“How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm,” by Mei-Ling Hopgood

February 10, 2012
Sociology

HOW ESKIMOS KEEP
THEIR BABIES WARM
And Other Adventures in Parenting (From Argentina to Tanzania and Everywhere in Between)

By Mei-Ling Hopgood

Algonquin. 292 pp. Paperback, $15.95

With all the parenting books out there, along with the opinionated in-laws and judgmental strangers, motherhood can be a minefield of insecurity and doubt. Mei-Ling Hopgood’s new book, full of stories and statistics about how other cultures raise their young, should put any uptight mom at ease and convince her once and for all that there is no one right way to raise children.


“How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm: And Other Adventures in Parenting (from Argentina to Tanzania and everywhere in between)” by Mei-Ling Hopgood (Algonquin Books)

Part research paper, part mama blog, “How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm” is a smarter and classier answer to Vicki Iovine’s “The Girlfriends’ Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood.” Hopgood’s first topic is one that many American mothers can relate to: getting their kids to sleep. In Argentina, where Hopgood had her first child, sleep training is not the norm. She writes about one mother who “often stayed with [her son] — cribs in Argentina are often large enough to fit a small adult — until he fell asleep, usually around 10:00 p.m. or later. . . . [Her] view was that it mattered less where everybody was sleeping, as long as everyone was getting a good night’s sleep.”

Combining her background as a journalist and her newness as a mother, Hopgood draws no conclusions and passes no judgments. Rather, she provides substantial food for thought, the kind that any new, in-tune mother would appreciate. Despite the title, however, Hopgood never really explains how Eskimo moms keep their babies warm.

Moira E. McLaughlin

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