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Your Baby and Child: From Birth to Age Five (Revised Edition)
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Your Baby and Child: From Birth to Age Five (Revised Edition)

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  395 ratings  ·  61 reviews
This newest edition of Penelope Leach’s much-loved, trusted, and comprehensive classic—an international best seller for twenty-five years, with nearly two million copies sold in America alone—encompasses the latest research and thinking on child development and learning, and reflects the realities of today’s changing lifestyles.

In her authoritative and practical style, Lea...more
Paperback, 560 pages
Published September 30th 1989 by Knopf (first published January 1st 1978)
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Julie
a very important contribution to this subject; probably the best childcare manual type book i've come across. she has a very wise and loving perspective. i absolutely love that she finds a way to be respectful to babies while not ignoring the needs of parents (i find some of the attachment parenting people a bit extreme... at some point, you really do have to put the baby down and wash the dishes or cook a meal.) the advice in this book is very humanistic, gentle, loving- yet also extremely prac...more
Doree Burt
Hands down the best child care book ever. I loved it so much (my kids are old now) that I would even consider Penelope a great name for a kid!
Emily
My Bible for raising MY children....my copy is dogged ears and ragged..much loved
Jenny
Your Baby and Child: From Birth to Age Five is a very thorough and thoughtful book that addresses the development and practicalities of raising a child from birth until about school-age. The book is split into sections that address specific age groups: what you can expect about how the baby is developing, typical problems or illnesses that may arise, ways that the child can be played with in order to increase mental and physical stimulation. The book concludes with an appendix/reference section...more
Rebekah
I was lucky enough to come across this book as a young teenager and read it from cover to cover. It was eye-opening for me at the time, as the parenting methods that had been used around me never seemed "right" and I finally had a book to resort to when I had questions about them. Penelope was a breath of fresh air for me as I helped care for younger siblings, and then babysat, and went on to work in the childcare field. I am eternally grateful to the greater universe for helping me find this bo...more
Kelly Murch
My mum bought this book when she fell pregnant with me, and gave me her copy when I fell pregnant at only 19 with my own daughter. It's been read & referred to so much it's fallen apart (& been taped together!)
This book was my absolute bible as a nervous young mother! Sensible, informative advice, told lovingly & without condescension.
Hilary
This book was given to me by my sister-in-law, saying it was her favourite baby book, and I have to agree - it's one of the best. I like the common-sense attitude, the non-judgemental practical advice that seems timeless rather than geared towards the latest parenting fad(s), allowing you to make the best decision for you, and the pictures showing a variety of babies, parents and situations. (She does not recommend forms of crying it out.)

I am reading it in conjunction with one of the week-to-we...more
Frangipani
I wanted to throw this book out the window at times. But I had been forewarned by snippets from Kaz Cooke's book "Kid Wrangling" what this one was like. A great book to get ideas from, and to confirm your own ideas with. Also useful as a door stop and a cockroach killer. But Leach's constant references to Nanny's and Au-Pairs are very irritating. This sort of help is just not the norm where I come from, thank-you-very-much. I suppose if you are a clueless blue-blood this book would be a godsend...more
Asmaamtl
okay, i know this isn't a book for everyone but it is by far the best baby book we own. Leach's incisive and thoughtful observations on babyhood are helpful as we use the book as a constant reference to make sure things our almost-one-year-old does are "normal" or at least within the realm of.
Emily
This book was invaluable to me when my kids were little. I didn't have many older women to turn to at the time, for various reasons, and this was a tremendous help in giving guidance, experience and education.
Lesli
I like this book very much: it's rational, written with a comforting tone that lets a first-time parent know that really, everything will be just fine. Leach sets out the choices, and rather than coming down on one side or another, tells you the likely consequences. For instance, on the issue of a family bed, unlike Dr. Sears (who is so pro family bed that one feels guilty for having a crib), Leach says, "Start the way you mean to go on." Both choices are fine. But each has consequences.

