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Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, 5th Edition: Birth to Age 5 Paperback – October 13, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 928 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; 5 Original edition (October 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553386301
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553386301
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.3 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Steven P. Shelov, MD, MS, FAAP, is a Professor of Pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Chairman of Pediatrics at Maimonides Medical Center and Lutheran Medical Center, and Vice President of the Infants' and Childrens' Hospital of Brooklyn. In 2002 Dr. Shelov was presented with the Lifetime Achievement in Education Award by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Tanya Remer Altmann, MD, FAAP, editor-in-chief of The Wonder Years, is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice and clinical instructor at Mattel Children's Hospital at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Introduction: The Gifts of Parenthood

YOUR CHILD IS THE GREATEST GIFT you will ever receive. From the moment you first hold this miracle of life in your arms, your world will be broader and richer. You will experience a flood of feelings, some of wonder and joy and others of confusion and of being overwhelmed and wondering whether you can ever measure up to the needs of your new baby. These are feelings you could barely imagine before—feelings that no one can truly experience without having a child.

 Even describing them can be difficult because the bond between parent and child is so intensely personal. Why do tears come to your eyes the first time your baby smiles or reaches for you? Why are you so proud of her first words? Why does your heart suddenly start to pound the first time you watch her stumble and fall? The answer lies in the unique two- way giving relationship between you and your child.

Your Child’s Gifts to You 

Although simple, your child’s gifts to you are powerful enough to change your life positively.

 UNQUALIFIED LOVE. From birth, you are the center of your child’s universe. He gives you his love without question and without demand. As he gets older, he will show this love in countless ways, from showering you with his first smiles to giving you his handmade Valentines. His love is filled with admiration, affection, loyalty, and an intense desire to please you. 

ABSOLUTE TRUST. Your child believes in you. In her eyes, you are strong, capable, powerful, and wise. Over time, she will demonstrate this trust by relaxing when you are near, coming to you with problems, and proudly pointing you out to others. Sometimes she also will lean on you for protection from things that frighten her, including her own sensitivities. For example, in your presence she may try out new skills that she would never dare to try alone or with a stranger. She trusts you to keep her safe. 

THE THRILL OF DISCOVERY. Having a child gives you a unique chance to rediscover the pleasure and excitement of childhood. Although you cannot relive your life through your child, you can share in his delight as he explores the world. In the process, you probably will discover abilities and talents you never dreamed you possessed. Feelings of empathy mixed with growing selfawareness will help shape your ability to play and interact with your growing child. Discovering things together, whether they are new skills or words or ways to overcome obstacles, will add to your experience and confidence as a parent and will better prepare you for new challenges that you never even envisioned. 

Your Child’s Gifts to You 

THE HEIGHTS OF EMOTION. Through your child, you will experience new heights of joy, love, pride, and excitement. You probably also will experience anxiety, anger, and frustration. For all those delicious moments when you hold your baby close and feel her loving arms around your neck, there are bound to be times when you feel you cannot communicate. The extremes sometimes become sharper as your child gets older and seeks to establish her independence. 

The same child who at three dances across the room with you may at four have a rebellious and active period that surprises you. The extremes are not contradictions, but simply a reality of growing up. For you as a parent, the challenge is to accept and appreciate all the feelings with which your child expresses himself and arouses in you, and to use them in giving him steady guidance. 

The Gifts You Give Your Child 

As his parent, you have many vital gifts to offer your child in return. Some are subtle, but all are very powerful. Giving them will make you a good parent. Receiving them will help your child become a healthy, happy, capable individual. 

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. Love lies at the core of your relationship with your child. It needs to flow freely in both directions. Just as she loves you without question, you must give her your love and acceptance absolutely. Your love shouldn’t depend on the way she looks or behaves. It shouldn’t be used as a reward or withheld as a threat. Your love for your child is constant and indisputable, and it’s up to you to convey that, especially when she misbehaves and needs to have limits set or behavior corrected. Love must be held separate and above any fleeting feelings of anger or frustration over her conduct. Never confuse the actions with the child. The more secure she feels in your love, the more self- assurance she will have as she grows up. 

