Finding Your Way with Your Baby : The emotional life of parents and babies book cover
1st Edition

Finding Your Way with Your Baby
The emotional life of parents and babies

ISBN 9781138787063
Published February 9, 2015 by Routledge
262 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Finding Your Way with Your Baby explores the emotional experience of the baby in the first year, and that of the mother, father and other significant adults. It does so in a way that is deeply informed by psychoanalytic understandings, infant observation, developmental science and decades of clinical experience.

Combining the wisdom of many years' work with the freshness of up-to-date knowledge, Dilys Daws and  Alexandra de Rementeria engage with the most difficult emotional experiences that are often glossed over in parenting books – such as pregnancy, through birth into bonding, ambivalence about the baby, depression, and the emotional turmoil so often brought to the surface by being a new parent. Acknowledgement and understanding about this darker side of family life offers a sense of relief that can allow parents to harness the power of knowing, owning and sharing feelings to transform situations and break negative cycles and old ways of relating. With real-life examples, references to current thinking and a calm and simple writing style they also provide new insights into the more commonly covered issues such as weaning, sleeping and crying. 

Finding Your Way with Your Baby is primarily aimed at parents but it will be a helpful resource for all those working with parents and babies including health visitors, midwives, social workers, GPs, paediatricians and childcare workers. It will appeal to parents and professionals who are interested in ideas from psychoanalytic clinical practice and the latest research in developmental psychology and neuroscience.

Table of Contents

Introduction. Part 1: Becoming a Parent. Life Will Never be the Same Again. Bringing Your Baby Home. Bonding. Being a Good Parent. Figuring Out Fatherhood. Baby Blues and Post-Natal Depression. Part II: Being with Baby. Conversations With Your Baby. Feeding. Sleeping. Crying. Weaning and Teething. Learning Through Play. Your Baby’s Emerging Sense of Self. Part III: The Wider World. Wider Family and Other Support. To Work or Not to Work. Recommended Reading. Bibliography.

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Dilys Daws is Honorary Consultant Child Psychotherapist at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, London, and continues to practise at a baby clinic at the James Wigg Practice, Kentish Town. She was Founding Chair of the Association for Infant Mental Health, UK and was Chair of the Association of Child Psychotherapists. She has fifty years of clinical and teaching experience, much of that on work with parents and babies and has lectured on infant mental health widely in the UK and abroad.

Alexandra de Rementeria is on the doctoral training programme for child psychotherapy at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and works at Lewisham Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. She taught Early Years for five years prior to having her family and moving into mental health. She is the author of numerous articles for publications including the Journal of Psychodynamic Practice and the Journal of Infant Observation.


"This book tackles an area that is so relevant to so many but still so difficult to talk about. It offers reassurance and explanation… This is by far my favourite of all the books I have reviewed since I have taken part in the BMA book awards" – (First Prize, Popular Medicine, BMA Medical Book Awards 2016)

"I read Finding Your Way With Your Baby with pleasure and I would definitely recommend it to parents, future parents and anyone interested in the inner life of the tiny humans." – Irena Domachowska,

"It is a really beautiful book – full of wisdom and kindness and subtlety." – Anne Alvarez

"Finding your way with your baby’ is an exceptionally wise book, based on years of clinical work and scholarship, together with the authors’ own experience of parenthood. The accounts of parents who tell their stories, coupled with clinical insights, vividly convey the realities of the business of parenting. As well as capturing all the wonders of caring for small babies, what makes the book distinctive is that it tackles more difficult experiences that are rarely discussed in parenting books, but which nevertheless are common and deeply felt- such as fear and uncertainty, ambivalence and jealously, not just in the parent-infant relationship, but in relations between parents themselves. These can be frightening feelings that we would rather block off, yet, as the authors show, they may have negative consequences if we do not acknowledge them. The great strength of the book is that such experiences are taken seriously and treated sympathetically; clear and convincing accounts are provided for why they might occur, thereby lessening their power to be distressing, especially if they can be discussed with someone else. This book will be an enormous source of support for parents of young babies."Lynne Murray, Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Reading author of The Psychology of Babies

"Gleaned from decades of therapeutic experience with parents as well as the latest research, this is a new and much needed kind of parenting book . Parents will feel that their own and their baby’s most complex experiences are compassionately understood and made sense of. The book does tackle the joys of parenting but many readers will also breathe a sigh of relief that it also attends to many harder to admit to thoughts and feelings, ones that other books simply gloss over. This could become a bible for new parents, but will also be helpful to grandparents, a range of child-care professionals, and indeed anyone interested in babies."Graham Music, Consultant Child and Adolsecent Psychotherapist at the Tavistock and Portman Clinics, London, UK

"This captivating little book can be read as a straightforward travelogue – what new parents and their babies can expect as they embark on the ‘journey’ of their new lives together. Like any good travel book, it can be dipped into, seeking out specific points of interest and just skimming the rest – or it can be a used as a detailed guide, reading intensively to immerse in the whole experience. Either way, the book exudes a warmth and wisdom that allows the reader to feel comforted and in control of the experience, gaining in personal confidence as they plan the journey in their own way. Fathers as well as mothers are truly included and different forms of family life are well acknowledged, along with common and unusual difficulties that are likely to be encountered. As well as parents, it would be equally valuable for professionals – student health visitors and midwives could also benefit from the breadth of professional expertise, classic research and authentic parental experience."Sarah Cowley, Emeritus Professor Dame Sarah Cowley, King's College London, former health visitor, Trustee of the Institute of Health Visiting

"The burgeoning recognition of infant mental health as a field within CAMHS reflects the increased awareness of the importance of prevention and early intervention in the national agenda. This beautiful little book, which minutely examines the reflexive relationship between the emotional life of parents and babies, is therefore timely.

The authors provide a psychoanalytic, fly on the wall trip from conception to early infancy from the perspective of parents, baby and other important relatives. It therefore differs from other books exploring the baby’s internal world, which tend to focus more on the baby’s experience...making the book suitable for parents and clinicians alike." – Claire McKenna, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist in the Association for Child and Mental Health

"I believe that many parents will find answers to their questions in this book as it covers an enormous range of possible scenarios they may encounter during the first year of their baby's life... [it] really offers a comprehensive 'guide' to parents in discovering and navigating the 'new territory' of their experience... The book is written in clear, jargon-free style and is therefore accessible to a wide audience... While reading this book I found myself smiling, frowning, feeling puzzled and impatiently curious about what the authors had to say next... Although the book is aimed at parents, I think it is also valubale for professionals, both in terms of offering knowledge and understanding, but also in offering a model of how to talk to parents. Being a child psychotherapist and parent-infant psychotherapist in training... I feel that I have learnt from this book and have bene using this learning in my work. I also recommend this book to some parents I work with and wonder whether it could be included on the prescription list at GP surgeries and baby clinics... The tone of the whole book is kind, respectful, compassionate and patient and it is likely that while reading it, parents will have a feeling of being understood." -Marija Stojkovic, Child Psychotherapist, in Journal of Child Psychotherapy

Support Material


  • FreeBook

    Why not download our Routledge FreeBook Breastfeeding: Providing support for the challenges women face? This resource contains a chapter from Finding Your Way with Your Baby, along with a wealth of other information on breastfeeding.

    Click here for more information, and to access this FreeBook.