Yes, this book is strongly worded and can be viewed as being "judgmental", but it is FULL of information. Dr. Newman is just a VERY strong advocate of breastfeeding. All of the research is out there: formula just can't, and never will, come close to resembling breast milk or providing the benefits that breast milk does. He doesn't sugar coat things. If you want a book that makes breastfeeding sound like a choice, or will make you feel good about not trying to breastfeed or giving up easily, this book won't be it.
But, if you want a book that 100% supports your decision to breastfeed, and is reassuring that you can overcome the hurdles, this book is it. Despite most literature agreeing that breastfeeding is better than formula, there is still a lot of information that isn't presented about WHY - the real details. This book made it clear why formula isn't even close to being as good as breast milk, which I really didn't understand before, I just accepted it.
There are some women that breastfeeding doesn't work for. I am completely sympathetic and supportive. Some medical conditions and some mental conditions make it nearly impossible. To those moms, I support you 100%. You have had to make a difficult decision. Rest easy knowing you have done everything you can.
The big thing this book helped me with was the decision to breastfeed despite the fact that I am on antidepressants. I am bipolar, and I suffer predominantly from severe depression. I am at high risk of postpartum depression, so I was terrified to go off my meds, but I really wanted to breastfeed. This book was so reassuring that the amount of medication the baby gets is negligible. Having a mentally stable mother and a breastfed baby is much better than a horribly depressed mother, or a baby on formula.
I read The Nursing Mother's Companion, but this book beats it hands down. I feel so much more confidant about my choices and abilities now.
My baby is now 8 months old and we are still breastfeeding. It was very difficult at first, and I wanted to give up. I cried in the hospital, and I had bloody nipples with chunks coming loose. But we stuck with it, and I am so glad we did. Nursing provides the most wonderful bond. It is my special time with her after working all day; she looks so happy and peaceful. She has been sick once.
One thing I do disagree with now, in hindsight. I used a bottle from the first day. My psychiatrist ordered me to get 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night to prevent depression and hypo-mania. My husband fed the baby formula from a bottle the first week, and after that I had pumped milk that he fed her. She never suffered from nipple confusion. We used NUK nipples, and she never had an issue. She nursed like a champ. And because I got enough sleep, I stayed mentally healthy.
When we had such a difficult time in the hospital, I did give her a little bit of formula. She was so hungry she was crying hysterically, making it impossible to latch on. A little formula helped calm her, and made it easier to learn latching on.
Take one new mom's experience for what it is worth. I still really recommend this book. It gave me the courage and the strength to hang in there when the going got really tough. Its the most rewarding thing I have ever done!