SELF- ESTEEM. One of your most important gifts as a parent is to help your child develop self- esteem. It’s not an easy or quick process. Self- respect, confidence, and belief in oneself, which are the building blocks of self- esteem, take years to become firmly established. Your child needs your steady support and encouragement to discover his strengths. He needs you to believe in him as he learns to believe in himself. Loving him, spending time with him, listening to him, and praising his accomplishments are all part of this process. On other occasions, helping him modify his troubling behaviors in ways that aren’t punitive or hurtful, but constructive, is just as important to building a firm self- esteem. If he is confident of your love, admiration, and respect, it will be easier for him to develop the solid self- esteem he needs to grow up happy and emotionally healthy. 

VALUES AND TRADITIONS. Regardless of whether you actively try to pass on your values and beliefs to your child, she is bound to absorb some of them just by living with you. She’ll notice how disciplined you are in your work, how deeply you hold your beliefs, and whether you practice what you preach. She’ll participate in family rituals and traditions and think about their significance. You can’t expect or demand that your child subscribe to all your opinions, but you can present your beliefs honestly, clearly, and thoughtfully, in keeping with the child’s age and maturity level. Give her guidance and encouragement, not only commands. Encourage questions and discussions, when age and language permit, instead of trying to force your values on your child. If your beliefs are well reasoned and if you are true to them, she probably will adopt many of them. If there are inconsistencies in your actions—something we all live with— often your child will make that clear to you, either subtly by his behavior or, when he is older, more directly by disagreeing with you. The road to developing values is not straight and unerring. It demands flexibility built on firm foundations. Self- awareness, a willingness to listen to your child and change when appropriate, and, above all, a demonstration of your commitment to traditions will best serve your relationship with your child. While the choice of values and principles ultimately will be hers to make, she depends on you to give her the foundation through your thoughts, shared ideas, and, most of all, your actions and deeds. 

JOY IN LIFE. Your baby doesn’t need to be taught to be joyful, but he does need your encouragement and support to let his natural enthusiasm fly free. The more joyful you are, particularly when you are with him, the more delightful life will seem to him and the more eagerly he will embrace it. When he hears music, he’ll dance. When the sun shines, he’ll turn his face skyward. When he feels happy, he’ll laugh. This exuberance often is expressed through his being attentive and curious, willing to explore new places and things, and eager to take in the world around him and incorporate the new images, objects, and people into his own growing experience. Remember, different babies have different temperaments—some are more apparently exuberant than others, some are more noisily rambunctious, some are more playful, some are more reserved and quiet. Still others are more even- keeled, mixtures of the two extremes. But all babies demonstrate their joy in life in their own ways, and you as the parent will discover what those ways are and will nurture your child’s joy. 

GOOD HEALTH. Your child’s health depends significantly on the care and guidance you offer her during these early years. You begin during pregnancy by taking good care of yourself and by arranging for obstetric and pediatric care. By taking your child to the doctor regularly for checkups and consultations, keeping her safe from injuries, providing a nutritious diet, and encouraging exercise throughout childhood, you help protect and strengthen her body. You’ll also need to maintain good health habits yourself, while avoiding unhealthy ones, such as smoking, excessive drinking, drug use, and lack of adequate physical activity. In this way, you’ll give your child a healthy example to follow as she grows up. 

SECURE SURROUNDINGS. You naturally want to give your child a safe, comfortable home. This means more than a warm place to sleep and a collection of toys. As important as it is to provide shelter that is physically safe and secure, it is even more important to create a home that is emotionally secure with a minimum of stress and a maximum of consistency and love. Your child can sense problems between other family members and may be very troubled by them, so it’s important that all family problems, even minor conflicts, be dealt ...

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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My pediatrician recommended this book and it has been a great read.
We were first time parents when we bought this book and it was a great help when we had questions and didn't know what to expect.
This book has very basic information and is easy to read/understand.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With so much information on children's health to be found on the Internet, and many other books giving advice on child-rearing, is this reference book worth buying? The answer is yes! Consider the following four upsides of this "Complete and Authoritative Guide... New and Revised Fifth Edition" (per the front cover):

1. IT'S TRUSTWORTHY. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which according to its Web site represents 60,000 pediatricians, publishes it. Over 100 pediatricians (and 4 dentists) contributed to the book. The information is sound and up-to-date as of 2009. The opinions expressed are "mainstream" (not "fringe"), which is reassuring since child-rearing is stressful.

