Sage Parenting Book

Sage Parenting

Honored and Connected

Second Edition

Sage Parenting offers a revolutionary path for gentle parents who have stepped off the beaten path of disconnection and dysfunction and want to step into heart-full connection.

Do you want to learn how to guide and support your child instead of control and corrupt as you walk this journey together?

In this book you will learn how to grow through the seasons of parenting, as a mother, baby, toddler, then child bloom with:

  • Intention/Consciousness
  • Respect
  • Authenticity/Nature
  • Compassion/Empathy
  • Connection/Attachment
  • Love

You can put down this book inspired and empowered with the insight you need to grow into a fulfilling relationship and life that honors your natural child and brings your family peace and joy.

If you want to confidently connect with your adorably exasperating little one, then read this book!

Book 1 of 4 in the Sage Parenting Series.



A Mother Blooms

1. Lifestyle Design

2. Welcome Earthside

3. Sex Disappointment

4. Living Through Pregnancy Loss

5. Birth Story

6. The Other Side of Attachment

7. Your Body is in Goddess Mode

8. Sex After Baby

9. Who Comes First: Husband or Children?

10. Unpack Your Parenting Baggage

11. Mother Guilt

12. Baby Blues


A Baby Blooms

13. Babymoon

14. Infant Massage

15. Babywearing

16. Cry Baby

17. Baby Talk

18. Making Room for Baby


A Toddler Blooms

19. Taming the Toy Monster

20. Tarzan Pees

21. We Have a Runner

22. Baby Makes One More

23. Hitting

24. Big Feelings

25. Positioning Language


A Child Blooms

26. Collaboration

27. Consequences

28. Paint the Rainbow

29. Your Vulva is Not Lord Voldemort

30. My Children are Heathens

31. The Heart of Parenting

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"I highly recommend this book for any new or pregnant mother. I enjoyed reading it and look forward to emptying my shelves of those other books and bringing this book with me on the journey of motherhood."

Abby Theuring, MSW, The Badass Breastfeeder

"Thank you so much for helping me be a better mama! I feel like you've offered me a missing puzzle piece that made the picture come into bright, sharp focus. I'm astounded at how quickly harmony and joy are blossoming in our little home."


"I love reading Rachel's books. They are fun to read and always make me think about how I parent and how I want to parent! She is an amazing woman and very knowledgeable about children and families."


"One of my favorite quotes is in the first pages of the book, 'Everyone who forges their own path of bliss is special and unique. Their lives look immeasurably different, yet there are strands of commonality that are woven in the fabric of their families and lives: integration, connection, freedom and parenting style.'

This is an incredibly empowering read. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a more connected relationship with your kids and loved ones, as well as for those well versed in connected parenting looking for a bit of guidance or understanding.

Rachel Rainbolt's books leave you feeling that the changes you wish to see within your daily life and relationships are absolutely attainable. Her books have been amazing tools for my partner and I to read together as we come from drastically different backgrounds and benefit greatly from an outside voice of respectful guidance."

Rachel Gonzales

"I love the chapter about loss. It helped me in finding meaning and embracing the loss I have experienced. I love how Rachel speaks to parents through her book. I would definitely recommend this book to parents."

Azine N

"The parenting 'how to' book you've been looking for.

I am beyond thankful for the point of view this book offers. If you've heard the term "gentle parenting" but don't know how to put that into action, this book will be the game changer. Rachel outlines specific difficulties then gives you the tools to overcome them, while staying a connected, respectful and strong mama bear.

I also really appreciate Rachel's transparency. I've been having a lot of issues with my toddler and have reached out to her to help with some coaching. Wanting to stay connected to your toddler while they are biting, hitting and not sleeping is a real struggle. Rachel does not put you down, but honestly directs you toward a path that will help not only your little one, but your whole family through this odd, magical parenting journey."


"Rachel uses her experience and wisdom to help us find our way or stay on the gentle parenting path to connection. I appreciate that she so clearly states her desire for us all to do our research and make the choices that are best for our individual families. I feel so empowered and excited after reading the second edition of Sage Parenting! I went straight to the Summer and Autumn sections as those are the stages of my two boys right now. Some new ideas that I'm putting into practice is acknowledging my coping cup and how to communicate about it and keep it at a good level, starting the peace path for the boys with their normal sibling conflicts, and using "asked and answered"! Rachel has given us loving intentional tools for our parenting tool box to address the normal challenges that arise on our journey, setting healthy boundaries with connection! Thank you Rachel!"


