Transforming Infant Wellbeing : Research, Policy and Practice for the First 1001 Critical Days book cover
1st Edition

Transforming Infant Wellbeing
Research, Policy and Practice for the First 1001 Critical Days

Edited By

Penelope Leach

ISBN 9781138689541
Published August 24, 2017 by Routledge
306 Pages 22 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Transforming Infant Wellbeing brings together science and policy to highlight the critical importance of the first 1001 days of infancy: the period from conception to the second birthday. Introduced and edited by Penelope Leach, who uniquely combines academic knowledge of infant development with the ability to write about it for wide audiences, the book has at its heart 25 original articles by acknowledged experts in different aspects of infant health and development. Brought together, they showcase innovative science and best practices to a wide range of readers: to scientific colleagues in different disciplines; to politicians and policy makers; to local authority commissioners and specialist advisors, statutory and voluntary organisations and parents.

This book has a two-fold purpose in science and in social policy. First, to collect new papers by leading scientists in a single volume, which ensures they reach a broad audience. Second, by introducing and commenting on the significance of these new findings, the book highlights both the benefits that accrue to society when it acts accordingly, and the costs, financial and social, of our failure to do so.

In the last 50 years, interest in infant development and especially maternal and infant mental health has burgeoned. A large number of issues at the forefront of child development research mirror those of yesterday, but the research brought to bear upon them has transformed. Thanks largely to technological and statistical advances, we now know a great deal that researchers of earlier generations could only surmise. However, increasing knowledge of infancy has not been matched by an increasing impact on parents and professionals, politicians and policy makers. Bringing contemporary studies involving pregnancy, birth, infancy and toddlerhood together, along with the undisputed evidential findings that flow from them, large gaps between what is known and what is done become apparent. By focusing on what can be done to fill those gaps, Transforming Infant Wellbeing renders inescapable the need to rethink current priorities. It represents essential reading for researchers, parents and policy makers of infancy.

Table of Contents



          Part I. Issues in infant wellbeing

  1. Fifty years of childhood
  2. Penelope Leach

  3. Changing society’s attitudes to children and families
  4. Al Aynsley-Green

    Part II. Evidence

A: Early experiences and later outcomes 

    3. Circuits and circumstances: importance of earliest relationships and their context.

    Robin Balbernie

    4. Attachment theory: research and application to practice and policy

    Pasco Fearon

    5. Maternal representations in pregnancy: importance of the mothers' relationship with their unborn babies

    Jane Barlow

    6. Keeping the baby in mind: new insights into the links between maternal childhood trauma, mental health problems in pregnancy and outcomes for the child

    Susan Pawlby, Dominic Plant, Carmine M. Pariante

     7. Postnatal depression and the under-twos

    Lynne Murray and Peter Cooper

    B: Perinatal Risk Factors with demonstrable long-term ill-effects

     8. Health inequalities and the importance of action on perinatal risk factors

    Angela Donkin and Michael Marmot

     9. Stacked odds: how social background can stifle early child potential

    Chris Cuthbert

    10. Antenatal and postnatal mental health problems: prevention and treatment

    Alain Gregoire

    11. Stress in pregnancy can change fetal and child development

    Vivette Glover

    12. Birth trauma

    Diane S. Speier

    C. Policies with potential to reduce risks and improve outcomes

    13. Investing in early human development

    Mary E. Young

       14. What makes a difference? Supporting families in caring for children

    Peter Fonagy

      15. Evidence-based interventions for the first 1001 days

    Kirsten Asmussen, Leon Feinstein, Haroon Chowdry, Jack Martin

     16. Transforming infancy through paternity and parental leave

    Margaret O’Brien

     17. Towards an evidence-based population approach to supporting parenting in the early years

    Matthew R. Sanders and Alina Morawska

    D: Specific Programmes Demonstrating Improved Outcomes


      18. Relationship-based interventions in the early years

    Robin Balbernie

      19. Child protection in the community: recognising and responding to signs of neglect

    Ruth Gardner and Camilla Rosan

    20. Mellow programmes for especially vulnerable parents and parents-to-be

    Christine Puckering

    21. Fathers in the perinatal period: taking their mental health into account

    Jill Domoney, Jane Iles, Paul Ramchandani

    22. 'SafeCare', the case for parent--infant language training

    Angie S. Guinn, John R. Lutzker, Mark Chaffin

    23. Video Interaction Guidance: promoting secure attachment and optimal development for children, parents and professionals

    Hilary Kennedy and Angela Underdown

   24. Life is 'like a box of chocolates': interventions with special-needs babies

    Stella Acquarone

    Part III Action

    25. Themes arising

    26. Norfolk Parent-Infant Mental Health Attachment Project (PRIMAP): working towards integration in attachment, mental health and social care

    Verity Smith, Richard Pratt, Catherine Thomas and Danny Taggart

    27. Building research findings into policy and policy into action

Timothy Loughton

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Penelope Leach is a research psychologist specalising in infant development. She is a fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Senior Research Fellow of the Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues, Birkbeck, University of London and of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust. She is a Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Education, University of Winchester.


"Whenever Penelope Leach writes about children and childhood, the world rightly listens. Young children’s nurturance has been far too low a priority for decades. In assembling 25 leading-edge contributions showcasing the latest scientific thinking on infant wellbeing, Leach’s much-needed new book will be a key resource for both advancing that science and for closing the yawning gap between what we know and what policy-makers do in and around early childhood. Anyone connected with young children’s lives can’t afford not to read it." (Dr Richard House, C.Psychol., founder of Early Childhood Action)

Something is badly wrong with the mental health of young Britons, and baby and toddlerhood is where it starts. The science now backs up what our hearts have always known: we have to take better care of young parents. Clear, and stunningly comprehensive, in this book Dr. Leach assembles an army of reasoned voices at the gates of government, calling for a revolution. (Steve Biddulph, AM)