Mamanista! » Books (Advice) » Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner’s Guide to Breastfeeding

Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner’s Guide to Breastfeeding

I don’t doubt that “breast is best,” but I am disturbed by the social pressure in some (primarily middle and upper-middle class) areas to breastfeed.
I worry about the problems some women have breastfeeding, the difficulty of balancing breastfeeding and work outside the home, and the challenge of finding a safe and comfortable place to breastfeed outside the home.

I’m still a Mama-to-Be and haven’t made up my mind yet, but want the right to make my own decision without lectures from breastfeeding activists/friends. Occasionally, I’ll sneak something into the Friday Playgroup (this and this) that shows my mixed feelings. Andi Silverman of Mama Knows Breast responded to one of my posts with a friendly offer to share a review copy of her new book, Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner’s Guide to Breastfeeding.

Andi’s book covers all the basics in a reassuring manner with straightforward advice on how to breastfeed (positioning, a proper latch, burping, how to tell if the baby is getting enough milk) and what can help (how to find a professional lactation consultant, how to handle sore nipples, and what to buy to increase your comfort while feeding).

Even better than finding a good breastfeeding 101 resource, Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner’s Guide to Breastfeeding had exactly the right tone. While Andi Silverman chose to breastfeed, she is respectful of other women’s decisions. She outlines both the best and the worst things about breastfeeding while addressing common concerns. For example, she has helpful suggestions on how to involve fathers in the feeding process in order to lighten the load on mom and help him bond with baby. She also explains how to handle breastfeeding if you plan to return to work outside the home.

I also found the breastfeeding etiquette section helpful. Some people, myself included, are naturally a bit shy. I don’t want to feel confined to my house for months, but I’m also not comfortable with the idea of breastfeeding in public. Even though she observes that it is not illegal to breastfeed in public, Andi acknowledges that not everyone is comfortable doing so. For those women, she has some helpful suggestions- finding a dressing room at the mall, a neglected aisle in a bookstore, or using a scarf or blanket to cover up. She also provides suggested responses to nosy and rude questions, such as a store employee who asks a woman to leave for breastfeeding. The suggested response run the gamut from polite to indignant, so you can pick the one that works best for your situation.

It’s rare to find a parenting book that’s both extremely informative and non-judgmental. I especially liked the conclusion: “No matter what anyone else says- and they’ll be sure to say a lot- you’re the one who decides how to feed your baby. You’re the Mama, and Mama Knows Breast.”

I found Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner’s Guide to Breastfeeding extremely helpful, and I wouldn’t hesitate to give it to any expectant mother pondering the breast/bottle decision or new mom struggling with breastfeeding.

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5 Responses to "Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner’s Guide to Breastfeeding"

  1. Mama Luxe says:

    I am glad the book strikes an encouraging and thoughtful note and provides cool suggestions–and I am so glad you were able to read it.

    In the beginning, I would search out dressing rooms, if only to find a place to sit down. Ultimately, however, I found that it just took too long to ask the nice salesperson at the store I was in to hold my items (if it wasn’t a clothing store), find an open dressing room, nurse, and rejoin my friends or my shopping trip…only to do the whole thing again an hour later!

    But you should do what makes you and baby most comfortable! A comfy mama is a happy mama and ain’t mama happy, ain’t nobody happy…

    I’m curious as to which aisles are most neglected in bookstores? ;)

    I’d also love to see her suggested responses that run the gamut. I think it is good to plan ahead for these things!

    Sounds like a great book…

  2. MamaBunny says:

    Sounds like a good book. I wish I had this book 3 1/2 years ago!

    I am lucky to have a long nursing relationship with my daughter, and I appreciate that every mom has different breastfeeding experiences and goals, whether it’s for 3 days or 3 years.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like a book I’d like to have read. Of the three BFing books I have, one is so totally in a world all its own for bad advice, and one is almost painful to read as you negotiate the author’s obvious attempts to hide her opinions about formula-feeding moms. Seriously, if you’ve already decided to give BFing a go, you don’t need the preaching, just some practical answers to all your questions. Good review.

  4. Tana says:

    Nicely written review.

    I find that when you read too much about breastfeeding issues and problems ahead of time, you become needlessly worried. Sounds like you have a good attitude about seeing if it’s for you — just try not to worry too much about what could go wrong. I worried (quite needlessly, by the way) for the first 6 weeks about all the horror stories I’d read, then I realized that my baby already knew what she was doing, and the whole thing got much easier for me when I let go of all that fear. Keep the book nearby if you run into trouble, but otherwise, don’t stress.

    I just wish everybody felt like they had a support system, no matter what they chose to do about feeding baby. Being a new parent is challenging enough without feeling pressured — or alone! Good luck to you, either way.

  5. Carrie says:

    What a great review. We chose to breastfeed and couldn’t be happier with our choice… we were very nervous about the nursing in public thing, too. I found the car or a dressing room to be totally private and cozy and make me feel like I could leave the house. Congratulations on your pregnancy… babies are such wonderful gifts!

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