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If you’re in a hurry and just want to find out what the best breastfeeding book is, I’d recommend the The Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding.
Your newborn is sheer perfection, yet your heart is feeling the burden of not having the breastfeeding experience you had hoped for. It was supposed to be easy. It wasn’t supposed to hurt. Yet here we are with a fussy baby, cracked nipples, and broken dreams of being your baby’s source of nutrition.
If you are experiencing difficulties nursing your baby, then here are the best breastfeeding books to assist you in achieving your dream.
Here are the breastfeeding books I will be reviewing:
- The Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding
- The Nursing Mother’s Companion The Breastfeeding Book Mothers Trust, from Pregnancy through Weaning
- Work. Pump. Repeat.: The New Mom’s Survival Guide To Breastfeeding And Going Back To Work
- Bestfeeding: How To Breastfeed Your Baby
- Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws For Nursing Mothers
- Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding: From the Nation’s Leading Midwife
- LACTIVATE!: A User’s Guide To Breastfeeding
- The Breastfeeding Book: Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Your Child from Birth Through Weaning
- The Food Of Love: The Easier Way To Breastfeed Your Baby
- The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers
Why Do I Need A Book About Breastfeeding?
Well to be honest, breastfeeding is one of the most difficult things to master. There is the pressure of needing to keep the baby fed, there is pain when the latch isn’t perfect, there are tears when it seems that you will never find the right position for your newborn to latch easily, and then the special diet that needs to be followed and the importance of staying hydrated. That is a lot for a new mom to handle. Having a book with all the tips and tricks on your nightstand may be a lifesaver when you feel like throwing in the towel.
How To Choose The Best Breastfeeding Book?
Take into account your learning style. If you are a visual learner, you will want to find a book that is filled with visual references. Do you prefer to read books that are heavily evidence based and clinical or will you relate more to text written with feeling and with conversational language?
Also take into account the type of breastfeeding book that you think will parallel your lifestyle the most. If you are working outside of the home you will want a book that is full of tips and tricks for pumping in the workplace.
When To Read Your Breastfeeding Book
There may be a lot of unfamiliar words and scenarios that don’t make sense, but in order to gain the most from your breastfeeding book, consider reading through it before you expect to go into labor. Take your last few days of uncomfortable lounging and get through as much of your book as possible.
It will be very beneficial for you to have a head start on feeding your baby because once you deliver your newborn, breastfeeding will begin within minutes of their arrival. You may have a higher chance of successful nursing if you are familiar with some techniques before you find yourself with a newborn in your arms.
It’s More Than Nutrition
If you are hoping to search out more reasons why breastfeeding might be the best option for you and baby, then here are a few points for you to consider. The increased skin-to-skin contact that occurs when you are nursing your baby allows for an easier time bonding with your little one. In addition, your hormones are transferred through the milk and allow for your little one to relax and even get sleepy when they breastfeed.
However, If you are needing to use formula, you can still benefit from increased bonding by keeping the baby cradled skin-to-skin in your arms and by your chest while they are sucking from the bottle.
Are You Exclusively Pumping?
If so, then reading a book on breastfeeding will still give you a lot of helpful information. You can gain knowledge on boosting milk supply, proper milk storage, and what types of foods you should avoid eating to prevent excess gas and reflux in your baby.
Are You Feeling Like A Failure?
Let me take a few moments to say that sure, breastfeeding can be great. But if your mental and emotional health are hitting rock bottom because nursing is not working like it’s supposed to, or your milk supply seems dismal you are NOT a failure. Loving your baby means taking care of them and holding them close. If you are feeding your baby, then you are not a failure.
Formula is not a label of shame even though you may feel that way. If you have given breastfeeding your all and have tried every piece of advice in the books, then give yourself a pat on the back, mama. You will always be exactly what your baby needs you to be, breastfed or not.
Formula is created to mimic breastmilk as closely as possible, and there are so many options, including organic, soy, lactose free, and kosher milk formulas. You can even find baby bottles that are shaped to resemble a mother’s breast. No matter how you choose to feed your baby in the long run, remember that “fed is best.”.
