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Paperback: 550 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books; 8 Rev Upd edition (13 July 2010)
this is THE book on breastfeeding, very mother oriented, easy to read and to understand. it will help many seeking correct breastfeeding information and support. a book to go back to over and over and over again because it feels like home when it comes to breastfeeding.
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232 of 263 people found the following review helpful
Far too judgmental.20 Jan. 2012
Stephanie R. Roberts
- Published on Amazon.com
This book is well-intentioned, and it does contain some very good information about breastfeeding. But the tone is extremely judgmental about women who choose ANYTHING other than a completely natural childbirth, exclusive breastfeeding, cosleeping, etc. The message is this: You'd better love it. It's a blissful experience. If it's not, you're doing something wrong - and your baby will suffer for it. Not every mom is lucky enough to have that experience, and for those mothers, this book imparts huge amounts of fear and guilt.
My labor had to be induced three weeks early due to a pregnancy-related liver condition that put my baby at risk. So there's strike one - labor inducing drugs. I ended up getting an epidural (the only part of the experience that I could have avoided if I'd been strong enough to take the pitocin-induced contractions without it.). Strike two - more drugs. My baby had to be delivered by forceps and was not placed on my chest immediately after birth, but was taken to the incubator to be evaluated. Strike three - we missed that initial bonding. He nursed a bit before we left the delivery room, but later had breathing trouble and had to remain in the NICU. While he was there, he got some of my colostrum and milk but was supplemented with formula. Strike four. If I took this book to heart (which I did), my bond with my brand new son would always be inferior.
Even once we got home, we struggled with breastfeeding for the first few months. He was never given formula again, but I felt horrible that I wasn't blissfully enjoying the experience, that it wasn't super easy for him, and that at times I wanted to give up. I had an oversupply and an overactive letdown that made it stressful for both of us, despite measures to correct it, and I know I was lucky that that was our biggest problem! Perhaps if I hadn't been sleep deprived and full of postpartum hormones, I wouldn't have taken so much of the book to heart. But that is going to be the case for the majority of the audience this book is targeting.
My son is now six months old and exclusively breastfed. It's much easier now than it was at the beginning. I pump for him at work and he hasn't had a drop of formula since we left the hospital. He and I have bonded perfectly and I adore him more than I dreamed possible. He's perfectly healthy and at the top of the growth charts. Yet I still cannot think of this book without feeling the guilt.
I'm giving it three stars because it does have very helpful information, and it is backed up by research. I would, however, encourage moms to get the full story on the research if you can. It is very easy to manipulate statistics to support an opinion. I'm not saying the authors did this, just that there is often more to the story than a simple "more likely." A 5/100,000 chance vs. a 1/100,000 chance of complications is "more likely", but the overall risk is still negligible. Again, I'm not saying the authors are being untruthful, just that it helps to have the complete picture when making a decision.
Please, if you read it, realize that many, many people's labor and delivery, and postpartum experience, does not follow their textbook. And that is OK. Your relationship with your baby will be fine. If you can't breastfeed for some reason, your child is not doomed to a life of poor health and low IQ. And despite what the authors of the book would have you believe, there really ARE women who can't breastfeed, many for reasons that consultations with a lactation consultant wouldn't change.
The most crucial thing is the unconditional love and affection that you give your baby. If they are held and loved and know they are secure in the arms of their parents, then you are doing your job.
173 of 195 people found the following review helpful
Great information provided, but pretty judgemental13 Dec. 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
I'm not bf'ing yet, but as an expectant mother I wanted to get some info before trying to deal with it once the baby's here. The book has made me feel very confident. It has all the info you need.
However, even though there are chapters about pumping for going back to work, the authors really push their agenda that you're not doing your baby any favors if you don't stay home with him. One section had me in tears (and I do blame the hormones, not the book) saying that "if you plan on going back to work, it's ok because you might change your mind once you get there." I felt like in many different sections they go on and on about how it's so hard to leave your baby and the baby will have so much stress if you take it to a baby sitter or day care.
I would love to find a good breast feeding book that gives all the info found in this one without sentimental judgements. I am going back to work, and I think today it should actually be expected that most working mothers will return. This is the best I've found towards making it seem like it's going to be ok, that I will be able to do this, but I really with they would have left their personal opinions on how bad it is to leave your child to go to work out of it.
