My first reading of the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding was of the seventh edition. I wasn't really reading it for interest- mostly out of obligation and I didn't really get into it, but it had good information and I learned new things. When I heard that there was an eighth edition due this summer my reaction was, "Hmm. Maybe I should get around to reading that sometime. After I have a baby. Sometime."
What piqued my interest was Amber Strocel's review. She loved it, so I decided to actually order the book and read it. While reading it, I mentioned it at an LLL meeting out here and a leader mentioned that this book "renewed her faith in LLL." It's that good.
I was so excited when the it showed up at my door! Unfortunately with a newborn and a toddler, it was hard to get through it. It packs its weight quite well. It's very thick (maybe even intimidating?), but it was easy to follow and understand. The three authors, Teresa Pitman, Diana West and Diane Wiessinger, were people whose names I recognized as breastfeeding information powerhouses.
It starts at the beginning: the importance of breastfeeding, support, and birth. I read the first few chapters tentatively because I know people get really sensitive about birth options and the inferiority of formula. But this is a book on breastfeeding, and so it's going to have to tackle things like birth interventions and the effects on breastfeeding pairs. What I thought was wonderful about this book was that it gave information and support for situations that aren't ideal and it had a theme of "You CAN do this!"
There was a overhaul on breastfeeding initiation and it focused on breastcrawl and baby-led latch. It also covered more mother-led approaches for babies who need that, but the emphasis was on trusting your baby's and your instincts. One of the most important aspects of LLL is that each mother is the expert on her baby and family.
The book was also separated into sections of development so you don't have to read the whole book to find help on issues you are dealing with- you can just go to the section for where you are at and it'll either address the issue or send you to where your issue is addressed. I found the set up of the seventh edition and its index to not be particularly helpful, but the eighth edition is pretty good on the navigation side of things.
Overall, it was a very thorough book, addressing almost any breastfeeding concern or special situation including induced lactation for adoption, cleft lips and palettes, illness in the mother or baby, and so much more. Some of my notes are on goodreads. I did find that the thrush information was lacking, surprisingly so. I really expected more.
But there was great information for just about anything else and the vibe of "You can do it!" continued through the book. Just like in an LLL meeting, the experiences of mothers are interspersed in the relevant topics.
As far as good breastfeeding books for a new mom, this ranks up there with So That's What They're For!
Check out the new Womanly Art of Breastfeeding!