10 Best Breastfeeding Books

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Best Breastfeeding BooksBreastfeeding has so many advantages that it’s hard to list them all. Superior nutrition for baby, in a container that keeps it readily available and at the proper temperature – what could be better or easier?

Actually, breastfeeding isn’t always easy. If you are nursing your baby or planning to nurse your baby, you are likely to encounter a difficulty sooner or later, or simply have a question. At such times, there’s nothing like a good breastfeeding book.

Sure, your mom or your friends can give you advice, or you can look online. But a book is available day or night, and you won’t have to sift through hundreds of links to find the information you need.

Choosing the right book is important. Of course, you’ll look for authors with some credentials and a whole lot of experience, but other factors are important as well. The breastfeeding book you choose should reflect your own parenting philosophy and preferences. The tone of the book is important, too. Some moms want an objective, informative approach, while others prefer a more personal tone.

The format of the book should be user-friendly. A good breastfeeding book should be well-organized and indexed, so you can find the information that you need quickly. Photos and illustrations can be helpful, as can extras such as lists of resources.

Some breastfeeding books are aimed at particular audiences, such as working mothers. Others are comprehensive, with advice for a wide range of situations. Parenting and baby care books may have some advice about breastfeeding, but they are unlikely to answer all the questions that can arise about nursing your baby.


Our Top Breastfeeding Books

*All product links in this article will take you to the latest prices on Amazon.com, scroll down for our in-depth reviews below.


How to Choose a Breastfeeding Book

Many moms like to buy books in an electronic format, but some still prefer a traditional book. Most of the titles we’ll be looking at are available in both forms. Some will be available as audiobooks, but some aren’t well-suited to the audio format because of their reliance on illustrations and diagrams.

Here are a few factors to consider when choosing a breastfeeding book.

Date of Publication. Breastfeeding itself may not have changed in recent years, but the accessories that many moms use, such as breast pumps, have certainly changed. That’s a good reason to look for a recent book. In addition, you’ll want a book with the latest medical advice about nursing. Some of the classic breastfeeding books are updated often, so when you find an appealing title, be sure to check for a newer edition.

Author’s Qualifications. Look for an author who has extensive experience in the breastfeeding field. Most will be either doctors of lactation consultants. It’s worth remembering, however, that the breastfeeding movement has at various points been sparked by mothers rather than by medical professionals. A mother who is passionate and well-informed about breastfeeding may have authored the perfect book for you.

Extras. Most moms appreciate breastfeeding books with illustrations, so that they can more easily picture what is being described. Charts, diagrams and lists of resources are most welcome, too.

Readability. Most moms want a book that gives them the facts in an easily readable form. Some books contain first-person accounts and anecdotes, and some are just the facts. No matter which approach is taken, a breastfeeding book should not be a struggle to read and understand.

Organization. A helpful breastfeeding book will have a table of contents to tell you how the book is set up. It should have a good index, too, so you can get a question answered quickly.

Documentation. If a book contains a lot of scientific and medical information, it should have some type of documentation, preferably footnotes or endnotes.

The cost of a good breastfeeding book shouldn’t be prohibitive. If you can’t handle the retail price, you can probably find a cheaper used copy online. You can also borrow a copy from a friend or check your local library. Borrowing a book is, however, less satisfactory than having your own copy.

What About Lactation Consultants?

The standard advice for a mom who needs breastfeeding assistance is to seek help from a lactation consultant, but moms who live in rural areas may find that there are none available in their area. In addition, the fees charged by consultants can be a obstacle for some moms.

The Affordable Care Act states that insurance plans must provide breastfeeding support, counseling and equipment, but insurance companies may require a doctor’s recommendation or other pre-authorization. This stipulation can be burdensome for moms who have a breastfeeding issue that needs immediate attention.

In addition, some insurance companies will ask that you use an in-network provider, which narrows the number of available providers considerably, sometimes to zero. (Learn more about breastfeeding benefits from HealthCare.gov.)

Many breastfeeding books are written by lactation consultants. If you see IBCLC after an author’s name, that means that the author is an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant.

