Sunday, 29 July 2012

Breastfeeding: Stories to Inspire and Inform - Review and Giveaway

To get us in the mood for World Breastfeeding Week 2012, I'm offering the chance to win a free copy of a wonderful new book on breastfeeding: Breastfeeding - Stories to Inspire and Inform, edited by Susan Last and published by Lonely Scribe. To enter all you need to do is leave a comment on this blog post - more details at the end of this review.

Susan Last is a breastfeeding peer supporter and the mother of three breastfed children. The book begins with her informed and thoughtful introduction, in which she writes very cleverly and concisely about the politics of breastfeeding, it's value, and the main myths that surround it in our current society.

The rest of the book is filled with over twenty women's stories of their breastfeeding experiences, and offers a wide and fascinating variety, from nursing a premature baby, to twins, to tandem feeding, and many more. In every tale, the women write passionately of both struggles and triumphs, of what helped, and what didn't, and of the unique bond that makes it all worth while. The stories are interspersed with photos and some really lovely quotes about breastfeeding, all of which gives the book a warm feel that would make it a perfect gift for an expectant mother.

But the book goes deeper: as I read I could not help but feel what a vivid picture it paints of the reality of breastfeeding in the 21st century Western world, and how it should also be read by midwives, health visitors, politicians, and anyone else whose work might impact on the success or otherwise of a new mother and baby's breastfeeding experience. Shining through the stories comes love, strength and perseverance...but there is also a great deal of doubt, and a worrying amount of bad advice, so much so that editor Susan Last took the decision to 'asterisk' what she calls 'potentially unhelpful myths' when they occur in each story, and refer the reader back to her introduction.

In many of the stories women are undermined and misinformed by the very people who are charged with their care. These unhelpful comments range from the infamous UK Health Visitors - obsessed with outdated charts and determined to recommend Formula top-ups, to the disgraceful words of one US Midwife who told a new mother, vomiting during nursing due to post-operative drugs, that 'something Freudian' was going on. In all cases, the women's stories show just how powerful and damaging negative comments can be in a world where women are already unsure of how to breastfeed and often very isolated.

Well informed support, sheer determination to do what feels right, and positive encouragement emerge as essential to successful breastfeeding - as Susan Last points out: "...for mothers who are struggling, it's just one person, saying one thing at just the right time, that can make all the difference". This book could well fulfil that role. I hope it is widely read, not just by new mothers, but by those who profess to wish to  help them.


Giveaway Entry
This giveaway is now closed. The winner, picked at random using random.org, is Muslim Mummy. From her comment she seems a very fitting winner and I hope the book helps her to enjoy successful breastfeeding the second time around.

If you were not lucky enough to win, readers of The Mule can buy a copy at the reduced price of £11 by sending a cheque, made payable to Lonely Scribe, with details of their name and address, to:
Lonely Scribe, Welwyn, Bermuda Avenue, Little Eaton, Derby, England UK, DE21 5DG.

Alternatively the book is available on Amazon UK and USA. 


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17 comments:

  1. I would love to win a copy of this book for the breastfeeding guru and all round incredible midwife that runs our group. She would love this and deserves to get something back for her tireless enthusiasm and positive support to all mums.
    I am a peer supporter thanks to her and still feeding my 361 day old.
    Sally Geldard-Goode

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  2. Charlotte Kanyi30 July 2012 at 08:48

    This book sounds absolutely wonderful. I wish I had been able to read it when I started feeding my now 28 month old. Looking back we didn't know anything and knew rather more of the myths than the facts! Luckily I was supported by friends, family, husband and discovered good information via blogs and books, little by little along the way. Breastfeeding now feels so natural and lovely for us that I forget it is not the cultural norm here. I am looking forward to reading this book soon.