2. IT'S WIDE-RANGING (and some may go farther in describing it as "complete" or "comprehensive"). Although no book can be all things to all people, it contains important information on many common health and behavior problems, and it gives advice on when problems might be so serious that you should bring the child to a doctor.

3. IT'S RELATIVELY EASY TO READ AND USE. The authors write clearly and concisely. Although some jargon is present (e.g., "flat angiomata"), that is held to a minimum. The organization into Part 1 (pages 1-506, covering normal development and needs chronologically from birth to age 5*) and Part 2 (pages 507-848, covering specific health issues from "Abdominal/Gastrointestinal Tract" to "Emergencies" to "Your Child's Sleep") is logical. You'll find the index quite useful for locating info (but see "B" below). Numerous drawings and text boxes complement the body of the text.

4. IT'S IMPROVED FROM THE FOURTH (2004) EDITION, with 145 more pages.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Mary Beth Chips on November 5, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is my standard baby shower gift. I have purchased the previous editions for 2 of my daughters in law and several young mothers that I work with. I have been a pediatric nurse for many years, I looked at many baby and child care books before I chose this particular book. The advice is well researched, practical and is presented in an easy to use format. Many young moms don't have the benefit of living near extended family. This book will help them get through some of the rough spots of child rearing. It provides excellent information on developmental milestones and immunizations.
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61 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Persnickety one on December 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
We asked our nurse practitioner about some advice from The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two (Revised and Updated Edition) and she warned us that Dr. Sears was out of date, we should buy this book instead. So we did. But I have to say it is disappointing (particularly coming off a well written book like the Sears book). I check this book for "modern updates", but honestly, every time I go to look something up in here, my wife says "It probably won't be in there, try Dr. Sears." Part of the problem is that this book has a poor index. Interested in sleep positions? It's not in the index -- not as sleep position or position sleep, back sleeping or even Back to Sleep (the AAP's campaign to get kids on their back). If you happen to look up SIDS, sleep position is in the text -- just not the index (and if you already know that sleep position is a factor in SIDS, you probably don't need to look it up). If you can read and digest a nearly 900 page book, you will have the information. But I hope you are not in a hurry.

The organization and chapter scopes are also inconsistent. For example, there is good material on reflexes in the section on Growth and Development in the chapter called "The First Month". Although this chapter is supposed to be on the first month, this section talks about some things that last for several months or even years and often without clear indication which time frame is being discussed (note: there are similar chapters for time frames up to five years). Taken literally, the book says that babies in their first month need "a balanced experience of freedom and limits." The first month?
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By L. Nielsen on January 6, 2011
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I bought this book when I left my job as a pediatric registered nurse to become a full-time nanny. I currently care full-time for a newborn and a 2 year old, and have found this book an excellent augmentation to my experience as a pediatric RN. It gives great, detailed information on everything from bathing your infant to potty-training your toddler. It touches on physical development and care, emotional needs, and developmental milestones. It is the perfect, all-in-one, go-to book for anyone responsible for caring for babies and young children. It is an invaluable resource that I have referred to again and again. If you only buy one book on childcare and development, this should be it. I give it a big two thumbs up from the perspective of both a children's nurse, a nanny, and a parent.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By solomominheels on August 30, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book to take you through the week-to-week, and month-to-month of development. Our pediatrician told us to buy the book the first time we met her, before our baby was born. It is a very informative medical guide, and we have gotten a lot out of it. This is definitely a great book to read, and then have around to reference. Because it is a reference guide, it does not offer many tips or suggestions on comforting fussy babies, or learning their cries, or teaching infants to sleep without crying, like other popular books - so keep that in mind. However it does go stage by stage of your infant's development, such as how their eye sight develops, their growth spurt timing, their capacity to learn, etc.
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