Why Love Matters explains why loving relationships are essential to brain development in the early years, and how these early interactions can have lasting consequences for future emotional and physical health. This second edition follows on from the success of the first, updating the scientific research, covering recent findings in genetics and the mind/body connection, and including a new chapter highlighting our growing understanding of the part also played by pregnancy in shaping a baby’s future emotional and physical well-being.

The author focuses in particular on the wide-ranging effects of early stress on a baby or toddler’s developing nervous system. When things go wrong with relationships in early life, the dependent child has to adapt; what we now know is that his or her brain adapts too. The brain’s emotion and immune systems are particularly affected by early stress and can become less effective. This makes the child more vulnerable to a range of later difficulties such as depression, anti-social behaviour, addictions or anorexia, as well as physical illness.


part 1|94 pages

The foundations: babies and their brains

chapter 1|13 pages

Before we meet them

chapter 2|20 pages

Back to the beginning

chapter 3|26 pages

Building a brain

chapter 4|30 pages

Corrosive cortisol

chapter |3 pages

Conclusion to Part 1

part 2|112 pages

Shaky foundations and their consequences

chapter 5|21 pages

Trying not to feel

The links between early emotional regulation and the immune system

chapter 6|23 pages

Melancholy baby

How early experience can alter brain chemistry, leading to adult depression

chapter 7|17 pages

Active harm

The links between trauma in babyhood and trauma in adult life

chapter 8|19 pages


The links between personality disorders and early experience

chapter 9|26 pages

Original sin

How babies who are treated harshly may not develop empathy for others

part 3|32 pages

Too much information, not enough solutions

chapter 10|17 pages

‘If all else fails, hug your teddybear'

Repairing the damage

chapter 11|13 pages

Birth of the future