Posted by Kristen M. Ploetz in Bookshelf on March 3, 2013
The Nursing Mother’s Companion, Kathleen Huggins, R.N., M.S.
(Note: I had the 5th edition/20th Anniversary edition (2005), but I just saw that there was a 6th edition/25th Anniversary edition released in 2010. Probably just as good as the one I had, if not better.)
So it’s been a while since I nursed Maddy. A long while. Yet this book sticks out as one of the most helpful, down-to-earth and resourceful books for me when I was nursing, particularly as I was about ready to head back to work and not sure of how it was all going to fit together. If I were going to recommend a breastfeeding book to a pregnant friend or new mom—especially one that did not have many close family members or friends to consult on this front—this would be the one of all the ones I had read during that time.
The chapters are broken down into common sense topics, almost chronologically in some ways. I could easily find answers to questions I had, both at the early stages and as M neared the age of one (she self-weaned at 13 months old . . . she was ready and made that very clear. I, on the other hand, was not as enthusiastic about the change.) The book acknowledged, if not supported, co-sleeping mothers and babies and attachment style parenting in general, which is how we generally flowed in this house (I know this is a hot button issue . . . we co-slept/shared a family in our house for a time. It’s not for everyone, and yes, I know and knew the risks, but it worked for us. Moving on . . .) I also found it useful as I was beginning to get anxious about how nursing and pumping would all work (would it!!??) when I headed back to full-time work at the end of a six month maternity leave. It did work, and I credit this book for part of that.
Incidentally, I also credit my really flexible workplace environment for my success in this department of parenting. I was one of two female attorneys, and certainly the only one pumping at work, in a very small and otherwise male attorney dominated firm. They don’t exactly have a lot of lactation rooms at small sized law firms these days. I mean, my boobs were out there 4 times a day in my office, and the only thing between me and those guys was a lot of trust and about two inches of hollow core door. That, and a stack of law dictionaries and client files piled against the door (because, you know, paper and accordion files are just so strong . . . needless to say I was not thinking very clearly in my first weeks back). Despite that, I thought I had it on lock . . . that is, until one of the lawyers indicated that he knew when it was OK to knock on my door to ask a question because he could hear my pump turn off. Insert balloon popping sound here. That whole time I thought they were oblivious to what I was doing in there and it was like a little secret handshake happening outside my door (it’s not like I made a firm-wide announcement or anything). Fortunately, it was right around the time that M started getting antsy about it all anyway, and I didn’t have too many weeks more after that. But I mention this story because I think that without the help of this book with its tips and cheerleading of sorts, I might not have attempted it to begin with and would have felt less confident about breaking the mold.
I will say that in connection this book, I did also visit (quite frequently when there was some serious supply issues) the KellyMom.com website. Fantastic information there, and it looks even more put together since I last looked at it in 2008. And I also want to give a little “honorable mention” to The Milk Memos: How Real Moms Learned How to Mix Business With Babies, by Cate Colburn-Smith and Andrea Serrette. That book was hilarious an gave me some solace when I was ready to just quit.
If you’re looking for a book to pass along to an expectant mom who plans to breastfeed, this one is worth checking out.
Copyright (c) 2013 Kristen M. Ploetz