Baby Meets World: Suck, Smile, Touch, Toddle: A Journey Through Infancy

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St. Martin's Press, Apr 2, 2013 - Family & Relationships - 368 pages
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A dynamic new story about how babies make their way in the world—and how grown-ups have tried to make sense of these tiny inscrutable beings.

As a new parent, Nicholas Day had some basic but confounding questions: Why does my son find the straitjacket of his swaddling blanket comforting and not terrifying? How can he never meet a developmental norm and still be OK? And when will he stop sucking my finger? So he went digging for answers. They were not what he expected.

Drawing on a wealth of perspectives—scientific, historical, cross-cultural, personal—Baby Meets World is organized around the mundane activities that dominate the life of an infant: sucking, smiling, touching, toddling. From these everyday activities, Day weaves together an account that is anything but ordinary: a fresh, surprising story, both weird and wondrous, about our first experience of the world.

Part hidden history of parenthood, part secret lives of babies, Baby Meets World steps back from the moment-to-moment chaos of babydom. It allows readers to see infancy anew in all its strangeness and splendor.


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This was a great book, particularly if you are a new or soon-to-be parent. Covering and drawing upon history, anthropology, personal experience and scientific research, Day does a great job of illustrating just how robust babies are, and by corollary, just how excessive are the modern preoccupations about childrearing and perfectionism. Given a modicum of love and sufficient food, it's just about impossible to dramatically screw up a baby, which should be reassuring to basically everyone with an infant. 


Goat Milk and Beer
Origins of Happiness
A Brief History of How We Have and Have Not Held Our Children
A Blessed Break from Emotion and a Sudden Detour into Physiology
In Which Touch Gets Perhaps a Little Too Much Power
Finding the New World
Where Movement Comes From
Just Your Normal MilestoneMeeting SpearThrowing Infant
Coda or A Bedtime Story

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About the author (2013)

NICHOLAS DAY has been a wine salesman, a wedding cake baker, a fairground maintenance man, and a stay-at-home father. He writes about the care of children for Slate and the feeding of them for Food52. His writing has also appeared in Salon, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, and Time Out Chicago, among other publications. He lives in Chicago with his family.

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