on 4 November 2012
Even taking into account the USA-centric content of the book (which makes perfect sense given that Barston is American), the relevance of this book to parents the world over cannot be ignored. For every Mum who has been wounded by remarks about her "failure" to breastfeed, or told that she should feel guilty, this book is balm for a troubled soul. For every time you wish you had a reply for the bullies (both on the internet and off it) who try to label you as a bad parent, this book is required reading. Because this book will explain in no uncertain terms why so much of what you were told about breastfeeding is exaggerated or downright wrong, in a calm, collected and evidence-based fashion. The content is academically sound, the style is casual and easily readable over a cup of coffee (and perhaps a doughnut. Or two - once you start "Bottled Up" you won't want to put it down).
For those who are familiar with/are followers of the Fearless Formula Feeder blog, you may be thinking "Well, I've been reading the blog for years, what else is there to say?" Let me tell you that you ain't seen NOTHING yet, if you haven't read this book. "Bottled Up" takes the discourse to a whole new level, and I am not being hyperbolic when I say that my jaw was dropping for large portions of the book. The inconsistencies in policy, the lack of meaningful scientific studies, the distortion of tenuous research findings into "Truth"... Nowhere before has there been such an accessible texbook on these issues. And I do mean it is accessible, for Suzanne has combined fact and review with personal reflection and anecdotes of her own experience with infant feeding, so even for someone with no prior experience of reading academic work, it is a pleasant read.
I would make this book required reading, not just for parents, but for midwives, doctors, and breastfeeding supporters/counsellors. This book highlights the human cost of the push to breastfeed - a push which can often seem to be "breastfeed no matter what the cost." Through personal stories, interviews, literature reviews and more, Barston shows clearly that breast is NOT best, not for everyone. Not that she is in any way anti-breastfeeding (as critics of the FFF blog so often try to claim). This lady will champion the feeding CHOICE of any and every parent. And that, in the end, is what this book comes down to - it is a vociferous, eloquent defence of a woman's right to choose what is best for her. For her baby. For her family. We are not sheep who should be blindly following advice which is based on misinformation and weak correlational "evidence". We should be respected as women who are intelligent enough to be given ALL the facts, allowing us to make the decision for ourselves, and THAT is what Barston stands up for in this book.
on 7 March 2015
This book was a huge source of comfort to me when I became unable to breastfeed and developed postnatal depression as a result. It's packed full of facts and enlightening information on the very strange situation that breastfeeding promotion has become and how this has a negative impact on new parents. It doesn't argue that breast isn't best (yes, we know it is) but it makes a compelling case that breast isn't best for some parents or their babies, whether they formula feed or bottle feed breast milk, by choice or not. The author reveals that the evidence behind many of the claims about breast milk and breastfeeding superiority are exaggerated at best and is carefully referenced to studies and facts.
I searched YouTube for the series referred to in the book and recognised the expression on the authors face immediately. Sure it's a little American but it's intelligent, heartfelt and real. It will appeal to mothers, fathers, health professionals whatever their viewpoint and is a must read for anyone working in infant feeding support.