Book Review: New Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding

I received the The New Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding (American Academy of Pediatrics) free for joining a mailing list. It was an incentive to the first 1500 subscribers to the healthychildren.org website. This book was an invaluable resource for me as a newcomer to breastfeeding. It was also the only book on breastfeeding I had, so I made good use of it.

I read this book in its entirety, reading a chapter a night in my last few weeks of pregnancy. Some of the information I knew from my years working in child care centers, a lot of the information was new to me. For example, I was surprised to learn that the AAP recommends breastfeeding beyond one year of age. Most experts agree that babies should be exclusively breastfed until 6 months of age, but even some of my doctor friends feel it’s not necessary to breastfeed past that time. My personal feeling is that 12-18 months is a good weaning time, but knowing the AAP’s stance has me rethinking how long I may breastfeed.

Some of the information contained in the book:

  • How Breastfeeding Works-information about the breast, types of milk you produce (yep, there’s more than one type) what affects breast milk and methods for breastfeeding
  • The First Feedings-including the first encounter, positions,  proper latch-on, and how to know if your child is getting enough milk
  • Special Situations-cesarean delivery, premature birth, newborn illness and multiples
  • Common Problems: Solutions and Treatments- breast pain, clogged ducts, engorgement, and common feeding problems
  • The Father’s (or Partner’s) Role-how partners can help, breastfeeding and sexuality
  • Weaning Your Baby-timing and methods

What I like about this book:

  • It was free for me (duh, isn’t free always better?)
  • It’s written for a large audience to understand, unlike many texts from medical organizations
  • It’s published by an accredited medical association
  • It’s comprehensive, I finished the book and didn’t have gaps in my knowledge of breastfeeding

What I think could be improved:

  • The book has only drawings, which aren’t always detailed enough to help a reader see what they are talking about
  • After living through my own challenges with breastfeeding, I know there are far more “tricks” one can use when you are having problems with breastfeeding (such as dribbling milk onto the nipple as the child tried to latch, and the “bait and switch” method using a pacifier.) I think the challenges of nipple confusion and how to overcome the issue should be expanded
  • The information is very traditional, for example, it only addresses the use of nipple shields for the issues of flat or inverted nipples, but I learned from the lactation consultants that a nipple shield may also be used to help a child back to nursing who has been given a bottle.
  • I think the book could benefit from discussing the emotional aspects of breastfeeding-for when it’s challenging and when it’s going well.

Even though I didn’t pay for this book, I would recommend buying it if you are looking for a book on breastfeeding (it’s cheaper on Amazon.com than on the AAP website, by the way). There are a lot of books out there on the subject and some of them may have better addressed my concerns, but this is the book I had at my disposal. It provided clear and basic info about breastfeeding. It helped me be prepared for my first encounters with breastfeeding and I truly believe I wouldn’t have done as well as I did if I hadn’t read the book. This book may not be for everyone. It’s an informational book and doesn’t get into more emotional (or spiritual) aspects of breastfeeding that other books may get into. I liked it because it was cut and dry, others may prefer a more touchy-feely vibe to their books.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me as an incentive for signing up for a website, it was not sent to me for the purposes of review. All opinions are my own.

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3 Comments

  1. onlineghostwriterforhire said,

    May 28, 2012 at 8:01 AM

    You are a Super-Duper, Ultra-Hip Mama!
    Keep up the great writing!

  2. yalu12 said,

    May 30, 2012 at 7:51 AM

    Does anyone realise how hard it is to keep breastfeeding? I am determined to get to 6 months with my son. It is lonely, hard work, tiring and disruptive. But I firmly believe it is the best thing for him. Surely the advice should be clear; to introduce raw fruit and veg alongside breastfeeding – not as a source of nutrution necessarily, but to supplement breastmilk IF you have a hungry baby.

  3. yalu12 said,

    May 30, 2012 at 7:51 AM

    . breast feeding problemscan be easily solved


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