Re: "Aware" parenting: UPDATE post 4
So I went to the class last weekend and it was great! It sounds like in many ways 'aware parenting' is very similar to 'unconditional parenting'. She even mentioned Alfie Kohn and recommended his book.
If I understand it correctly (and I haven't read 'unconditional parenting', but will probably do so once I've finished with my 'aware parenting' books), the primary addition/contribution of Dr. Solter's is the recognition that babies (and, in general, humans) have a biological need to cry sometimes (it releases stress hormones and is an alternative to our natural 'flight or fight' tendencies). She does NOT advocate CIO: rather she argues that once you're sure your baby's needs are met, and he/she is still crying, you hold them and give them a safe place to express their emotions (ie, cry), and try to relax while they're crying a bit to just 'be there' for them. She suggests that it's better to allow your child to cry than offer/force other 'control devices' (pacifiers, security blankets, ...) because if they're crying then they have a need to express that emotion which is suppressed when 'control devices' are used.
Aside from allowing crying/tantrums, her parenting approach is 'democratic', which as I said before sounded very similar to 'unconditional parenting' (although I haven't read that yet).
I really liked the class/technique and have a few of the books to read, and while I'm not 100% sold on the complete lack of 'control devices' (which include rocking to sleep and nursing to sleep!) I am going to try relaxing more when DS cries and allowing him a bit more time to express himself rather than immediately trying to offer everything in my mom-deck-of-cards to stop him crying. The amazing thing is that I did this on Saturday (right after the class), and he cried for an hour, and has been pretty calm/happy since (which is exactly what she suggests happens: after the release of emotions through crying baby is back into balance and happy).