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on 25 August 2013
Every young family should have it and the grandparents too. essential knowledge on how our little ones learn and form social relationships from day one.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 13 June 1998
Having read this book while pregnant with my first child, I incorporated much of its philosophy into how I nurture my child. I am more attached to my son, and he to me, than I ever could have dreamed, and I owe much of the joy of our relationship to Jean Liedloff. I could write many more accolades, but my son has climbed onto my lap...
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on 16 July 2013
Really interesting and a real eye opener. Follow your instincts, and get back to basics! I would also recommend 'What Mothers Do' alongside this book.
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on 20 June 2015
Interesting idea, and some lovely tips for bonding but the complete parenting style is not for me. Interesting read though for anyone with a baby
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on 24 October 2013
This book is great for making you realise that a simple life is a good life. It's a little heavy at times but overall makes a lot of sense.
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13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 30 May 2010
Liedloff, no doubt, wrote this book as a much needed radical diversion from the "modern" methods of bringing up babies in the 60s and 70s.

Unfortunately, it reads like she is shouting - and she is shouting out opinionated and unfounded socio-waffle (for want of a better word). This may have fallen on hungry ears in the 70s, but not so today.

One can't help but feeling she sees only positive things in the way of the Yequana (a tropical rain forest tribe in Venezuela) and only negative in the Western/civilised culture. For example, when a Yequana child is injured, she praises the mother's coolness - why not see this as disregard for the child's well-being? She attempts to starkly contrast the two cultures, but not all babies/parents are as she describes and so paints a very false picture by presuming to know how we are and how we see ourselves (one wonders if she sees herself like this).

There are, of course, vast cultural differences between the Yequana and the West, but many of the Yequana's child-caring methods find easy parallels with Western upbringing: she describes in detail the happy children of the Yequana - but if we change the canoes for bicycles and the bow and arrows for footballs, it is not much different from a description of children in the West.

Many parts of the book are rather hard to accept: she criticises praise; states that children have (fatal) accidents simply because that is what adults expect of them (a parent says "you're going to drop that plate" and the child drops the plate); and shows a complete misunderstanding of homosexuality which could easily be seen as homophobic! She even goes on to explain that a child will release pent up energy via mastur bation (is she writing about babies or teenagers?).

She writes "if one wants to know what is correct for any species, one must know the inherent expectations of that species". And from reading the book, one feels that Liedloff believes she knows!
Far too often, the books reads as if written by a psychotherapist looking for one thing which causes all problems: the deprivation of the "in-arms" experience. She presumes that carrying babies is the reason for the differences between the Yequana and civilised culture; that when not deprived of expected experiences one has a happy folk; that Easterners are less deprived (of in-arms experience) than the average Westerner and therefore have more serenity! She is believes that the Yequana live in real joy but that we (Westerners) do not. All of this is completely unfounded. Nevertheless, she is convinced her continuum theory is best - and yet she can't (or won't) explain why one group of Indians is peaceful and another is aggressive.

She does realise that it is unrealistic to change our culture to another - but unfortunately only because we are the "wrong" sort of people. There is a course a vastly differently social structure: the "civilised" world is lacking the advantages of tribal unity - we have only compact family-focused groups which are often not even together - and this causes deprivation for both children and parents.

But what is the central message of the book?

She is against overprotecting a child but all for keeping it close and loved and, primarily, in doing what feels right or natural or instinctive. In essence: hold your baby. There is some good practical advice in the last chapter and one can happily surmise that a child is part of our life and should not be separated from it. But this sound advice is so heavily burdened with the rest of the book, that it is hard to appreciate.
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on 3 June 2013
Essential for all pregnant women, I wish I had read it earlier.
I have bought it in German too for my best friend.
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on 3 May 2015
Great read. 2nd time I'm reading it. I learned to trust my instincts and beware of advice from well meaning 'experts'.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 November 2013
I bought this for my son and daughter in law. Their son is one and a half. I read this book when my kids were young and used it as a guideline when bringing up my youngest (now 29). The ideas may sound a bit strange but they are based on Leidloffs experience as an anthropologist living amongst an Indian tribe and her observations of how they looked after their babies. We are more in tune these days anyway with the idea that we should respond to a baby's needs and I think many mothers carry their babies around with them when they are getting on with everyday stuff. But the basic idea is that if you give your babies and young children what they need, they won't become 'needy' as they grow up. In other words you can't 'spoil' them by giving them the love and attention they need. Leidloff is just saying what you know and feel is right really. I know it can't be held up as proof, but my son is the least needy person you could find. I know I'm probably biased, but ask anyone and they will agree!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 9 March 2012
This book in places is sometimes difficult to read but it is well worth the effort.

The author writes from the perspective of babies who are left 'out of arms' in an enormously powerful way.
As a result you find yourself being able to view the world not only as the abandoned baby but also as the parent who has been programmed with their beliefs about 'what is best for baby.'

I somehow found myself empathising with both parties ...

I did find an incredible amount of new information in this book but it wasn't always easy on the eye (for the reason above) and also because in places it can be overly wordy ... but all in all it really is worth the effort, mainly because the author cleverly delivers this profound knowledge without any finger pointing or blame ... it comes from a place of compassion, understanding and wisdom.

Austin Wyse, Author of 'Without the Woo Woo'
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