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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
There are two main reasons that Dr. Punger's book is important. The first is that she started out with the same culturally imposed beliefs about birth and breastfeeding that most American mothers have. Often, mainstream mothers assume that `alternative' mothers have always had `far out' ideas.

Yet the journey from culturally accepted parenting beliefs to heart-centered intuitive parenting doesn't happen overnight or without good reason. Often it is the result of a great deal of research and soulful exploration. Permission to Mother is Dr. Punger's journey. Part of this journey includes her medical training (and that of her physician husband), which is the second reason this work is so important.

People tend to assume that support of all safe birthing options, including homebirth, automatically requires that someone be `anti'-doctor or `anti'-hospital. Likewise, to advocate for breastfeeding is often taken as an `anti-woman' stance. Somehow it doesn't occur to certain folks that it is only their own erroneous assumptions about birth and breastfeeding that could lead to such conclusions. In any case, in this book, they are challenged. Dr. Punger IS a doctor. She is married to a doctor. Her father-in-law is a retired obstetrician. Obviously she isn't anti-doctor. Yet she supports homebirth and doulas. She is a working woman; yet she's a breastfeeding advocate. Her story is vitally important in putting to rest the `us' against `them' mindset once and for all.

Punger shares with us her education, training and early experiences. We hear first-hand just how little doctors learn about truly normal, natural birth and breastfeeding. She asks important questions about why obstetricians so often jump to surgical solutions when other, less invasive options abound for many variations (sometimes called complications). Her own breech home-birth ends up being part of that process of questioning.

Likewise, her discovery of Dr. Brewer's advice which led to the elimination of toxemia from his own OB practice prompted her to ask, "Why does the medical community ignore his evidence?" Good question; midwives have been using this advice to help mothers to be healthy for decades. The information is there, and it is so simple. Why the resistance?

Perhaps the best part of this book is "Finding Breastfeeding Medicine". Dr. Punger's own breastfeeding experiences led her to supplement her education to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). We learn elsewhere in the book that medical `training' in breastfeeding may include an hour or two of instruction and continuing education sponsored by formula companies. What I want to know is why every single doctor (or nurse) that will discuss infant feeding with new mothers isn't required to be a lactation consultant? Why isn't every obstetrician, pediatrician and family practice physician required to be able to fully inform mothers of the benefits of breastfeeding and understand how to overcome challenges when they occur? How can they actually educate women if this isn't part of their own education? How can they be of assistance if they don't have the motivation to go above and beyond as Dr. Punger chose to do?

I love that the author shows that being a working woman doesn't mean you can't breastfeed. I love that she herself is so dedicated to her boys that she would have them brought to work to nurse them when she couldn't be home. I actually chose my own daughter's pediatrician for exactly that reason: the doctor's husband brought her children to the hospital when she couldn't go home to nurse them.

Because of this level of knowledge of breastfeeding, Punger is also able to address issues such as adoptive nursing and other special situations, as well as introduce the concept of breast-milk donation, which may be a new idea to some readers.

Finally, I'm excited about this book because also home-birthed, cloth diapered, breastfed, co-slept and unschooled my own daughter (who, by the way, is an intelligent, compassionate, independent young adult now, despite dire warnings of where our `weird' parenting choices would lead). It's nice to find a kindred soul.

Kim Wildner
Author of Mother's Intention: How Belief Shapes Birth
HypnoBirthing educator
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
My daughter will be a much healthier because of Dr. Punger. I felt the connection with her the first time I went to her practice for my breast feeding issues. Little did I know that I would continue going to her family practice for my daughter and myself.

I am so proud of Dr. Punger and her book because it will give so many people a different perspective on nurishing children the way nature intented. This book will convey the same kind of philosophy that you will receive in her clinic.

There are so many examples in this book of what may seem like a the impossible but there is always a way to perserve nurturing at the breast. This book is not just for women or just mothers. Fathers and health care providers will learn that there are no excuses to not breastfeed. All barriers can be overcome.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
The classic you are about to read will take you along Dr. Punger's personal journey from medical school training to home-centered parenting. Dr. Punger skillfully weaves her subjective experience as a mother with her clinical expertise as a family physician and international board certified lactation consultant. She examines birth and its outcomes in various elements, hospital and home, with and without professional doula support. Breastfeeding from the first moments of life to beyond the typical weaning years is chronicled together with the joys and difficulties women encounter personally and socially in feeding their young. Dr. Punger has a way with putting life into words we can all relate to. She has amassed information covering a large, but very related set of mothering topics. If I could only put her words of wisdom in a nutshell and pour it into the hearts and minds of each of my "mothers," this world would be a better place.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
As a new mother, I read scores of parenting and breastfeeding books. They all had the same information regarding breastfeeding - most all of it unhelpful and outdated, as well as very hard to read (with a newborn in tow).

Dr. Punger's book was the first book that actually made sense and gave real-world, practical advice. Her book was written with her real-life stories and it draws you in as a reader. She cleverly intertwines her expert advice amoung touching personal stories and you forget you're reading a "self-help" book. She teaches you to trust your instincts and to stop comparing your baby to the medical "norm".

