Funny how the click of a mouse can change your life and the lives of others forever. I became interested in health and nutrition while I was in college and desperately trying to shed the Freshmen 15. I read books, listened to lectures and combed through medical journals. Several years later I received a newsletter in my inbox. I was pregnant with my first child so I was especially interested in the results of a study about babies’ health and breastfeeding. I clicked where the newsletter said “read more,” and my life hasn’t been the same since.
That link led me to a review about a book called The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. I had zero experience. I had not thought about breastfeeding the baby I was carrying. I didn’t know any breastfeeding mothers. I had never even seen anyone breastfeed a baby! But the book’s excerpt had me hooked and I had to learn more.
As natural as it is for women to breastfeed their babies, it is not a skill that women naturally possess. It is a skill and an art that mothers have to learn and often need help with. La Leche League’s classic book,
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, is published by The Penguin Group. It was originally published in1958 and has been revised many times to include more scientific findings about the benefits of breastfeeding and to reflect the changing societal roles of women and men in child rearing.
It is a magnificent tool for teaching women the mechanics of breastfeeding and how to overcome common obstacles.
The book’s format allows the reader to quickly and easily find information. It begins by expressing the importance of breastfeeding and the many benefits for both mother and child. The text explains how breastfeeding is not just about feeding babies. It is a form of mothering that extends well beyond the act of feeding. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding explains the depth of connection and communication shared between a breastfeeding mother and her baby in a way that is difficult to truly understand without experiencing it. Some people criticize the book because it approaches breastfeeding from an attachment parenting perspective, but I appreciate the emphasis on keeping the baby close to the mother to successfully feed on demand. The text also provides information about pumping and storing breast milk for mothers who must or choose to separate from their babies, usually to return to working outside of the house. It offers a lot of support and gives important information detailing how to maintain a breastfeeding relationship after returning to work. It goes into detail about selecting a proper pump and how and when to introduce a bottle to a breastfed baby while still maintaining a breastfeeding relationship. The book does glamorize staying home with the baby and I can see how a mother who is working as a necessity rather than a choice may long to be a stay-at-home mother after reading it, but it is not critical of mothers who can’t or don’t want to remain at home.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding devotes a portion of the book to nursing in public. There is such hostility towards mothers who breastfeed in public. It is nice to see a book offer much-needed encouragement, especially to new mothers. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding explains how important it is to have a network of support to build confidence and to maintain a successful breastfeeding relationship. It urges readers to attend La Leche League meetings even before giving birth and to get support from more experienced mothers. Next, the book discusses birth and how some medications and interventions can affect the mother’s ability to breastfeed. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding presents a complete and realistic view of breastfeeding. It is honest about the difficulties that often occur during the first six weeks: cracked/bleeding nipples, uncertainty of whether your body is producing enough milk, loneliness and isolation, self-doubt, mastitis and more. It is very sympathetic to the feelings of a new mother and offers encouragement and practical advice. It contains information for both stay-at-home and working mothers. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding addresses aspects of breastfeeding from pregnancy and birth, early infancy, nursing toddlers, tandem feeding, nursing difficulties, death and complications, weaning, and even discipline. It contains relevant and important information for all breastfeeding mothers. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is an excellent resource and offers much-needed support and encouragement to mothers and fathers
Living the JACK'd Life
I am a certified birth doula (BAI) in Charlotte, NC . I provide information and support to pregnant individuals and couples so they can have satisfying and empowering births. I am a married mother of 4 trying to navigate life, unafraid of sharing my truly JACK'd up missteps.