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The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  8,691 ratings  ·  833 reviews
The long-awaited revised edition!
It’s no secret that breastfeeding is the normal, healthy way to nourish and nurture your baby. Dedicated to supporting nursing and expectant mothers, the internationally respected La Leche League has set the standard for educating and empowering mothers in this natural art for generations. Now their classic bestselling guide has been retoo
Paperback, completely revised and updated 8th edition, 576 pages
Published July 13th 2010 by Ballantine Books (first published September 1958)
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Nov 18, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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 wi
Jan 27, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 wo
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
Jul 22, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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?
Mina Villalobos
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
Sep 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 10, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 a bit of thi ...more
Nov 29, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 08, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 w
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
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...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
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 th
Beth Dillon
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
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. ...more
There could be some helpful information here sandwiched in all the judgment.
- Having problems breastfeeding? Try going back in time and not having an epidural or c-section! Who cares about a mother's pain or health when the chance to have slightly better breastfeeding relationship is at stake?
- Is your baby breastfeeding nonstop so you have no chance to do anything? Just accept this is your life now and celebrate how fun it is to be stuck in a chair all day! Hope you don't have a job, other ch
Jul 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 chap
Jun 06, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 13, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, non-fiction
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
Dec 21, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jen Leap
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must for every pregnant woman/new mother's bookshelf! ...more
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book 5 of the year. 1st Doula training book. Excellent read.
Sep 14, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting-books
This book made me feel bad about myself and nearly every decision I've made about feeding my babies. ...more
May 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 atti
Jessica Alexander
If nothing else, this book is extremely comprehensive. It covers everything from nipple piercings to how to effectively avoid eye contact with strangers when you breast feed in public to relaxing mom and baby baths (I just kept thinking, ew! poop!).

I picked this up because I had the impression that La Leche League was a really trustworthy source, which I suppose it is, as long as you are cool with a really REALLY biased interpretation of what is "best" for mom and baby. I'm sorry, if nursing un
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