DR. BALTER'S BABY SENSE: Understanding and Handling the Problems of Infancy and Early Childhood by Lawrence with Anita Shreve Balter

DR. BALTER'S BABY SENSE: Understanding and Handling the Problems of Infancy and Early Childhood

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Unexceptionable guidelines, comfortably phrased, from a radio and TV parenting pundit--though not a patch on Penelope Leach's Your Baby and Child for stage-by-stage developmental guidance. ""Babies are born with different temperaments,"" Balter cautions at the outset; but even familiarity with your own tot won't prevent you from sometimes feeling ""nearly overwhelmed."" He also puts himself, and ""you,"" in the infant's place: ""If your needs, as an infant, are taken care of properly, if you are made to feel a welcome person in the world. . . chances are these feelings will remain with you throughout your life."" Then, under three age ranges (birth to 18 months, 18 months to three years, three years to five), he briefly discusses an assortment of topics: from Crying and Baby-sitters (in the first section) to Discipline and Toilet Training (in the second) to Masturbation and Starting School (in the third). A final section, Special Family Considerations, takes up such matters as Adoption and Divorce. One difficulty with the format is that many of these concerns are continuing ones, which may call for differing responses even within a particular age range; another, along with the brevity of the entries, is their disconnectedness. (Baby-sitters, Stimulation, and Playpens are topics 13, 14, and 15.) But insofar as these are matters that parents rightly or wrongly consider problems, they will find Balter consistent in his approach (he prefers parental caretaking for the first year of life, opposes letting an infant cry ""for more than a couple of minutes""), generally acceptant of child-behaviors (offer cantankerous toddlers opportunities ""to practice decision-making,"" he counsels), and just sufficiently out-of-step to be refreshing on occasion: you may be furious at the child (and say so, in just those words), not just riled at the bad behavior; besides, ""It is important that you educate your child about the angry emotions."" Leach apart, others are more thorough (Lief, year by year) or creatively exploratory (Brazelton, Janine Levy)--but Baiter is a readable, ponderable supplement.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1985
Publisher: Poseidon/Pocket Books--dist. by Simon & Schuster