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The Vital Touch: How Intimate Contact With Your Baby Leads To Happier, Healthier Development Paperback – October 17, 1997

26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Sharon Heller is the author of The Vital Touch.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; 1st edition (October 17, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805053549
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805053548
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #557,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

To heal the mind I believe one must first heal the body. "...the easiest step toward improving the quality of life consists in simply learning to control the body and its senses," wrote Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Toward this goal, my writing focuses on healing sensory processing problems, anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges holistically: optimal nutrition (organic and alive!), nature's pharmacy, detoxification (internal and external), cranial/sacral alignment, movement, sensorimotor activities, and vibrational medicine.
For more information about my books or to inquire about consulting, visit my website www.sharonheller.net or email me at info@sharonheller.net.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Julie Lovisa VINE VOICE on July 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
I read this book while pregnant with my first child three years ago. It's eye-opening to contrast the United States with other cultures that promote almost constant contact with their babies. The author shows how our society's emphasis on placing our babies in "containers" (strollers, pumpkin seats, swings, etc.) instead of holding them more often, leads to sensory deprived, more isolated children. There is information on the benefits of the close contact of breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and helping your children become securely attached (think Dr. Sears.) This book is a wonderful comparison between the laid-back childrearing practices of most of the rest of the world and prudish America. You won't want to put your baby down after reading about the wonderful benefits of the vital touch.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
Breathe a sigh of relief and never second guess yourself or your loving, instinctual, attachment feelings again. If you've ever wondered which of the "expert" parenting methods are the "right" ones, read "The Vital Touch" not just for one more insight, but to follow the one expert that counts -- you.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 17, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a psychologist, specializing in work with children and families. I'm currently not working, because I'm staying at home with my two daugthers. I have read countless books on the subject of babies, children, families, etc., and have found this book to be the most incredible I've ever read. I truly believe this book will make a difference in your life, and the lives of your children. It's worth every penny, and then some.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book was great for refuting those that try to tell me to put my baby in her own bed at night, use a playpen, stroller, etc. instead of being in touch contact with me most of the day. When my second child was born he had pneumonia and was in NICU for a week. He was hooked up to all kinds of sensors and under an oxygen tent. Whenever I would go in to see him and touch his back, his vital numbers would go way up. He knew I was there and responded positively to my touch. They slowly went back down when I left. :-( Touch is vital and this book shows why.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 12, 1998
Format: Paperback
The Vital Touch affirms every nurturing instinct within me. Heller's convictions have given me the courage to parent "from the heart" and to care for my child in ways that are counter cultural within the United States. She brings wisdom from families, villages, cultures around the world to us so that we might rely on healthy and loving alternatives to the American absolute values of independence and self-reliance. She gives new parents permission to create an environment of tender care, interdependence, safety and reassurance for our infants and toddlers that will enable and empower them to become confident, self-assured, peaceful adults. I recommend this marvelous book to every parent (and grandparent) of a young child.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
how exciting it is to find a book that supports your "maternal instinct" as a way of parenting,when there are so many experts out there trying to guide us on dealing with common american childcare problems such as sleeping through the night and colic,whereas in sharon hellers book she compares our society with that of less advanced more primitive cultures and she finds that fussiness & colic & sleep problems are in fact as american as apple pie.this book has enlightend us as parents to do what we feel is important (massage,parental touch) all supported quite favorably according to the research done by sharon heller as having a profoundly positive affect on our infants. this is a "must read' for any parent.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Penni on April 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is an AWESOME book! I bought this due to subject, and reviews. Keep in mind I LOVED my social anthro. class in college! LOL! But seriously, it reinforces our "attachment" choices, but not based on someones opinions, but based on evidence based research! It shows our culture verses more contact oriented cultures. We are suffering. Or, actually, our children are! I love Dr. Sears, but this, well, this is exactly the reinforcement I needed. I read so many "co-sleeping CAUSES problems" or you NEED to start a loose schedule, or your children will not be well adjusted", that they were clouding my decisions-making me doubt my choices. But OK, here is a concept, we ARE animals. And yes, many moms have jobs, but that doesn't mean you can't make better choices that will benefit the child. Time for America to stop thinking in the vein "oh, if you hold that baby too much, you'll spoil it". Uhm, DUH! You'll feel better if you need reinforcement for current "contact parenting" and you will get some solid knowledge about how you are attached to your child can affect it socially, emotionally and physiologically. This, I think is a MUST read for anyone wanting some true knowledge about the basics in the way we conect with our children.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Alissa Lamb on April 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
I am adding my perspective on this book nearly 11 years after I first read it. My response to this book comes from a dual perspective, that of a mother of two lovely girls, and second as a medical anthropologist specializing in infant and maternal health.
As a Mother: I first read this book when I was pregnant and nursing my first daughter. I had only just began my academic career and I was never without a book in my hands. This book profoundly influenced the way that I look at touch, nurturing, and yes (contrary to other poster's critique) nursing. In fact, this book was my 'nursing reading'. As soon as the baby latched on, I opened the book. The author puts mothers at ease with her discussion of how beneficial touch is, and how our societal mores of 'the independent infant' is perhaps not one of our society's most beneficial ideologies. In the ten years since I first read this book, it has become my standby baby shower gift for expectant mothers. I put a copy in every gift that goes to new moms.
As and Anthropologist: I will admit that we sometimes have the potential to romanticize 'traditional' ways of life, yet the author's exploration of mothering from a cross-cultural perspective is exceptional. She clearly outlines the aspect of nurturing and touch in societies that differ dramatically from our society in North America with a concentration on how perhaps we can look to other cultures to benefit our own. What this book does is contextualize mother's 'gut' instincts about how best to nurture their infants. This instinctual drive to comfort a crying infant has been suppressed in industrial US society to such a degree that women often feel tremendous guilt for allowing young infants to co-sleep, nurse at night, or simply spend most of their time in a parent's arms.
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