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Bottled Up: How the Way We Feed Babies Has Come to Define Motherhood, and Why It Shouldn't Hardcover – October 18, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Blogger/editor Barston had every intention of breastfeeding her newborn son, but the baby's severe intolerance to breast milk along with other factors thwarted her efforts. Feeling conflicted, defensive, and guilty, she spent two years researching the ups and downs of bottle and breastfeeding. Her text interweaves memoir and reporting as she scouts recent medical literature, interviews experts, and recounts her own tale as a lactation-challenged Hester Prynne. Barston makes clear that she is not antibreastfeeding; rather, her goal is to lay out the facts and examine the research so that each mother can decide for herself. Breastfeeding, she asserts, is not for every woman, whether for medical, psychological, professional, or many other reasons. She advocates a new outlook on infant feeding: one that refuses to embrace a one-size-fits-all strategy. While much has been done to support the breastfeeding mother, Barston argues, formula feeders have often been judged unfairly, without due attention to each woman's individual circumstances. Society's goal, she contends, should be to support all mothers in their right to choose what is best for themselves, their babies, and their families. Formula-feeding parents will find support, information, and encouragement in this well-researched and compassionate text, and breastfeeding moms and advocates will benefit from Barston's authentic experience and perspective as well. (Oct.)

From the Inside Flap

“Barston's defense of bottlefeeding declares a moratorium on using motherhood as a dumping ground for our cultural anxieties and ambivalences. Through the deft interweave of personal narrative and sharp analysis, Bottled Up reveals how mother-blaming, sloppy science and deficient policies are far more pernicious that artificial milk." —Chris Bobel, author of The Paradox of Natural Mothering

“Bottled Up is a truly timely book. It is testament to how messed up things have become when it comes to motherhood that it even had to be written. The end result is a serious, engaging, challenging and also accessible account, drawing on the best of scholarship, science and journalism.”—Ellie Lee, Director of the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies, University of Kent

"“This is an informative and well-reasoned book that looks acutely at the meaning of baby feeding alternatives. It will be helpful to mothers, no matter what their choice."—Sydney Z. Spiesel, Ph.D. M.D., Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine

“This book is a must-read for every woman and man who is fed-up with the shaming and blaming of bottle-feeding parents. Barston explains with evidence, anecdote and humour why breast isn't always best and why women will never be free to enjoy their babies and map the maternal landscape until infant feeding decisions are no longer used as a test of good motherhood.”—Dr. Leslie Cannold, author of The Book of Rachael

Barston gives a heartfelt defense of mothers who go against the dogma of Breastfeeding Over All Else. Based on both personal experience and expert consultations, her conclusion: occasionally it's healthier not to breastfeed, and anyway don't stress about it. Surprisingly, such a reasonable point of view is poorly represented in the Mommy Wars. Barston's book is a welcome contribution."—Sam Wang, Ph.D., Princeton University, co-author of Welcome To Your Child's Brain: How the Mind Develops from Conception to College.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (October 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520270231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520270237
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #266,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I have recommended this book to my friends who are new moms time and time again.
It allows formula feeding mothers to understand that formula is a fine alternative to breast milk.
Refreshing to read a book about this topic that's supproted by research, passion, and experience.
Caroline Niziol

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By AJ Riley on September 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
If you have ever wondered:
why cans of formula come with a warning label that says breast is best
what's going on behind the scenes at the AAP, and what's the science behind their claims
why you had troubles supplying enough milk when 95% of moms can breastfeed with no issue
or the question posed in her introduction "Is breastfeeding really so superior that it justifies the guilt trip we heap on all of these women?"
...then this book is for you.

This was a fascinating read of everything that you DON'T hear about in the news or in your breastfeeding class. The author is in no way slamming breastfeeding and touts it as a perfect food, and does not in any way want to discourage breastfeeding. What she is doing is exposing the other side of the coin, the hidden side, the part that mothers, policymakers, or LCs wouldn't dare voice. The problems, the costs, the complications, and the science, but mostly focused on the human beings--the mothers who have to endure overwhelming societal pressure and what they have to say.

The book starts as historical journey, the author takes us down the series of events that led our nation and world to where it is today in terms of feeding wars. I would like to combine these chapters with the beginning of Lenore Skenazy's "Free Range Kids" into a book entitled "Why you are an anxiety-filled American parent in 2012". She then goes into some unexpected and eye-opening territory in a chapter on postpartum depression, coming to some innovative solutions to help women, of which I have dogeared the pages to show to my public health coworkers on Monday morning.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Watson on November 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
My wife breast fed both our babies for more than 2 years each. My wife had her children in the early 1980's and during pre-natal classes, was asked whether she wanted to breastfeed or formula feed and was unconditionally supported, as were all mothers in Australia at that time, in whatever feeding method she chose. She was a wonderful mother!

My daughter formula fed each of her three babies and I'm not going to tell you why because, quite frankly, it doesn't matter! My daughter had her children between 2006 and 2010 at a 'baby-friendly' hospital where she was told she 'failed to breastfeed', made to feel she was the only mother who was unable to successfully feed, then given no instructions on how to safely prepare a bottle of formula. She, also, proved to be a wonderful mother!

Times were certainly different, yet both my wife and daughter are wonderful mothers who cared for their children in the best way they possibly could, with unconditional love... after all, what normal mother doesn't do what is best for her babies?

And I believe this to be the main point to Suzanne Barston's debut book Bottled Up, which was a wonderful and easy read with just the right mixture of personal experiences, humour, and well researched facts.

Mothering is not an easy task and every mother and every family and every baby is different with different individual needs... so every mother should be supported unconditionally in whatever she has decided is best for her, her baby, and her family.

Bottled Up will go a long way to re-enforcing that viewpoint and I'd highly recommend every prospective mother read this book, before the baby arrives!

I'd simply say, from a man's point of view, "just feed the baby!" :)
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Teri on November 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is not a book about feeding babies.

Well, okay, it is, but in a sense, it is about so much more. Barston masterfully makes the case not only that how we feed babies has come to define motherhood, but I also came away from this book feeling that this is one of the defining fronts on the war against women--a front that is curiously largely ignored by the media as well as many feminists, even while it is waged against women by governments, non-governmental agencies, health care practitioners, researchers, and, most insidiously, other women. When this generation of mothers reaches old age, they probably won't remember the proclamations of pundits about who pays for birth control or the outrageous statements of male politicians about rape. But many will regretfully remember how they were forced into a one-size-fits-all model of motherhood that defines a woman's worth solely on how her breasts work, pressured by a society that mandates breastfeeding as a necessary component of good motherhood yet barely even pays lip service to the support structures necessary to make it possible. Which makes this book a crucial work for a wide audience--everyone from parents-to-be to doctors to feminists to lawmakers.

Far from being anti-breastfeeding, one gets the sense that this is something Barston would have dearly loved to do and wishes it was as simple as breastfeeding activist organizations and health care practitioners paint it. She is clear that, all things being equal, breastfeeding is the ideal way to feed a child. But the crux of this book is that, on so many fronts, things are NOT equal. Women are set up to fail, and as a result sometimes experience devastating, long-term health consequences.
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