I’ve been meaning to post this for a little bit now but with preparing for the baby to arrive I’ve lost track of time and haven’t gotten to it until now. This book I actually finished probably about a month ago. I plan on bringing it to the hospital with me in case I need any refresher points to get nursing started. If you’re planning to nurse or breast feed (call it whatever you want) you will want to read this book. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding was written by the La Leche League International which is the poster child for supporting women with their breast feeding journey. I haven’t had the opportunity to attend one of their meetings yet but may plan to postpartum if I need any support. I hear they’re truly amazing.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is broken into four parts; New Beginnings, Ages & Stages, The Big Questions and La Leche League Resources. Within each part there are several chapters that are designed to answer questions and give guidance. I’ll break down each part so you have an idea of what you’d be looking at and my thoughts on it.
PART I: New Beginnings
ONE: Nesting — This is the chapter that will help you determine if breastfeeding is right for you, the importance of it and how it really all works. It will even give guidance on how to prepare your mind and body. I’ve decided to breastfeed even prior to reading this book however this chapter really helped me understand it and why I should do it and how I can prepare myself. I will probably re-read a couple points in this chapter as I prepare for my boy to arrive.
TWO: Building Your Network — This chapter is all about who to contact if you’re struggling, need advice or just want support. For some breastfeeding is considered taboo and that could mean you don’t get the support you need from family and friends. This chapter offers great ideas on how to build a network that supports your breastfeeding journey. I’m personally not worried about this for myself but for others it would be a great help.
THREE: Birth! — This chapter is a must read if you haven’t already had your baby. It will provide information on the connection between your birth and breastfeeding. Also, if you have a difficult birth or maybe a cesarean birth it will give information on how to get breastfeeding started and how to bond with your baby which will bring your milk in even if it may be slightly delayed. It’s also important for bonding. I am definitely going to read this chapter again!
FOUR: Latching and Attaching — Learn a new way to breastfeed that isn’t really new which makes a lot of sense when you read about it. You’ll learn all about different positions you can try and if you’ve had an episiotomy or a c-section you’ll find adoptions for those. If you’re experiencing pain you’ll find ways to cope and maybe correct your baby’s latch. Like with other things it’s all about practice which will be emphasized. I don’t see how this chapter couldn’t help everyone who reads it in some way.
PART II: Ages and Stages
FIVE: The First Few Days: Hello, Baby… — You are finally home and now what? This chapter is all about getting to know your new little one. You’ll learn about establishing a habit, how to handle nights & naps and knowing what to look for in regards to your little ones bowel movements & frequency of urination. Weight tracking will be discussed in this chapter and you’ll learn how to work with any issues that come up in those first days home. When all is said and one you’ll ultimately learn how to trust yourself and your instincts.
SIX: The First Two Weeks: Milk! — In this chapter you’ll still learn new habits which will continue throughout your breastfeeding journey. Again in this chapter it’s going to be all about your babies diaper and how much milk you’re providing and making sure you’re eating enough. It’s going to be an emotional roller coaster and this chapter provides guidance on that with ideas on how to work through any concerns you have in those first two weeks.
SEVEN: Two to Six Weeks: Butterfly Smiles — In this chapter you’ll learn more nursing habits for this time frame in your babies development. You’ll also learn how to figure out when to nurse him and ways to work through your concerns. Plus you’ll be reminded to follow your heart because that’s really what will be your guiding force.
EIGHT: Six Weeks to Four Months: Hitting Your Stride — This is a small chapter focused on just the habits of this time and dealing with concerns you have. At this time as the chapter header suggests you’re hitting your stride and most of what you need you’ve learned or won’t need to know until past that point.
NINE: Four to Nine Months: In the Zone — This chapter again provides you more habits that you will develop on your nursing journey as well as walk you through some regression that might happen which is totally normal for this timeframe. You’ll also learn about how your little ones weight gain will slow and what concerns you might have and how to cope.
TEN: Nine to Eighteen Months: On the Move — More habits to learn about for a much larger time frame. You’ll learn about other liquids besides water to either introduce or not. You’re milk release has probably slowed and your babies weight is still slowed. More concerns will be addressed as a lot can change during this time and you might have unanswered questions.
ELEVEN: Nursing Toddlers and Beyond: Moving On — In this chapter its’ all about what’s normal in regards to nursing post eighteen months. More importantly though; is it important to continue to nurse? If you decide to continue nursing you’ll learn what habits to develop or will develop. You’ll learn about the pros and cons of nursing as far as how your now toddler will work with or against you when trying to nurse. Concerns will be discussed for toddlers and nursing and tips on raising a kid that you’ll like when they’re an adult. Who doesn’t want that, right!
PART III: The Big Questions
TWELVE: Sleeping Like a Baby — In this chapter you’ll learn about sleeping which you’d also learn in the Sweet Sleep book which was also written by the La Leche League International. In that book though you’ll learn even more but here you’ll learn about bed hearing, nursing during sleep, sleep training and other information. I would recommend the Sweet Sleep book for an in depth look at sleeping your breast fed baby.
THIRTEEN: The Scoop on Solids — In this chapter you’ll learn about solids and how to introduce them, what signs don’t mean you start solids and how to work thought it all.
FOURTEEN: When You Can’t Be with Your Baby — So you’re having to return to work what do you do? This chapter will help you with that in addition to other reasons you may need to be away from your baby.
FIFTEEN: Milk to Go — This chapter is broken into 3 parts which is getting the milk out, storing your milk and getting milk in. Them milk in part will actually guide you to another section regarding supplementation which is in chapter 18. There will also be discussion on problems with pumping and how to make it all work together.
SIXTEEN: Everybody Weans — Weaning; it will happen one way or another. Learn how and when it might happen and all the best ways to get through different scenarios. This section even includes night weaning.
SEVENTEEN: Alternate Routes — This chapter will discuss other options such as exclusive pumping, premature babies, multiples and other options or concerns
EIGHTEEN: Tech Support — This chapter covers a lot. For pretty much any problem you’re facing it may be in this chapter. Anywhere from drinking while breastfeeding to, food allergies, postpartum depression and tongue ties. It’s all here to help you get through your journey with nursing your baby.
PART IV: La Leche League Resources
NINETEEN: About La Leche League — In this chapter get an inside look at the La Leche League and how they got started. Learn how they can help you, how you can help them and their influence on breastfeeding.
TWENTY: Tear-Sheet Toolkit — This is the best part! In this chapter there are all sorts of tear-sheets with tips to help you and have at your side easily. Pull out the ones you need and keep them near you!
I know this is a lot to take in but it’s all information worth knowing if you’re embarking on this journey. I plan to re-read many sections in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding; especially as I go along my personal journey and plan to tear out my toolkit options. I can’t wait to experience this and look forward to hearing about other peoples journeys. Please share with me your experience; I’d love to hear them!