Bringing Up Baby: The Psychoanalytic Infant Comes of Age

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Karnac, Jan 1, 2013 - Psychology - 381 pages

This is an important text that synthesises diverse literatures and theories on infant development into a coherent framework that illuminates the essence of infancy for all those who have infants, study infants, teach about infancy, make policy with respect to infant welfare, and work medically or therapeutically with mothers and their infants. It brings together in one volume the principal theories of infant development, beginning with Freud's vision of the Oedipal infant, moving through the post-Freudian conceptualizations of the infant of Anna Freud, Melanie Klein, and the British Independents with Donald Winnicott as exemplar, then to the attachment theorists, the intersubjective theories, the cognitive developmental psychologists, examining the work of Jean Piaget and the neo-Piagetian cognitive theorists concluding with the modern infant of developmental neuroscience and an examination of the neurobiology of attachment, stress, and care giving.

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This book is impeccably researched with academic rigour. It is presented in an accessible manner, taking the reader on a journey from the origins of psychoanalytic thought through theories of learning, attachment, development of cognition to neuroscience. It is such a clear cohesive summary of each theory with a psychoanalytic thread woven through the book. The case studies which illustrate different theories provide enjoyable reading , and the diversity of literature reviewed provides a broad basis for understanding each concept introduced. The use of the infant is the central anchor point as the reader also observes the “bringing up” of infant research; from earlier psychoanalytic thought to the author’s current thought and integration of influential theories of infant development to the modern day research. It is refreshing to read a clear and eloquent critique of each of the theories without demonstrating an obvious position or bias. This book is well worth reading. 

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This is indeed an important and timely text on a very passionately debated topic - how best to give our children an optimal start in life by attending to their needs as infants. This book is impeccably researched; it draws on all the major theories of infant development - psychoanalytic, psychological, cognitive, attachment, intersubjective and developmental neuroscience - to construct a nuanced picture of what infants know and feel and how their early experience reverberates throughout their lives. This is a major contribution to the literature on infant development because it integrates diverse theories that have generally been kept separate. The book is scholarly, yet accessible to a wide readership. Once you start reading, it is difficult to put down. 5 stars!!! 

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About the author (2013)

Dianna T Kenny

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