I was at an Usborne Book party and someone mentioned this picture book. If you're going to name a children's book "Breasts" you might as well name it, "Heather, You Need to Buy this book NOW."
Usborne doesn't make this book, but acquired the company that does. This book was originally in Japanese and is translated into English. It's in the same series of the ever popular, Everyone Poops. The edition we got doesn't have the same cover as the picture here. Ours is orange with four pictures taken from the illustrations in the book.
In general it was pretty factual. It presents breasts as for feeding babies, that women have fully developed breasts even if they don't have a baby, that even some men have large breasts, and that not every baby eats at the breast. I tried really hard to find the page that says "Breasts are sexual objects," but, alas, I couldn't find it. My book must have been damaged in shipping or something. ;)
In fact, there are lots of drawings of babies nursing, holding, gripping breasts. The drawings aren't going to win any prizes for "Best Illustrations" any time soon, but they are simple and nice enough. There's even a simple drawing of the inside of a breast.
It spends a page establishing that we don't remember nursing because we don't remember being babies. However, I know moms who nurse their 4, 5, 6 year olds, so for their situations it's not very accurate. It also says "After a year or so, many babies seem to lose interest in breast-feeding". I haven't found that very true for Margaret or her friends, so I start that sentence as, "Eventually, children..." "Sometime in the future you might..." "Eventually, before going on dates/college/marriage/a midlife crisis..." depending on my mood.
I think the virtue of this book is that it shows you can talk about breasts with children without talking about sex. I've heard an argument against nursing in public that complains, "I don't want my kids to see breastfeeding because I don't want to have to explain it before I'm ready to." Now, I'm not sure what's hard about saying, "Some babies eat milk made in their mother's breasts," but I think it has something to do with the fact that many people never see breasts outside of a sexual context. So suddenly, parents are afraid they have to explain... SEX! But you don't have to have the sex talk simply because your child saw someone breastfeeding. And if you need help with that- here's a book!
My favorite page of the book says, "Babies love to be cuddled by their mothers. And.... love to hold on tight to their mother's breasts.... snuggle up to their mothers' breasts.... suck on their mothers' nipples. These things are important to babies." Aww... But a close second is "Babies love their mothers' breasts because they're round, soft and warm - and they smell nice, too." The onomatopoeia is fun, too: "glug glug glug," "nmmm nmmm nmmm."
This became a favorite for Margaret after just a couple of readings. She really loves it, and for some reason it makes her want to nurse. And she likes to point out that the jogging woman in one of the pictures is wearing shoes. That's vital to the book, you know.