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Book Review: Breastfeeding A-Z:Terminology and Telephone Triage

by Karin Cadwell, PhD, RN, FAAN, IBCLS, and Cindy Turner-Maffei, MA, IBCLS
Jones and Bartlett, 2006


Reviewed by Heather Hampton
Pittsburgh PA USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 43 No. 3, July-August-September 2007, p. 70

Breastfeeding A-Z: Terminology and Telephone Triage presents an extensive yet concise resource guide to terms, questions, and resources for breastfeeding support counselors. The main purpose of this book is to provide a quick reference guide for use during telephone counseling.

As LLL Leaders know, telephone counseling can be very challenging. You cannot see the mother, nor can you always sense how she is feeling. As a result, it is very important to ask simple, open-ended questions and to use plain language. This book helps the reader to ask relevant questions that can help the breastfeeding mother decide on appropriate care or solutions.

The book's introduction includes a quick reference guide to conditions that require immediate medical attention for mother and baby, as well as general recommendations for telephone triage. Expertly organized, it contains many topics that are cross-referenced. For instance, the term "latch-on" can also be found under the entries for "asymmetric latch," "nipple pain," "slow weight gain for baby," and "sore nipples." Entries also include medical and technical terms as well as layperson's terms.

Breastfeeding A-Z: Terminology and Telephone Triage is essentially a dictionary of breastfeeding terminology and resources. Each term, phrase, or title is defined in alphabetical order so both the mother and breastfeeding counselor can come to an agreement on the nature of the mother's breastfeeding problem.

For instance, if a mother calls reporting that breastfeeding is painful, the Leader can look up "painful breastfeeding," "latch-on," "mastitis," "plugged breasts," or "sore nipples." The authors note that painful breastfeeding is "uncomfortable sensations in the breast. Pain is not an expected part of breastfeeding and indicates the need for a feeding evaluation." The next section of the entry is the "ask about" section. This provides a few key questions to help the counselor obtain the pertinent information from the mother.

Many entries also include an assessment section. In it, questions are provided to help the breastfeeding counselor decide whether immediate care, prompt care, or routine care should be recommended. Many entries also include a self-care section, which provides a breastfeeding mother with recommendations as to how she can properly care for herself and baby. Some entries also include important conditions to report, indicating that a mother should contact her health care provider. Finally, many entries include notes with further information and additional resources, footnotes, and cross references to the entries within the book.

It is clear that Breastfeeding A-Z: Terminology and Telephone Triage authors Karin Cadwell and Cindy Turner-Maffei have extensive experience in breastfeeding counseling, education, writing, and research. Cadwell convened Baby-Friendly USA and served on the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners Panel of Experts, developing the first lactation consultant certification exam. Turner-Maffei's credentials include serving as the national coordinator for Baby-Friendly USA and serving as a delegate to breastfeeding coalitions at all levels, including on the US Breastfeeding Committee.

The book is particularly directed to nurses, physicians, nutritionists, breastfeeding peer counselors, and lactation consultants. It is an excellent addition to any LLL Leader's personal library -- a "dictionary" for breastfeeding support. Both new and experienced Leaders will find this book extremely useful when used in conjunction with THE BREASTFEEDING ANSWER BOOK, THE BREASTFEEDING ANSWER BOOK Pocket Guide, and THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING.

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