This book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding: Completely Revised and Updated 8th Edition is a mammoth book by La Leche League International. A national bestseller, it is fortunately divided into four parts: New Beginnings; Ages and Stages; The Big Questions; and Resources, over many chapters making the book less daunting.
The tone and intention behind the book is one of love, support, and non-judgment. The authors repeatedly reassures the breastfeeding mother (undoubtedly their intended reader) that there is no normal – only average weights, suggested breastfeeding positions etc. Having covered the main questions by broad strokes, the book then goes onto covers expectations at the different ages and developmental stages of the child. It logically only then addresses specific questions mothers might have. Towards the end of the book, there are resources presented as known as tear-sheets (I’d call them cheat-sheets) which undoubtedly the tired and frazzled mother might find useful.
I would recommend this book to all women thinking of or are breastfeeding as a reference guide for them.
I enjoyed the tone and voice of the three authors. It was also clear that it was not one singular voice, but a collective voice behind the book which made it even more of a camaraderie feel to it. This, I feel, is important as so many breastfeeding women might find themselves alone, lonely, or in isolation taking care of their infant while their partners are at work. I appreciate the plain language, practical approach and matter-of-fact tone.
This book is heavy. I couldn’t carry it around easily, and couldn’t read it easily when commuting or in public. There is an image of a breastfeeding woman on the cover – not that I really care, but I imagine many women who would be self-conscious to read this in public (coming back to it is a heavy book!). More images, particularly illustrations, would have been useful, rather than descriptive words or photographs which don’t translate so well as a black-and-white image. Shorter, sharper, and cleaner copy would have been appreciated, boxed text, as well as bullet for important points might be useful for the readers.
Breastfeeding is NOT supposed to be painful. It is supposed to be easy, pleasurable even, and facilitating bonding, nursing, and mothering all at once. This was reiterated at several places in the book – and one that probably does warrant repetition!
I feel less intimidated about supporting clients who require breastfeeding support having read this book. This is a mammoth reference book and required through and slow reading so as not to miss out o the details, in order to better support my future clients. Hence, it is well worth purchasing this book.
And of course, this is also a good resource for breastfeeding mothers. I would recommend this to women who like to read, prepare themselves for motherhood and breastfeeding, and who already experience questions and difficulties around breastfeeding.
About the Authors
Since 1955, when La Leche League started in the Chicago suburbs with seven women intent on spreading information about the benefits of breastfeeding, it has grown into the leading breastfeeding advocacy organization in the world. La Leche League International regularly holds seminars and workshops for health-care professionals and parents, and publishes more than twenty books on child care.
About the Reviewer
Dr. Martha Tara Lee is Founder, Relationship Counselor Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching. She is a certified sexologist with a Doctorate in Human Sexuality. She provides sexuality and relationship coaching and counseling for individuals and couples, conducts sexual education workshops and speaks at public events. She is the author of the books Love, Sex and Everything In-Between, and Orgasmic Yoga. She is also the host of the weekly radio show Eros Evolution on OMTimes Radio. For more, visit www.ErosCoaching.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.