In order to be certified, one must be a clinical healthcare professional or have completed 14 courses in the health sciences. Consultants must also have 90 hours of lactation education, earn clinical hours in lactation support and pass an exam.

Some lactation consultants have not met the stringent requirements to be an IBCLC but have taken from 20-60 hours of instruction in the field. These consultants may be identified by other initials, including CLC (Certified Lactation Counselor), CLE (Certified Lactation Educator) and CLEC (Certified Lactation Educator Counselor).

Of course, some midwives, doulas and laypersons may have extensive knowledge about breastfeeding and may be of great assistance to breastfeeding moms. Some have also written helpful books.

Other Sources of Help

When mothers have breastfeeding challenges, most will first consult with their ob-gyn or birthing expert or their child’s pediatrician. Sometimes this strategy works. At other times, the person consulted may not have the requisite experience and training to be of help. Also, a doctor with a waiting room full of patients won’t always take the time to fully investigate breastfeeding issues.

Sometimes a breastfeeding group is more accessible and more helpful. The grandparent of all breastfeeding groups, La Leche League International, has chapters in many areas. You can search the website to find a chapter of La Leche League USA. Your doctor, hospital or local health agency may have information about other nearby breastfeeding groups.

The federal Office on Women’s Health (OWH) offers breastfeeding assistance. Among other services, OWH offers a helpline that is staffed with individuals knowledgeable about breastfeeding. That number is 800-994-9662.

You may be eligible for special breastfeeding support if you participate in WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children). Ask your local WIC office or call 703-306-2746.

What to Expect From Breastfeeding Books

Sometimes readers complain that books about breastfeeding are biased in favor of this method of feeding. Perhaps that is to be expected. Why would someone undertake the task of writing about breastfeeding without believing in it?

Still, some authors can come off as preachy and one-sided. If that is likely to bother you, look for a book that is described as judgment-free or balanced.

With all of this information in mind, let’s take a look at the best breastfeeding books.


10 Best Breastfeeding Books

1. “Latch” by Robin Kaplan

Latch: A Handbook for Breastfeeding with Confidence at Every Stage

Robin Kaplan founded the San Diego Breastfeeding Center and works to secure women the right to breastfeed in public. She is an IBCLC and the mother of two, and she faced challenges feeding her own babies before deciding to make breastfeeding her personal cause.

Subtitled “A Handbook for Breastfeeding With Confidence at Every Stage,” Kaplan’s book is the kind of book that you can read through in a few hours and then turn to later when your memory needs refreshing.

Kaplan has a master’s degree in education, which may contribute to her ability to communicate information easily and naturally.

“Latch” is more concise than many other books about breastfeeding, but Kaplan states, “Breastfeeding is an enormous topic, but the basics don’t require a long book.”

“Latch’ covers topics that include breastfeeding myths, nutrition, returning to work while breastfeeding and where to turn for additional help. Readers have found the section on weaning especially helpful. They also appreciate the first-person accounts that the book contains.

“Latch” was published in 2018 by Rockridge Press.

Pros:

  • Readable. “Latch” is easy to read without being simplistic.
  • Two Formats. This book is available as a paperback or as an electronic download (Kindle).
  • Organized by Stages. “Latch” contains information for those just beginning to breastfeed, for those who are farther along in breastfeeding and for those who are beginning the weaning process.
  • Non-Judgmental. Readers liked that this book does not come off as judgmental but instead emphasizes a family’s right to make their own decisions about feeding their child.  
  • Well-Organized. The book follows a chronological format and contains a useful table of contents and index.
  • Lots of Extras. This book contains color illustrations, a glossary, a list of resources and references.
  • First-Person Experiences. A section near the end of the book contains breastfeeding stories from real mothers.
  • Well-Qualified Author. The author has a combination of education, training and personal experience.

Cons:

  • Short. At only 166 pages, “Latch” is not as comprehensive as some other breastfeeding books.

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2. “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding,” La Leche League International

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding: Completely Revised and Updated 8th Edition

No author appears on the cover of this book, just “La Leche League International.” This book does indeed have three well-qualified authors, but it is the eighth edition of a book that was first published in 1958 and that has had a succession of authors.

