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The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (1958)

by La Leche League International

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1,519168,446 (4.22)5
A guide for expectant and new mothers on breastfeeding thier baby.

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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
First read: 2013/04 ( )
  mirenbz | Jun 14, 2020 |
I read this after having nursed three children for a little less than two years each (probably a total of five years spent nursing) because I was curious if there was anything I didn't already know. I skimmed a lot but there were helpful things I learned. I didn't agree with everything- after reading I felt guilty for weaning my children from nursing at night (all over a year old) because of back pain I suffer from. But I believe there needs to be a strong voice for women nursing as long as they are able and this book provides that. It reminds me of my first labor experience- I had a midwife who kept telling me that it was ok to take pain medication if I needed to, which to my mind felt like she was telling me I couldn't be successful at labor. But it was my mom telling me, "You can do it, you don't want to give up, an unmediated birth is what you wanted, it's important to you," gave me confidence and comfort in spite of the pain. Women need cheerleaders like that in breast feeding. ( )
  wrightja2000 | Sep 6, 2018 |
The most destructive and manipulative book I was given while pregnant. By far.

I planned to fully breastfeed, and read the book with that goal in mind. I couldn't believe how unpleasant and judgemental the tone could get in this book. And I was appalled at how many false and thoroughly disproved statements were made about formula. I came away completely disgusted with how the book's authors regard women who formula-feed.

I read this book before I had my child, specifically to prepare for my plan of exclusive breastfeeding. I came away nauseated at how cruel and dismissive the book was, toward anyone who didn't toe the EBF line. Under a veneer of pseudo-soothing language, the implications were clear.

As someone who was already planning to breastfeed, the book should have been preaching to the choir. But it just made me angry with its nonstop smugness.

It made me wonder, why did the author write this book? To explain and promote breastfeeding, or to be covertly hateful toward people who don't? Because the book would have been much better without that second part.

In the end, this not a book for people who want rational breastfeeding/infant feeding advice. It's a support guide for people who have a great deal of identity invested in breastfeeding. I should have been clued in by the title referring to breastfeeding as an "art". ( )
  Coatlicue | Aug 3, 2016 |
I was given this book when pregnant, and have serious doubts about it. I am still breastfeeding, with a baby now 15 weeks, but in spite of the book, rather than because of it.

- First of all, the length is hugely off-putting if you want to breastfeed. It looks deeply intimidating.
- Poorly indexed. You don't have to read the whole thing (I certainly didn't), but it's a nightmare to find the information you want as the index is so poor. For instance, I wanted to find out what to do about blocked ducts, but could I find either "ducts" or "blocked" in the index? No. Found it by accident in the "mastitis" section. Not helpful as it assumes prior knowledge. I was better off Googling for info on Mumsnet.
- Judgmental - there is an awful lot here about how bad formula is (my baby would have been seriously ill without formula as my milk was so delayed coming in - we had to be readmitted to hospital so she could be tube fed). There is no nuance, or attempt to explain pros and cons, whereas I found breastfeeding had a lot of cons (yes, I am still doing it). Making out that formula is like poison isn't good for mothers or babies.
- Unrealistic - I'm not sure who the mothers are who have the time to lounge around naked with their babies for days at a time, but I certainly haven't come across them. The unrealistic expectations set out in this book set women up to fail, with all the damage that then does to early motherhood.
- Cutesy patronising style - this really grated. I couldn't have read it straight through even if I'd wanted to, as the style is SO annoying. There are silly little anecdotes (I'd rather have some hard evidence). Poo is always called "poop".
- Agenda - the book heavily promotes attachment parenting, whereas I just wanted advice on breastfeeding, not a whole parenting style.

I'm sure there are better books out there about breastfeeding. The best advice I got was to do my best, top up with formula, and don't worry about it. ( )
  Daisydaisydaisy | Mar 20, 2016 |
This new edition is a big improvement over older ones I've seen, but I found some elements of it off-putting and suspected that they weren't well backed up by research. I can't be bothered to look up the exact sentence, but somewhere in the early chapters there was something to the effect of: "Any amount of formula is damaging." Really? How? Is one bottle of formula measurably detrimental? I find that hard to stomach. The emphasis on natural birth is ok, but the vast majority of women have some interventions especially in their first births. Starting off by saying to most of us that we're off to a bad start with breastfeeding is really annoying, and pointless.

That said, there was a lot of good information, particularly in the later chapters of the books which deal with challenges and different situations. Because really, that's when you need help, not if you have the perfect storybook childbirth and smooth sailing from there on. ( )
  Amelia_Smith | May 2, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
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We dedicate this book with much love to the many caring parents who have helped make La Leche League what it is today, and to our patient, loving husbands and children, all of whom helped the seven of us learn the womanly art of breastfeeding.

This book could not have been written and the basic principles underlying the work of La Leche League would not have withstood the test of time, had it not been for the unfailing counsel of Doctors Herbert Ratner and Gregory White, who have wholeheartedly supported us from the earliest days of La Leche League. For this, we are most grateful.
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Breastfeeding is the most natural source of nourishment and security for your baby.
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A guide for expectant and new mothers on breastfeeding thier baby.

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