The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
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The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  4,271 ratings  ·  474 reviews
A fully revised and updated program that covers the practical, physical and psychological aspects of breastfeeding, and also presents a thorough guide to infant and child care, with advice for both mothers and fathers.
Paperback, Sixth Revised Edition, 480 pages
Published September 1st 1997 by Plume (first published 1958)
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Hannah
This book is great for helping new moms get the hang of latching and positioning. That's about it.

Most moms work and many of those moms work full-time, so having an entire chapter of a breastfeeding book devoted to advocating that women NOT work is unsupportive, misogynistic and completely out of sync with the reality of breastfeeding today. If the church ladies over at the La Leche League were really trying to support breastfeeding, they'd acknowledge that working moms are the majority and prov...more
Ned Ryerson
I am a huge breast feeding advocate. It saves you a lot of money, it's super convenient, it's better for baby and the closeness you feel with your baby is just breath taking. I nursed my baby for 15 months and I wouldn't trade the experience for the world. Weaning her was hard for both of us!

That being said, breast feeding is a HUGE commitment. In the beginning it hurts and it is a lot of work. It is nothing to be taken lightly. You think it will be natural and instinctive, but it's not. At leas...more
ba
This book advocates for FOD (Feeding on Demand) and talks a lot of shit about Kathleen Huggins' PDF (parent directed feeding) system. Hilariously, both methods actually are close to the same, once you get past the terminology. Too much of the book is spent attacking PDF (the breastfeeding philosophy, not the portable document format) and talking about how kick-ass FOD is.

I just noticed that I seem to be the only male who reviewed this book. Weird, huh?
Cyndi
I wish I'd read this book before my first child was born! I think it had great advice and was really in depth and thorough. I read a few other breastfeeding books before #1 was born but breastfeeding did not go smoothly and my references books were not very help - didn't address my problem at all. I honestly though the name of the book was weird so I picked something more bland and clinical. I saw 3 lactation consultants and was really frustrated and disappointment with my experience.

When I was...more
Esmeralda
The enthusiasm of the writers tend to portray breast feeding as an all encompassing parenting tool. Breast fed babies are smart, secure, happy so you don't even have to parent! Getting past that- the chapters are well organized starting from breast changes in pregnancy all the way toward weaning. Each topic is comprehensively covered. This is written for at home mothers as well as working mothers. It discusses premies, normal, and special cases so a new mother can recognize and address special n...more
Echo
This book has a lot of valuable information in it if you are, or would like to, breastfeed. However, I must say that no one should ever sit down & read the whole thing cover to cover unless they want to know more than anyone ever wanted to about nursing! Use it to troubleshoot, or pick & choose the chapters that apply, but it was really rough to read the whole thing. I cheered when I got through the last page. Although, I have also successfully nursed 3 children already & knew quite...more
Deborah
I wish I could have given this book a better review, but it has problems that many others have already pointed out, and one that nobody else has mentioned: Not everyone is able to breastfeed. Many women need to return to work immediately, particularly in our post-meltdown economy, and do not have supportive workplaces where pumping is possible. Some women have biological issues that prevent their children from breastfeeding, despite endless endless consultations with lactation experts, weeks on...more
Heather
This is a 2-2.5 star book.

I checked out The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (2004 ed.) from my local library to get a jump start on learning about breastfeeding and particularly about pumping after I return to work (baby is not yet born). It seemed like a really thorough reference for breastfeeding troubleshooting, but I'm not there yet, so I skimmed those parts and read others. I honestly found it almost unbearable to read. The scant number of pages dedicated to working mothers who pump was filled...more
Cori
This book is great for the woman already determined to breastfeed, however I worry that a woman on the fence or that is struggling with negative feelings towards breastfeeding, might be put off by the overly positive portrayal of breastfeeding. I've exclusively breastfed two children, for me every moment was a struggle but a worthy one. I will strongly encourage my future childbirth students to breastfeed... so I am on the La Leche League's side, but the judgmental tone of the book put me off. I...more
Jennifer
I liked the book and I found it helpful. I did read it cover to cover and my LO has not even arrived yet, I have also already been attending my local LLL meetings and trying to get comfortable with the wild world of breast feeding, so this probably colors my review somewhat.