I keep this book right next to my favorite spot to nurse.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
I'm not sure if there are enough words to describe how much Dr. Punger's book inspired me. Once I opened the book I couldn't put it down! After reading it I feel confident in the way I raise my daughter. In a society that is shaped by social norms and fear of what others might think, Dr. Punger enlightens that we can choose the way we raise our children.

Dr. Punger portrays birth so beautifully and really reminds us that the experience we have while bringing new life into the world is enitrely up to us. My husband and I are anxious to have our next child at home.

Dr. Punger also inspired me to switch to cloth diapers, something I NEVER thought I would do. My daughter had 3 UTI's by the time she was 8 months old. I never thought they could possibly be caused by disposable diapers. But now it makes sense! There are tons of chemicals in those things. I'm glad she pointed that out. None of my daughters doctors ever told me to try switching daipers. They just did really invasive proceedures that had inconclusive results. I'm fairly new at the cloth diapering but Brianna has been free and clear of UTI's since switching.

Since reading "Permission to Mother", I have also decided to breast feed longer than I intended. Actually, I'm not to sure how long that is but I know I don't feel I need to put a time limit on it. I'm comfortable with letting my daughter decide when she is ready to wean.

All in all, "Permission to Mother" is the most incredible, inspiring, and empowering book I have ever read. I love it and strongly recommend it to everyone!!!!!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Denise Punger, MD in her book titled, Permission to Mother, takes readers on a personal and intimate journey through her experiences of labor, birth and breastfeeding. Beginning with her first birth in a hospital and ending with her third birth at home, Denise explores the myriad of birth options, while encouraging women (and their partners) to go "beyond the standard-of-care to nurture our children."

Permission to Mother challenges current birth practices by sharing "Healthier Images of Pregnancy." Denise acknowledges that her choices may not be suitable for every mother, at the same time, she defends every mother's right to make choices that work well for her. Her support for doulas is especially gratifying.

The chapter on breastfeeding titled, "Breastfeeding Didn't Come Natural" reminds readers that you need to make breastfeeding a priority in the beginning, and that you need to be patient--giving mother and baby an opportunity to learn this important skill.

The second part of the book is a collection of short chapters on a wide range of parenting topics from management of jaundice to home schooling, or "unschooling" as Denise calls it!

If you are looking for a book that will give you insight into what labor, birth, and breastfeeding can be like, Permission to Mother may be just the book for you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is WONDERFUL! It is the first book I have ever read that truly gives women the freedom the mother their children the way they want to.
I love that it is written by a doctor. It is extremely insightful and I learned so much. I read all of it in two days. It was so good, I could not put it down. I think it should be suggested reading for every first time Mom.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
So I finally get a chance to really post about the book. I actually got my book rather quickly. I skimmed around in the book at first, then I read the suggestion to read cover to cover. I finally got a chance to do this... and I did not sleep until I had done so because once I started I could not put the book down!
Reading your book was like a healing process for me. I started out being really sucked in by curiousity about how you came to be the doctor that you are. I was intrigued and enlightened by the experieces and feelings you described through your years of medical school and as a practicing doctor before you yourself became a parent. I think it is amazing you are so brave by allowing yourself to be so vulnerable to your readers. I think the number one reason I have always disliked doctors so much is because I always felt like they hide behind their plaques and came off as being almost in-human. You are absolutely an exception to this rule and I commend you and thank you for your honesty.
Then I read on in the book and emotions overwhelmed me. I felt like I was right there with you experiencing your birth experiences as they were happening. It was so validating for me as I related so well to how you described your first birth experience with William. And it was encouraging to read that I too may someday be able to heal the wounds that are definitely still bleeding because a good birth experience is possible and empowering!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
We have entered a changing world. When my babies were born I was told when you put that precious baby in your arms, you will forget about the labor pain.

In Permission To Mother, Dr Punger expresses and with eloquence shares her feelings on the childbirth experience, and the Mothering Journey from deep in her heart with words from her soul. She not only believes that an empowering birth experience improves a mother's emotional and physical health, but with words of love shares how the birth experience can have a profound impact on the way a Mother raises her children, and how she relates to her partner, family and friends.

Permission to Mother is an essential read not only for mothers and mothers-to-be, but for their partners as well. The words of this book are meant to inspire, uplift and touch your life. Dr. Punger's honest insights into motherhood and all it encompasses, answers many questions from a medical and personal perspective in an easy to read format.

Seems like only yesterday that you were born, the memory of that moment will forever linger on despite the fact that I thought that I had to do exactly what my doctor said. You have a way about you that is definitely your own. I was so proud to read this book.

Forever and Always,
Mom
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
We are lucky enough to have Denise as our pediatrician, so I did not really think I would learn anything new from her book. Boy, was I wrong! While I already practice many of her reccommendations, her wonderful read of a book convinced me to take my toddler to the dentist (uninsured, money is always an issue). I also recently had an experience with some unsupportive in-laws, and going off to read her book really bolstered my resolve. I think this book offers even more for the parent or parent-to-be who is unsure of what is the right parenting style for their child. She takes you through her whole thought process as she goes from medical standard procedure oriented to a child oriented philosophy. Her forthrightness and honesty about all the ramifications in her family and professional life really make the book personal and so much more real. I can not reccommend the book highly enough, and it will be my standard present for all future baby showers.
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