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on 14 December 2010
I had high expectations and hopes for this book and I immediately started reading it when it arrived.
Getting through the first pages was like hell and it took me ages. I couldn't bear to read more than a page a day. Why?
OMG the preaching and the holier-than-you attitude was annoying it had to be taken in very tiny doses. I am almost ready to give birth, having decided to have a completely natural, painrelief-free water birth and plan to breastfeed exclusevely for the first six months of my son's life. After that we will see.
Having said that, I can't stand people and for that books and for that organizations trying to brainwash and put down people if they don't fit into their rosy picture of what a birth should be. I don't believe and there is not any scientific proof to the fact that a mother has problems developing an emotional attachment to her baby if she had to go through a c-section, epidural, etc. Nothing whatsoever!!! And I can only imagine the kind of stress and guilt that is showered on a new mother that didn't have the "ideal" birth. And of course all babies born with a "not ideal" birth have no clue whatsoever how to suckle etc. Laughable!!!
If you want real and useful information I would recommend reading the Making More Milk book, which I got and I am thoroughly enjoying.
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on 28 December 2016
This book was a present when I was pregnant. I was intending to breastfeed (I ended up combination feeding after numerous problems). I really really wish I hadn't read this book, as it isn't any help at all with actual breastfeeding, but does make you feel like a complete failure, as well as nauseated by its patronising, preachy style. I ended up hurling my copy across the room in tears, and then taking it to the charity shop (although I wish now that I'd burnt it to stop anyone else getting their hands on it).

Apart from the style, these are its problems:

- Poorly indexed. It's a nightmare to find the information you want as the index is so poor. For instance, I wanted to find out what to do about blocked ducts, but could I find either "ducts" or "blocked" in the index? No. Found it by accident in the "mastitis" section. Not helpful as it assumes prior knowledge. I was better off Googling for info on Mumsnet.
- Judgmental - there is an awful lot here about how bad formula is (my baby would have been seriously ill without formula as my milk was so delayed coming in - we had to be readmitted to hospital so she could be tube fed). There is no nuance, or attempt to explain pros and cons, whereas I found breastfeeding had a lot of cons. Making out that formula is like poison isn't good for mothers or babies.
- Unrealistic - I'm not sure who the mothers are who have the time to lounge around naked with their babies for days at a time, but I certainly haven't come across them. The unrealistic expectations set out in this book set women up to fail, with all the damage that then does to early motherhood.
- Cutesy patronising style - this really grated. There are loads of silly little patronising anecdotes (I'd rather have some hard evidence). Poo is always called "poop".
- Agenda - the book heavily promotes attachment parenting, whereas I just wanted advice on breastfeeding, not a whole parenting style.

I'm sure there are better books out there about breastfeeding. The best advice I got was to do my best, top up with formula, and don't worry about it. It worked for us!
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on 9 September 2017
For a person who struggled with breastfeeding and ultimately was not able to do it, this book and its lack of sticking to an evidence base could easily push one into a very dark corner. It makes many claims of breastfeeding' superiority that are not wholly based in fact. Breastfeeding had been found to be marginally better in some, but not all, studies. It should most certainly be advocated of possible, but bottle feeding is a perfectly good alternative. There is a sense in this book that almost everyone can breastfeed if they put their mind to it - for those of us who have struggled and pumps our hearts out one meagre drop at a time, we know this not to be the case. It is very important to emphasise that not breastfeeding is ok. This is a recent quote from Professor Cathy Warwick, the chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives: ‘If women don’t breastfeed, I don’t think they should feel guilty,’ she said. ‘We have to say “breast is best” because it is, but what’s best for the population is maybe different from what’s best for the individual woman, and an individual woman can very successfully bond with their baby and bottle-feed their baby.’

I am disappointed in this book and would wholeheartedly advise against reading it if you are struggling. I read a good book called "what to expect when you're breastfeeding and what to do if you can't" which had excellent advice for breastfeeding and sensitive advice if it ultimately didn't work out.
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on 15 December 2015
I have to admit that I'm still halfway through it, but I couldn't help review it by now.

I was thoroughly advised to read this book and at the beginning I was verrry excited about it. I have to point out that I started reading it when my baby was more or less 1 month and a half old. I find it gives very useful advice and much needed information about breastfeeding that should definitely reach more mummies that aren't aware of the goodness of breast milk.


