Originally published in 1983, in the two decades prior to publication, specialised neonatal units for the treatment of sick or preterm babies had been set up in most major neonatal centres. In the early years these units did little to prevent separation of parents and babies and evidence accumulated of the ill effects of this situation. In addition, we had gradually become aware of the difficulties of building a relationship with a sick or immature baby even under more ideal circumstances.
This book, in a series of authoritative review chapters, sets out to describe the process by which social relationships develop after birth and the ways in which this process may be distorted by separation, the condition of the baby or by the process of medical treatment. Experienced practitioners describe practical steps which may be taken to support parents and foster their relationship with their babies in treatment situations. The final section of the book examines the organisation of neonatal care in a number of widely different settings and indicates that diverse approaches may be successful in achieving the same ends.