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The Reality of Breastfeeding

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When first-time mothers talk about their experiences breastfeeding their babies, the most frequent comment is: I had no idea it was going to be so difficult. While nursing is natural, it is by no means instinctive, and initial attempts are often fraught with anxiety, pain, exhaustion, and the fear of failure. Establishing a successful nursing relationship depends on a woman's high degree of motivation and the availability of a support system offering her encouragement and information. To this end, The Reality of Breastfeeding, is an inspiring anthology of thematically arranged first-hand accounts by nursing mothers. It provides a community of stories about breastfeeding that mothers can consult as past generations may have consulted mothers, grandmothers, and aunts. The 50 narratives in this unique compilation address a wide range of issues concerning nursing, such as problems establishing breastfeeding, reconciling working and breastfeeding, social and cultural discouragement of the practice, and deciding when to wean-even coming to terms with unsuccessful attempts to nurse and making peace with bottle feeding. The book is utterly frank in its confrontation of the sometimes intractable problems of sore nipples, mastitis, and yeast infections, and in its discussions of the ambivalent emotions expereinced by fathers, other family members, and the mothers themselves. A table of contents featuring brief summaries of the narratives and an index make it easy for readers to find stories about particular problems they may be facing, and a bibliography provides suggestions for further reading. Neither an advice book, nor a piece of propaganda, nor a scientific study, The Realities of Breastfeeding tells vital stories-sometimes heartwrenching, sometimes joyful-on a human scale.

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