It itches me how they think about certain things, i. e, natural birth, natural everything... They speak about inductions and c-sections as if they were the evil and avoidable but when you have gestational diabetes and your baby doesn't want to come out on time, let me tell you, you have no choice but to be induced. I was able to deliver my baby without C-section and, yes, both my baby and I suffered the consequences of an induction. And yet, I had no trouble breastfeeding and feeling attached to my baby from day one.

I also find it a little disrespectful, probably not on purpose, to mums that really want to breastfeed but for some reason they can't. Sometimes, when reading, I have a feeling that formula-fed babies are doomed.

I don't like this aspect of the book and I think it should be reconsidered for future editions. Imagine that a pregnant lady reads this and after giving birth she has a c-section and/or can't breastfeed... She'll feel even more devastated.
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on 12 August 2012
I wish I read this book before I started breastfeeding but luckily enough i prouduced copious amounts of milk and did'nt have many problems with it, however the book was a hive of information on every aspect of breastfeeding from newborn to toddler and beyond, everything you need to know and almost every problem you WILL encounter on your breastfeeding journey will be in this book, I really believe it should be given to every mother who wants to nurse or try nursing, I really found the going back to work section good as I am still feeding my 15 month old and wanted to continue feeding her, I didnt want my milk to dry up and had some good pointers in there on expressing ect, I did however have a colicky baby and although my midwife swore blind breastfed babies DO NOT get colick,but there is was in the book, I over prouduced milk and my let down was to quick for my newborn so expressing off a bit of my milk before a feed helped a little on times as it took away the fountain guzzling down my poor baby's tiny mouth, I still read the book as I did encounter a few problems like my baby only feeding off one side, over prouduction, and the constant wondering if she was getting enough milk in those very early days, I am a pro now and can control my milk production depending on how often I feed my greedy piggy who loves the booby so much she would have me walk around braless so she could latch on anytime she wants!!! it is a beautiful way to bond with your baby and the longer you breastfeed the better it gets, an excellent book for anyone who has an interest in nursing, for new mothers and mothers who have bottle fed and want to have a go at joining the breastfeeding clan.....a really really really informative read that I would highly recommend.
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on 4 October 2012
I got this after breastfeeding several children, just to see if there was anything new to learn, and was very impressed with this book! I wish I would have had this with my first child...so much to be learned that would have made breastfeeding even more successful and enjoyable than it already was! I would highly recommend this to any mother wanting to breastfeed, even if you already think you know how, and even if you've fed more than one baby already...you will still learn lots! I really wish I would have had this before our second child was born (just 11 mos after our first) because I would have known that I could have nursed them both at the same time successfully (which is what I am doing with my 2 yr old and baby now)...I weaned the first one at 10 mos to be ready for the 2nd one, but he was not ready and neither was I, and I have always regretted it. I also would have solved some of the problems I had with baby number two and nursing and would have nursed longer had I known what I learned in this book. Things like I wish I would have known that when they seemed to not be getting enough, and wanted to nurse all the time, that they were going through growth spurts and I was actually making enough milk! Or that when they seemed to lose interest, that they were just going on a temporary "nursing strike" as is apparently common during certain stages of progress, and that they were not really ready to wean, but would come back in a few days! Breastfeeding the current two is SO much more successful now, and it is due, in huge part, to reading this book. Everything you can think of is covered in here, and if you have a question, I can almost guarantee that you will find the answer in this book!
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on 14 May 2013
I think this book has absolutely every bit of information for new mummies you could possibly think of. Even now with my second on the way, I find myself dipping into it periodically to find out why my breasts are acting a certain way. It's easy to find information in it because of the index at the back, which is cross referenced, so the same thing will appear under a different name if you're used to calling it something else. The one thing it doesn't really mention is tandem feeding, or feeding your older child whilst pregnant, I had to get "adventures in tandem nursing" to deal with that. Perhaps this is something to consider for the 9th edition...

