ON BECOMING A FAMILY: The Growth of Attachment by
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ON BECOMING A FAMILY: The Growth of Attachment

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Since 1969, when Infants and Mothers was published, Brazelton's work has been distinguished by a skillful articulation of the parent-child relationship, its unique ordeals and gratifications. The emphasis has been on a balancing of needs and desires: what matters are not the specifics of happy feedings and spontaneous play but the quality and sensitivity of the exchange. In this new book, he re-examines the process of attachment in a variety of circumstances, not just under standard conditions but also in cases of prematurity, Caesarean delivery, and single-parent homes. Brazelton writes with a deep respect for new parents, their energy and sincerity; he also understands the ambivalences that accompany family life and the common vexations as well-how night waking is associated with growth spurts, for example, or how colic is only a partial function of household tension. His writing has, all along, given coherence and dignity to the most fundamental human interactions; this new book is just as lucid and sustaining. Here, however, he also speaks out against those beliefs of doctors and policies of hospitals which are detrimental to or unsupportive of the developing family: the belief that newborns don't see or hear (confuted by research but still taught in some medical schools) or the policies that keep newborns apart from their families in the critical first hours and days. Coming from a person of his authority, who can cite cross-cultural comparisons or tap relevant research here and abroad, these oppositions are especially meaningful. They give timid parents the encouragement to demand remediation, and provide medical personnel with rationales for meeting those demands.

Pub Date: Feb. 27th, 1981
Publisher: Delacorte