Jun. 28th, 2013

aslant: (elle s'amuse)
23. The Breastfeeding Mother's Guide to Making More Milk, Diana West and Lisa Marasco

Diana West is a rockstar in the BFAR world, it was pretty weird to read this book and realize I was more familiar with her from the forums than anywhere else. We've emailed back and forth once or twice about stuff, etc. But hey! A book is so much more useful than a forum, duh, and here's why! Once I got over the trauma of being reminded of how poorly things went with Penny last time, this book was a wealth of information, didn't make me feel overloaded, and is very well organized. With clean and concise prose, it separates out low supply issues by focusing on root causes, and then provides solutions that are very targeted. There's great advice on what is normal nursling behavior, and how to differentiate between normal issues and low-supply issues. While within the BFAR forums, there's kind of a "throw everything at the wall and see what sticks" approach to adding galactagogues to your regimen, with the sole goal of making more milk, this book separates them into specific effects. What is the actual cause of your issue? Are you trying to balance your hormones? Develop tissue? Stimulate the milk ejection reflex? Or simply ramp up your prolactin levels? It includes a super handy chart of all the herbs and their effects (with all the safety ratings neatly alongside) that I will be photocopying before I return this to the library. Sometimes the herbs you take don't effect your quantity, but affect your ability breastfeed in other significant ways. Lesson learned. This is the book I wish I had read before I had Penny. Highly recommended to any parents who are facing known low supply issues or supply questions: I would recommend this book over and above #24 for that reason.

24. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, 8th edition, La Leche League International

This book is fantastic and I wish I'd known about it during my last pregnancy, but for different reasons. It acts as a guide to making decisions about birthing that are guided with breastfeeding in mind, and so I wish I had known about it when I was in my maybe-homebirth phase. Coming from LLL, this book focuses heavily on the concept of building a community, which I found myself wanting to dismiss (I realized in hindsight) because I didn't do that last time. But it's important! Minor quibble: with my amateur anthropologist hat on, some of the language in this book focuses too heavily on the concept of love, falling in love with your baby, love is natural etc, which I would qualify with a tonic dose of Hrdy: it is not simply "medicalized birth" that can cause distance or lack of love feeling. I felt very othered by the whole LOVE message, that was not my experience (though my experience also included not feeding at the breast, and also tremendous amounts of poorly managed back pain). As I think I've written here before, it is enough to simply be interested in your baby, and that's what most of the mother/baby stuff does. You don't have to love your baby to breastfeed, or to save them from being trampled on by the megasloths. Anyway...this book is handy for the sections that focus on different eras of baby development, but I skimmed a lot of it, because at the end of the day this book is meant to be a catch-all reference and guide, hence its heft at 493 pages. Highly recommended for new moms without a lot of exposure to breastfeeding culture; less helpful for everyone else probably. I did like the tear-sheet guides in the back, which include handy references on solving common problems like plugs and mastitis, oversupply, a pumping schedule, a diaper tracker, etc.

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