Wonderful as a present for baby showers and for new mums, I've given it to a few friends who tried breastfeeding, and although 2 of them eventually switched to formula for various reasons, they told me later that they didn't really read the book until after they'd switched to formula and then having read parts, realise where they went wrong and now know what to do next time they have a baby. It's just a shame that medical personnel seem to be all gung ho on breastfeeding while you're pregnant and then once you're on the ward having had your baby, the majority medical staff then seem to want you to switch to formula so baby puts on weight quickly (since formula is made from cow's milk and designed to fatten up baby cows), some midwives even threatening to call social services if mums refuse (this has very sadly happened to 2 friends of mine) - this book has the support inside it that is sadly missing from our health service and society.
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on 29 November 2013
This book goes a long way to banishing the unpleasant and untrue myths about breastfeeding: that a woman won't have enough milk, that she must stop if she gets mastitis or a plugged duct, that she must supplement with formula, that breastfeeding is unnatural or uncomfortable, etc. Instead of perpetuating fear and discomfort about breastfeeding, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding strives to reintroduce breastfeeding as the natural, normal way to feed an infant and to get rid of some of the stigmas surrounding breastfeeding.

Particularly useful are the many pages on what to do if you have a problem, with specific solutions to problems and suggestions for places to go for help if things aren't working. While some of the positions taken may be considered extreme by those who have not been exposed to breastfeeding before (i.e. that breastmilk is the only nourishment a child needs until at least the age of six months, that breastfeeding can and should be continued for as long as a child wants to), it is a very naturalistic view of feeding an infant, and goes back to the roots of humankind to establish what is and has for millennia been the biological norm.

Another useful item in the book is a set of pages that are designed to be removed (or printed from the La Leche League website) to be posted on the refrigerator or in an otherwise accessible place for easy reference when it comes to some basic information and reminders about what is normal during breastfeeding.

All in all, it is an excellent 'Bible' of breastfeeding for those interested in a natural, healthy, and easy way to feed their infant.
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on 22 January 2013
This book is great for advice on 'how to breastfeed'. It's not such a great book for advice on raising your baby generally - sleeping particularly. I had a few problems with my baby's sleeping (and hence my own sleeping) from following the advice in this book (at seven months my little one was waking eight times a night). Thankfully I saw a sleep coach who sorted this out without resorting to cry it out methods and my baby now sleeps through the night from 7-7 and takes her required naps. The Baby Whisperer gives much better advice or the no cry sleep solution gives good advice on sleeping.

I suffered from four doses of mastitus and a breast abses when I started breastfeeding, while their advice on treatment was good, I found their attitude 'patronising'. I was in agony and in and out of hospital and the advice to 'feed through the whole thing' just annoyed me!

So, my advice is get this book for advice on breastfeeding (better go to a class before you're due and see a lactation consultant if you have problems after you have your baby). However, you'd be better served by reading other books for advice on parenting be it Dr Sears if you follow attachment parenting, Gina Ford if you believe in routines and structures, or my favourite which is a good half way house between the different views of parenting - Tracey Hogg's Baby Whisperer. If you only get one book The Baby Whisperer gives the most rounded and practical advice. My husband even read the book and tells all fathers that it's the only baby book worth reading.
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on 12 August 2013
I bought this book a little reluctantly when I was desperate for some help after my 3rd child was born tongue-tied. I had seen it recommend numerous times on a baby forum and decided to try it as a secondary book to another one I had bought at the same time. This one arrived first, however, and I never got around to reading the other one!

I say reluctantly because I am very scientific and matter-of-fact in the way that I think and I figured this book to be a wishy-washy lovey-dovey anti-formula book of mush. The reality was quite different! Or maybe it just brain-washed me into loving the wishy-washy lovey-dovey anti-formula way of thinking? I'm not even sure. Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It helped me with the technical, how-to side of breastfeeding (and other aspects of tiny-baby care) as well as teaching me something that I had not learnt when nursing my first two children: how to *enjoy* breastfeeding!

I had not managed to breastfeed my first two for as long as I had wanted. It was not a very enjoyable experience for me in the end and both times ended with a distressed mother and baby and an emergency trip to the supermarket for some formula. Why did I not know about The Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding until my 3rd child?! I fully credit this book to helping me succeed in and enjoy breastfeeding my 3rd child for 14 months, when it ended on *my* terms.

I recommend this book to anyone expecting a baby!
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