There is a lot of great information in the book and I can see it being a tremendous reference for troubleshooting. I did not get the same anti-working mom vibe that others have cited...maybe I have a different edition? If yo...more
Michelle
Aww, this book is lovely. You really do get to feel like, Breastfeeding is a womanly art. You feel very connected to your baby, your body, the breastfeeding community. You think things to yourself like, God bless those pioneering La Leche founders. Truly, I thought before I had my baby that breastfeeding was beautiful, and I wanted very much to do it, but after actually doing it for a couple of months, I was starting to feel a bit disconnected from it all. Reading this book reminded me that I'm...more
Julie
While this book contains some good information on breastfeeding, I found that, overall, it functioned more as an ideological manifesto than a how-to guide. The answers to most of my breastfeeding questions and problems had to be found elsewhere. (Primarily through friends and the excellent site, kellymom.com).

Worse, the book actually angered me at numerous points. It is judgmental and doesn't consider the realities of many women's lives. I know the La Leche League is beloved by breastfeeding wo...more
Gulen
Tamamını okumasam da parça parça okuduğum kitap. La Leche League International'ın Türkiye'de de ayağı var, emzirme, emzirmeye dirençli bebeği alıştırma ve annenin yaşadığı tüm sıkıntılara yönelik destek grupları oluşturuyorlar. Özellikle ilk kez anne olduğunuzda en önemli şey yalnız olmadığınızı bilmek oluyor, bu sadece benim başıma gelmiyor, bunu sadece ben yaşamıyorum diyebilmek, destek görebilmek çok önemli.

26 ay boyunca çocuğunu emzirmiş bir anne olarak, emzirmek hayatımda yaşadığım en güzel...more
Amanda Fields
Let's start with the good: this book has many useful tips about breastfeeding, from pumping to the benefits to understanding the reproductive cycle while breastfeeding. It's obviously pro-breastfeeding and offers numerous ways for women committed to breastfeeding to address problems that may arise. I recommend it for these practical reasons. Now for the not-so-good: I've read lots of pregnancy books over the last 8 months. Often I read reviews of these books that detect a condescending tone (e.g...more
Louise
I avoided reading this for a long time before a friend lent it to me. I have some ideological differences with La Leche League, but still found this book to be informative as long as I took the advice and information in the book with a grain of salt. Yes, the book is helpful for those who want to learn about breastfeeding, but it's also really out of touch and preachy sometimes.

It's funny how all of the little stories of breastfeeding moms interspersed in the book are all unicorns and rainbows....more
Heather
This is the new 8th edition, which I hear is a wonderful improvement. After reading Amber's review (http://www.strocel.com/the-womanly-ar...), I've been anxious to see what changes have been made. It's definitely heftier than the previous.

Aug 17
Just finished chapter 4. I was already learning new stuff in chapter 1. Chapter 2 is about setting up support for yourself. Chapter 3 is about birth. Chapter 4 is about latching. Loved the new latch approach, it will definitely empower new moms. That chap...more
Samantha
There's SO much more to this book than breastfeeding! First off, I read all the most popular baby/pregnancy books and for some reason, this was the ONLY one to mention the "laid back" (literally, in a reclining position) method of breastfeeding, which seems to me to be the easiest and most straightforward to do it (granted, my due date is still a few months out so I haven't actually *tried* this, but it will be the first thing I attempt once she's born!). There's also a ton of information about...more
Sally
THE breastfeeding bible.

If not for La Leche League, I don't think breastfeeding would have come back from the brink of "science is way better than nature."

Here's my take on breast v. bottle. Breastfeeding is not only best, it is the biological norm. Formula is an acceptable alternative for some, assuming you have access to clean water and soap for sanitation, and the money that the formula and extra doctor bills will cost you. That holds true for many in developed nations like the US, but not...more
Doreen
La Leche League started out as a group that sought to support women who wanted to breastfeed, a progressive organization that wanted to give women choices. With the publication of this 7th Revised Edition of their handbook, however, it's become clear that they've turned into an organization intent on shaming mothers who don't breastfeed instead.

It was difficult for me to read this book because it's written like a religious tract. Breastfeeding = good behavior, and should you transgress, a) you'r...more
Bonnie (Words at Home Blog)
I recently finished the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (the revised and updated 8th edition) by La Leche League International for the second time and enjoyed it as much as the first time I read it. The first time I picked up this book I was pregnant with my first child and reading it as an expectant mom who had no previous knowledge of, or experience with, breastfeeding - I found it immensely helpful. Not only for the 'technical' aspects of breastfeeding, but also for things like what I can expect...more
Kristin Dennison
An incredibly thorough book that covers just about everything you need to know about breastfeeding! I don't know what else to say about it, other than if you are expecting a baby, this is a must-have for your bookshelf! It will help prepare you well, and will no doubt be an incredibly valuable reference. I want to address some concerns other reviewers have made. It seems people perceived some kind of lack of information about pumping/needs of working moms, etc. Even that the book/LLL "guilts" or...more
Kristen
If I could give half stars, this one would get 2.5. It did have some very good information that I will be using. However, it was almost overwhelmed by the obnoxious attitude taken by LLL towards breastfeeding.

