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Hurry, A. (1975). Babyhood by Penelope Leach Published by Penguin Books.. J. Child Psychother., 4(1):125-125.

(1975). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 4(1):125-125

Babyhood by Penelope Leach Published by Penguin Books.

Review by:
Ann Hurry

This is an impressive book. It covers infant development from birth until two years of age and is aimed both at parents and at professionals working with parents or children. Dr. Leach tackles her vast subject by dividing infancy into five periods from ‘the first six weeks’ to ‘the second year’. It is thus possible to study development in any one period in detail: each section covers not only the fundamental patterns of feeding, sleeping, elimination, motility and perception, but also the growth of the sense of self via the integration of percepts, and the growth of relationships to objects. It is also possible, by studying the relevant chapters from each section, to follow the development of any particular function.

While the content is based upon a foundation of considerable scholarship, the style is clear and straightforward. Dr. Leach never dictates. She does not tell parents what to do, but rather sets out what is known about the infant and about the effects of different forms of handling, and leaves the choice to the parents. In setting out the known facts she makes use of research findings from many related fields, often succintly summarising relevant work, so that the book also provides a valuable compendium of research findings. Some findings, based upon her own studies, are published here for the first time.

It is evident that the author has certain convictions and that she hopes this book will effect some changes in child-handling. Child psychotherapists will hold many of these same convictions.

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