I picked this book up at the library today, while getting Azita a list of some recommended princess books, called “Is Breast Best? Taking on the Breastfeeding Experts and the New High Stakes of Motherhood”.
I particularly didn’t like what the author said about natural parents and natural birth, but I did get her overall point, I really did, actually. There are just many holes in her thinking, in my view, and she *really* seems to think that everyone is out to make moms feel bad if they don’t do things the way they suggest. I mean, I think that to, at times, but not to this extent.
This is the review I put on amazon.com:
I picked this up and from reading the back thought, “Okay, I breastfed, and loved it, but any unbiased look at research is something that interests me.”
You often get the feeling as a mother, that there are many things you will mess up or do wrong and feel guilty for, and sometimes mother-in-laws, well-meaning (or not) friends, doctors, the lady next to you in line, etc will point out to you. And breastfeeding *can* be a touchy subject.
I haven’t read it all, but it seems that the author may be defensive or touchy about a few things herself. She discusses natural parenting, Dr. Sears, and the La Leche League. She notes that the La Leche League and Dr. Sear’s website have extensive lists of foods that mothers should not eat if they have a colicky baby. It’s simply not true. How can I trust anything else she says when she is somewhat over-emphasizing what these two well-known and researched sources say about colickiness and foods? They, in summary, do both admit that a food can irritate a baby’s system and sometimes explain colic. But neither one prescribes eating a precious few foods as an answer to it. I have been to many an LLL meeting, and it rarely comes up. When it does, it is discussed after a long list of other issues, usually one of the last things mentioned, as eliminating foods is considered low on the list of possible problems. I myself did end up having a colicky baby, intolerant to dairy and wheat, but it was not the LLL *or* Dr. Sear’s that I got most of my information and guidance from. I have, at times, gotten great info and wonderful contacts and support from either source, but when the author discusses natural parenting she makes it sound as if it is a series of rules that women must follow to be a natural parent. Uhh… I just don’t see it.
She claims that natural parenting advocates are trying to reduce the risks associated with pregnancy, childbirth and raising a baby. I think we all try to reduce our risks. Why else do we use carseats? But she goes on to assert that natural parenting tries to tell mothers that there will be no risks and they will raise wonderful children and have no problems if they do things “naturally”. I mean, come on, we all know it’s not that simple! I do alot of “natural” things. I breastfeed, I used cloth diapers half the time, I buy from a farmer’s market. Not because I believe it will make parenting easy.
She talks about total motherhood, meaning that if a woman doesn’t want to be consumed by motherhood, than she will have conflicts within herself, and basically that breastfeeding advocates are trying to give women the message that they must be mothers and nothing else. Excuse me? Really? I finished a degree and work from home since becoming a mother. Is having a kid hard? Yes. Do I feel role strain? Yes.
It’s almost insulting to women to say that we can’t cope with the role strain put on us by breastfeeding and being mothers and being in this culture.
The author does talk about all the marketing of baby things, the lists of must haves, the changing recommendations of SIDS and letting a baby sleep on it’s tummy. I all with her there– there is a sea… an OCEAN… 7 OCEANS… of information out there about every baby and parenting topic under the sun that we all have to wade through if we decide to seek more information on something. So I’m definitely an advocate of trying to dig out the truth under the hype. I just don’t see breastfeeding being advocated as the root of that issue.
I think women deserve a little more credit than that. She talks about a “risk culture” and you get the feeling that this woman herself feels judged, and feels role strain. It’s okay to admit that you are the only mom to your kid. By asserting that, that the baby wants the mother, and sometimes only them other, doesn’t mean the woman has anything to feel bad about.
SO she wraps it up by saying that yes, breast *is* best, but that in a culture with clean water and healthy food, either choice is probably going to be fine. So she spends 150 pages and countless hours of her research to tell us something that anyone should already realize.
Had I not breastfed, my kids would be fine. We’d still have a strong bond, they’d still be mostly healthy. (Although she does admit that there are some situations, like my kid being intolerant to dairy and premies) where breastmilk is a much better and sometimes live-saving option). With my second, had she been on formula with all of her digestion issues, *I’d* probably be the mom cracking under the pressure, because her first two years would have been even more colicky and diahrrea filled.
Maybe that’s why we should recommend breastfeeding– for those few infants that it really, really, really counts for. Again, I have to agree that there is marketing, government campaigns, just stuff all over telling moms what to do. Why she thinks breastfeeding is a larger part of that than any other thing a mom is told to do, I’m not sure. The author may have her own hang ups.