Some readers find the title rather quaint. They might also be taken aback by a recommendation that appeared in the 1981 edition, that mothers not take “outside jobs” unless it is absolutely necessary. This eighth edition, however, has been thoroughly modernized, even if La Leche League did make the decision to stick with the original title.

Diana West and Diane Wiessinger, authors, are both certified lactation consultants with a long association with La Leche League. The other author, Teresa Pitman, was the Executive Director of La Leche League Canada and has served as the author or co-author of over a dozen parenting books.

You might expect a book sponsored by the venerable breastfeeding organization to have some gravitas, and you would be right. At 576 pages, the book is quite a weighty tome. While easy to understand, it’s not something that most moms will pick up for casual reading.

While many books emphasize the advantages of breast milk, this book also touts the importance of nursing – of actually putting the baby to the breast.

A minority of readers feel that this book is not supportive of some of the difficult decisions that moms must make. Besides promoting breastfeeding, it also has a bias toward unmedicated births, co-sleeping and other “natural” parenting strategies. Some readers feel that the book has a preachy tone. Most readers, however, go into the book with an understanding of the La Leche League philosophy and are able to take the parts that help them and ignore any that do not.

The eighth edition was published in 2010 by Ballantine Books.

Pros:

  • Readable. “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” is easy to read and understand although it is not light reading.
  • Three Formats. This book is available as a paperback, electronic download (Kindle or Nook) or audio book.
  • Length and Detail. This book is quite lengthy and detailed at 576 pages long.
  • Well-Organized. The book has a comprehensive table of contents and index and is generally easy to use.
  • Sources Provided. There are over 30 pages of selected references in the back of the book that support statements made in the book.
  • Well-Qualified Authors. The authors have many years of experience in breastfeeding and helping others.

Cons:

  • Bias. Some readers object to the biases exhibited by the authors (unmedicated births, lengthy breastfeeding, co-sleeping).
  • Few Illustrations. The book contains some images, but could use more.

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3. “New Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding,” American Academy of Pediatrics

The American Academy of Pediatrics New Mother's Guide to Breastfeeding (Revised Edition): Completely Revised and Updated Third Edition

Many moms consider the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to be the most reliable source for parenting information. When you don’t have access to your own pediatrician, this book published by the AAP can answer many of your questions.

Joan Younger Meek, the editor-in-chief of this book, has a lot of letters after her name. She’s a medical doctor (MD), a registered dietitian (RD), a board-certified pediatrician (FAAP) and a certified lactation consultant (IBCLC). Fourteen other pediatricians and one ob-gyn served as reviewers and writers for this book.

As one might expect, this book is well-written and informative but not particularly engaging. It is an excellent resource for all the medical issues that can affect breastfeeding, from breast surgery to opioid use. There’s a clear bias toward breastfeeding in this book, but most readers found that it does not come off as judgmental or preachy.

For the most part, information in this book is not supported with footnotes or endnotes. Perhaps that is because the AAP itself is considered a reliable source. There is a lengthy list of breastfeeding resources in the back of the book.

This is the third edition of this book, published in 2017 by Bantam. Some moms receive this book for free from their doctors or breastfeeding groups. If you have to buy it, however, it is worth the money.

Pros:

  • Two Formats. “New Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding” is available as a paperback or as an electronic download (Kindle or Nook).
  • Relatively Readable. Although paragraphs are long, subtitles and bulleted lists are used extensively, and each chapter begins with a list of key points.
  • Length and Detail. With 320 pages, this book is detailed but not overwhelming.
  • Well-Organized. This book is cleanly organized with a table of contents and index.
  • Authoritative Source. With both the AAP and a distinguished editor-in-chief, this book can be considered a highly authoritative source.

Cons:

  • Few Illustrations. The book contains some images, but could use more.
  • No First-Person Accounts. This book is lacking in the anecdotes or first-person accounts that some readers look for to add interest.

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4. “The Complete Book of Breastfeeding” by Sally Wendkos Olds, Laura Marks, M.D., and Marvin S. Eiger, M.D.