"Rachel Rainbolt gives anhelpful path to forge your own positive parenting relationship. She gives experience based approaches that foster connection. The book touches on different life stages for the parent and child. I feel better equipped to be the parent I want to be. I also learned how to acknowledge and discard past experiences that have negatively impacted my thought process and responses. This book can not only teach you but help protect and handle outside opinions. I use the tools often to keep a path of connection and love. I recommend every parent/caretaker read this book."


What experts said about the first edition

"I highly recommend this book for any new or pregnant mother. I enjoyed reading it and look forward to emptying my shelves of those other books and bringing this book with me on the journey of motherhood."
Abby Theuring, MSW, The Badass Breastfeeder

"Important addition to your informed parenting curriculum:
As the author of The Baby Bond, I have a special appreciation for books that empower parents to make informed choices that enhance the parent-child bond. This is one of those books. Sage Parenting: Where Nature Meets Nurture manages to weave together research supported information on the emotional and practical sides of the parenting journey, in a way that truly helps parents and little ones reach their potential."
Dr. Linda Palmer, The Baby Bond

"Sage Parenting is there to remind us that we have the inherent knowledge we need to do what's right for  ourselves, our families and our children, that we must not adhere to anyone else's standards, and no matter what parenting choices we make, there is always another way, and it might be a way we had not considered, that we didn't even know existed - and maybe it's a fit, maybe it's not, but now we have a choice. Sage Parenting is a lot like the infant massage approach we teach, it offers parents choices. There is no one way to do things, and the right way to do things is the way that feels best in your heart - that's where nature meets nurture."
Suzanne P. Reese, IAIMT, Infant Massage USA

"A must have for all parents:
Author Rachel Rainbolt is the mother of three and seemingly wise beyond her years. Her advice for handling everything from breastfeeding to potty training is given in a way that makes sense and helps the adult see things through their child's eyes. Recommended for everyone from pregnant couples to seasoned parents who may want to embrace a new way to connect with their child."
Lara Audelo, CLEC, The Virtual Breastfeeding Culture: Seeking Mother-to-Mother Support in the Digital Age

"Like all the books I find most helpful for parents who follow EP (and who I assume are looking for a bit of science and logic in their parenting reads), Sage Parenting is filled with research on topics from birth to breastfeeding to co-sleeping to the appearance of a new sibling.  The book focuses on the younger years... In fact, the myriad topics covered make this book one many people might use as a go-to for several years."
Tracy Cassels, Evolutionary Parenting

What parents said about the first edition

"Sage Parenting: Where Nature Meets Nurture by Rachel Rainbolt, MA could have drastically changed how I prepared for motherhood. When I became pregnant I read What to Expect When You’re Expecting like it was the holy bible for pregnant mothers. Each month I read the corresponding chapter about 12 times. I enjoyed reading about my baby. I didn’t know that there was a whole world of parenting books out there and when I gave birth to Jack, while I spent the whole pregnancy following his growth, I wasn’t at all prepared to be his mother. I wasn’t even prepared for birth or the decisions made immediately after birth.

Sage Parenting: Where Nature Meets Nurture is similar to What to Expect When You’re Expecting in that it documents the course of events beginning with pregnancy and covers topics such as sleeping arrangement and breastfeeding, but the author ventures into topics that mainstream authors dare not go such as mother guilt, bed-sharing, discipline and attachment. There are no politics in this book. Rainbolt speaks directly about all topics close to her heart. She speaks honestly to the reader and pulls no punches.

The author manages to cover an exorbitant amount of topics in just under 400 pages. She accomplishes this by not wasting words. She says what she wants to say and moves on. There are no fluffy words to express herself in a diplomatic fashion yet she still manages to come across as gentle and nurturing. She tells you just what you need to know to get started exploring a certain topic and the references at the end of the chapters can be used as a guide for further reading. She is not spending time try to smooth things over with mothers who might disagree with her. She clearly had a mission in mind when she started on this venture and in my opinion she accomplishes it.

