Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

I recently finished the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (the revised and updated 8th edition) by La Leche League International for the second time and enjoyed it as much as the first time I read it. The first time I picked up this book I was pregnant with my first child and reading it as an expectant mom who had no previous knowledge of, or experience with, breastfeeding - I found it immensely helpful. Not only for the 'technical' aspects of breastfeeding, but also for things like what I can expect in terms of how often and how long my baby will eat for, emotionally how will breastfeeding make me feel, and what to do about nursing in public.
This time around I read it more critically as a Childbirth Educator for a book club that I am a part of. What struck me during this reading was the balance between the mechanics of breastfeeding (which it does an excellent job of explaining) and the emotional benefits to breastfeeding for both mother and child. I also found re-reading the sections on nursing older children, and weaning to be particularly interesting. I think that the first time I read the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding I was focusing so much on my newborn that nursing an older baby didn't really resonate with me.

Another thing that I love about this book is that it includes an appendix called the "Tear-Sheet Toolkit" (this information is also so helpful and essential that LLLI provides a pdf copy free on their website - I linked to it but I highly suggest picking up and reading the book in its entirety, not just the toolkit). In the toolkit you will find information about hand expressing milk and milk storage guidelines, hunger cues, and problem solving to name a few.
I highly recommend this book to any expecting or nursing parent, or anyone who will be coming in direct contact with new moms (health care providers, doulas, childbirth educators, grandparents, etc.).


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