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The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  8,175 ratings  ·  780 reviews
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding: Seventh Revised Edition (La Leche League International Book)
Paperback, Seventh Revised Edition, 463 pages
Published May 25th 2004 by Plume (first published September 1958)
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 ·  8,175 ratings  ·  780 reviews

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Nov 18, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reference, atlanta, baby
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
May 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 25, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
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
Ned Ryerson
Jul 29, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Jan 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fam-baby
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,

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
Jul 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
DNF, and it was the 2010 edition if that makes any difference.

One part mommy-shaming, one part pseudoscientific crap, and two parts informercial for La Leche League, this book made me so angry I almost cracked my Kindle's screen removing it.

I'm as pro-breastfeeding as the next woman, but the author of this book seems to delight in making up her own facts. No, your baby will not become an emotionally stunted, developmentally disabled diabetic if you find yourself in a situation where you have to
Oct 26, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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?
Sep 26, 2012 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Jun 10, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Mina Villalobos
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
So... breastfeeding! I began reading this book about a month before my baby was born. I never finished it before the birth, and after the birth I was usually reading on my phone while I breastfed, and if I had doubts or questions I looked them up online (, that's all). Handling an actual physical book while trying to feed the baby just didn't work for me, so that's one reason I didn't give this as much use as I thought I would.

The other reason is that, though I definitely agree that
Nov 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
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 ...more
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent resource for anyone wishing to breastfeed. Despite LLL's reputation for being militant when it comes to the "breast is best" philosophy, I didn't find the book to be overly dogmatic or off-putting in any way. Excellent troubleshooting section.
Feb 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Summary: 90% judgment and extremely biased nonsense, mayyybe 10% useful information. Dangerously misleading.

"If your friend tells you how she 'loved her epidural,' ask her how her first month of motherhood went." Wow lady, every new mother I've ever asked said the first month was terrible regardless of epidural or not, so let's not encourage all our readers to be as b*tchily morally superior as you, OK?

I'm officially giving up on this book. I attempted to read it cover to cover, but it starts
Kristin Dennison
Oct 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 15, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very informative tome, covering lots of different breastfeeding topics. It covered the stuff that is in all the pregnancy and early childcare books, as well as topics I wouldn't have thought of, such as different feeding holds/techniques, unique troubleshooting information, and lots more. It includes many different references, not just for breastfeeding, but for other issues as well, such as sleeping, feeding solids, etc.

The downfalls to this book, however, were annoying enough that
Beth Dillon
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: resource
So ... this book is not for everyone. Which sucks, because it postulates that it is. But not everyone has a glowing relationship with breastfeeding, or has a lifestyle that aligns with prioritizing breastfeeding over all else (i.e. breastfeeding on demand, bed-sharing, not using a bottle, etc). And not everyone is planning to nurse through toddler-hood. That being said - this book helped me immensely. During the fog of sleep deprivation of those first few weeks - reading the appropriate chapters ...more
Sep 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Dec 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: how-to
For such a massive tome, a bit thin on details -- for example, every section about problems with nursing was supremely unhelpful and super vague. I found more detailed info from websites like KellyMom and Facebook groups. Perhaps for those who can't get online, this might be a helpful start, but pretty disappointing.
Jul 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the new 8th edition, which I hear is a wonderful improvement. After reading Amber's review (, 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
Jun 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
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)
Aug 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, 2010
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
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Book 5 of the year. 1st Doula training book. Excellent read.
Jen Leap
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A must for every pregnant woman/new mother's bookshelf!
Dec 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
Blech. My kid and I figured out things ourselves and definitely found the cultish La Leche League to be a bit much for our taste.
So here I am innocently reading Talmage's Jesus the Christ when GR pulls a blast from the past and recommends, based upon my reading, this book. OK then! It's not topical, it's statistical, these recommendations, and even if it were on topic, I doubt it would be able to access the nuances of mood and flavor that affect me in any particular reading choice.
Having said all that, I scrolled through to read more about this wonderful book and glory be! Saints above! What is this layer of negative
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health, child-raising
I wish I had read this book a year ago. I read it cover-to-cover instead of hopping around it like with a reference book, and I'm glad I did--ten pages from the end, I finally found out why I had a certain pain in the first month of nursing!!! I feel so much better prepared for weening my firstborn (when she's ready) and nursing any more babies who may come our way 🙂
Nov 05, 2019 rated it did not like it
Couldnt stand this book. I tried to get info on breastfeeding but I found lots of chapters started on a topic about nursing and ended with info that had nothing to do with breastfeeding. The chapter on weaning leads into how to feed your kid a balanced diet. If I needed a book to tell me how to eat well, Im sure I could find one but I found myself skipping so many parts that had nothing to do with breastfeeding. They seem to say they support mothers going back to work or not breastfeeding ...more
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While a book can never replace the wisdom and personal advice of an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), this is a really nice reference book to have on hand when you feel exhausted, full of doubt, or just plain curious about breastfeeding. Great resource!
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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.

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