76 of 78 people found the following review helpful
on 9 August 2001
Having spent the past year battling with contemporary opinion that babies need "controlled crying" and will be spoiled by "too much attention", it was wonderful to read that the constant carrying and cuddling I gave to my son was in fact what all babies need to thrive. Liedloff's decriptions of the South American people she stays with are fascinating, and the attitude towards childcare refreshing. The only down side is that some of the language and attitudes are dated ("civilised" and "savages") and perhaps she takes the point a little too far into variations of adult behaviour. Having said that - this book should be read by anyone contemplating parenthood!
70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on 26 April 1999
My husband and I read this book 9 years ago, before the birth of our son, and it spoke to our hearts. Employing the simple idea that a baby who starts life in the womb shouldn't be abruptly separated from the mother after birth, we maintained almost constant contact with him for the first few months. I was amazed at some of the resistance, resentment, even hostility, people sometimes demonstrated when informed that we slept with our newborn and never left him to cry. All their protests were based on nothing but groundless fears -- "You'll roll over and smother him! You'll 'spoil' him!" Etc. Well, he became naturally more and more independent and separate at his own pace, not an arbitrarily imposed one (that's the "continuum" part), and weaned himself from the breast at 11 months, rather than at a time decided by the "experts" or demands of employment. He is now 9 years old, and is a wonderful, happy, secure, well-adjusted boy, and I never cease getting compliments from everyone who meets him on how considerate, engaging, empathetic, kind, and well socialized he is. I credit Liedloff's book for all of this. If I could give one message to all would-be parents, I would say: Don't buy into the lie that material things are what's important to provide your child, and if you yourself are so wrapped up in financial gain that you won't temporarily sacrifice it to bond with him the first year of life, you're selling yourselves short. Invest the first 6 months to 1 year of his life raising him in your arms, and you will be giving him, and yourself, more than a billion dollars could ever buy.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 9 February 2012
Please read this book before setting your child onto a routine, such as the Contented Baby Book. This book lets parents relax and enjoy their babies while not having to worry about routines or timings. You can wear your baby in a sling and get on with life and they will be happy to learn from the world around them. They do not need to be sleep trained, just let them sleep next to you and you will have a happy baby and more sleep!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 29 May 2013
I found this book a completely fascinating reminder of just how normal it is for babies to want to be in close contact with people at all times and that when people talk about these `modern ideas' of attachment actually it is the way we are encouraged to parent now that is modern and takes away our belief in our instincts.
I found this book at odds with other books which encourage mothers to give themselves fully to mothering as while it spoke about babies needs to constantly be with their mothers, it was clear that this did not mean other mothers give up doing anything else to achieve this. In fact the opposite was true the babies in this book spent almost 100% of their time in constant human contact while the mother went about her daily routine and contrary to what other books tell us babies learn through being surrounded by people and exposed to daily life rather than being stimulated by play mats and toys. I found the ideas in this book about how we learn to mother fascinating. It is no wonder that we are susceptible to the self-proclaimed baby experts when we are witness to so little mothering going on around us. While I found this book informative I'd be wary of who I encouraged to read it as I think for mothers who were swaying towards a more ridged approach it could be off putting and I would recommend an alternative to them like `BabyCalm'.
100 of 109 people found the following review helpful
on 12 March 2006
I read this book when my children were five and two, I wish I had read it when pregnant for the first time. Then maybe I wouldn't have suffered with chronic PND for eighteen months after the birth of my first child. I would've listened to my instincts, believed in myself and in evolution and not listened to such tyrants as Gina Ford with their strategies and baby boot camp training. Anyone would think that babies were an alien race trying to ruin our lives instead of the pure and innocent vulnerable babies that they have been since time began. Thank you Ms Leidloff for changing my life for the better. READ THIS BOOK and bin all the parent centred rubbish that fills the shelves.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 24 November 1997
The ideas in this book are at the same time obvious and natural and completely revolutionary from the point of view of our cultural norms in child-raising. I found myself moved by the possibility that we can learn to raise our children so that "normal neurotic" is seen for what it is...the evidence of a childhood of profound lonliness and trauma. I heartily recommend this book. Especially if you've ever wondered what being an infant may be like from the infant's point of view..