From the moment I opened the book I felt like the author was speaking directly to me. Almost every parenting value I hold is reflected in this book. She discusses the value of co-sleeping, babywearing, breastfeeding, gentle discipline and so much more. She backs up all of her recommendations with science and provides a valuable voice as a family therapist. She does not speak down to the reader in an authoritative manner. She uses her own experiences with each topic to bring a life to the subject that you won’t find in most parenting books.

The author gives credit to many practices that have been scoffed at by the mainstream such as coconut oil, amber teething necklaces and comfort nursing. She provides a strength based outline for your birth story. She has created a worksheet for the reader to prepare a safe co-sleeping environment in their own home. This book is chock-full of uniqueness that sets Rainbolt in a category all her own and I truly thank her for giving me and other gentle parents a voice.

I highly recommend this book for any new or pregnant mother. I enjoyed reading it and look forward to emptying my shelves of those other books and bringing this book with me on the journey of motherhood."
Abby Theuring, MSW, The Badass Breastfeeder

"A fresh approach:
New mothers are faced with many challenges to which there are endless amounts of parenting advice. Sage Parenting presents a seemingly new, yet surprisingly common sense approach to parenting. The book covers topics that all parents face at one point or another - from breast-feeding to sleeping arrangements to discipline. But Rainbolt dares to broach topics that other pregnancy and parenting books skip. It is her inclusion of topics such as Gender Disappointment, Mother Guilt and The Birth Story that make Sage Parenting such an asset in any new parent's (especially mother's) library.

The breadth of topics (9 sections and 56 chapters) is at first a bit daunting, but I quickly found the chapters to be quick easy reads, while still full of great information. In other words, Rainbolt gets right to the point. And there's a little bit of something for everyone, from the expectant first time mother to the dad with three growing children.

Rainbolt has a background in family therapy and is an experienced parent educator, yet her writing style is personal and a joy to read. At times it's as if I was reading her own personal journal, and at others it was as if she was speaking directly to me. But Rainbolt's opinions are always backed by research and often by her own personal experiences - the latter being most enjoyable to read!

Sage Parenting is a fantastic book that presents a parenting style that is based on fundamentals and grounded in love. I wish I'd had it when I was pregnant, but I am grateful to have it now and I look forward to where it will take my husband and I and our 5-month-old daughter."
Kathryn Brown, Sage Mama to Olivia and Zoe

"I'm reading the book Sage Parenting by Rachel Rainbolt. Why was this not in my hospital bag to welcome me to the parenting world? People always say there's no manual for how to raise kids... well, this is the book to basically make that statement outdated.

The way you tie on the reality of having to set boundaries with our children along with a sense of natural AP style is just spot on for mamas. You cover SO much, and all in an easy to follow way (important for the sleep deprived)."
Joann Woolley of Sign 4 Baby

"A must for all parents:
This book is completely amazing. All of the things I never knew, that I needed to know, when I first had my son are in here. Any and every subject that you would need advice, information or just wanted to know a little bit more about you will learn in this book. Even if you don't agree with all of the information she gives you a great path to venture on your own. You will be introduced to yourself as a more knowledgeable and confident mother. Even though my son is almost a year now Rachel has helped me implement ideas into my routine that fit my family. She is genius.

You should know that you will be a big part of the reason my children will grow up to be amazing people. You have helped me more than you know. I always feel super empowered, smarter and ready to take on the next trial with my son after reading things on your site and in your book."
First time mama Kat Malo

"My husband and I just returned from a trip and I finished your book on/in the trains, planes, and automobiles by the time we had returned. I truley feel that it is the most practical and soulful parenting book that I've read so far, and look forward to revisitng it as a resource over the next few months of pregnancy and into our baby's developing years! My husband also felt a bit of relief from the candor and information provided in your book. So much gratitude..."
Expecting mother Angela

"Thank you for such a wonderful book. It's been a tremendous resource for us. Very highly recommended for all new parents. Gentle guidance for finding your way with life with a new baby. I'm thinking of purchasing the e-book version so I can have a copy without torn pages!"
Doula Nova Bella

