The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers Paperback – 2006
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In this fully revised and updated edition of The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers, two of today's foremost lactation experts help new mothers overcome their fears, doubts, and practical concerns about one of the most special ways a mother can bond with her baby. In this comprehensive guide to nursing, Dr. Jack Newman, a leading authority on infant care, and Teresa Pitman, a La Leche League leader for more than twenty years, give you the facts about breastfeeding and provide solutions for the common problems that arise. Filled with the same practical advice that made the first edition a must-have for nursing moms, the new edition features updates on: achieving a good latch what to do if your baby refuses the breast avoiding sore nipples ensuring your baby gets enough milk feeding a colicky baby breastfeeding premature and special-needs babies Paperback: 464 pages
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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!
This book is probably a decent resource for moms who aren't quite sure what to do but who have babies that will latch on. However, for moms who know what to do but who have babies that won't latch on, this book won't help.
The book does come down on bottle use perhaps more harshly than it needs to. The issue here is that while some babies successfully continue breastfeeding while also using bottles, many don't. It's just easier and faster for them to drink out of a bottle than out of mommy's breast, and who doesn't like easier? It's very possible, however, that this is less of an issue than it was before because the newer nipples are designed to release their contents more slowly than before and act more like a breast in the way they work. Here, I think it's best for families to do what makes the most sense for their financial/work situation. After all, it's really hard to breastfeed your kid while they're in day care and staying home isn't always an option for people.
As for the formula issue, this book is less judgmental of formula use than it is of formula companies. Unless something has seriously changed in the last few years, it acknowledges that formula can be a useful and necessary option, even if it prefers for it to be a last resort. Formula can be a lifesaver for babies and families that cannot breastfeed and have no access to banked milk (which is most of the country outside of major metropolitan areas). The issue is less about feeding needy babies than it is about the way the formula is sold to us. Case in point...since I got pregnant again, I had started receiving all kinds of "helpful" bits of marketing from Enfamil and Simulac...and there wasn't one piece of all that marketing that wasn't predicated on the notion that it is practically impossible to breastfeed exclusively. Every single piece, in some small and subtle way, included the message that I wouldn't have enough milk or enough time, or that I would need the formula to hand the baby off to daddy and give myself some "mommy space." They look so well-meant on the surface, but these negative messages about the difficulty of breast-feeding undermine the confidence of a tired and achy mommy, especially one who probably already doubts her ability to breastfeed because this is her first or she had a bad experience before. I've got no judgement for any of you mamas out there who are struggling to figure this breastfeeding thing out...I know from first hand experience that if you are having breastfeeding challenges, those little formula packets they send you start to look more and more and more appealing as time goes by and your baby won't stop crying. I know that unless you are completely committed to breastfeeding, with real and enduring outside support (partner support is vital), your breastfeeding attempts will fail and you will end up with a baby on formula. It's not because you're a bad mom. It's because sometimes things get really hard and we just don't know what else to do. Formula companies know this about us and they take advantage of this in all that "friendly" marketing they send us. Yes, there is a time and a place for using formula, but please realize that it is a highly-marketed product that is sold to us for the express purpose of making its manufacturers a profit. Like every other corporate entity in the world, the more product the formula companies sell us, the more money they make. Why on earth would they want any of us to do that free breastfeeding thing?
If you want to breastfeed, read this book. It is an invaluable resource. But also realize that no book can take the place of personal, consistent support from your partner, your friends, your family and your community. And realize that part of your successful breastfeeding journey will lie in creating a mental filter to block out the many anti-breastfeeding messages we receive from well-meaning people and less well-meaning companies every day. You don't need the free packets. You can call and get off the marketing lists. And if it does turn out that at the end of the day formula is your only option, know that you really did give it your absolute best try. Good luck, mommies.
How wrong I was! Though there are lots of pictures and explainations on how to achieve a good latch, I found I needed the hands-on help of an LC to actually get it. Pictures just weren't enough.
However, the real value of this book was something I had not taken into account when choosing it. Dr. Newman is very pro-breastfeeding, to the point of militancy. Though his tone can be a bit alarming it is successful at hitting home a number of valuable points.
1) Nearly all babies can be breastfed. As long as the mother makes the commitment and reaches out for support, any problem can be solved. Babies learn to breastfeed by breastfeeding, so stick with it!
2) Formula makers have spent millions of dollars convincing mothers that formula is a good second-best alternative to breastfeeding. Dr. Newman says that it's at most a fourth-best alternative and should be treated as such.
3) Bottles are harmful to the establishment of breastfeeding and should be avoided completely until breastfeeding is firmly established, and better yet, avoided altogether.
4) Pediatricians and hospitals are just not well-trained when it comes to breastfeeding thanks to years of formula's dominance. If you are not getting the support you need, seek it out elsewhere. Don't reflexivly kow-tow to their authority if it means undermining your breastfeeding relationship with your little one.
Though I had plentiful supply, I had problems in the first weeks with the latch and might have broken down and used some of the free formula the hospital gave us (yes, Dr. Newman rails against that common practice as well) if I had not read this book and known that I could overcome my problems with help and patience. I know too many women who gave up on breastfeeding because it was not as easy as they were led to believe. Dr. Newman's book helped me with my resolve and to a lesser extent with technique.
Though some women may recoil at his very anti-bottle and formula stance, that should not detract from the important message of the book. Breastfeeding may be natural, but it's still a skill that has to be learned and practiced to get right.