02 August 2012

World Breastfeeding Week: Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers

There is a bewilderingly vast array of resources on breastfeeding available to new mothers today.  The only book I really read was The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers, mainly because a friend was so good as to send me a copy, and then our library didn't have much else!  I did find it fairly useful, although I wouldn't recommend it to every new mom-to-be.

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers, by Dr. Jack Newman and Teresa Pitman, is a collection of medical information, advice, and anecdotes aiming to address problems and concerns new breastfeeding mothers have on a wide range of subjects, from jaundice to taking medication while breastfeeding to correcting a poor latch.  Each subject is explained in depth, often illustrated with examples from Dr. Newman's breastfeeding clinic.

The book is a treasure trove of information.  It gave me a sense of confidence about my own ability to breastfeed even before Little Bear was born, and provided a reassuring voice in the back of my mind through the first miserably sleepless nights when I wondered whether this was really going to work.  I have an acute case of desiring to know how and why everything works, and TUBBoA provided surprisingly detailed answers to all of my questions.  For the mom-to-be who knows that she is committed to breastfeeding her child but wants more information, this book will be a valuable addition to the bookshelf.

For the new mother who is still on the fence about breastfeeding, though, TUBBoA may be off-putting; the authors can come across at times as condescending and judgmental toward women who choose to formula feed.  There is also an undertone of negativity toward maternity wards, hospital nurseries, and pediatricians, as they make sure to prepare women to fight with hospital staff for the ability to breastfeed.  I understand that in some hospitals the attitudes toward breastfeeding may not have changed as much in the past 20 years as it has in others, and I did interact with at least one nurse during our hospital stay who was definitely with the old guard, but aside from a few isolated incidents the hospital staff we worked with were overwhelmingly supportive of breastfeeding; it left me rather disappointed that the book put so much effort into inculcating the impression that I would have to fight to be allowed to breastfeed the way I wanted to, which simply did not turn out to be the case.

If you are breastfeeding or know that you are going to breastfeed, I can confidently recommend The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers; you will likely be pleasantly surprised by how many of your questions will be clearly and comprehensively answered!  If you are still not sure, though, perhaps you should consider looking for a book with a less combative style for your introduction to the topic.

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