The Complete Book of Breastfeeding, 4th edition: The Classic Guide

 

For over 40 years, moms have been relying upon “The Complete Book of Breastfeeding.” The first three editions were created by a breastfeeding mom, Sally Wendkos Olds, in collaboration with a renowned pediatrician, Marvin S. Eiger. For this fourth edition, a third author has been added. Laura Marks is a board-certified pediatrician with impeccable credentials. She is also a member of La Leche League.

According to the introduction, in 1971, when the first edition of this book was being written, breastfeeding was at its lowest ebb, with only a quarter of moms even attempting it. Today three-quarters nurse their babies, and books like this one have contributed to the reversal. “I knew that if mothers knew more about breastfeeding, more of them would choose it and more would enjoy it,” author Olds states on her Amazon author page.

This book contains the usual information about nursing practices and problems, but it also contains other information that similar books may lack. It gives a historical perspective of breastfeeding and also puts it in the context of today’s society. It discusses how nursing can affect sexual relationships. It has an excellent section devoted to FAQs about breastfeeding.

Another plus is a comprehensive section on extended breastfeeding, for those who want to nurse past the second or third birthday. The authors suggest responses to the question, “When are you going to stop nursing?” “When he’s old enough to order takeout,” is one suggested response.

This book is recommended by Heidi Murkoff, the author of the very popular “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” It is available as a paperback or e-book (Kindle or Nook). This edition was published in 2010 by Workman Publishing Company.

Pros:

  • Readable. “The Complete Book of Breastfeeding” is informative but doesn’t feel impersonal.
  • Two Formats. This book is available as a paperback and as an electronic download (Kindle or Nook).
  • Length and Detail. At 432 pages, this book is detailed but not overwhelming.
  • Helpful Extras. This book contains four helpful appendices: breastfeeding and the law, resources, websites and a comparison of breast milk and cow’s milk.
  • Well-Organized. The book is well-organized with a detailed table of contents and index.
  • Well-Qualified Authors. The combination of a lay author with medical doctors provides both an authoritative voice and a personal touch.

Cons:

  • No Scientific References. There are no endnotes or footnoes to back up the author’s assertions, although sources are sometimes mentioned in the text.
  • Few Illustrations. The book contains some images, but could use more.

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5. “Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding” by Ina May Gaskin

Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding: From the Nation's Leading Midwife

If you don’t know Ina May Gaskin, the subtitle of this book identifies her: “From the Nation’s Leading Midwife.” Gaskin is the founder and director of the Farm Midwifery Center, noted for its positive outcomes for mothers and babies. She has been recognized as a Visiting Fellow at Yale University’s Morse College.

With an introduction titled, “Breast is Best,” Gaskin makes her stance known right away. She offers an extremely comprehensive and detailed argument for breastfeeding, going so far as to mention that in times of natural disaster, nursing moms don’t have to worry about what their babies will eat.

Other topics covered include preparing for breastfeeding, problem-solving, sleeping arrangements, going back to work, and nursing twins. There’s a long section covering how the choice of birthing method affects breastfeeding. She also discusses nipplephobia, which is her word for the negative reaction that sometimes greets women who breastfeed in public. She asks, “In what species besides our own would adult males or females harass a mother in the act of nourishing her young?”

Gaskin also includes four appendices in the back of the book. Appendix A lists medications that one might need to take while pregnant or nursing, describing the risks and benefits of each. Appendix B is a list of recalls of baby formula, and its inclusion seems more like a scare tactic than helpful information. Appendix C contains the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, as adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. Appendix D is a list of breastfeeding resources. There’s also an extensive list of endnotes.

Some may find Gaskin’s views extreme, but those who aspire to her brand of natural parenting will find a lot to love in this book, and others will still find much helpful information. “Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding” was published in 2009 by Bantam.

Pros:

  • Readable. “Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding” is easy to read and interesting, as long as you are not put off by her advocacy.
  • Four Formats. This book is available as a paperback, e-book, audiobook and audio CDs.
  • Helpful Extras. The appendices and endnotes add a lot of valuable information to this book.
  • Length and Detail. At 352 pages, this book is lengthy and detailed without being encyclopedic.
  • Helpful Illustrations. This book has quite a few helpful illustrations.
  • Well-Organized. This book is fairly well organized with a minimal table of contents but a thorough index.
  • First-Person Accounts. Occasional first-person accounts add interest.
  • Well-Qualified Author. Although Gaskin is primarily known as a birthing expert, she has also had ample experience with nursing moms.

