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Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent Paperback – May 4, 1999
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Small asserts that our ideas about how to raise our kids are as much a result of our culture as our biology, and that, in fact, many of the values we place on child-rearing practices are based in culture rather than biology. Small writes, "Every act by parents, every goal that molds that act, has a foundation in what is appropriate for that particular culture. In this sense, no parenting style is 'right' and no style is 'wrong.' It is appropriate or inappropriate only according to the culture." Our Babies, Ourselves is a wonderful read for anyone interested in the social sciences, and will be especially meaningful to those swept up in the wild adventure of parenting. --Ericka Lutz --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Small names specific studies as evidence. She uses research evidence, as well as her experience, to draw conclusions on benefits and drawbacks to these various approaches. She is not "objective" as one reviewer states -- she has her opinions, but she informs the reader what evidence and reasoning she bases her conclusions on.
The main message I get from the "How To" baby books I've read is "You should raise your child the way we say because we're smarter than you." Whether it's "What to Expect the First Year," the Sears books (which I agree with much of) or others (not to mention "Babywise"), the most evidence these authors give is "(unnamed and unexplained) studies say we're right."
Small presents the evidence in favor of quick response when baby is hungry, crying, or has another need. She also favors co-sleeping and slings for carrying babies, based on the research she presents. You can disagree with her conclusions (though I agree with most), but at least she is open with her evidence.
Besides further opening my eyes to other cultures and other ways to raise babies, this book was most beneficial to me in emphasizing that evolution determines how the human race developed and why babies have the needs they do.Read more ›
I got this book when my baby was 3 months old and for me it confirmed every instinct I had as a first-time mother who knew nothing of raising a child prior to having one. I carry my baby in a pouch any time I can; I breastfeed; I'd let the baby sleep in my bed if I could (my husband and I have a waterbed and it's not safe for babies), etc. All of these behaviors are highly, highly beneficial to babies for specific biological reasons.
This is not a "how to" book, nor does it promote any particular approach to child rearing. It is objective and actually rather academic in nature, yet intriguing and easy-to-understand.
Read the book! It's worth it!
It can be so hard to get out of the rut of what you are used to, even when you actively attempt to do so. This book provides some real examples of how parenting is done in other parts of the world, as well as what the biological reality of the infant is (which often clashes significantly with Western practices). I found the anecdotes very helpful for adding to a repertoire of mental responses for various situations - the story of the gorilla raised in isolation from other gorillas who couldn't breastfeed her baby properly (can be used to argue for our society's need to be more exposed to breastfeeding) and the story of the "difficult" and "easy" Masai babies, in which the difficult babies were much more likely to survive a famine because they were best at alerting others to their needs (helpful in arguing with people who think "demanding" babies are bad babies).
I also enjoyed the photographs. A very nice touch.
This was honestly one of the most riveting books I've read. I hope that others will read it and give some of the perspectives a chance.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm a bed-sharing, breastfeeding, baby wearing hippy (as some would say) and if you are too, you HAVE to read this book. And if you're not, you need to read this book!!!! Read morePublished 4 months ago by Kelsi
Honestly, i haven't read it completely, but i just want to say its not what i thought it would be. There are too many details about archeological study and not enough hands on... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Cecil Price
Excellent book for those who want to understand the needs of babies in a scientific, researched way - free from the cultural dogmas. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Olga Be
Slightly outdated material (written in 1998) but still really interesting material presented in a very accessible way. Dr. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
I LOVE THIS BOOK, SMALL HAS EXTENSIVE KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE EVOLUTION OF BABIES. GOOD READ NOT BORING AT ALLPublished 10 months ago by rosaeflores
I read this book years ago. It is very interesting and should give parents new insight into caring for their babies.Published 10 months ago by Nancy A.
Excellent book with tons of research and studies about our biological and cultural background. As a first time parent I had trouble understanding baby's behavior and adapting to... Read morePublished 10 months ago by zoe
Forget "What to expect...", this is THE book every parent and grandparent should read.Published 11 months ago by Emilia