978-0-385-48257-8 / 9780385482578

Our Babies, Ourselves





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About the book:

"In the winter of 1995, in a dimly lit room in Atlanta, Georgia, I witnessed a birth. Not the birth of a baby, but of a new science, ethnopediatrics." Thus begins Meredith Small's new, groundbreaking book on the study of parents and infants across cultures and the way different caretaking styes affect the health, well-being, and survival of infants. Pediatricians, child development researchers, and anthropologists today have turned their research efforts to studying this new science of why we parent our children the way we do.

Each culture, and often each family, offers advice and directives on the right and wrong way to raise and care for infants, from feeding, interaction, emotional support, sleeping, and more. Yet scientists are finding that what we are taught is the right way to parent our children is based on nothing more than cultural directives-and may even run directly counter to a baby's biological needs. Should a child be encouraged to sleep alone from an early age, as parents do here in the U.S.? Is breastfeeding better than bottlefeeding, or is that just the myth of the '90s? How frequently should children be nursed-or does it matter? Do children in all cultures develop colic? How do mothers in different cultures respond to a crying baby? And how important to our infants' ultimate development is it to talk, sing, and interact with them? These are but a few of the questions Meredith Small, through the research emerging from this new science, answers-and the answers are not only surprising, but may even change the way that we think and go about raising our children.

Written for general audiences and parents alike, Our Babies, Ourselves shows what makes us bring up our kids the way we do-and what is actually best for babies.

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