Cons:

  • Bias. Although early in the book Gaskin states that breastfeeding moms must not judge those who make other decisions, this book can feel a little judgmental at times.
  • Lacking in Some Areas. Some readers felt that Gaskin spends too much time advocating breastfeeding and not enough time problem-solving or discussing going back to work.

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6. “The Nursing Mother’s Companion” by Kathleen Huggins

The Nursing Mother's Companion, 7th Edition, with New Illustrations: The Breastfeeding Book Mothers Trust, from Pregnancy Through Weaning

Another classic book that has been recently updated, “The Nursing Mother’s Companion” is subtitled “The Breastfeeding Book Mothers Trust, From Pregnancy through Weaning.” The author is Kathleen Huggins, an IBCLC with a degree in perinatal nursing. Huggins is unabashedly pro-breastfeeding, but her tone is consistently kind and non-judgmental.

In addition to the normal advice about getting started nursing and dealing with difficulties, Huggins covers topics that most authors skip. These include dealing with postpartum nausea and headache and choosing nutritional supplements that may ward off postpartum depression. She also includes reviews of popular breast pumps.

At 448 pages, this is a hefty read, but there are a lot of illustrations, and it’s easy to skim. There are four helpful appendices, including one that deals with the safety of drugs during breastfeeding. There are references and a suggested reading list as well.

Fans of this book range from the late pediatrician T. Berry Brazelton to Kelly Bonyata, creator of the breastfeeding website KellyMom. This is the 7th edition. The book was first published in 1985, and it has been updated regularly ever since. Huggins writes on her website that her husband advised her to write it like a car manual, and she did.

“The Nursing Mother’s Companion, 7th Edition” was published in 2017 by Harvard Common Press, Huggins’ original publisher.

Pros:

  • Readable. “The Nursing Mother’s Companion” has a warm, conversational style that is also very informative.
  • Two Formats. This book is available as a paperback or as an e-book (Kindle).
  • Length and Detail. At 448 pages, this book is an excellent reference book, although it’s also good for browsing.
  • Well-Organized. The book follows a chronological organization with specific information for different ages.
  • Helpful Extras. This book has helpful appendices in the back, as well as an extensive index.
  • Well-Qualified Author. Huggins has solid credentials and a lot of experience in the lactation field.

Cons

  • Few Illustrations. The book contains some images, but could use more.

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7. “Work. Pump. Repeat.” by Jessica Shortall

Work. Pump. Repeat.: The New Mom's Survival Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work

Lots of moms feel as if they have the breastfeeding thing under control – until they go back to work. That’s when they have to trade some of their cuddles with their baby for assignations with a breast pump. That’s when they have to explain to the rest of the world why it’s necessary to pump frequently and why those little bags of breast milk are so precious.

“Work. Pump. Repeat.” is subtitled, “The New Mother’s Survival Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work.” Author Jessica Shortall is not a doctor or a lactation consultant. She is a writer, speaker and working mom who breastfed her children. Because she’s a working writer, she knows how to do research and interview others, so she has drawn on the experiences of many others for this book.

This is not a book about the basics of breastfeeding. You’ll need to buy another book for that information. But this book does have practical advice for pumping in the workplace, hard info about your rights as a breastfeeding employee and tips for balancing work and pumping. You’ll also get laugh-or-cry stories from other working, nursing moms.

Shortall divides her book into four sections. The first, “Getting Ready for the Insanity,” is primarily devoted to information about breast pumps and milk storage. The second, “Your Boobs at Work,” covers strategies for pumping at work along with advice about how to handle your boss and co-workers. The third discusses how to cope on business trips, with special advice for flying. The last section covers what to do when things go wrong.

“Work. Pump. Repeat” was published in 2015 by Abrams.