Edited to add: I'm now going strong at exclusive breastfeeding to a 20 week old, 18 lb baby boy. And that includes pumping 3 times a day for the past 9 weeks that I've been back to work. Although I do attribute this book towards helping with that, talking to other bf'ing moms on websites like The Bump and [...] is key! Also, and although I get flack for this from my ff'ing friends, the best advice I got was that if I was 100% dedicated to bf'ing, don't look at formula as an acceptable option. I never even kept any in my house. BF'ing was so, so hard the first 4 weeks (then again at weeks 7-8 when he had a cold and couldn't latch, so I was cracked and bleeding) but I was 100% dedicated to doing this, and stuck with it. If you are ok with going to formula if it doesn't work out for you, it might be harder to stick with it if it gets painful and it seems like they nurse for HOURS at a time! Good luck to all the mommies who are going to give it a try. It's amazing when you finally get it all figured out!!
Updated 5.4.14 My second son was born in August of 2012, and although I ended up breast feeding my first for 15 months, I was unable to bf my second. He was born at 24 weeks, and never learned a sufficient suck/swallow pattern. He is tube fed, and I exclusively pumped for 20 months to be able to provide him with breastmilk. For some, pumping is the only option, so I fully stand by my first review of the book.
49 of 60 people found the following review helpful
Totally Impressed17 July 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
I've been waiting for the new edition for the past year or so. When it came in the mail this week I dove into it immediately. I used information from the book at our LLL meeting that very evening and have used information with moms I've counseled since then. While retaining the voice of the earlier editions in a way that is very comfortable to someone who started off with the "old blue WAB" this new book combines evidence based research, new insights of lactation consultants, input from working moms, and simply scads of new suggestions. The basic message remains the same "mothering your baby through breastfeeding," but this volume is so comprehensive, that it's much more of a stand alone than the older versions (which really were enhanced by being supplemented by books like Mothering Your Nursing Toddler, the Breastfeeding Answer Book etc). It's not that those other books don't still have a place, although the BAB is really in need of updating as well. It's just that now the most important information from those volumes, along with a lot of other information as well is now in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. I'd give this book a far higher rating than a 5 if I could. It's a one volume guide that will help mothers and fathers better understand their baby, better understand why breastfeeding is the normal way to feed their baby, better understand how to get past bumps in the road.
A big well done to the authors!
27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Could I give it 4 and 3/4? Nearly perfect, but one potential snag...8 Jan. 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
I LOVE this book! Really. The info within is great. Another reviewer or two complained about the fact that the book frequently tells you to call your local LLL chapter- but personally I think they missed a major message. The point of reminding the reader, frequently, to go to LLL is to offer community- a live person to help you when you're worrying. All parents fret, and if it's a first time experience then you're twice as likely to fret. Calling someone and having a local support network will make all the difference when you're experiencing uncertainty. The advice is excellent, and the book is well organized. It's written in a way that's engaging, and includes excerpts from other mothers. I think the book is nearly five star- here's my only hesitation... I think the book, the No Cry Sleep Solution is also excellent, and when it comes to getting your baby to sleep better this book is frequently a bit at odds with that one. This book recommends not giving sleep patterns a thought, allowing the baby to fall asleep at the breast, and/or fall asleep in arms all the time. I agree that these things are wonderful for bonding, but... you need to mix it up, so to speak. Once in a while (as explained in No Cry Sleep Solution) you need to take the baby away from your breast and put them down before they fall completely asleep or your baby will think the only way they Can sleep is at your breast or in your arms. Lets be realistic, as much as we love our children (and I agree wholeheartedly with attachment parenting) we cannot Always sleep with our babies. I believe in co-bedding, and I believe that a baby under 4mo should be going no more than 4hrs without nursing... but as they get comfortable and start to nod off, gently remove the nipple - lay them down near you... or you'll be 18mo down the road still waking every two hours. I recommend the two books together, so that you don't accidentally 'overdo' the nurture thing. No, you canNot spoil a baby at this age- I agree! and you should respond to All of their needs quickly and lovingly- but you can teach them good sleep habits without relying on clocks, crying it out, or other things that are harsh. You can nurture your baby and still teach them gently. This book doesn't chastise such methods, it just doesn't mention that there are gentle methods to gain more sleep while still seeing your little angel prosper. Anyone can survive the first 4mo of weird sleep- but after a year you'll be near tears, and that won't help your baby. The breast feeding advise and the rest of the book are Top Notch- but do yourself a favor and pick up The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night as its companion.
62 of 80 people found the following review helpful
Not what I was looking for23 Aug. 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
This is a great book for convincing new mothers to breastfeed. But that's not why I bought it... I was looking for information about HOW to breastfeed, what the typical problems are and how to deal with them. All of this takes up maybe one chapter in this book - the rest talks about how breastfeeding is great for getting your child to sleep etc. If you're looking for a how-to on breastfeeding, this really isn't it.