Take The Salad Bar Approach
Informational books tend to sound ”preachy,”and that is because the author should be an expert on the subject being discussed. While this may turn you away from wanting to read a particular book, understand that each book is written to cover a wide range of topics, including latch technique, formula, and postpartum depression. You will hear many of these books say repeatedly that breastmilk is the best form of nutrition. And while that is true, it is not the whole story. Some women simply can not make it work, and that is totally fine. Just keep in mind that these books are written to encourage you to succeed. Take to heart the sections that are helpful to your journey and dismiss the pieces of the book that are not relevant.
My Breastfeeding Book Reviews
There are many books that are written with the intent of encouraging moms in their breastfeeding journey. I have selected my favorites and have reviewed them for you below.
The Womanly Art Of breastfeeding is my top choice for the best breastfeeding book. Written by La Leche League International, this book contains a wealth of knowledge for moms wanting to breastfeed their children. The book is written to mimic a la Leche league meeting and has answers to the hundreds of questions that new moms have stored in their minds.
The Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding addresses women in all walks of life, including single parents, working mothers, stay at home moms, or mothers of multiples.
I love that this book takes the time to cover the hard things, such as unplanned cesarean sections, premature delivery, postpartum complications, difficulty losing weight, and postpartum mood disorders. They offer tips on how to build a network of encouraging moms and educate the readers on the importance of realizing that it’s okay to not feel perfect after having a baby.
Be aware that there are some parts of this book that may feel judgmental and might be described as “mom-shaming.” There are many different ways to raise a baby, and they all yield a well-loved and well-fed little darling. If you feel personally attacked by some of the information in this book, simply skip over it and focus on the sections that are legitimately helpful and encouraging to you.
Overall this book is a wonderful resource to have on your nightstand. Although there are only a handful of photos included throughout the book, you will find most of your questions about latching, positioning, pumping, or expressing will be answered.
- Question and answer based writing
- Addresses women in all walks of life
- Discusses losing weight and postpartum disorders
- May feel judgemental
- Very few pictures
The writers of this book truly understand how breastfeeding is indeed natural but that it is not instinctual for all mothers and newborns. For many it takes hours, weeks, even months of grueling work. This important mindset is one of the healthiest you can have, and for this reason, I am giving this book the award for being the most sensitive.
The topics in this book cover nursing positions, supply, pumping, routines, working moms, milk storage, and introducing solid food. WIthin the pages you can also find sections on postpartum headaches and nausea, nutritional supplements to treat postpartum depression, co-sleeping, and preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
One unique and very helpful feature is the inclusion of colorful bands printed on the side of the book which take you to indispensable problem solving guides. At any moment you can quickly turn to the part of the book you need most and have your questions answered.
The author of this book does seem to push exclusive breastfeeding repetitively, which may rub some readers the wrong way, especially if they are undecided or are struggling to nurse their baby. Other than that, the tone of the book is not judgemental and truly is a wonderful resource to have on hand.
- The book is sensitive to the fact that breastfeeding can be extremely difficult
- Problem solving guides that are easy to locate
- Pushes exclusive breastfeeding every few pages
Much like it says in the title, this book wins the award for the most valuable resource for the working mother. The author is very affirming of your decision to breastfeed and work, which is invaluable to new moms who often struggle with knowing what the right decision is for herself and her new baby.
If you find yourself in the nitty gritty of exclusively pumping so you can keep up with your career, then this book may welcome you some relief. The author Jessica Shortall shares how to survive as a working mom and offers a road map for discussing your pumping schedule with your co-workers, conversations to have with your employer, navigating pumping and business travel, and how to make the best of less than desirable pumping locations.
The author shares about her journey battling guilt and stress as she balanced breastfeeding and working and has affirmations, advice, and humor from other moms who survived this unique challenge as well.
Overall this book is a wonderful resource, and if you are still expecting and know that you will be heading back to work after maternity leave, then consider giving this book a read to mentally and emotionally prepare yourself for what situations you may face as you begin the brave decision to breastfeed and work.
