Down with childhood, it's time to treat infants like equals! Hollywood loves a good parenting trend, and some celebrities are latching onto the hands-off RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers) philosophy founded by Magda Gerber in 1978. Is it right for you?

If there is one thing that Los Angeles loves, it's a trend. By the time the latest celebrity fashion trend hits the glossy magazines, it's already a thing of the past for most celebrities. From clothing to books to music and even parenting, Hollywood loves to find and promote the next best thing.

Amy Chua's tiger-mom frenzy sent Los Angeles moms into a panic to find the best music instructors for their tiny tots, never mind the small hand size and complete frustration that can ensue as a result. Clearly pushing kids to achieve worked for Chua, causing parents to rethink their own parenting. When that simmered down a bit, Pamela Druckerman filled the void with her wisdom on the benefits of French parenting. Her no-nonsense approach reached a lot of exhausted moms looking for a new strategy to make parenting more enjoyable. And now Hollywood parents are making headlines again with their preference for the RIE (an acronym for Resources for Infant Educarers) parenting philosophy. This celebrity endorsed parenting philosophy might not be new, but the media has taken notice. From Vanity Fair to ABC News to the new book, Baby Knows Best by Deborah Carlisle Solomon (the executive director of RIE), RIE is back in the spotlight.

RIE encourages adults and infants to trust each other and asks that parents take a more hands-off approach to parenting.

RIE was founded in 1978 by infant specialist and educator Magda Gerber and pediatric neurologist Tom Forrest, M.D. Through her books, lectures and teachings, Gerber helped parents to view their infants through a different lens. Instead of assuming that infants are helpless and needy, Gerber encouraged parents to view infants as active participants in their own development. RIE encourages adults and infants to trust each other and asks that parents take a more hands-off approach to parenting. Parents are taught to stop interfering so much and allow children to make their own discoveries instead.

If you think about it, it makes sense. Stop hovering and start listening.

baby seated isolated

The RIE philosophy also maintains that infants and babies are more capable than we give them credit for. They can learn to drink juice from a glass, for instance, instead of relying on modern gadgets like sippy cups. And infants should never be made to feel powerless. Take a deep breath, mamas, there is a long list of no-no's when it comes to RIE parenting. Baby wearing of any kind is out, on the grounds that slings and other baby wearing devices are too restricting and not what the baby actually wants. But that's not all. You can forget about bouncers, baby gyms, toys, pacifiers, swings and mobiles as well. And don't even think about rocking your baby to sleep. To respect your infant's emotions, says RIE, you need to engage with your children and stop treating them like, well, children!

RIE has caught the attention of Toby Maguire, Helen Hunt, Penelope Cruz and Felicity Huffman, to name a few. But does that make it right for you?

As with most parenting philosophies, there are pros and cons to the RIE method, and only you can determine what works for your family.

Trust your gut

To choose a parenting philosophy is to say that all children are the same and should be parented according to that philosophy.

Whenever I hear the word "philosophy" attached to parenting, I cringe just a little bit. To choose a parenting philosophy is to say that all children are the same and should be parented according to that philosophy. The truth is that all children are unique individuals, even during infancy, and have the right to be treated and parented in a way that helps them thrive. While one infant might crave constant snuggling and holding before bed, another might prefer a more independent bedtime routine.

You know your child best. Theories, books and blogs make excellent guides, but listen to that inner voice when it speaks. You know what your baby needs.

Unplug and engage

unplugging from devices- cutting cord conceptThe RIE method encourages parents to disconnect from the outside world and engage with the infant instead, and that is solid advice.

While there are certainly some benefits to living in a tech savvy world, many parents are simply too distracted. Constant connection via smartphone and social media makes it easy to check out when the going gets tough, but what message does that send your baby?

There is a lot to be said for turning off the gadgets and spending quality one on one time with your baby. Eye contact, conversation (yes, even the one-sided kind) and smiling all send positive and nurturing messages to your baby. And that uninterrupted time with your baby provides you the opportunity to get to know and truly understand your baby's needs.

Soothing is nice

I don't know about you, but I enjoy a steaming mug of tea and a good book at the end of a long day. I find that soothing.

Infants might not be able to drink tea, but they do enjoy being soothed. My daughter loved snuggling into my chest while I walked her around and my son still climbs up on my lap to be rocked when he is upset. Baby wearing can be a wonderful source of connection for parents and babies, and it can also be quite soothing. It all circles back to doing what's right for your baby.

Convenience is convenient

Sippy cups and high chairs might not be necessary (as Gerber cautioned), but they can make life in a busy house a little bit more manageable.

The RIE method is intended for babies age 0-2, and toddlers are certainly capable of drinking from cups. But if you know in your gut that constant juice spilling will raise your stress level at the end of the day, listen to that warning. Sippy cups and high chairs might not be necessary (as Gerber cautioned), but they can make life in a busy house a little bit more manageable. Think twice before you throw it all away.

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