Doreen's Reviews > The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International
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's review
Jun 08, 2011

it was ok
Read from June 06 to 08, 2011

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're not a good mother/person, and b) you're subjecting your child to all sorts of terrible things due to your sinning. It's clear that the authors expect you to martyr yourself for your child. According to the book, you don't need sleep: feeding your child is that much more fulfilling. The chapter on balancing work with motherhood basically boiled down to "you should really consider being a stay-at-home mom." As a stay-at-home mom, even I was offended by this: I can't imagine how it comes across to women who choose to go back to work full-time.

And the language is so ridiculously fluffy. "Babies are born to be breastfed." I don't care if it's a quote from the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services: it's a ridiculous quote. "Babies are meant to be breastfed" at least makes sense, but babies aren't born to be anything. And this one-sentence paragraph from the foreword should have had me backing off slowly from the rest of it: "Breastfeeding is about the power of peace, the power of goodness, and the power of responsibility." What. In. The.

There's some useful information tucked in there amongst the proselytizing, and some really obvious stuff (e.g. if your child is fed and in his crib crying, consider picking him up. Duh.) But there's some pretty awful advice, too, such as: don't keep any formula in the house, because you'll be tempted to use it. Firstly, formula is not rat poison. Secondly, I'm of the belief that you should feed your child if he's hungry, and formula, while not optimal, is still nutritious, especially if you're having trouble lactating.

I'm sure there are better breast-feeding books out there. I wouldn't recommend getting this one.
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Reading Progress

06/06/2011 page 256
53.0% "I hate the preachy tone of this book."

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