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Book Review:
Dr. Jack Newman's Guide to Breastfeeding
by Dr. Jack Newman and Teresa Pitman
HarperCollins, 2000

From: LEAVEN, Vol. 37 No. 3, June-July 2001, p. 60
Reviewed by Melissa Young
Ontario, Canada

Leaders will find Dr. Jack Newman's Guide to Breastfeeding a valuable addition to their personal libraries and especially useful for helping calls. Dr. Newman is a father of four breastfed children and a pediatrician on the Professional Advisory Board of LLLI. Teresa Pitman, mother of four breastfed children, LLL Leader for more than 20 years, and well-known Canadian author, collaborates with Dr. Newman to write a comprehensive and detailed volume designed for mothers and for health care professionals.

Though the authors focus primarily on solving breastfeeding difficulties, they also cover breastfeeding basics, calling three to four years of breastfeeding "normal" and in other ways showing clear support for many aspects of LLLI philosophy. For example, Dr. Newman gives a touching account of how he and his wife tried the "cry it out" sleep training advice: "When our son was over two years of age, we thought we would try it again. (We were slow learners, but our excuse is that we weren't getting much sleep.) We finally gave in, as we heard him cry from his crib, 'This is your little boy, Daniel. Why are you doing this?' We can learn a lot from our children, if we let ourselves ... it wasn't easy to be awakened every night, night after night. But after all is said and done, it was for the best."

This book contains especially critical information for mothers and babies with medical issues. When mothers need to make a decision on the safety of breastfeeding while taking medication, for example, this book can inform them of the value of human milk and the breastfeeding relationship as well as the hazards of artificial baby milk and pharmaceuticals. Leaders and other breastfeeding counselors seeking more information on breastfeeding an adopted baby, breastfeeding and medications, candida albicans, persistent plugged ducts and mastitis, or stubborn sore nipples, will also find the information they need.

Unfortunately few references are included, the authors choosing instead to base the book primarily on Dr. Newman's vast clinical experience with women and children at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children and in Africa. However, mothers' stories, beautiful photographs, and selections from literature on breastfeeding are woven throughout. Toronto, where Dr. Newman's breastfeeding clinics are located, is a multicultural city, and this is reflected in his pictures of women and babies. There are excellent photographs of good latches, poor latches, breast compression, using a lactation aid, latching twins, cup feeding newborns, finger feeding, Raynaud's Phenomenon of the nipple, and toddler nursing. In addition, a directory points mothers to other resources including LLL Canada, Dr. Newman's clinic, and Internet Web sites with information on drugs and breastfeeding.

The authors mince no words in discussing artificial baby milk (ABM), ABM manufacturers, and how ABM became embedded in popular and medical culture. The authors illustrate how ABM feeding is aggressively marketed to physicians, dieticians, nurses, and other health care professionals, as well as to parents.

Obviously, this book does not replace THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING as a nursing mother's reference guide to the normal course of breastfeeding. Most Leaders will probably find Dr. Newman and Pitman's book most helpful for reference use rather than for their lending library, though a Leader certainly may wish to lend this book to a member who anticipates adoptive breastfeeding, or has certain medical issues. In-depth coverage of medical issues such as "How to Diagnose an Abscess" could be overwhelming to some mothers. This should be kept in mind when recommending the book to a specific mother in your group.

I must note that while the authors reinforce LLLI philosophy in many areas, Dr. Newman does state some opinions LLL does not share. For example, he recommends a more casual way of introducing solids, and has concerns with the baby who refuses solids for a year. In addition, he feels that a soother (pacifier) can be useful when a baby has an especially strong need to suck. In particular, Leaders should continue to refer to LLL publications for positioning advice and treating sore nipples, as the advice offered in Dr. Newman and Pitman's book differs from LLLI's. While Dr. Newman recommends the cross-cradle hold as the "easiest way of achieving the best latch," that is not the recommendation of most lactation experts.

The tone of this book is like a cross between Mark Twain, Dr. Robert Bradley, and THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING. In a bottle-feeding culture where "formula is just as good," breastfeeding mothers and babies confronting medical challenges can now be armed with the information contained in Dr. Jack Newman Is Guide to Breastffeeding.

Melissa Young has been a Leader for over a year with LLL Canada Welland/Port Colborne. She lives with her husband, Michael, and two children, Heidi and Anna, on a small farm in Southern Ontario.

Dr. Jack Newman's Guide to Breastfeeding and
The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers:
What's the Difference?

By Jake Marcus Cipolla
Lower Gwynedd, Pennsylvania, USA


Dr. Jack Newman's Guide to Breastfeeding is published in the United States as The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers. The differences between the two books are far greater than the pretension of the latter book's title and "Americanization" of the former's language.

First, the layout of the US version is quite different from its Canadian sister. The typeface is more readable and inviting, and quotes from the book have been added to each page spread to break up the text. Additional subheads and bullet lists add clarity. Some subheadings have been changed to sidebars. Even the photographs are clearer in the US edition. Also the US version contains more explanatory text and is, overall, more accessible to the reader.

While there are many appropriate changes from the Canadian edition (mercifully deleted is a paragraph that begins "I even know one mother who would use the pump while driving to and from work..."), there are some welcome additions in the US title. For example, the US version of the book has a new paragraph in which Dr. Newman mentions that grapefruit extract has been promoted for candida albicans, and expansion of the resources for breastfeeding help to include not only LLL Canada but also LLLI and many more Web sites of interest.

Technically speaking, The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers is a better book than Dr. Jack Newman's Guide to Breastfeeding. However, the important ways in which Dr. Newman's recommendations disagree with LLLI remain in the US edition (see review).

Jake Marcus Cipolla is Book Review Editor for LEAVEN.


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