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The Breastfeeding Atlas & Clinical Lactation: A Visual Guide

The Breastfeeding Atlas
by Barbara Wilson-Clay and Kay Hoover

Clinical Lactation: A Visual Guide
by Kathleen Auerbach and Janice Riordan
Jones & Bartlett, 2000

From: LEAVEN, Vol. 36 No. 2, April-May 2000, pg. 34
Reviewed by Kathy Koch
Great Mills, Maryland USA

One of the basic responsibilities of LLL Leaders is to keep "up-to-date on all important breastfeeding information" and also to take "advantage of LLL's opportunities for continuing education through publications..." (LEADER'S HANDBOOK, 1998 edition, page 4). Two recently published books will facilitate this. Clinical Lactation: A Visual Guide by Kathleen Auerbach and Jan Riordan and The Breastfeeding Atlas by Barbara Wilson-Clay and Kay Hoover are educational texts that will be of interest to many Leaders.

Both books are full of color photographs that show a variety of nipples and breasts. This will be the first opportunity for many Leaders to see images of poison ivy on a nipple, accessory nipples, reconstructed breasts due to burns, cancer, reduction and augmentation and even pierced nipples and breast tattoos.

Clinical Lactation: A Visual Guide (83 pages, 104 pictures) is a well-organized text showing different types of breasts and nipples, conditions affecting breasts and nipples (such as allergies, abscesses, thrush and burns) and conditions affecting the breastfed infant, including cleft lip/palate, short frenulum and candidiasis. The pictures are large, clear and in color. They are sequenced with the text and are easy to refer to when reading the accompanying text.

The reader is encouraged to complete the critical thinking activities at the end of each chapter. These thought-provoking questions include:

  • "How might the baby's behavior on the breast alter the look of the nipple?" (Page 20)
  • "Distinguish between mastitis and a galactocele." (Page 64)
  • "What signs/symptoms additional to visible yeast overgrowth might these infants exhibit?" (Page 77)

These activities would be especially helpful for anyone who plans to take the IBLCE exam or for Leaders who are planning Area Conference presentations. The questions could also be discussion starters for District or Chapter Workshops.

The Breastfeeding Atlas (71 pages, 230 pictures), written by two LLL Leaders, shows a wider range of pictures. It goes beyond breasts, nipples and babies to include a range of nursing positions, both correct and incorrect, varieties in milk color and stool color, alternative methods of feeding (cup, finger, spoon, nursing supplementer) , details about short frenula, evaluation and clipping, and toddler and tandem nursing. Several case studies are provided which gives a more realistic perspective to some topics.

The highly technical text provides greater detail. The photographs are in the center of the book, which requires flipping back and forth between text and pictures, but the text is clearly referenced to the pictures so locating them is easy.

Either of these books would make a wonderful addition to a personal breastfeeding library or a Chapter's library. They would not be appropriate for a Group lending library. Both texts will provide the Leader who has a desire for advanced knowledge on breastfeeding management with a thorough overview of the variety of typical and atypical conditions of the breast, nipples and infant during lactation.

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