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The Vital Touch: How Intimate Contact With Your Baby Leads To Happier, Healthier Development
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The Vital Touch: How Intimate Contact With Your Baby Leads To Happier, Healthier Development

4.43 of 5 stars 4.43  ·  rating details  ·  72 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Using a lively array of anthropological and sociological sources, The Vital Touch presents a provocative examination of the reasons why, now more than ever, we need to make consistent physical connections with our infants and children.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 17th 1997 by Holt Paperbacks
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Joyce L
One of the most thought provoking, life changing books I have ever read. Throwing out the blatantly unchristian philosophy in the book, I was able to look at the research and understand mother baby relationships in a new light. It made me realize that most of what I did as a parent was cultural and not necessarily Biblical. I then went back to the Bible and figured out what the Bible said about parenting and parenting principles were based on social norms of the Christian American culture. This ...more
Probably the most depressing book I have ever read. The research is densely packed and very detailed which usually earns a book on a topic like this a great rating, yet the take home messages are few and far between. This book would benefit greatly from a recap of highlights at the end of each chapter or a summary of best practices. I can imagine this boom would scare many parents into believing there are a 1001 ways to endanger the parent child bond and that perfection still is not enough to ad ...more
"This book is about the continuous battle between our genes and our culture," so begins Dr. Sharon Heller in the introduction of _The Vital Touch_. And with that lead-in you can only guess where things go from there! _The Vital Touch_ was required reading for my DONA-approved post-partum doula training so I read it when my daughter was about five months old. While the book spends plenty of time on newborns, it is an appropriate (and I would say, important) read for anyone with a baby under 1 yea ...more
Rindy Girl
This book had a wealth of knowledge about the power of touch to an infant. There was lots of supporting research and stats to emphasize the importance of touch for a developing baby. I really enjoyed the comparisons of American culture to that of other cultures and how they raise their infants and how this effects the moods and development of the child. It also discusses the many benefits to cosleep which I'm a huge supporter of. This book explains how touch can stimulate your baby's development ...more
This is probably the most well researched book on parenting babies I have ever read. The author incorporates biological, anthropological, sociological, psychological and medical research- very well rounded- and she was still able to be diplomatic in regards to the "needs" and habits of modern society (more than I would be had I written the book!). In summation: love and hold and nurse and sleep with your babe as much as you can- touch them: massage them: skin to skin- it's all oh so good for bra ...more
Brilliant book on the importance of touch. Many academic examples given and lots of cultural differences are examined with a magnifying glass.
I wish I had read this book before giving birth, though I'm glad I followed my instincts, which were moving me towards lots of physical contact with my baby through nursing, carrying, and letting him fall asleep in my arms. This book was intellectual inspiration for me to continue to attune to my baby and experience parenting in an embodied manner. The cross-cultural comparisons were fascinating, and occasionally they were slightly inaccurate, though the book was published in 1997 and much has c ...more
This book took me a while to get through b/c I was only reading a few pages a night while I nursed, but it was almost better that way b/c I found it so thought-provoking and I would discuss it with my husband most nights. I really found it reassuring that this book underscored some of the values of attachment parenting in such a well-researched way. I will feel more confident when my next child comes along in following my maternal instinct and giving my baby all the love I want to, without feeli ...more
This is a classic and a must read for all parents-to-be. Despite imparting a large quantity of information, it is very readable and engaging, except for the details of studies a that required children to cry a lot and receive little care or attention...those were hard to read. However, discussions of our weird body/sexuality issues in America and how childrearing is so little supported by the extended family/community-at-large are spot on.
Elizabeth Merchant
This is a good book on an important topic, but I think an expectant mother would grow impatient with its philosophical style and bland format. A good choice when looking for a book that supports co-sleeping.
More academic than a lot of the child care books I have read, but very interesting, esp. as I have some sensory issues myself. It's not a difficult read, by any means, just more statistics and academic language than some.
This book made me think about my parenting style in relation to U.S. culture. There are many taboos surrounding co-sleeping and other practices that are considered normal in other countries. It gave me food for thought.
Oct 19, 2007 Jen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who holds babies
Another source to support evidence based practice of skin to skin contact (also known as kangaroo care). I love how the book connects how touch-related experiences in infancy and early childhood impact our whole lives!
Feb 22, 2009 Allyson rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: new parents, pregnant moms
What my gut has told me all along isn't far off base! Great information supporting breastfeeding, cosleeping and attachment parenting.
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