Friday, August 17, 2012

Arts and Crafts?

Quite a while ago I read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.  It is basically the handbook of La Leche League International and had been recommended to me by multiple people, other books, and websites. I have been putting off writing about it because I wanted to attend a LLL meeting and write about them together.  However, every time I plan on going, something else comes up. Since it has been a while, my review will be brief.

I loved it. 

Okay, not that brief, but seriously, if you plan on breastfeeding, it is great!  It made me feel completely empowered and welcoming of where ever the journey takes me. It is written in inclusive language and really focuses on finding the right breastfeeding relationship for you and your baby. Obviously is advocates exclusive and extended breastfeeding, but not in a way that made me feel like I would be a failure if our plans changed. 

There were two things that really stuck with me for whatever reason.  The first is that we need to switch our point of view away from all of the benefits of breastfeeding and towards the drawbacks of formula. If you think about it scientifically, the breastfed babies should be the control group because it is natural and formula is artificial.  The other point that really stuck with me sort of goes against this first point, but oh well-- how ever much you breastfeed, your baby does benefit.  If that means they get a little bit of colostrum when they are newborns, then you've helped their immune and digestive systems. It has examples like this for each major stage of development. 

As much as I enjoyed the book, it was really hard to read from cover to cover. I find this true of a lot of baby and development books; it is always easier to read whatever stage applies to you, and usually things get a little repetitive to accommodate this. I felt this way about The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, however, it is divided into 3 sections and I you skip the middle one ("Ages and Stages") the rest is much easier to stay awake through.

Well, I guess that wasn't as brief as I expected, but here is another one anyways. The next book I read was Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin. Again, it came highly recommended from various sources. We had already bought and read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth (my review) and I was concerned it would be a waste of time to read this, too.  I mean, how much more could one woman write about giving birth? 

In the end I did feel like it was a waste for me to read, but not for the reasons I had anticipated. I was amazed at how much the two books differed in approach, if not in content.  Spiritual Midwifery has a much more... well, spiritual viewpoint.  Go figure. A lot of the message was the same- women have great control over their bodies and they need to feel safe and relaxed to have the best birth experience. Most births are normal and don't need interventions, just support. All of those kinds of things.  Unfortunately for me the way it was presented was much harder to relate to than in Ina May's Guide.  Not only is it very faith based, but there was definitely a certain amount of the hippy-ish language that just made it hard for me to connect with. Not much is psychedelic or groovy anymore.

That was all in the inspirational birth stories part.  The second part was more informative, including a lot more in depth information written for midwives, which was interesting.  I think A enjoyed that part more than I did.

I have one more book that I wanted to read before our little girl arrives and I am almost done.  Then I will read fiction.  Lots of it.  That isn't about babies. =)

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