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  3. I would love to win this. I am due in Sept and really want to breastfeed. I gave up after a week with my first and felt a failure afterwards. I can be contacted on twitter if I win. @muslimmummies

    Thanks for the giveaway

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  4. This book is definitely on my wish list! I'd love to lend it to the mums I support as a doula and have it in my library for my trainee doulas to borrow. Women have always shared and learnt through stories - it is a particularly female means on communication, so basing a book on nursing around the medium of story is an inspired idea. New mothers are using a different, more primal part of their brains so learning through story may well suit this way of thinking prefectly. Thanks for the review, The Mule!

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  5. I would love a copy of this book. I hope to continue breastfeeding my 9 month old for a while to come, & while it is very natural to us & also many of our friends I still feel sad that so many people misunderstand breastfeeding & it's benefits. I think this book would uplift me!
    Jo T

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  6. This book sounds fab.
    I'd love to win this to give to a close friend expecting her first. I have learnt in the past that trying to be supportive and passionate to help and encourage friends with their newborns is all well and good, but when they are on their own and enjoying a little quiet time (or nursing at 4am!) that's when a little read of some inspiring words can go a loooong way. Thanks for the brill review.
    Libby Denman

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  7. I would love to win a copy of this book, I have bf my baby (#1) for six months and only got this far by ignoring HCPs and finding support through Facebook threads and blogs like yours. I'm hoping to become a peer support counsellor (if they can find the cash to run the training course) and having access to other successful bfing mamas is crucial to success :) Ruth Broughton-Salt

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  8. I would love to have this book in my collection. As a breastfeeding mother myself, I surround myself with all information about this nature's perfect gift. I have also managed to influenced new mothers around me to breastfeed. My 17month old baby is a healthy and amazing son and I have breastfeeding to thank for that. This book will certainly help me in my little quest to spread the goodness of breastfeeding. Thanks..

    Lin A. Selvaraj (lin.azreen@gmail.com)
    Malaysia

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  9. This book sounds interesting. Had made contact with Susan via Mumsnet and had been looking forward to it being published. Am glad it now is.

    Tracie

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  10. I'd love to win this book :) I still breastfeed my second 16months old girl and would want to know more about this amazing thing.

    Evka (pasuthova.evka@gmail.com)
    UK

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  11. Having 'failed' at breastfeeding my two (undiagnosed TT/hideous EMCS and PND) I would love to win this book to be part of the library at our local Attachment Parenting and Sling Library group. The group consists of over 200 local ladies, many of whom have been peer supported along their nursing journeys - this would be a valuable resource to lend out to inspire and support mothers setting out on their breastfeeding journey. cliffordlaura@hotmail.com

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  12. Natural term breastfeeder and bf professional here who would love to add this book to my library for personal use and to share with others. Great work. X
    Laura Frith

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  13. I read The Mule often and I have found so wonderful things and touching stories. I am a doctor, work with newborns, have a great experience with breastfeeding my two sons. I try to help to the mothers with breastfeeding, provide support try to do my best and am so happy, when I see that special look, when the mother nurses her baby for the very first time. It is so adorable.
    Zlatina

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  14. Would love to win this! I'm currently nursing a six-month-old, and while I think I'm pretty well-established at this point and past the point of "giving up," stories of encouragement are always helpful. Plus, I have a friend who is due toward the end of this year, and I'd love to be able to lend it to her. :)

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  15. I am a breastfeeding counsellor and am privileged to co-facilitate an online and real-life bf support group in the UAE. I would love this book to add to our lending library of books to inspire, inform and encourage bf mums and mums-to-be who struggle against the tide of mis-information and lack of support :(.

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  16. I would love to win this book, My LO is just coming up to his 2nd birthday AMD is still nursing, I didn't think I could have children after an ectopic, PCOS AMD years of trying and still can't believe I have been blessed with a child and have managed to nurse him for so long, such a gift x

    Hannah Silvester

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  17. Congratulations Muslim Mummy!
    Just wanted to say that the book is also available at the Book Depository (www.thebookdepository.co.uk) with free shipping worldwide.

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