"Reading this is like talking with a wise older sister:
Rachel Rainbolt's guide is a concise, well-organized collection of effective, ready-to-use parenting techniques and scientifically-supported advice. Rainbolt writes with an accessible voice that will flow effortlessly into your mind and heart. Reading this book is as enjoyable as engaging in an enlightening conversation with a trusted friend. Sage Parenting covers a wide range of topics including: navigating pregnancy, creating nighttime harmony with your baby, preventing tantrums, and helping your child build a strong defense against bullies. After taking an introspective journey through this book, you will be armed with the knowledge and skills necessary to meet the many challenges and joys of parenting with confidence."
A Family of Five

"Sage Parenting will empower you to be the parent you always dreamed of:
I HIGHLY recommend sage parenting after reading it I feel empowered, confident, and assured that the type of parenting I always dreamed of is possible and right. I love that its my go to book from pregnancy to school years. There are no frills or complicated methods, just simple techniques to honor our bond with respect, compassion and empathy. I love that Rachel has 3 boys and gives plenty of examples of her parenting with them, its so relatable."
Kirista Berry, Sage Mama to Bryson

"Be on the listening end of an intelligent conversation:
At first glance, Sage Parenting: Where Nature Meets Nurture by Rachel Rainbolt, MA can look overwhelming. While I'm a reader, as a mother, I don't generally look at a near-400 page book and think "Hey, I think I'll read that right now!" - not anymore. I'd made the commitment to read and review Sage Parenting though, so there I was getting myself started and, much to my surprise, it was a very easy read! It's not the kind of book you have to read cover-to-cover in one shot. It's the kind of book where you pick and choose what you want/need to read at that moment, and when you read it, it's more like listening to a friend talking. Sage Parenting is the kind of book that affirms a lot of what we already know as parents while introducing new ideas. Sage Parenting is there to remind us that we have the inherent knowledge we need to do what's right for our ourselves, our families and our children, that we must not adhere to anyone else's standards, and no matter what parenting choices we make, there is always another way, and it might be a way we had not considered, that we didn't even know existed - and maybe it's a fit, maybe it's not, but now we have a choice. Sage Parenting is a lot like the infant massage approach we teach, it offers parents choices. There is no one way to do things, and the right way to do things is the way that feels best in your heart - that's where nature meets nurture. Speaking of infant massage, Sage Parenting is written by an IMUSA CEIM so, of course, there is a whole chapter on infant massage - chapter six to be exact! Rachel Rainbolt is honest about everything, she doesn't leave anything out, and it's all from personal experience. She is a mother of three and is an active parent educator, so she's really on the front lines of everything pregnancy and parenting. I recommend Sage Parenting to any parent and parent-to-be who wants to be on the listening side of intelligent conversation that lifts them up and like Glinda the Good Witch from The Wizard of Oz says, "You've always had it, my dear."
Suzanne P. Reese, IAIMT, CEIM of Infant Massage USA

"I'm loving it so far, as is my husband! Your writing is making it much easier to communicate all of my ideas with him, especially in preparing for our second the chapters on integrating a new family member are extra useful! Thanks a ton for making my life a bit easier!"
Soon-to-be mother of 2

"As a father I am always trying to find materials that help me expand my parenting toolbox. This book covers many important issues that I wasn't able to verbalize but that are essential to being a successful parent. Topics such as affect communication and understanding discipline gave me real life material that I am able to draw from and use in my daily life. I am very grateful for the information that I learned from the Sage Parenting book and I am proud to give this product 5 stars!"
Father of 3

"A wonderful guide to parenting:
As a mother of four and grandmother of seven, I am always seeking opportunities to grow as a parent and grandparent. The book "Sage Parenting" is a wonderful resource and a must have for new parents and experienced parents alike.

