7 Best Breastfeeding Books You Need To Know
If you ask yourself, “Why should I read a book about breastfeeding?” here is your answer because it’s a fantastic, exciting time in your life. And because you deserve the best information and support possible. Reading about the breastfeeding process will help you feel confident and prepared for those first few weeks after birth. You’ll learn what to expect and what you can do to make the experience as enjoyable as possible for you and your baby.
A search on Amazon.com for “breastfeeding books” results in over 9000 entries. You don’t need to see all of them, but you should buy at least one. One good book can serve as your resource center: a place to prepare for the job ahead and find answers when things go wrong.
Many of the How-To books are very similar in containing the same information. It just depends on how you like your information delivered. Some of the books are very factual and give you information in an orderly fashion. Other books paint you a picture of how breastfeeding works. Some breastfeeding books are written by doctors, nurses, and lactation consultants, while others are written by Moms like me, who “have been there.”
The Complete Book of Breastfeeding by Ms. Eiger and SW Olds
This book has been around for 20 years and has over 1.5 million copies in print. It is in its third edition and has been revised to include up-to-date information. This book is solid. It starts with giving you information so you can decide whether or not you want to breastfeed and goes through all the topics to the end of the book, which discusses how to wean your baby.
I recommend this book in that it is full of information written matter-of-factly. The photos are lovely, whereas the line drawings are informative and valuable. Approximately 300 pages, $10. See a book here.
Breastfeeding books – The Nursing Mother’s Companion by K Huggins
When it comes to popularity, this book comes as a close second. It is in its 5th edition and contains the same information as the Complete Book of Breastfeeding but distributed differently. Generally, the book has four sections:
- First Week,
- First 2 Months,
- Two to 6 Months, and
- Beyond six months.
After each section is a “Survival Guide,” focusing on the common problems that may occur during these time frames. it is written well and pleasant to read. It provides a positive outlook even in exceptional circumstances (for example, a baby with a cleft lip). Given that a woman has enough time (the baby has not arrived yet), I can envision that she may read the book cover to cover. The book is about 200 pages with 30 pages of references, appendixes, and index.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International
The good part about the book is that it contains a lot of information related to, but periphery, breastfeeding. The bad part about the books is that they contain much information related to, but periphery to, breastfeeding.
If you want a book that gives you information in a snappy, to-the-point way – this book is not for you. This book is more holistic: breastfeeding in the context of family life. Topics are not distinctly categorized into chapters; they are spread out in more than one book section. The book mirrors family life in many ways: a mix of everything happening simultaneously. Perhaps the book should be called The Womanly Art of Parenting. About 500 pages, $12. See a book here.
Breastfeeding Books – Breastfeeding Naturally by Hannah Lothrop
Hannah Lothrop had her first baby in 1972 when women were still encouraged to formula-feed their babies. Hannah was dismayed at how little information was available for women who wanted to breastfeed. She collected information from pediatricians, nurses, midwives, counselors, and mothers. She also did a lot of research. Armed with this information, she wrote a book so women could access her knowledge pool.
The book has as much information as the Complete Book of Breastfeeding (and perhaps a bit more), but it is written from the perspective of a woman who’s “been there.” The book has stories and testimonials from other mothers with comments to share: approximately 250 pages plus 30 pages of appendices, index, and resources. See a book here.
Breastfeeding Pure & Simple by Gwen Gotsch
Gwen Gotsch is a librarian who has worked with the La Leche League for over 25 years. Her book is well-written and gives a lovely, fuzzy-warm rendition of how beautiful and fulfilling breastfeeding can be. The book covers a good amount of material, and all of it is told in a flowing manner rather than a checklist. Problems related to breastfeeding are addressed. However, they are presented mildly as if “these things happen, but don’t worry…”
I would buy This good introductory book for a friend, sister, or wife who is pregnant but has not decided whether or not she will breastfeed her baby. It’s short enough that someone could read it cover to cover and feel good about the experience. See a book here.
The Nursing Mother’s Problem Solver by C. Martin
This breastfeeding book is designed for women who are already nursing and wish to have a book that answers their questions and concerns. It is in a Questions and Answers format, and topics are alphabetically ordered. For example, if you want to know if you can drink coffee while breastfeeding, look under “caffeine.” If you want to know if you can give your baby a pacifier, look under “pacifier.”
This book is good to have on your bookshelf as a resource and for causal reading. You can always learn something from other people’s questions—approximately 325 pages. See a book here.
Fresh Milk: The Secret Life of Breasts by Fiona Giles
This book is off the beaten track! It speaks of breasts and breastfeeding in a context, unlike other books. This book explores “the other side” of breastfeeding: topics that exist but no one talks about because it is either weird or taboo. For example, A man brings his daughter to his chest so she can suckle and calm herself. Men who desire lactating women. Women who are sexually aroused when they breastfeed. And yes – using breast milk in coffee, pies, and ice cream.
This is not one of those How-To breastfeeding books. Don’t buy this book if you are easily offended and queasy about breasts and breastfeeding. But if you want to understand that sliver of society that exists but is not represented, this is the book for you. Although you may not agree with everything in the book, it’s an eye-opener, and you will surely learn something about breasts and breastfeeding that you cannot learn anywhere else. See a book here.
Breastfeeding books – Down Came the Rain by Brooke Shields.
Brooke Shield is a famous movie star; she recounts her experiences during fertility treatments, C-section delivery, and postpartum depression. Another famous actor, Tom Cruise, commented negatively on the book and suggested that postpartum depression was not an actual medical condition. Debate ensued, and needless to say, the book got a lot of publicity.
Despite all that, the book is very well written and is a good, easy read. It gives you a glimpse of what postpartum depression is about. It talks about Brooke’s medications but is not a technical analysis of the condition. About 250 pages, $8. See a book here.