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on March 26, 2003
I absolutely loved this book. It wasn't that terribly interesting to me in the first year of my son's life but in the second year I always turned to this book when I needed to be reminded why my son kept doing things that drove me bonkers!! The author gently and very supportively explains the mother child interaction in a way that gave me so much more patience for my little man. I have to say that I agree with the other reviewer who found that the author doesnt try to give moms a guilt trip like so many other books do. There's a whole bunch of Parenting books out there that can make you feel really small but this one helps you take a deep breath and plunge back into the fray knowing that you are doing the best you could!
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on January 16, 2002
I read this book while pregnant with my first child. I skipped
all the stuff about eating, excreting and growth charts. Boring.
What was wonderful were the developmental milestones. I never
would have noticed my daughter, at 8 weeks, reach for and
successfully grab a toy demonstrating eye-hand coordination.
Or developing the "pincer" grasp as she learned to use the opposable thumb.
Penelope Leach is a cross between the academic and the
practical. It is fun to understand what is going on before
your child can talk.
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on January 14, 2001
I honestly enjoyed reading this book. Unlike the majority of books about babies, this one is written for those who enjoy understanding the research behind the advice. It also contained many ideas and pieces of information that I doubt I would have found elsewhere. But be forewarned that the book is by no means "unbiased". This author has as many opinions as any other- the difference is that she frequently cites the studies that influenced her opinion, which give the reader a better understanding of where she's coming from.
On the negative side, this book is older, and not much effort has been made to update it. For example, I would definitely *not* follow any of the feeding advice, with the possible exception of that pertaining to infants over one year of age. In addition, the book is written with relatively dense language, that some may find hard to read and fairly dry.
To sum up, I used this book mostly for its extensive information on the progress of child development from birth to age two. I definitely did not agree with all of the author's ideas about child raising, and would recommend it only as a supplemental resource.
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on June 3, 2003
Everything that is written in support of this book is true. It's thorough, interesting, etc. The only drawback is that it is very academic as well. Leach is a psychologist and writes at length of the nuts and bolts of animal behavioral studies that are interesting to researchers, but what I want is the conclusions of those studies and more of a how-to manual. I recommend Magda Gerber's books for that approach.
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on May 26, 2001
While I share the disappointment that this book has not been updated, I disagree wholeheartedly with the charge that this book has little relevance for the contemporary parent. I presume most people who are reading 'baby' books are using several resources, and if you couple what you know from the more contemporary resources with this book, I think you'll not only come away with an understanding of early child development, but perhaps a new respect for Penelope Leach as an expert in the field.
As for her advice on feeding prior to 1 year, she advocates the breast for at least 6 months which consistent with contemporary thinking. But beyond that, she's practical in that she understands that breast feeding isn't always possible and without the guilt trips of so many writers with a mission, she lets the mother off the hook and in fact, provides some real comfort.
I read this book with my first child over 6 years ago, and I'm reading it again as we've a baby due next month. And yes, I'm reading several other "how to" and "what to expect" books yet I'm still enamored with this book.
If you have an academic bent, this book will not only provide you with solid information, it will provide you with an enjoyable read.
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on October 6, 1998
Seemed as though Dr. Leach spoke to me, in her manner of writing. There's a tremendous amount of information in this text. Dr. Leach provides insight as to the emotional maturity of both the infant AND the parent, which many other resources did not. Many people told me to read "What to Expect When You're Expecting", and I did. Where that book just grazed certain topics, Babyhood explored them fully and provided various methods of approaching developmental milestones or the lack thereof. I'm a very thorough person - into detail - and loved it!!
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on July 16, 2000
I have read dozens of books (including Dr. Sears' and the 'What to expect' fluff books), and I have found this book to be the most informative. It gives you pros and cons of many case studies and allows you to draw your own conclusions. Without being preachy, this book thoroughly explains the point of view and the reference capabilities of the infant. My one year old is delightfully outgoing and happy; the information I gleaned from this book has contributed greatly to his disposition. I also LOVED 'How Babie's Talk'.
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on December 29, 1999
I had no idea that this book was written so long ago. I suppose it was great for its time but when the author refered to statistics and studies from the 1970's I knew that I could find more up-to-date material. For example, this book talks about how there are not enough statistics about breastfeeding because only a small number of women choose to breastfeed. I am sure that this book was great in the 70's and 80's but a lot of what I have read is not relevant for parents in the 90's.
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on October 7, 1998
If you're interested in an in-depth look at what really makes babies tick, and want to know why as well as how, this is the book for you. No, it's not the book to grab when your baby is crying and you don't know how to make it stop, but I still found it the most reassuring book around. For those interested in the psychology of their babies, I heartily recommend this book.
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on July 13, 1998
For a book that I thought would be organized by what to expect at each stage of infancy, I found it much too wordy - skipping alot of paragraphs that refer to case studies and other psychologists - there are many other books by Penelope Leach that are easier reading...especially parents who don't have alot of time to read!
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