The author, Rachel Rainbolt, includes techniques she has learned through her educational and parenting experiences that provide practical and insightful opportunities for successful parenting from conception to early school age. She does so in an easily understood format that is filled with concrete examples to guide even the first time parent. Her techniques and strategies just make sense in a world full of good intentioned misadvise. Her practical, gentle and loving approach to parenting is inspiring. Her sense of humor is endearing and her book is a definite must read."
Seasoned parent and grandparent Cathy Glenn

"It's fantastic. You have a gift. I'm learning everday with my little one and its nice to know I'm not alone in my venture. Thank you so much for being the strong amazing woman you are. You inspire, teach and cement the things other mothers need and need to understand/know. Thank you for my book!"
Mother of 2

"Lovingly written and useful guide to parenting:
Sage Parenting: Where Nature Meets Nurture is a thorough and lovingly written guide to parenting. It covers everything from pregnancy to picking schools, and includes common parenting topics like baby gear recommendations, bedtime routines, and potty training. What makes this book unique is that Rachel Rainbolt encourages parents to tap into their own inner wisdom, and parent with love from the heart. She emphasizes that parents have the innate wisdom to know what their child needs. Rainbolt explains that kids need to feel like their "love cup" is full, and gives parents ways to connect with their kids in a naturally loving way to help them "fill it up".  As a children's yoga instructor, I found her recommendations for communicating with kids and dealing with misbehavior helpful for my classroom management. I will be recommending this book to both new parents and those that are already parenting but need some new inspiration."
Carolyn Clark, author of Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids

"I’ve been reading and reviewing a lot of books lately and I have been lucky to pretty much love them all.  Well, the newest, Sage Parenting by Rachel Rainbolt, is no exception.  Like all the books I find most helpful for parents who follow EP (and who I assume are looking for a bit of science and logic in their parenting reads), Sage Parenting is filled with research on topics from birth to breastfeeding to co-sleeping to the appearance of a new sibling.  The book focuses on the younger years and ends right around school age.  In fact, the myriad topics covered make this book one many people might use as a go-to for several years.  Although many earlier sections are baby-focused, the later sections on Discipline and Gender Socialization speak to the older child (albeit up to about 5 years of age).  As an aside, I know by updates from Rachel that she’s working on an education chapter after starting the homeschooling experience with her oldest, something I look forward to reading.

For me, the highlights of the book were the chapters I wouldn’t expect to see in a parenting book, which so often focus only on the child and parent-child relationship.  In Sage Parenting, there is an entire Section on the Self as Parent.  I think we often forget that this personal transformation is something that can be very difficult for parents to accept.  So often we see new parents who expect their lives to be the same, their body to be the same, or who struggle with their own experiences with their parents that they can’t truly embrace the role of parent.  Rachel talks to these parents in a way I imagine they could all relate to and feel heartened by (I admit I have to say I “imagine” it because it was not something I faced personally).  I’m always impressed when a book can add something that seems so obvious upon seeing it, but is something that is rarely included in other books that it surprises me.

The other part I really liked was her willingness to talk about issues that many AP-style books shy away from.  She goes into detail on being disappointed with a baby’s sex (though she mistakenly uses “gender” but given the prevalence of this mistake in our society, I won’t be too hard on her ;)), a topic that can be very difficult to talk about as so often people feel immense guilt for having a preference or any negative feeling around a baby’s sex.  What we forget is that there are very valid reasons for people having these emotions and that we ought to be able to work with them on it.  A second example is her discussion of bottle-feeding.  She doesn’t shy away from it, leaving many women feeling left out, but rather discusses (as I have in an EP post) how to make the best of the bottle-feeding relationship.

Unlike some of the more recent books I’ve been reviewing, however, it is a more challenging read.  Whereas the brevity of say, Gentle Discipline or ToddlerCalm, makes it ideal for some parents, Sage Parenting requires more work.  It is worth the effort, but I am well aware that some parents require something a bit more easily digestible when they find themselves in a bind; after all, not everyone has a lot of time to take in the needed information.  As such, this book is better suited to pregnant women or those who have the time to truly engage with a book and take in the many, many details presented.  The only other apparent “drawback” that I was quickly aware of was that it was American-focused.  Many of the issues discussed are US-based, just as Ms. Rainbolt is.  It’s difficult to blame a woman for speaking from her own experience and those experiences around her, but with the international audience we have here at EP, I know some people may want to consider this.  As a Canadian, I noticed it, but in no way would it be something that I felt took away from the book, but rather just made for moments where I thought, “Hm, not really relevant here!”

