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Book Review: The Breastfeeding Book

The Breastfeeding Book
Martha Sears, RN and William Sears, MD
Little Brown, 2000
Available from LLLI, 900-7, $14.95
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 37 No. 1, February-March 2001, p. 14

Reviewed by Beth Moscov
Boulder Creek, California, USA

One of the most prolific writing teams in the world of parenting books has written another one. This time, Martha and William Sears have written The Breastfeeding Book.

This book focuses on breastfeeding from birth to weaning. Addressing this broad topic, the book includes chapters on getting started, common concerns, nutrition and fitness, a consumers' guide to breastfeeding products, the father's role in breastfeeding, nighttime breastfeeding, special needs, and toddler nursing. As in past books by the Sears', the writing style is accessible and the book is possible to read in small sections (an advantage to mothers of babies and small children). The information on choosing a breast pump, pumping at work, milk storage guidelines, and other helpful tips, is very useful considering the number of mothers who return to work while continuing to breastfeed. The portrayal of breastfeeding as much more than simply a feeding method makes this book appropriate to LLL Group Libraries and members.

An important consideration when contemplating this book for Group Libraries is whether or not it adds something that THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING does not. Many of the same topics are covered in both books. However, the books may complement each other because topics are often covered in different ways and styles. This may broaden the array of mothers who can be reached as the varying styles may appeal to different mothers. This book might do best in a Group Library that already has a few different general books on breastfeeding and which the Leaders are looking to expand the selection.

Some of the best reasons to read this book include the excellent description of how to get the baby latched on, as well as signs of whether or not the baby is actually latched on. There is a small chart called "Nipple Nuisances" on pages 30 and 31. In "Nipple Nuisances" the authors present a list of various problems with latch-on and ways to correct them. As many Leaders find they are looking for more ideas on explaining a good latch-on, this section in particular is useful. In addition, there is a nice presentation on fat and cholesterol and the importance of each to babies. So much media attention has been given to their reduction that many mothers may not realize that babies need cholesterol and fat in much higher percentages than adults.

Ultimately, The Breastfeeding Book is a warm, fact-filled, "feel-good" book. Just as in past books by William and Martha Sears, it presents information in an accessible way, especially for new mothers who may only have a few minutes at a time to read. Many mothers who have read other Sears' books will find the writing style familiar. And it always helps to have a doctor's view when we feel the need to support our parenting choices to others. Dr. and Mrs. Sears have done it again!

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