The one...more
joy *the clean-reader extraordinaire*
i've only read the toddler section so far -- but this one's given me a lot of food for thought. it's insightful into development and historical background, as in describing how working a farm is much easier for kids to participate in and learn from than our modern economy. and what we can do to help our kids have opportunities for play in appropriate ways.
this book is dense and wordy, and sometimes too opinionated, but i think that many parents would be better off if they knew this stuff! it wo...more
Olga
I found the writing to be a bit dry and uninspiring, so I went ahead and skipped forward to the relevant part for my interests - ages 3-5. There was some information that I found useful and brought up some questions that I hadn't considered before, but otherwise... I found the author's voice to be a tad preachy.
Sabine
This book rocks. I mean, seriously. Best baby book ever.
As a young mother, I was petrified with worries. What to do and not do, what could be dangerous etc. This book was bought is a second hand shop. It was published in 1978, so not long after I was born.
It relaxed me so much I cannot tell. So this baby book told me what to do in a 1978 fashion, and in the year 2000 everything had changed about babies. So in the end, I did as I felt it, with much love, and I didn't do anything wrong. My babies...more
Amanda
I think this book has some really fantastic information in it. However, it isn't very light reading. There are a lot of words and a lot of long paragraphs. That isn't a bad thing, but I have a hard time sitting down and devoting the time required to read through all of it. Maybe I just need a book that is more to-the-point, with bullet points or something. Either way, I would recommend this book for parents who need a complete guide to raising and caring for a baby. I would not recommend it for...more
Joanne
Truly my favourite parenting book. Penelope Leach may actually be the reason that I have such lovely children ;) and I'm (mostly) still sane. I referenced everything and she always had an answer: nursing problems? she's got you covered. Baby won't sleep? here are some ideas. Freak outs and tantrums? Better than super nanny. Gaping wound? You're good to go. This is a book I buy for expectant mums. I'll buy it for my own kids when it's their turn. Thank you Penelope!
unperspicacious
A gorgeous book, and an absolute pleasure to read. The narrative exudes warmth and leaves enough things open-ended for parents to do their own homework based on general rules of thumb. There are many photographs in here that, while often somewhat dated, will melt any new parent's heart. The book also has one of the most intuitively appealing ways of organising information for quick reference and retrieval that I have ever seen - see the contents page on this. A must read.
Jennifer
Nov 16, 2008 Jennifer rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all parents
This is a great parenting book for first time parents. I recommend this to parents who are "readers". I actually did an analysis of this book for one of my classes and the reading level is much higher than what is recommended for most literature that we give out to the public. There are good efforts made to make the children pictured more "diverse" and I believe the photos and illustrations are one of the book's strengths.
Nicky
Such a fantastic book! Penelope Leach is a no nonsense advocate for children, which she demonstrates in almost every sentence of this book. It's so good to read something that is child-centred. This book's focus is to help you understand your child's mind, how they think, what they need and how to parent them so they feel loved. My only qualm is that the style is a little formal and takes a while to get into.
Robin
I haven't gotten past age two or so but I figure when I need it I'll get there! I really like the voice of this book, not judgemental and no hard and fast rules - just a lot of information and advice with the first rule being do what works for your baby and you. I borrowed this from the library but ended up asking for it as a registry gift so we have it as a reference, and I've already used it several times.
Hope
Very helpful. Very British.
Amanda
I bought this as my guide to raising a baby, and so far I do like it. The organization of things is not as useful as I would like, but the advice and thorough nature of the writing IS useful, so it ends up being pretty good. I would recommend it to others, if only based upon how common-sensical the entire book is, which I appreciate much these days.
Shanamadele
A good overview of early child development. I approached parenthood knowing virtually nothing about babies or small children, and I found this book easy to read without being simplistic. I don't like everything she says about parenting, although I can't right now think of a reason why, but I find her style and tone to be comforting.
Carrie
I like her presentation of key parenting philosophies. While it's clear that there is some bias, she tries to present a somewhat balanced view of the issues. An interesting read, it's quite empathetic towards the way the parent is probably feeling at different times in the child's development. This is quite useful.
Aubrey
I only read the toddler section, so I can't comment on the other age sections, but I got some great ideas for developmentally appropriate play, how not to worry about her eating habits, and how to cope with the fact that she'll probably be between needing 1 or 2 naps for the next little while.
Katie
I just reread the section on having a toddler in the house. I think the author does a great job of making you understand better how a toddler thinks and reacts to things. Very helpful for anyone with young children at home, practical advice that helps you to be a better mom.
Bill Lalonde
It's not that this book is bad; it's just nothing special. Beyond ubiquitous childcare basics, it's mostly assertions with nothing given to back them up. The assertions are for the most part kind, sometimes bland, but only occasionally insightful.
Jessica
Penelope Leach offers a balanced parenting perspective in a world which careens from one philosophy of parenting to another. She is just so sensible, which really helps a sleep deprived mom's brain to remember what seems consens-ical.
Beth
Yes, I'm reading this yet again. Still probably my favorite go-to book for child care and child rearing issues. It's been almost 5 years since I read the newborn sections; maybe I can learn something new this time around!
Jessica
I used other books for detailed things like how to bathe a newborn and starting out with solid foods, but this is a great book for understanding my kid, framing each stage. This is a very *nurturing* book for parents.
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Dr. Penelope J. Leach (born Penelope Jane Balchin) is a British psychologist who writes extensively on parenting issues from a child development perspective.
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