12 years ago when I was pregnant with my first child, our insurance company at the time had a special program for expectant mothers that offered regular telephone check-ins with a Registered Nurse and a free pregnancy or parenting book. One day in the week or so after our son was born, my assigned RN called to see how I was adjusting postpartum. She patiently listened while I shared our little successes and struggles, and offered practical advice. She mentioned that I had not yet chosen a free book and asked me if I was comfortable with her making a suggestion. (Yes, PLEASE!)
"Since you're having a tough time with breastfeeding, I really think you'd benefit from The Nursing Mother's Companion. I'm going to send it ASAP!"
Friends, that book literally SAVED breastfeeding for my son and I. Breastfeeding was excruciating despite great latches and I couldn't figure out why- until I came to Kathleen's notes on nipple blanching (turning white) and dug a little deeper to discover I was experiencing vasospasms- bingo!
I also appreciated Kathleen's affirmations that the first two months were rough, as well as her encouragement that most nursing mothers enjoy "the reward period" in the months that followed. Her book gives practical breastfeeding guidance, plus advice on caring for oneself in each stage.
I still have my copy, including some old WIC breastfeeding information sheets as bookmarks, on my shelf.
In a world that manages to simultaneously pressure moms about their infant feeding choices while also overly complicating them-
"Didn't you know breast is best? Of course if you breastfeed, you need to stop eating junk food. Whole foods only! Your milk is the healthiest for baby- but you should probably stop eating and drinking XYZ or else it will affect the baby." (Like seriously, WHY are people like this?!)
-Nancy Mohrbacher is a calm voice of reason. I love Nancy's approach as an IBCLC because she reviews the basics first, before delving deeper to uncover the root cause of a breastfeeding challenge. (Learning from her has shaped my own practice as a lactation consultant.) She explains the "whys" behind the mechanics of making milk, baby's behavior, and outside influences in easy-to-understand language and gives straight-to-the-point recommendations for success.
Bonus: Nancy's Breastfeeding Solutions app is handy when you need a quick answer easily found on your phone.
I feel compelled to add Amy Spangler's books to this list since she completed her undergrad at The Ohio State University.
But more than that, Amy's books filter out flowery language and stick to concise, practical advice. You've got questions; she's got the answers. If sifting through entire chapters to find relevant guidance isn't your thing- and frankly, when we're exhausted and possibly in pain, reading a lengthy explanation seems like cruel and unusual punishment- then this is your book. Bullet points, handy charts, and attractive illustrations make this both a quick read all at once, and a readily-accessible reference for months ahead.
Of course, if you want a book that is even simpler, may I suggest:
A little book with a powerful punch.
You know how you can ask a question of Google and receive a quick answer? This book is like the written equivalent, only you can fully trust the information received.
It covers the basics and is a condensed version of Amy's Breastfeeding: A Parent's Guide.
What are your favorite breastfeeding books?