Pros:

  • Readable. “Work. Pump. Repeat.” is funny and easy to read, although the humor is not the main attraction.
  • Four Formats. This book is available as a hardcover, as an audiobook, as audio CDs and as an electronic download (Kindle or Nook).
  • Concise. At 208 pages, this book can be read quickly.
  • Supportive. Moms who read this book will know that they aren’t alone in their working/breastfeeding struggles.

Cons:

  • Short on Hard Info. Readers who primarily seek information will be better off with a different book.

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8. “Breastfeeding Without Birthing” by Alyssa Schnell

Breastfeeding Without Birthing: A Breastfeeding Guide for Mothers through Adoption, Surrogacy, and Other Special Circumstances

If you think that you must be misreading that title, think again. It is entirely possible to breastfeed a baby that you didn’t give birth to, as this book makes clear. The subtitle spells it out: “A Breastfeeding Guide for Mothers Through Adoption, Surrogacy and Other Special Circumstances.” The author Alyssa Schnell, is an ICBLC who breastfed an adoptive daughter as well as two children that she birthed.

Moms who want to breastfeed a baby without going through the process of pregnancy can do so through a process sometimes known as “induced lactation.” They usually take a combination of hormones that replicate what goes on during gestation, but other medications or herbal preparations can be used, according to Schnell.

The second step in the process is the use of a breast pump to stimulate milk production, followed by putting the baby to the breast. Once the baby is nursing, the mother may still need to use a breast pump to increase milk supply.

Schnell’s explanation of these steps is quite clear, and she supplements the information in her book with first-person accounts from moms who have breastfed without birthing. This book is a great starting point for a mom who is considering this step.

A long list of references is provided at the end of the book, but they are not keyed to pages, chapters or passages in the book. For that reason, it could be difficult to track down the source of a particular statement. Occasionally Schnell will insert a footnote, but only occasionally.

“Breastfeeding Without Birthing” was published in 2013 by Praeclarus Books.

Pros:

  • Readable. “Breastfeeding Without Birthing” is written in a clear, easy-to-read style.
  • Two Formats. This book is available as a paperback and as an electronic download (Kindle).
  • Length and Detail. At 242 pages, the length seems adequate for coverage of this topic.
  • Well-Qualified Author. Schnell is undoubtedly well-qualified to write on this topic.
  • First-Person Accounts. First-person accounts add interest and reinforce concepts.

Cons:

  • Few Footnotes. Lack of footnotes makes it difficult to check sources.
  • Not Well-Organized. The order of topics doesn’t seem natural, and there is no index for quick reference.

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9. “Breastfeeding Solutions” by Nancy Mohrbacher

Breastfeeding Solutions: Quick Tips for the Most Common Nursing Challenges

Sometimes you just need answers, not a complete guide to breastfeeding. Answers are what you get with this pared-down volume from Nancy Mohrbacher, subtitled “Quick Tips for the Most Common Nursing Challenges.”  A well-known figure in breastfeeding circles, Mohrbacher has authored or co-authored three books for breastfeeding specialists and three for parents.

Mohrbacher addresses four of the most common problems areas of breastfeeding: latching issues, breast pain, sore nipples and milk supply, giving multiple solutions for each problem discussed. In addition, she discusses three other areas of concern: night feedings, milk expression, and weaning.

In the introduction, Mohrbacher states that in her decades working with lactating mothers, these seven subjects have consistently rated as the top concerns of breastfeeding moms. Although the problems are not new, there are some new coping strategies, thanks to ongoing research and the work of lactation specialists.

Mohrbacher gives very specific advice for dealing with these areas of concern, illustrated with line drawings when needed. At the end of the book, there is an extensive list of references where moms can go for more help.

In 2008 Mohrbacher was included in a group of 16 to be named Fellows of the International Lactation Consultant Association, the first group to be so recognized. This honor qualifies her to display FILCA after her name, as well as IBCLC.

“Breastfeeding Solutions” was published in 2013 by New Harbinger Publications.

