There are an ever growing number of breastfeeding books coming to market, some that are more evidence-based than others, some that are more user-friendly than others, some that bring a much needed sense of humor. All come with the intention of helping mothers to succeed at breastfeeding.
And then there is Laura Keegan’s book, Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy: A Photographic Guide for Mom and Those Who Help Her which can be ordered exclusively at www.BreastfeedingwithComfortandJoy.com. (Enter giveaway below!) There are many ways that this book is different from all the others I have seen; and not just because it has almost as many photographs as it does words. Uniquely, this book unfolds in lustrous images and reassuring words, page by page, drawing the reader in soothingly, much as a new mother draws her baby close for comfort and sustenance. It is easy to read in one sitting; in fact I could not stop. I was as mesmerized by the language as I was by the photos, most of which were taken by the author. I still get goosebumps from the photo on page 2.
Although the photos–which are unapologetically graphic–do tend to take center stage, the text is a worthy match. The introduction lays out the intention of the book to clear away the chatter of breastfeeding war stories we’ve all heard before, and to remind us that breastfeeding can actually be incredibly wondrous and enjoyable if moms are given the right support. This concept is very much at the heart of what Best for Babes is all about–breastfeeding has been made far too difficult by a gauntlet of “booby traps” that keep moms from succeeding, despite their best intentions. We believe that no one should tell moms what to do, but for pete’s sake, if she wants to breastfeed, let her succeed! As long as 60% of moms are being prevented from achieving their personal breastfeeding goals by our disapproving culture and by hospitals, physicians, employers and insurers, it will be hard to get breastfeeding continuation rates to go up–only 11% are making it to the minimum 6 months recommended by the AAP. As long as moms are struggling unnecessarily and not enjoying the breastfeeding experience they will pass on their horror stories and dissuade their peers. We can do better for moms!
There is a surprisingly large amount of evidence-based information packed in to a small space. There have been other excellent reviews of the lactation science in the book (see Mother’s Utopia, The New Born Baby, Permission to Mother, Linda Draper and the Motherwear Blog), and I defer to these IBCLC experts. However, I was very interested and happy to see the context Keegan established about “bottle-feeding imprinting” and how our culture interferes with mother’s natural nursing instinct. I enjoyed how she succinctly explained skin-to-skin contact and the work of Lennart Righard, as well as the mother’s amazing ability to regulate her temperature to warm up her baby, even on command. As someone who is squeamish about breastfeeding at heart, I did gulp at some of the photos, but I think they are incredibly important for helping moms get comfortable with their bodies, and they are needed to help change our culture. Most of all, though this book wants us to fall in love with breastfeeding, and I did, in a way that I didn’t get a chance to experience when I was going through it myself. For an expecting mother or new mother, I can’t think of a better gift.
I am especially pleased to be able to share actress Kelly Rutherford’s endorsement of the book as well. Kelly has been very outspoken about breastfeeding, sharing her story openly with us and using her celebrity status as a star of the hit show Gossip Girl to raise awareness and appreciation of breastfeeding, and helping us shift the pressure off moms and on to the “booby traps”. Here is what she had to say about Breastfeeding With Comfort and Joy:
To order the book, go to www.BreastfeedingwithComfortandJoy.com. I am giving away one copy of the book, to enter to win, post a comment below by October 23rd explaining how you would use this book to help mothers and babies. Only entries from the United States please.