Sunday, November 21, 2010

My Parenting Bookshelf--Breastfeeding

As I mentioned in my previous post, my obsession interest in parenting books started with panic over breastfeeding. After my daughter was born, she latched on and nursed well. Ironically, it was the hospital LC who first aroused anxiety by manhandling me and saying that her latch was off. She said I had to have nipple shields because my nipples were too flat, and while she probably meant well, she was pretty discouraging. I ditched the shields the next day, and just followed our instincts, and she nursed like a champ.

At her first check up, she had gained so much weight that the ped and nurses were very impressed. Still, I had plenty of doubts, so I picked up two books on breastfeeding. They were the only ones in stock at the time in the rather meager section on breastfeeding, but they served the purpose. I got The Complete Book of Breastfeeding by Eiger and Olds and The Nursing Mother's Companion by Kathleen Huggins. They reassured me that we were doing fine, and that breastfeeding would even get easier. Right about the same time, a friend gave us a copy of an Ezzo book. It was interesting because they contradicted each other so much. I searched the AAP guidelines and other reputable sources and decided that Ezzo was a twisted quack who disliked and distrusted babies and had severe jealousy and maturity issues.

Along with all the books, I read all the magazines, too. Mostly ones like Baby and Parenting. They all suggested breastfeeding for a year, as long as it wasn't too inconvenient. I read one article, though, that blew me away. It was in this weird, hippy magazine called Mothering, and it was about a five year old who loved to hula hoop and was still breastfeeding. It was the most bizarre thing I had ever read. A five year old?! I mean, we all know that once they can ask for it they are too old, right? It stuck with me, though.

The Baby Book and The Breastfeeding Book by Dr. Sears. As I mentioned before, I came across the Sears' book on clearance, and so I got it. As I read it, I was astounded at all of the solid research and information that supported our instincts. Ariana was still exclusively breastfed at that point, and it was going so well. I remembered the article on the five year old, and while that still seemed really strange, as I read the Sears book I began to think that maybe I could keep going beyond a year. By the time she was a year, I had found an online community of breastfeeding moms who had shared plenty of information and encouragement, and I was committed to child-led weaning.

Mothering Your Nursing Toddler by Norma Jane Bumgarner was my next find. Nursing is a relationship, and nursing a toddler is quite different from nursing a newborn. I found information, stats, advice for dealing with others, and ideas of what to expect from different ages and stages. It was wonderful!

Once I became pregnant again, I added Adventures in Tandem Nursing by Hilary Flower. I already spoke about that one in the pregnancy bookshelf post. It has been reread as we have nursed through the last three pregnancies.

My most recent addition is Breastfeeding Older Children by Ann Sinnott. I actually participated in the research that she did on this one, so of course I had to buy it! I was not disappointed. There is little material available for moms of older nurslings, but this would be good even if there were an abundance. It covers many aspects of nursing at different ages, including development (both physical and emotional) of the children.

Wanna-reads: I still want to read Ina May Gaskin's book on breastfeeding. I have read, of course, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by the La Leche League, and particularly enjoyed the latest edition. One that I don't own, but have used in the past as an invaluable reference is Hale's Medications and Mothers Milk. If you are ever concerned about a med and breastfeeding, make sure that your physician is using this resource. It is the definitive work on the subject.

So where are we now? Well, he isn't into hula hoops, but in a month or two I will be nursing a five year old. :) Breastfeeding has truly been an adventure. For nearly five years, I have been breastfeeding two or three, all while eliminating foods they are allergic to. Yet the reality is not nearly as difficult or unpleasant as it might sound. I am happy and feel very blessed with how easy it has been, overall. At least some of that is due to the books I've read. :)

One last thought: it isn't a book, but the site has been one of the best resources ever for all things breastfeeding for me!

1 comment:

Matt and Heidi said...

oh how funny, I just posted on my own blog about getting new books! I got the new LLL womanly art of bfing, Ina May's guide to childbirth and Playful parenting. I can't wait to read them! please feel free to read if you'd like, but it's nothing fancy, just a little family blog