Bossy Italian Book Review: The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

I've held off on doing a review of this book for a while because I wanted my experience to encompass more than the first couple of months. Now that we have reached the nine month mark with breastfeeding (!) I feel the time is right for this book review. Let's start with: I was given this book by a friend while I was pregnant, and that was when I began reading it.

I knew right out of the gate that I wanted to breastfeed. I had a great support system (both my mom and my husband's mom breastfed) and our hospital was baby-friendly, which is a pro-breastfeeding certification (to sum it up without going into it too much). Armed with those things, I picked up this book, which, ideally, will be how you feel when you pick up this book.

This isn't a book you can just read through and be like, "wow, great read." This is the opposite of that, really. This is a book you go back to time and again, as you think of it and/or need it. Starting while your pregnant is great preparation because I feel confidence and being fortified in your decision beforehand is a great helper. But the day I am writing this was the day I picked up to read the 9-18 month chapter....what a realization that was!

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is filled with everything you need from getting started to co-sleeping and night nursing to pumping to dealing with (unwelcome) comments from others on breastfeeding to supply to problems and introducing solids to your baby. There is a ton of information. It's from the experts at La Leche League International (LLL), and the copy I have is the 8th edition.

I can't tell you how helpful it's been for me. There have been times in breastfeeding when I felt afraid (yes, afraid) because I felt a little lump and soreness (hot compress took care of that!), or times when maybe I might have been scared, but wasn't because I had read this book. Like the time that I got the flu really bad, but knew I could continue to breastfeed and pass on immunities to my daughter.

I want to be clear that having a book like this is worth its weight in gold. While breastfeeding might feel like common sense (and yes, a lot of it should be), the reality is that our modern world gets us all kinds of mixed up when it comes to following our instincts. It's good to be reinforced, helped out, and supported, and very few books can really give you that, but this book does.

Of course, I think real life support is also paramount, so I want to add that if you don't find yourself in good company like I am, get yourself to a LLL meeting (or something similar) or find an online support group. And get the book. Because of all the books I had, and gave away to other expecting mommies, this one I am keeping!

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