All in all, I would recommend Sage Parenting to any parent who is willing to put in the time to a longer and challenging read because it will be worth it.  And if Rachel ends up doing a newer version with homeschooling it in?  Well, we’ll all be better off for that too."
Tracy Cassels, Evolutionary Parenting

"Most of you know that I am a natural parent. I breastfeed, cloth diaper, co-sleep, etc.. that is why I wanted to take on this book review. I don’t normally do book reviews because honestly, it’s just so hard for me to get through a book nowadays. But, being that this book is on things near and dear to my heart, I jumped at the chance to review the book, and Rachel is being so gracious to offer one of these books to one of our readers!

In short, Sage Parenting is a book on attachment parenting and just learning how to deal and cope with everyday life challenges in a manner where you are not losing your marbles. This book touches on subjects from pregnancy through discipline. She even has a section in the book on gender disappointment, which hit home with me because after finding out that I was pregnant with another boy, I, admittedly, was not that happy. I wanted a girl so that my 3 year old could have a play mate close to her age. But now, of course, I am madly in love with my handsome man!

There are SO many excellent points in this book, I wish I had gone in with a high lighter when reading and made marks by all of the things that hit close to me. I love the section on Baby Gear because if you are a first time mom, this may come in very handy when you are making a list of things that you may want to register for. I know that it helped me when I needed to buy new baby things since it had been 3.5 yrs since I had my last little one, and 8.5 yrs since I had my last boy!

There is a section on Baby Moon which is when you just chill out and relax and get to know your baby. I did find that there was something in this section that may just not be conceivable for most people, and that was the advice to take a month off of work (both parents). My husband is only allowed 4 weeks vacation time per year, and we are going on vacation in June, therefore he cannot exhaust all his vacation time to help me with the baby. He was able to take a full week off (5 days one week and 2 the next) but had to work at home for 2 of those days.

I love the fact that this book takes on things that such other pregnancy/parenting books won’t talk about such as spanking, consistency in discipline in a gentle manner.

Breastfeeding can pose challenges as well and there is an awesome section entitled “Feeding”  in which she talks about breastfeeding as well as bottle feeding for those who choose to not breastfeed.

I don’t read many books but I always love a good parenting book, especially when its an “alternative parenting” book because there aren’t many out there!

I want to thank Rachel for putting out such a great book!"
Rhiana Wackenhuth, mother of 5, and blogger

"As a new mom of a high needs baby girl, I found this book to be so helpful! It helped me understand my baby, and how to respond to her needs very effectively. I was very anxious about not creating a bond with my daughter but as I read more, I found more confidence in myself and was able to bond very quickly! The author really helps us navigate some very serious parenting issues, and helps us see the world thru our child's eyes. She makes sure we find our own strengh and helps us follow our instincts as parents. I like how everything is divided in chapters and you can just go and read a chapter that approaches the subject you are needing help with. THIS BOOK ROCKS!"
Bianca Franzini, Sage Mama to Sofia

"This book is a gem for any new parents, or for parents who are needing reassurance in tapping into their own intuition. Rachel Rainbolt brings a candor and sense of humor to her work that is refreshing and disarming, all while providing good solid information to help parents understand more about children and to help them navigate practical applications of current research. I would recommend this to all new families!"
Emily Wilson-Nguyen, mother of 3 boys

"Just a few chapters into your book and I already feel an overwhelming need to call you up as if we were best friends and share all my joys, hopes, losses and fears. I'm grateful for meeting you at the fair. Our journeys may be different, even as our OB was the same, but I feel connected and grateful for your teachings and light."
Erin, first time mom

"I've been reading your book today and wanted to tell you that you have great prose, so easy to follow and fun to read! And very valuable advice. I'm learning and growing a lot and I am grateful! Thank you!"
New mom Stephanie

"Loving, useful, and practical, let Sage Parenting be your guide on the yellow brick road of parenting and life.

Parents are inundated with advice once the pregnancy stick says "positive". It's so hard to decide which path to take, who to believe; do I trust myself or listen to the mounting advice that often comes in and contradicts one another? How to know and how to use love to lead with real and practical ways to address the many roads of parenting. After having three boys and well on my journey, I found Rachel and her wonderful approach to parenting, life, and love. Most parents lead with love but struggle with how to tether discipline and boundaries. If you want practical, useful, and supportive advice, this book, Rachel's approach, will not disappoint you. I recommend this book (and her others) as a support and useful tool in your journey as parents, but also support the loving relationship you want with your children."
Melissa, mama bear to 3 little man cubs