Best Book on Breastfeeding

Today I again began a classic book that was among precious few that I initially brought overseas with us: The Nursing Mother's Companion (it's been updated too!). What a gem!

As I was reading it this afternoon, I realized I'm not sure I've ever mentioned this book here at Making Home.

Each time we have a newborn (yes, even after 6 babies), I pull this book out to have as a ready reference for the first few weeks. Kathleen Huggins deals in detail with preparing for breastfeeding (i.e., what to look for in a nursing bra, how to share information with the people around you so that they understand your desire to breastfeed), offers encouragement to the mom-to-be about benefits and blessings of nursing, specific instructions on nursing positions and basic how-tos of breastfeeding, and (what I appreciate most, and why I pull it back out with each new baby) has a large section of the book devoted to how to deal with potential challenges and problems that may arise.

I still remember the full month of mastitis I experienced when breastfeeding my first baby. I can remember tears streaming down my face as I nursed him, because of the horrible pain. I wondered if it would ever stop. Huggins' suggestions (like warm compresses, and air-drying after feedings) turned things around and also gently encouraged me that this, too, would pass. I remember having my husband read the instructions from Huggins' book out loud to me as I tried to position the baby correctly.

As modern moms, we encounter such conflicting advice, and it is so easy to make decisions that will end up thwarting your desire to breastfeed your baby. Following bad advice can negatively affect your milk supply, or end up discouraging you at just the times that you may need to press on. Having breastfed all of our kiddos past a year, I definitely am pro-nursing, and it makes me sad just how many times well-meaning relatives (or even doctors!!!, which completely baffles me) end up hurting a mom's chances to nurse long-term by giving bad advice, or sharing stories that aren't actually relevant to the mom who is struggling through those early weeks with a new baby. That's why a book like this is just so valuable... Huggins helps to address real concerns, real pains, and gives point-by-point specifics on what to look for to accurately identify which issue you're facing, and then offers well-tried, step-by-step details about how to solve the problem.

My old version has cheesy pictures and dated illustrations, but the information inside is just so helpful. In the back there is also a drug-interaction chart that is helpful for those middle-of-the-night headaches or pains when you want to run to the medicine cabinet but aren't sure if it will pass through breastmilk. Check the updated version out here!


If you're a pro at nursing, you may not need this book, but if you're a new mom or soon-to-be, I highly recommend this book. It's been invaluable in our home!

10 comments:

Sarah said...

Thank you for this advice! I am a first time mom due in October, and have been thinking about this subject a lot. I won't have family around to guide me, so this will be a big help! I just ordered it.

Persuaded said...

Sounds like a great book... wish I had need of a nursing book myself;-)

thedeinesfamily said...

This book was a lifesaver for me. I struggled with breastfeeding for several months with my first and only (as of now) child. We experienced thrush, mastitis twice, latch issues, etc. I read it over and over until we got the hang of things. I ended up nursing my son until he weaned at 20 months.

Kasey

Ashley said...

i too am a mastitis queen! you know, there are only a few of us. supposedly like 3%??? i've had it over 10 times between my babies, the first three times being within the first month of my first baby. support IS the key to success, for sure...especially support from the hubby. i agree that this is a great book. my most precious gem for breastfeeding was/is called "The Nursing Mother's Problem Solver: A-Z troubleshooting guide" by Caroline Martin. I buy it for everyone who i think really wants to succeed at breastfeeding. It is all about problem solving, and I've found that no matter how much you've nursed in the past, new problems crop up with each new baby!! Just when you think you have it licked.... well, you know the rest! Happy Nursing!!!

The Aday Family said...

I agree with everything you said. It is an excellent book. I only an excerpt version about what to expect the first month of nursing. I can't tell you how many times I read and read that booklet with both of my babies. If we have more I am sure I will pull it out again.

Tara said...

Thanks for sharing this great resource!!!

Tara said...

So glad you mentioned this, Jess. Isn't it amazing how something SO rewarding and precious can sometimes be SO challenging! I'm on month 10 with my second, and hope to make it past a year as I did with my first...but I'm currently in a stage where I really need encouragement to press on, so thanks for this! :)

Polly said...

I used the exact same book! And I found it to be very very useful as well; I too suffered from mastitis when my son was a newborn. When the next baby comes, I'll certainly be referencing it again!!

Becca Cait said...

Jess-- I wanted to thank you on behalf of The Harvard Common Press for such a wonderful post! I'm so glad you found Kathleen's book to be such a great resource!

Aubrey said...

I just had my first baby and am loving nursing him. I'm a physician and as part of my maternity leave did lots of reading about breastfeeding. I learned a ton, and although I didn't find this book, I did find lots of other good ones. I thought the most informative was The ultimate breastfeeding answer book by Jack Newman. He's a doctor and breastfeeding expert, and so has lots of trouble shooting info. I also liked the womanly art of breastfeeding and breastfeeding made simple. Personally, another book was informative - Nursing mother, working mother which was helpful as I went back to work. I'll definitely have to read this one, too, because I like having good recommendations for my patients. Prayers for you as you deliver your next little one!