Pros:

  • Readable. “Breastfeeding Solutions” is clearly written, using a straightforward objective style.
  • Two Formats. This book is available as a paperback or as an e-book (Kindle or Nook).
  • Concise and To-the-Point. This book is 208 pages long and has minimal fluff.
  •  Extras. It has an extensive list of resources in the back.
  • Illustrations. The book contains helpful drawings.
  • Well-Organized. The book is cleanly organized, with one chapter devoted to each area of concern, plus an index and list of resources at the end.
  • Well-Qualified Author. The author has an impressive combination of training and experience.

Cons:

  • Lacking in Interest. Some readers felt that this book was too objective and not encouraging to mothers having breastfeeding difficulties.

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10. “The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk” by Diana West and Lisa Marasco

The Breastfeeding Mother's Guide to Making More Milk: Foreword by Martha Sears, RN

“Am I making enough milk for my baby?” This is one of the most harrowing questions faced by nursing mothers. Although nature’s supply-and-demand system works most of the time, sometimes it doesn’t. That’s when this book could be a lifesaver.

When a baby goes through a fussy period or gains weight at a slower rate than expected, mothers may worry about their milk supply. Many times there’s nothing wrong that a little time won’t fix. Occasionally, however, a mom may need to take steps to ensure a good milk supply.

Both authors are qualified IBCLCs, and both have worked on other breastfeeding books. They answer moms’ questions with chapters such as “What’s Normal and What’s Not” and “Can Your Mind Affect Your Milk Supply?” Concrete strategies are given for improving milk supply, from massaging the breasts to using galactagogues – herbs or medications that boost lactation.

The authors begin by explaining the Milk Supply Equation. Adequate glandular development + intact breast structure + proper hormones and receptors + frequent milk removal should add up to a good supply of milk. If milk supply falters, these factors should be investigated first.

Most breastfeeding books have a few pages about milk supply, hardly adequate for those who have a real need to increase production. This book is a detailed, straightforward A-to-Z guide for those moms. Many readers noted that this book freed them from shame and feelings of inadequacy. They felt better knowing the reasons behind their low milk supply and having strategies to deal with it, even if they did not achieve 100% resolution of their issues.

Extensive footnotes appear at the end of the book, along with charts of galactagogues and a thorough index. The first edition of “The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making Milk” was published in 2008  by McGraw Hill. Before you buy, check for a promised second edition.

Pros:

  • Readable. “The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk” is not hard to read although it takes a scientific approach to the topic.
  • Two Formats. This book is available as a paperback and as an electronic download (Kindle or Nook).
  • Length and Detail. At 308 pages, this book is thorough and detailed without being wordy.
  • Well-Organized. The book follows a logical organization and has an extensive index.
  • Helpful Extras. Extra resources are included at the end of this book.
  • First-Person Accounts. First-person accounts add interest and reinforce concepts.
  • Non-Judgmental. Readers said that this book did not make them feel inadequate or judged.
  • Well-Qualified Authors. The authors share a wealth of training and experience in breastfeeding.

Cons:

  • Problems with Kindle Version. Some readers noted readability problems with the Kindle version.

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And the Winner Is!

It’s hard to name the best breastfeeding book, because nursing is such a personal decision. Readers are likely to be uncomfortable with a book that doesn’t reflect their own philosophy.

Still, one book that will please almost everyone is “The Nursing Mother’s Companion” by Laura Huggins. Although Huggins is an IBCLC and a breastfeeding enthusiast, she doesn’t come off as strident or judgmental. Her tone is mostly matter-of-fact.

Huggins’ book has been recently revised, so with it you’ll get the latest information. It’s also organized chronologically. Breastfeeding during the first week is quite different from breastfeeding when your baby is six months old, and Huggins recognizes that. Of course, breastfeeding a toddler is more different yet, and that topic is addressed, too.

The La Leche League book and Ina May Gaskin’s book are similarly structured, but both can come off as a bit uncompromising. A few readers may feel the same way about the Huggins book, but they will be in the minority.

For mothers returning to their jobs, “Work. Pump. Repeat.” is a valuable resource. “Breastfeeding Without Birthing” is similarly perfect for those who wish to try induced lactation. And “The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk” fills a much-needed niche.

For the average breastfeeding mom, however, whose struggles are mostly about sore nipples and a lack of sleep, “The Nursing Mother’s Companion” may be the only breastfeeding book you need.

 

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