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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Open-minded Parenting
I love this book. My best friend gave it to me when I became pregnant, and I am now only reading it (my baby is now 13 months). Against family and most friend's advise, we co-slept with our daughter for the first year, and only stopped because we weren't getting any of our own sleep (waking three times a night for feeding, plus accomodating our 25 pound daughter in our...
Published on Jan. 25 2004 by Lisa Betts

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I was eager to read this book to get an objective view of different child rearing styles around the world. Although the book does include some interesting descriptions of how children are raised in other parts of the world, it is not objective. The author is clearly a supporter of attachment parenting and that bias is obvious throughout the book.
Published on July 30 2002


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Open-minded Parenting, Jan. 25 2004
By 
Lisa Betts "jabrwocke" (Banks, OR United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent (Paperback)
I love this book. My best friend gave it to me when I became pregnant, and I am now only reading it (my baby is now 13 months). Against family and most friend's advise, we co-slept with our daughter for the first year, and only stopped because we weren't getting any of our own sleep (waking three times a night for feeding, plus accomodating our 25 pound daughter in our bed). This book confirms what my heart has been telling me all along, all with sound research. I am not spoiling my baby, only giving her the things she tells me she needs. Just because all my neighbors are raising their babies one way, does not mean we all have to do it the same. And reading how other cultures are raising their babies really is eye opening. If you need a refreshing, open-minded reference on baby-rearing, this is the book for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling... you will rethink western parenting strategies, Feb. 7 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent (Paperback)
An amazing book, I cannot put down. Anyone who reads this book will definately rethink western, specifically american, ways of infant caregiving. Small forces one to rethink the ways we provide infant care, by making us diferentiate what we do as a biological dance with an infant to what we do as forced cultural constraints. A good overview of the research that is out there... makes one understand the biological necessity of co-sleep, carrying, and breast feeding.
Anyone who reads this book and then buys a crib, bottle feeds, or puts their child on a strict regime was, in my opinon, obviously not paying attention.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but needs a bit better research, Feb. 22 2009
By 
A. Volk (Canada) - See all my reviews
(#1 HALL OF FAME)    (#1 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent (Paperback)
This is a very good book, and it offers an excellent insight into how parenting practices differ around the world. It also offers some reasons for why, and the outcomes of different parenting practices. I have three main comments:

1- Most importantly, a lot has happened since this book was published. The study of parenting marches on, and there is much more evidence to support some claims, refute others. So if I gave it to a parent who wanted my advice, I'd offer it with a grain of salt. In some cases, she has the annoying tendency to make a sweeping generalization, only to prove it false with her own example a paragraph later. So this isn't the most rigorous book on parenting out there.

2- Parenting does differ across cultures, and I really like how she has emphasized that different parenting styles are matched to different cultures. That's a critical point that I try to convey to parents- there are common, standard ways of parenting, but you have to tailor your parenting to your own situation. That said, it raises the Holy Grail in parenting research- are there ways of parenting that are generally better than others? This is the million dollar question. And we know few things about it. All I would say is that love, and perhaps breastfeeding, are the only two parenting practices that are universally beneficial. Even then, some mothers can't breastfeed and shouldn't be made to feel inferior for that, as children can certainly develop normally on formula.

3- I wish she was a little more cautionary with her advice. I appreciate that she is trying to challenge Western paradigms that are (for the most part) arcane and way out of touch with the way babies are meant to be raised, but that's not an easy argument to sell. Present it a little more skeptically, and perhaps you give parents the chance to reason through the arguments themselves. Then again, I don't write popular books for parents, so I don't know.

Overall, I think this is a good book for parents. For scholars, it's a little light (good for undergraduates), but still a good summary of the area in general.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!, Oct. 20 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent (Paperback)
After you read this you will want to throw away 75% of your other baby books. This is a fascinating book which will be 'eye-opening' to most Americans. READ THIS BOOK.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Thinking Parent's Parenting Book, Aug. 27 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent (Paperback)
There is a lot of solid research packed in here, but presented in a coherent, accessible way with lots of great examples. This book is for parents who want to open their minds to other ways of parenting. Rather than telling you: Do this!, Small presents the research, links biology, evolution and culture, and gets YOU to wonder about what's best. By discussing the child-rearing approaches of other cultures, Small provokes us to look at our own in a new way. I've used this book both for work (my field is child development) as well as for personal use & reflection (I'm a mother of a 17 month old). Fantastic read! I also recommend "A World of Babies" if parenting across cultures interests you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a lot of wonderful information -- a lot of support, May 29 2003
This review is from: Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent (Paperback)
A lot of wonderful information! A lot of support for co-sleeping, holding baby, and breast feeding. all Natural child rearing; all very loveing and "best for baby". A lot of good solid science for what we all "feel" is best for our babies. Very reassureing of the maternal feeling we all share.
Reading is a bit tough in places; but well worth it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great anthropological look at parenting, April 23 2003
This review is from: Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent (Paperback)
As a student of social anthropology and a mom, I was excited to read a book that delves into how modern societys idea of proper parenting has deviated so far from how we evolved to parent. Not so much a parenting handbook, as justification for following your instincts and parenting from the heart, not a guide book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insights on Parenting Beyond Generic Baby Care Books, Jan. 15 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Our Babies, Ourselves (Hardcover)
A MUST READ for any parent. By the time you've read about the basics of tending to your newborn's physical needs, such as how to take his or her temperature, how to diaper and swaddle, etc., you'll probably be receiving advice from various friends and family members about the best way to feed your baby, how to deal with colic, where your baby should sleep and a million other parenting issues. Before you blindly follow the advice of others on these and other parenting matters, read this book and get a broader insight on why we do the things we do as parents. As a new mother, I read lots of baby care books and was left wondering whether I was getting the whole picture. I wasn't. This book picks up where other generic baby care books leave off and challenges you to consider the best way to parent your baby.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Follow your instincts, June 30 2004
By 
Fronye (TX United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent (Paperback)
It is amazing how much culture and tradition drive our parenting decisions. This book raises a lot of good questions about what is really good for babies. If you are going to read the What to Expect series, take it with a grain of salt and this book...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best book on babies I've read, Jan. 29 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent (Paperback)
This is the book I wish I had read BEFORE my son was born. So many "baby experts" write books based on opinions rather than facts, which can make it difficult to decide what is "right" for your baby. Should you let them cry it out in a crib to sleep, or let them sleep with you? Should you breastfeed on demand, or is it better to schedule their feedings? Are you scarring them emotionally if you don't respond to their every whimper, or will it spoil them to pick them up? So many questions that new parents have, and so many conflicting opinions to wade through.
Ms. Small has written a book that gives real answers to these questions, by showing what babies are: physiologically, emotionally and culturally. She backs up everything she says with real science, although her book is not in the least a dry dissertation. I found her information to be inspiring and reassuring. I especially liked that she didn't glamorize nor vilify, the child rearing practices of any one people, choosing instead to show how each and every culture makes compromises based on environmental and cultural pressures.
This is the most important book for every parent to read. I can't praise it enough.
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