A hands-off approach to child-rearing espoused by L Emmett Holt, MD, professor of paediatrics at Columbia University at the end of the 19th century. Holt’s The Care and Feeding of Children influenced turn-of-the-century child-rearing; he eschewed the coddling or holding of children, and felt they should be allowed to cry and suffer pain. Holtism was later linked to marasmus, a condition then associated with wasting and death by age two; frequent physical contact with a caregiver is now believed to be as necessary to an infant’s survival as food.
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