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A World of Babies: Imagined Childcare Guides for Seven Societies
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2001
Wonderful perspective(s) on raising kids! DeLoache and Gottlieb have succeeded in making "A world of Babies" amusing, yet there's that serious undercurrent of promoting understanding. I recommend it for young moms and dads -- there are lots of good ways to bring up babies. This grandma enjoyed it tremendously. As my own mom used to say, you can make all kinds of mistakes rearing children, but as long as you give them lots of love they'll turn out fine.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2014
A World of Babies is beautifully written, inviting, and engaging from the outset. I so appreciate the challenge to our notion that the American way of childrearing is superior. There is just enough commentary on the absurdity of the American model of generic advice in most childrearing books without being insulting. Page 89 reminds us to "Figure out who your baby is...." This book challenges and informs; it affords the reader a rich peek into the deeply held beliefs and spiritual practices that form the underpinnings of parenting practices in various cultures. It forces the reader to respectfully remember that when childrearing practices look different from those of one's own culture, it is a terrible and unjust mistake to assume it is less sophisticated than that which is practiced in our industrialized culture. In fact, many of the childrearing practices shared in this book reflect what I consider to be a more spiritually grounded approach to who/what a child is. The practices shared that concern caring for a new mother and the new mother/baby pair far exceed the care we provide in the US and reflect a greater understanding and appreciation for the psychological needs and vulnerabilities of a new mother, her deep need for rest, social support, and a slow transition to returning to her full responsibilities. We could learn a lot from those cultures that have more established rituals and supports for the transition to parenthood.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2013
I read a lot of books on childcare, and have always been interested in other cultures, so this immediately caught my eye. "A World of Babies" is seven "childcare manuals" from the perspective of seven different societies around the world. It's the brainchild of a group of anthropologists, and you will be hard pressed to find something like this anywhere else.

I found it fascinating how the different societies were so different, and yet many had common threads and beliefs. Some things that the other cultures believed varied from interesting (such as the Balinese always holding an infant's head up because they are considered sacred) to flat out horrifying (such as the Turkish Muslim mothers kissing and stroking their sons' genitals to both encourage toilet training and make him proud of being male). I also found it really interesting how much Puritan beliefs have influenced current American childcare. All in all though, learning about the different cultures was a fun and interesting experience.

Like all compilation books this was a bit inconsistent and not very uniform. On the whole all of the chapters covered pregnancy, childbirth, and early infancy. Some went as far as raising the children into puberty, and others stopped roughly at toddlerhood. While I like the book part of the format did irritate me. The authors all created a fictional "biography" of the "author" of their chapter. I really don't understand what the point or purpose of that was, because they had to go out of their way to explain it was all made up. I think it would have been less confusing and made more sense if they just wrote their "manuals" as anthropologists who studied the cultures, rather than pretending to write as people within that culture. After all, they had to explain things about the cultures within the voice of their character--which came off sounding odd. Like some passages would says "As you know in our culture when a child is born we ----" or "Our sacred --- that everyone knows ----". It just sounded weird and one of the anthropologists shamelessly referred to herself in her chapter.

All in all, this was a good book. It would be a fun book for someone very interested in anthropology, or an expectant parent tired of all the unsolicited advice.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2007
I just finsished this book and loved it! It is very informative, but also creative in it's format. I definatly recommend reading it if you are interested in mother/child/family relationships in various cultures in various points in history.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2005
I loved this book. They took all dryess out of an anthroplogic look at babies in diffrent cultures.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2006
this book shows how babies are cared for and in some ways even honoured in seven societies around the world.some manuals are written by family members and others by respected members of the society in question(fictional members of course)

this is a good book,a change from other baby books in the sense that it is not boring and it may even give you a few tips on improving your relationship with you child or caring for them better
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2010
I am helping throw a baby shower for a friend and social studies teacher, and we decided a great theme would be "Babies Around the World" (especially with the new "Babies" movie in theaters). I wanted to come up with some "gifts from mothers of different cultures" to give at the shower. This book had lots of ideas for that purpose, and I had a lot of fun reading everything in the book. In addition, it has also made me look at my own 6-month-old daughter in a new light - babies of many cultures are treated so differently and they all can turn out to be productive human beings (so there is no reason to panic that I am not a perfect parent)!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2013
I love the way this book is setup. It is designed to be read like a parenting handbook would be, but for 7 different parenting cultures. Because of this, it covers topics from delivery, how to prepare for the baby, how to potty train, sleeping arrangements, etc. Easy and fun to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2011
This book has been great! I suggest it to anyone interested in learning more about other cultures. It arrived on time, thank goodness!
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on August 12, 2014
I read this book in 2007 in one of my undergrad international education courses, and seven years later, I still remember parts of it! It is fascinating how people around the world (especially in the US) are convinced that the way they do things is the way they should be done. This book proves that there are many correct ways to parent a child, otherwise cultures around the world would not be thriving.
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