A Favorite Parenting Book: Touchpoints by T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.

Victoria Ferrara


Brazelton graduated in 1940 from Princeton and in 1943 from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. He completed his medical residency in Boston at Massachusetts General Hospital before undertaking pediatric training at Children's Hospital of Boston. His interest in child development led to training in child psychiatry.

Touchpoints has been described as the "book for every parent of an infant or toddler". Families everywhere have found reassurance and much-needed support from T. Berry Brazelton's experience as a beloved pediatrician to two generations of patients. His great empathy for the universal concerns of parenthood?and his candor and wit as he explains the complex feelings parenthood engenders?have made him "America's favorite pediatrician."

When my partner and I had our first baby, this book was like a bible for us. We would go to it on a regular basis and underline passages, re-read chapters and essentially follow the advice in the book.

For example, teaching or helping your very young child to go to sleep at night. Brazelton explained that it is crucial for a baby to learn to get himself or herself to sleep. Many parents, well maybe all parents, can't stand to hear their babies cry so they will hold or rock their babies or rub their backs until they fall asleep. Brazelton explains very clearly how important it is for a baby to learn to do this, to get to sleep, by themselves. But often, for the parents, it entails several days to a week of listening to your baby cry himself to sleep. It is excruciating and you feel as if you are doing the wrong thing, but with Dr. Brazelton's explanation of why this is important for a baby, as parents, we felt more confident in taking this course.

I remember sitting on the back porch with a baby monitor listening to our baby son cry for five to ten minutes and feeling forlorn and upset. How could I be doing this to him? But essentially after a several days, the crying died down to a few minutes and then to nothing and we had a wonderful feeling of success as parenting. We had helped our baby achieve a psychological milestone!

Other helpful topics in the book include:

  • ADHD and normal hyperactivity?making the distinction
  • Allergies and asthma prevention
  • Battles parents can't win
  • Choices in child care
  • Co-sleeping, pros and cons
  • Depression and sadness?when to worry
  • Developmental delays?when to be concerned
  • Discipline?developmental approaches

So if you have babies or you are planning to have babies, check out this book. It may become your bible too. It is a very trusted resource for parenting advice and moral support as you travel the path of parenthood.

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