Yes, I know this is a book advocating breastfeeding, but LLL, despite what they weakly disclaim in the beginning of the book, takes a pretty hardline "my way or the highway" approach to breastfeeding that is a huge turn-off. If anything, I think this book would make women feel inferior if...more
Sam
I committed to exclusively breast feed by daughter long before she was born. However, this book did not help that decision. Instead it made me feel like a terrible mother when things did not work as the book predicted.

This book would lead you to believe that as long as you do not have medical interventions then your child will be *perfect*. Everything from milk supply to problems with latch are blamed on epidurals. I had a completely natural childbirth. No interventions. My daughter was born wi...more
Andrea
This book was so helpful the first few days after our baby was born. Le Leche League has really "relaxed" in terms of it's strict reputation. I learned many things about how to breast feed, many things about what to let a sitter know, things about what to do about infections, low milk supply, restarting milk supply, and so much more. In fact, the book made me feel like I was not a failure because my milk didn't come in until 72 hours after baby was born. He had been screaming in hunger and we ha...more
Margo
I really enjoyed this book. Breastfeeding was something I was fearful wouldn't happen for me due to all the myths and problems posted out there on the mommy boards. This book really put my mind to ease. It gave a wealth of information and lots of options for real life support.

That said I think it is important to balance out some of their advice with titles like Lean In (sad that is the only one I can think of). Not everyone can just change their entire life/job to be a full time stay at home br...more
Kimberly
I love this book. I learned SO much about breastfeeding, and found explanations to some of the reasons why I didn't last as long as I wanted with my first baby. Many of my problems with breastfeeding were emotional rather than physical obstacles. This book addressed nearly all of my concerns, and helped me find ways around the challenges I had faced the first time around. With my second baby, I went into it knowing exactly what I needed to do, and why, and armed with the confidence to do so. I l...more
Lindsay
I love this completely revised edition of the classic guide to breastfeeding and mothering. The language is frank, warm, and relaxed, so it feels like you're getting information and advice from a friend. The information has been updated to reflect current trends in breastfeeding, and there is a nice "Tech Support" chapter that offers help for common and uncommon breastfeeding problems. I also like the quick-reference "tear-sheet toolkit" at the back of the book. These tear-out pages offer quick...more
Kiran
This book is a great resource for breastfeeding. It's so thorough and brings up many aspects of breastfeeding that I didn't know I should know about. It also got me thinking about what kind of a mother I'd like to be and what kind of relationship I want to foster with my daughter. It was a perfect balance to other reading that promotes more structured feeding, reminding me that it's all about being flexible with what comes your way and about letting your little one experience as much love as pos...more
Megan
If you are looking for practical tips on breastfeeding, read a different book. This book has plenty of information about why you should breastfeed but is short on useful information (especially given the length).

In addition, experts are quoted when they support the opinion of the La Leche League authors. In cases when experts or organizations have a different position, this is not mentioned. There are more practical and balanced books about breastfeeding out there.
RH Walters
Supportive and comprehensive, but also perhaps unrealistically rosy, as I learned from the comments of other readers. It's unfortunate that this issue divides so many women, especially those for whom breastfeeding is incompatible with work or other demands. A very worthwhile read for me.
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La Leche League International is the most trusted name in breastfeeding information, support, and advocacy. Founded in 1956 by seven intrepid women, the League now has more than 7,000 accredited leaders in sixty-eight countries, and offers phone, online, and in-person consultation to breastfeeding mothers.
More about La Leche League International...
Feed Yourself, Feed Your Family: Good Nutrition and Healthy Cooking for New Moms and Growing Families Sweet Sleep: Nighttime and Naptime Strategies for the Breastfeeding Family La Leche League 2-Book Bundle: The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding; Feed Yourself, Feed Your Family Whole Foods For Kids To Cook Feed Yourself, Feed Your Family: Good Nutrition and Healthy Cooking for New Moms and Growing Families Happy Cooking for New Moms and Growing Families

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“A father from New Zealand, Harry Parke of Cambridge, told a group of fathers, "My wife and I figured that by nursing our first son, Christopher, we saved considerably in the first year by not using formula, sterilizers, early solids, electricity, birth control means, etc. Raewyn immediately decided that the money saved was to be a deposit on a freezer, and now it stands in the hall.” 1 likes
“unless you’re very long-breasted or wide-breasted,” 0 likes
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