Saggy Boobs and Other Breastfeeding Myths
by Valerie Finigan and illustrator Lou Gardiner
Pinter and Martin 2009
Reviewed by Gwyneth Little
East Lothian, Scotland
From New Beginnings, Vol. 31 No. 1, 2010, p. 36
Saggy Boobs by Valerie Finigan is an original little book that aims to dispel many of the myths surrounding breastfeeding, including, of course, the eponymous myth of the title, which it addresses by explaining that breast shape, size, and looks are altered by pregnancy and age, not breastfeeding.
Using a humorous and lighthearted approach in order to get across some serious breastfeeding information, the book counters a different myth on each page opening, including "Modern formula milks are as good as breastmilk," "There is no difference between a bottle-fed and a breast-fed baby," "bottle-fed babies sleep better," and "bottle-fed babies gain weight more quickly."
The facts are supplemented visually by the wealth of detail contained in the highly original artwork, which consists of rather quaint embroidered illustrations with a "patchwork-quilt" feel to them.
The book is very short and can be read from cover to cover in 10–15 minutes. Nevertheless, it packs a lot in and is a great little morale-booster, reassuring readers, in response to the belief that breastfeeding "is difficult," that "with a little support and knowledge almost all women can breastfeed," and that breastfeeding is "as old as the earth" -- "we have just lost the art and skill of doing it."
On positioning and attachment, Valerie comments that this is "a learned skill," which may take "time and a little patience at first," and wisely suggests that "Getting help prior to feeding … for example during your pregnancy ... is useful."
There is reassurance, too, for working moms as Valerie explains how breastfeeding can be combined with returning to work, and support for all moms in the comments that breastfeeding does not "tie you down," need not be either "humiliating" or "indecent" in public, and that you can in fact "feed your baby in any position and anywhere."
The appearance of the book is very appealing, perhaps particularly so to younger women, and uses language that is straightforward enough to be read by/with older children and teenagers, for whom it would serve as a useful starting point for discussion. My 11-year-old daughter grabbed it from me as soon as it arrived in the post, read it through in quarter of an hour and gave it a big "thumbs-up," before letting me have a turn!
This book would make a lovely gift and ideal, easy-to-read, introduction to breastfeeding for new moms or moms-to-be. It would also be a suitable addition to any La Leche League Group library and, because it can be read so quickly, could also usefully be placed in hospital/pediatricians' waiting rooms.
Saggy Boobs is available from www.lllgbbooks.co.uk