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Unbuttoned: Women Open Up About the Pleasures, Pains, and Politics of Breastfeeding Paperback – April 17, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this revealing collection of essays, 25 writers talk about their personal breastfeeding experiences. The beautifully written, heartbreaking first entry, Breast-Laid Plans by Heidi Raykeil is about how nursing her daughter for three and a half years helped her become whole again after the loss of her first-born child. In Motherhood Made a Liar Out of Me, Daryn Eller writes about feeling left out as the mother of an adopted, bottle-fed daughter and when asked in the playground if her child is weaned, she always answers yes. Dawn Porter's In a Man's World tackles the difficulties of pumping milk in the workplace, while Patricia Berry is clear on her decision in Because I Don't Want To, her husband and La Leche League be damned. The authors are all accomplished writers and their collected emotions and sentiments form a powerful and informative commentary on this most loaded of parenting topics that will especially resonate with anyone who has raised a child. (Apr.)
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Review

In this revealing collection of essays, 25 writers talk about their personal breastfeeding experiences. The beautifully written, heartbreaking... entry, Breast-Laid Plans by Heidi Raykeil is about how nursing her daughter for three and a half years helped her become whole again after the loss of her first-born child. In Motherhood Made a Liar Out of Me, Daryn Eller writes about feeling left out as the mother of an adopted, bottle-fed daughter and when asked in the playground if her child is weaned, she always answers yes. Dawn Porter's In a Man's World tackles the difficulties of pumping milk in the workplace, while Patricia Berry is clear on her decision in Because I Don't Want To, her husband and La Leche League be damned. The authors are all accomplished writers and their collected emotions and sentiments form a powerful and informative commentary on this most loaded of parenting topics that will especially resonate with anyone who has raised a child. --Publishers Weekly Starred Review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Common Press (April 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155832397X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558323971
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,159,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
While clearly this book has appeal to a certain audience, I have to disagree with the reviewers who felt it would be beneficial to "any" breastfeeding mother. First, the mothers depicted in the book represent a pretty narrow cultural and social spectrum--the upper middle-class, highly-educated cultural creatives. Working class mothers, "earth mothers," mothers from traditional religious backgrounds, and disadvantaged mothers won't hear their voices echoed here.

Secondly, what some reviewers have called "realism" seems skewed quite definitely to the negative in most cases. Breastfeeding is never a bed of roses, but too many of the writers see it as a bed of nails. Indeed, most of the authors seem to see mothering in general as a bed of nails; I felt that a number of the critiques made against breastfeeding were more honestly critiques of mothering.

I was also concerned about misinformation about breastfeeding in some of the selections and the risk of expectant mothers coming away with inaccurate ideas about matters like antidepressant use while breastfeeding (usually *not* a need to wean) or the physical discomforts of breastfeeding (it can indeed be painful in the early postpartum but such problems are usually resolved after a few weeks, thank goodness).

Downright ugly was some authors' use of phrases like "Nipple Nazis" and "Nipple Gestapo" to characterize breastfeeding counselors. Of course, these comments always came associated with pleas for understanding and acceptance of the authors' choices. Hypocrisy much?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By lydiadeetz on September 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
I just got done reading this after recently weaning my 15 month old. Wow! What a great book. I don't normally love essays but I just wanted to keep reading the next one and the next one and the next one. I will admit that there were 2 or 3 essays that I didn't particularly care for, but they were all pretty quick reads, so I wouldn't consider them a waste of time.

With any series of essays by different authors, you will have differing styles and differing opinions, so I figure there's bound to be a few that you can't relate to at all. I'm sure another reader will find the essays that I didn't like to be his/her favorites!

The authors of these essays were able to put into words the feelings that I had as I went through the process of learning how to nurse, dealing with the pain, dealing with infections, and finally weaning.

I am not a writer AT ALL, so it was wonderful to read how these women were able to capture the emotional highs and lows that women go through during this period - whether they nurse/supplement/formula feed. There is definitely something in this book for everyone.

Again, you might not like all the essays, but I can almost guarantee that if you're a mom, there will be one or two that you will relate to.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By cc on January 30, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The stories in Unbuttoned are wonderful for breastfeeding mothers. It depicts the loves and pains of bf'ing very well and it helps with getting into the grove with baby. It helps you feel more normal and that all the goofy issues you have as a new mom bf'ing, are normal! I loved the read and recommend it to any new breastfeeding mom.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Crona Gallagher on April 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
Wonderful book for any breastfeeder !! Beautifully written, funny and moving pieces which will strike a chord for any mother who has ever fed a baby. The quality of the pieces is superb. About to have my fourth baby and will dip into this book again and again during that first year. This book would be a fabulous gift for ay new mother.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ann Booker on October 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
If you are a pregnant mom who is expecting your first baby or if you are planning for your first breastfed baby please put this book down. This book feels like when you go in to the hairdressers and let people know that you are pregnant, and then let the horror stories of childbirth. It may be healing for them, but this is not what you need to know.
As a mother who breastfed three children, I do feel for most of the stories told by these broken mothers. I wish they have had better support, and knowledge of breastfeeding. The stories told in the book written very well -you would expected as they are written by professional writers-, however most of them written of the point of a New York carrier woman who are acting like three years olds "I centred". As a mother I do appreciate and understand the mix feelings of motherhood, however there is no consideration of the baby's birth right to breastfeed. In some stories I felt like saying "stop it, stop it now. Obviously not every one has to breastfeed." And this is I never thought I would say it to any mother. So by all means to have and read this book if you have had difficulties when you breastfed -it may be the cathartic for your wounds-, but if you are first time breastfeeding mom run away.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nadia on August 4, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a mother struggling to be successful with breastfeeding, I found the essays in this book to be an encouraging support. Reading them gave me hope & reminded me I'm not alone. Knowing that other women have had the same frustrations & problems has helped me feel more confident about persevering.
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