Sunday, August 26, 2007

Book Review: Mama Knows Breast by Andi Silverman

I love to give and receive advice, especially on all things related to breastfeeding: resources, challenges, products, everything! Mama Knows Breast by Andi Silverman is a compact, concise collection of advice that you might receive from a trusted, experienced breastfeeding friend. There are many great breastfeeding resources out there like La Leche League's The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and Dr. Jack Newman and Teresa Pitman's The Ultimate Book of Breastfeeding Answers, but they are large and thick books with a lot of detail. In your last months of pregnancy when you are busy buying things and preparing for labor, it is difficult to read a reference book straight through when you don't yet know what applies to you.

Andi's book (you'll feel like you can call her by her first name after reading it) is a small, handheld crib notes of breastfeeding guide that you can read in one sitting. The book touches on breastfeeding topics from proper positioning to the impact on your sex life, offering quick suggestions and listing resources for further assistance if you need it. Mama Knows Breast is divided into 8 chapters and is indexed, making it easy to find what you are looking for, but I suggest reading this book from cover-to-cover. Andi intersperses anecdotes from her own experiences throughout the book. She also shares stories from mamas throughout the country in break out sections titled, From the Mouths of Moms. These sections keep the book interesting and demonstrate the wide variety of options and issues you may face in your own breastfeeding adventures.

Like a good friend, Mama Knows Breast has a friendly, informative, non-judgmental tone. Andi emphasizes the importance of getting help if you are having problems, the value of support from your partner and other breastfeeding moms, and the use of common sense when making decisions about issues like public breastfeeding. While the book is more conservative than I am about public breastfeeding, it provides suggestions and encouragement for the shy, and reassures moms that it is both legal and often necessary to breastfeed in public. The section, Responding to Critics, has pre-planned responses to breastfeeding questions/criticisms. Parenting brings a lot of obnoxious questions that can hit the wrong note and leave you feeling vulnerable and judged. Pre-planned responses, especially, calm, confident quips, can preserve your dignity and prevent you from feeling defensive or badgered.

Andi ends the book on an empowering note:

In some ways, that's the beauty of this whole Mama thing. You get to make it up as you go along. No matter
what anyone else says--and they'll be sure to say a lot--you're the one who decides how to feed your baby.
You're the Mama, and Mama Knows Breast.

You can purchase Mama Knows Breast at You can get more breastfeeding tips and news on Andi's website Mama Knows Breast

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