest

I agree! And thanks again, I’m going to look at these websites. It’s always inspiring!

EllenD
Guest
“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… Read more »
Maria
Guest

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.

JulieZ
Guest

EllenD, You are so right. well said.

Dorothy
Guest

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).

JulieZ
Guest

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.

Anonymous
Guest

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.

Anonymous
Guest
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… Read more »
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