Most helpful critical review
236 of 268 people found the following review helpful
Far too judgmental.
on January 20, 2012
This book is well-intentioned, and it does contain some very good information about breastfeeding. But the tone is extremely judgmental about women who choose ANYTHING other than a completely natural childbirth, exclusive breastfeeding, cosleeping, etc. The message is this: You'd better love it. It's a blissful experience. If it's not, you're doing something wrong - and your baby will suffer for it. Not every mom is lucky enough to have that experience, and for those mothers, this book imparts huge amounts of fear and guilt.
My labor had to be induced three weeks early due to a pregnancy-related liver condition that put my baby at risk. So there's strike one - labor inducing drugs. I ended up getting an epidural (the only part of the experience that I could have avoided if I'd been strong enough to take the pitocin-induced contractions without it.). Strike two - more drugs. My baby had to be delivered by forceps and was not placed on my chest immediately after birth, but was taken to the incubator to be evaluated. Strike three - we missed that initial bonding. He nursed a bit before we left the delivery room, but later had breathing trouble and had to remain in the NICU. While he was there, he got some of my colostrum and milk but was supplemented with formula. Strike four. If I took this book to heart (which I did), my bond with my brand new son would always be inferior.
Even once we got home, we struggled with breastfeeding for the first few months. He was never given formula again, but I felt horrible that I wasn't blissfully enjoying the experience, that it wasn't super easy for him, and that at times I wanted to give up. I had an oversupply and an overactive letdown that made it stressful for both of us, despite measures to correct it, and I know I was lucky that that was our biggest problem! Perhaps if I hadn't been sleep deprived and full of postpartum hormones, I wouldn't have taken so much of the book to heart. But that is going to be the case for the majority of the audience this book is targeting.
My son is now six months old and exclusively breastfed. It's much easier now than it was at the beginning. I pump for him at work and he hasn't had a drop of formula since we left the hospital. He and I have bonded perfectly and I adore him more than I dreamed possible. He's perfectly healthy and at the top of the growth charts. Yet I still cannot think of this book without feeling the guilt.
I'm giving it three stars because it does have very helpful information, and it is backed up by research. I would, however, encourage moms to get the full story on the research if you can. It is very easy to manipulate statistics to support an opinion. I'm not saying the authors did this, just that there is often more to the story than a simple "more likely." A 5/100,000 chance vs. a 1/100,000 chance of complications is "more likely", but the overall risk is still negligible. Again, I'm not saying the authors are being untruthful, just that it helps to have the complete picture when making a decision.
Please, if you read it, realize that many, many people's labor and delivery, and postpartum experience, does not follow their textbook. And that is OK. Your relationship with your baby will be fine. If you can't breastfeed for some reason, your child is not doomed to a life of poor health and low IQ. And despite what the authors of the book would have you believe, there really ARE women who can't breastfeed, many for reasons that consultations with a lactation consultant wouldn't change.
The most crucial thing is the unconditional love and affection that you give your baby. If they are held and loved and know they are secure in the arms of their parents, then you are doing your job.