Book Recommendation: The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, 8th Edition

womanly art of breastfeeding graphic

Photo Credit: Amber McCann, IBCLC

I often get asked “What is the best breastfeeding book on the market?”  For me, the answer is easy: The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, 8th Edition (which usually includes a reminder to look for the ORANGE version!).

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding has been around for a long time. Its first edition was published in 1958 and wasn’t even a book…it was more like a stack of papers. When I first became pregnant, I knew that one of my first baby-related purchases would be this classic book. Imagine my joy when I found a well-loved version at a garage sale for 25 cents!  It has come a long way in all its various editions, but the 8th edition is far and away my favorite.

Fun and Easy to Read

Let’s be honest here…many breastfeeding books look and read a little “old-fashioned”.  Some of my favorite resources have been around a long time and, despite their dated look and feel, they are WONDERFUL.  But, this edition of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is something that would catch my eye at a bookstore.  I’m a sucker for great design and this book has it! The photos look like women I can relate to and the text has been completely rewritten with today’s mothers in mind. It has some humor (and even a little cheekiness!) to go along with the excellent information. I simply found it a joy to read and was driven to pick it up time and time again.

If you are familiar at all with the three authors of the 8th edition of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, you know that they are some of breastfeeding’s “rock stars”. Diana West, Diane Wiessinger, and Teresa Pitman have all been long-term La Leche League leaders and are excellent communicators first and foremost. What this means for mothers is that these authors have written a comprehensive book that is fun and easy to read.

Excellent Information

La Leche League Canada © 2011

All the fantastic design and clear communication doesn’t mean a thing if the breastfeeding information contained in the book is horrible. Never fear! The book is incredibly well-researched (with lots of references in the back). Topics that are of newer concern to breastfeeding mothers like online support, laid back breastfeeding, bed sharing, and going back to work are all covered.

In addition to the excellent text, in the back of the book is a treasure called “Tear-Sheet Toolkit”.  The pages in this section are designed as “one stop shop” resources for a variety of breastfeeding topics.  Because, if you are anything like me, when you are up against a challenge, you don’t have the time or patience to read a whole chapter! As an extra bonus, many of the pages contained in the toolkit can be found on the La Leche League website.

We Don’t Have to Do This Alone

I think my favorite thing about this book is the attitude that “you are not alone in this”. Our culture today tends to alienate mothers and pit them against each other in the so-called “Mommy Wars”. Who wants that?  Not me, for one. La Leche League has existed from its first days to help mothers support other mothers. Even if their organization isn’t the right fit for you, the principals in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding point to our need to be together in life. Over and over, this book encourages breastfeeding families to connect with others who are on the same journey.  Parenthood isn’t easy and breastfeeding isn’t easy (at least for most of us!) and with stories, ideas, and “been there/done that’s” sprinkled throughout, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding makes me feel a bit less alone.

What is your favorite breastfeeding book?  What makes it fabulous?

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