64 of 71 people found the following review helpful
on 6 October 2003
This is the book I most wish I had read on leaving school; part adventure story, part philosophical treatise with many arresting, endearing and striking anecdotes it sets out with such burning clarity how our society creates the conditions for us to feel depressed, stressed and alienated. It is however, I feel, a very positive book and one I will come back to time and again; it explains how we can also achieve far greater happiness and harmony with others around us. It is a hymn to the quality of life,an illustration of the addictiveness and ultimate irrelevance of consumerism and an affirmation of the beauty and strength of the human spirit. Definately not to be confined to the shelves intended for prospective parents I would happliy give this book as a graduation present.
71 of 80 people found the following review helpful
on 13 July 2001
I read this book after reading 'Three in a bed' by Deborah Jackson, which I thoroughly enjoyed and found to be useful, sensible and well-informed. Yes, the core concept rings true...and it has certainly worked for my baby, but as other people have said here, flexibility is so important, and no, we don't live in the jungle! I have also heard that Leidloff has been slightly misleading in that, although the Yequana babies did not kill themselves playing with the knives that are 'lying around', she did neglect to mention that many of them are scarred.... Basically, it's worth reading, but use your instincts and remember you are bringing up your child in a totally different world to the one discussed here, although I do believe that babies thrive on this concept of parenting. Read Deborah Jackson to get a more realistic take on it.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 14 April 2007
The above reviewers who say, "...but we don't live in the jungle!" have either missed the author's point, or are choosing selective understanding in order not to have to accept what she asserts.
Yes, Liedloff lived with and studied a particular indigenous tribe in the jungle, but first and foremost she is a product of the late 20th century West, as are most of her readers. Her findings and suggestions are made with our real modern world in mind, and she is not a rose-tinted idealist or hippy.
I would recommend this book to anybody who senses that there is something amiss in our modern society. To anybody that feels there may be better ways we can live together than mutual mistrust, division and fear of whoever we consider 'the other', be it other cultures or our next door neighbours.
In answer to a co-reviewer of mine who states that "Liedloff fails to mention that many Yequana babies are scarred" (implying that they do in fact injure themselves... Well how many of us as 'children of modern society' reach adulthood unscarred, whether physically, mentally or emotionally?
Read this book with an open mind and heart, and you *will* find valuable food, even if you don't agree with her conclusions 100% or want to immediately put them into practice.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 February 2015
This book resonates with my belief that our experiences in childhood are paramount and leave deep impact on everything in our adult's life even though we don't realise it most times since we don't have conscious memories from the time when we were very small babies In a very simple and logical and yet holistic and knowledgeable way, Jean Liedloff develops this argument by drawing comparisons between our western culture and the Yequana people - an example of human species living in their natural habitat, uninfluenced by "modern" trends. She compares the people we produce in our society with the joyful members of the harmonious society of the Yequana and it all boils down to how babies and children are treated from birth here, in the "developed" world, and there, in the "primitive" jungle.
Like a typical mum-to-be of our age I had almost no practical knowledge on how to take care of a baby so I had to either go with the flow and listen to what the doctor says, what my family says, what more experienced friends say or try and learn for myself as much as I can by reading books and articles on the subject. I chose that latter and I kept reading and reading during pregnancy, than after my daughter was born. However, many authors and theories would contradict each other and very often the more I read, the more confusing things would become. Then, I found this book and it was the missing piece of the puzzle, the theory of everything. This book will not give you a practical advice on how to make your baby sleep through the night but will make you feel better when they don't. Furthermore, when things get really frustrating, it will take away the blame from you or your baby, because it is not your fault, and even less theirs, that we live in an environment that is not suitable for raising babies and does not meet babies' innate expectations of life outside the womb. However, we can at least be more respectful and understanding about infants' difficulties adapting to these inconvenient even sometimes hostile living conditions, and also try not to be too hard on ourselves while we try to do, very often alone or with the help of a partner only, what in a normal human society, is done by a whole tribe.
I am a person who has never believed that babies cries or toddler tantrums are to be considered normal, I have never accepted the usual explanations like colic or teething, not mentioning the view of the child as a tyrant who is just too spoiled and is on a quest to enslave you for life should you respond to their cry for help or attention. This book finally gave my a plausible explanation of all the difficulties and drama that many parents and children go through in our society. It also gave me some solutions and ideas on how to overcome some of the obstacles - it gave me the confidence to believe in my baby even more and to grant her the biggest gift ever- the freedom and trust from the people who mean the world to her at the moment - her parents, and to stop treating her like our helpless, fragile, dependent creation but like a complete and potent individual who just needs to be shown (not taught) how things work in our world. And the result and change in her behavior followed very soon and I couldn't be more grateful for this book. Thank you, Jean Liedloff!