- Affirming to moms who need to work outside of the home
- Focuses on maintaining a healthy relationship with co workers
- Offers advice on pumping in the workplace
- This book is not intended to assist you with exclusive breastfeeding
With over 100 photos included within its pages, this book wins the award for the best breastfeeding book for visual learners.
This book answers all the questions that are running through a new mom’s head, such as tried and true solutions to common and unusual problems and the do’s and don’ts of breastfeeding.
This book is a wonderful combination of clinical expertise, academic knowledge, and practical skills and will help you and your baby thrive physically and emotionally as you navigate the breastfeeding journey together.
The author states unashamedly that breastfeeding is the best way to nourish a baby. With that being said, the wording in the book is very sensitive and you will not find the text to be judgemental.
However, some readers may find the information is very dry, as in it’s all facts and advice, no real meat in between. If you are hoping for a quick read that will answer all your questions then this is a great choice. If you are searching for a book that is more conversational, then you will want to choose another breastfeeding book.
- Over 100 photos
- Great balance of clinical expertise and practice advice
- Non judgemental
- Very dry
- Mostly academic advice with no real conversation or empathy
This book is designed to help mothers overcome challenges in their breastfeeding journey. If you need advice on nursing positions, milk production, preventing and treating mastitis, tips on how to efficiently pump and store breastmilk and transitioning your baby to eating solid foods, then this would be a valuable book to have on hand.
The seven natural laws in this book are laid out in a clear and concise manner, and the simplicity of the language helps moms easily understand how to correct a latch or build up her milk supply.
While this book is a jewel of a resource for all things breastfeeding related, it does talk down to mothers who choose to hang up the nursing bras and switch to formula. They reference formula as the inferior choice and talk about the negative implications for the baby. Nursing is certainly a great option, but formula is also a good choice as your baby will be equally fed and nourished. And there is nothing wrong with that dear mama.
Sections of the book seem a bit repetitive, and the topics discussed include a lot of non essential information making it difficult to locate certain parts you want to go back to reference. However, there are several lovely photos throughout the book which enhance the educational quality of the book and allow new moms to have an easier understanding of how to achieve the correct nursing positions.
- Breaks breastfeeding down into seven easily understandable laws
- Helpful photos throughout the book
- Not supportive of using formula
- Repetitive information in the book
Ina May Gaskin has been providing midwifery care to women for decades and has filled the contents of this book with the wealth of her knowledge of breastfeeding. Her positive outlook on life is reflected in her writing, which makes this book a treasure of peaceful advice.
This book covers the surface of a wide variety of tips, including the benefits of nursing, pumping, working mama support, medications, nursing multiples, sick babies, nursing aversions, and weaning.
Ina Gaskin also shares several stories from her time as a midwife with hopes that you will be able to relate to them and not feel alone in your struggles.
The tone of this book is warm and friendly, which helps to ease mothers’ tension and stress as they learn all they can about how their body works and which external factors may be contributing to nursing difficulties.
The sections on why breastfeeding is beneficial for mom and baby and a woman’s right to breastfeed in public are the largest sections in this book. While both of those topics are important, some moms may wish for more information on nursing positions and tips to solve low milk production. There are also not many photos within the book for visual references.
Overall this book is a very valuable resource, and whether you are pregnant with your first baby or if you just gave birth to your third baby, this book has something for everyone.
- Warm and friendly speaking tone
- Covers a wide variety of topics
- Not only for first time moms
- The bulk of the book is focused on benefits of nursing and breastfeeding in public
- Not many pictures
If you have been searching for a judgment-free book to learn more about breastfeeding, then you may want to consider reading through this book. The tone of this book is the perfect balance between informational and loving, and readers will feel known and affirmed in their struggles.
This book takes extra care to cover every bit of newborn nursing questions you have. There are sections on why latching hurts and how to correct it; how much your baby should be eating including what colostrum is and how it differs from milk; what the first ninety days of nursing your infant should look like.
Lactivate also takes the time to lay out information about a mom’s diet during the breastfeeding time, such as what foods could be making your baby gassy, including foods that you eat that may decrease or increase your milk supply. Regardless of what information you need that day, you will be able to locate the section of advice quickly.
This book covers a wide variety of topics; however, if you are looking for in-depth explanations of the information, then this book may not be what you are looking for.
Overall this book is a great resource and will provide you with how-to’s in every area of your breastfeeding or pumping journey.
- Affirming to mothers who are struggling
- Covers all newborn care questions
- Does not go very in depth on the topics covered
The Breastfeeding Book: Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Your Child from Birth Through Weaning
If you are convinced that you will have no other way than breastfeeding your baby, then consider diving into this book to learn all the ins and outs of nourishing your baby with your body.
There are illustrations to go along with latch positions and several easy-to-read charts, which is especially helpful for visual learners.
There are a wide variety of topics covered in this book, including increasing your milk supply, pumping, how to balance breastfeeding and working out of the home, and optimal nutrition for your baby.. There is a breakdown of what breastmilk is made up from and how each part is essential to your baby’s growth and development.
There are also special sections with advice for nighttime feedings, how nursing may affect your fertility, and extended breastfeeding your toddler.
This book states how beneficial breastfeeding is for both the baby and mom and takes a stance that if you know the benefits of nursing, and how to do it, there is no reason why you won’t be able to succeed. This may be motivating to certain moms, but to others who are truly struggling with supply or pain, this can be very discouraging. Keep an open mind when reading it and glean what you can without letting yourself get too stressed.
- Several pictures and charts to learn from
- Special topics include fertility and extended breastfeeding
- States that there is no excuse for not breastfeeding your baby
The Food Of Love wins the award for the most lighthearted book on breastfeeding as it offers a fresh perspective and a subtle sense of humor.
The author is a mother herself and touches on many important topics, including discussing what attachment parenting is and how it benefits the breastfeeding relationship. She takes the time to explain how to make breastfeeding successful in a personal and friendly way.
Inside the book you will find step-by-step instructions on navigating your baby’s first feeds, the components of breastmilk and what makes it special, nighttime feeding tips, deciphering your baby’s cries, breastfeeding positions, and what to expect from the “baby blues.”
There are several visuals within the pages to enhance your learning experience, and the book was designed to be a perfect square, which will allow it to stay open on the side table or bed so you can read while you are nursing your baby.
While this book has a lot of helpful information on breastfeeding and your relationship with your baby, it was not created to be a problem solving handbook. If you are in the thick of nursing troubles, this may not be the best option for you.
This is a judgment-free book, and the author makes it clear that it doesn’t matter how long you nurse your child, but that trying breastfeeding at all should be considered a success.
- Lighthearted and humorous
- Tips on attachment parenting
- Unique book shape
- Not a problem solving handbook
The author of this book begins by reassuring new moms that breastfeeding is indeed not an easy task. Many new moms are scared away from nursing due to the difficulties in the first few days or weeks. Nursing your baby is a skill that requires practice for both the mom and the baby. This book was written to help mothers overcome their doubts, fears, and concerns about breastfeeding.
This book is a wonderful resource if you have experienced troubles with achieving a proper latch, what to do if baby refuses your breast, how to avoid sore and cracked nipples, how to decipher if your baby is getting enough to eat, colic and how to work through it, and information on breastfeeding babies born prematurely or with special needs.
This book may be perceived as opinionated as it references that formula feeding, bottles and even pumping are not good decisions for your baby. The author also repeats himself in almost every chapter that you need to be checking for proper latch technique. It is important to remember that not all books will be perfect and to ignore the comments that make you feel uncomfortable.
On a positive note, there is a very helpful section in the book where you can reference which medications will get into your breastmilk.
- Discussions include nipple disorders, colic, and babies born with special needs
- Medication index
- Author is very opinionated
- Sections on proper latch technique appear on every few pages
The Best Breastfeeding Book
It all comes down to The Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding! This book takes the cake when you are searching for a manual to not only answer all your questions, but to also affirm you in your decisions.
The book is written in a question and answer format, making it very relatable and friendly to read through. For these reasons, the Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding is the best choice to help you along in your nursing journey.