Monday, February 8, 2010

Hobo Mama Giveaway: Mama Knows Breast {2.25} CLOSED

This giveaway is now closed. View the winner here!

Andi Silverman of the blog Mama Knows Breast: Adventures in Breastfeeding was kind enough to send me a review copy of her book by the same name: Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner's Guide to Breastfeeding — as well as a second copy to give away.

I'd seen this book kicking around the breastfeeding blogosphere; I'd enjoyed reading the MamaKnowsBreast.com blog; and I'd even been a fellow participant with Andi on a breastfeeding blog carnival or two. But I hadn't yet had the chance to read her book, so I up and asked her if I could review it and host a giveaway. As you might guess, she graciously said yes and fired off a package my way.

Chic illustrations by Cindy Luu
My first impression of the book was, superficially, "Wow, this is really pretty!" Because it is. The paper is a nice weight, and it's the kind of book where some of the pages have their own designs and color variations, and the printing is two-color. I get a kick out of details like that (so thanks to Becky Berkheimer, the graphic designer). The line-drawing illustrations by Cindy Luu are charming and modern. The book is laid out like a guidebook, with bullet points and pull quotes, and it would be easy to glance through it or flip around to find a relevant or intriguing passage.

So, admiring the prettiness was as far as I got for awhile. And then last night I had a dramatic pause that enabled me to read the book and write this review.

The drama was my cousin turning what should have been nothing more than a simple overnight stay into a trip to the emergency room after he flew off his bicycle and used his face to break his fall. He's going to be fine, but I found myself spending a number of hours among the always entertaining clientele of the trauma unit, and Mama Knows Breast was my helpful companion while I waited and waited. (That was the pause part.)

Having read it cover to cover, I can now envision Mama Knows Breast as a perfect baby-shower gift for a new mother. It's a book about the fundamentals of breastfeeding without being overwhelming in information or rhetoric. Far from preaching to mothers that they have to breastfeed or must breastfeed for a certain length of time or should feel comfortable nursing in public, Mama Knows Breast makes it clear that all those choices are up to the mother.

As a lactivist myself and the mother of a nursing toddler who has consistently breastfed in
Author Andi Silverman: like a big sister, lactation consultant, and experienced mom friend who's been there,
all rolled up in one
public, I try to keep from sounding shrill in my defense of breastfeeding. I remind myself that I don't know the story behind every woman's choice to breastfeed or not. When someone talks about not wanting to breastfeed or wanting to wean quickly, my first instinct is not, unfortunately, to be supportive. Clearly my voice is not the one someone who's waffling on the subject of breastfeeding necessarily wants to hear. I feel like there are many new mamas who would give breastfeeding a try or stick it out through initial obstacles if they could get some sisterly advice and gentle encouragement about the subject, and I feel like Andi Silverman offers just that in this book.

Sample topics covered include:
  • the most common nursing holds, with drawings
  • potential breastfeeding problems and ideas for resolving them
  • best products for breastfeeding comfort 
  • ways to make yourself cozy during nursing sessions
  • suggestions for nursing discreetly in public in an array of locations (bus, place of worship, shopping mall, the office)
  • responses to critics
  • ideas for your partner to support your breastfeeding success, and ways for you to bolster your relationship in return
  • how to end breastfeeding in a way that's gentle for you and baby
I also love the "From the Mouths of Moms" quotes scattered throughout the book. Some of the anecdotes are tear-jerking, some funny, and some helpful. They all serve to remind you that you're not alone in this breastfeeding thing. Sinead at Breastfeeding Mums, for instance, makes an early appearance as a proud mummy at her daughter's christening whose happy mood is ruined by realizing leaking breasts are turning her lilac dress a deep purple. I felt sorry for Sinead, but boy did I snicker at that story! I've been there.

Are there any cons about the book? First, it's important to keep in mind that this is "A Beginner's Guide to Breastfeeding" (emphasis mine), so if a reader needs more information on a topic, this slim volume isn't going to be comprehensive enough to answer all questions. I fully trust this was done intentionally, to keep the book readable by a new mom or mom-to-be, and I think Andi does a great job of listing quality resources in the appendix to direct readers to well-respected books and websites on breastfeeding in general as well as specific subtopics like medications, breast surgery, breast cancer, lactation consultants, and donating breast milk to milk banks. So while Mama Knows Breast might not answer every question on nursing, it guides the way to delving further into the topic once a reader's interest is piqued.

I did take issue with a few aspects of the book, but I know it's my lactivist bent showing itself again. For instance, the Cons of Breastfeeding include items that would be a challenge whether breastfeeding is involved or not — warnings against sleep deprivation and the fact that now your partner will have to share your attention apply to all parents of a newborn, not just those who breastfeed. Another example that may or may not bother you, depending on your experiences, are assurances that babies can sleep through the night by a few months of age, or that their number of feedings will drop by that point. Feeding on cue often means that babies continue to night nurse and feed frequently during the day, for quite some time longer than that. There are a few other details where I've come to a different conclusion than the experts Andi consulted in writing the book, but I'll stop nitpicking because I could provide counterarguments to every objection.

What I will say, simply, is it's a book that's written toward a mainstream audience. It does this job very well, and I think it's a good tool to persuade someone who's curious but anxious about breastfeeding to give it a try. It's practical, easily digestible, and a good size to hold in one hand while nursing. Witness the cover illustration to see what I mean! I know from her blog that Andi Silverman has many more opinions on and knowledge of breastfeeding than she chose to fit into this book, and that's as it should be. It's a starter guide, meant to appeal to the novice breastfeeder who might not feel comfortable with the whole idea of nursing but just needs a little encouragement and a few tips to give it a go.

My theory on the perfect use for this book?
  • If you yourself are a mama-to-be or new to breastfeeding, please treat yourself to a useful beginner's guide that will assuage your fears, answer your concerns, and encourage you without
    guilting you. Whether you decide to breastfeed for a day or a month or a year or not at all, to supplement or pump or not, to nurse in public or keep it under wraps, Mama Knows Breast will help you navigate all the options available.
  • If you are an old hand at breastfeeding, Mama Knows Breast is an ideal baby gift for a first-time mother. I intend to keep a copy of this book handy as part of my baby-shower gift stash. It won't offend anyone who's at all interested in trying breastfeeding and would be a great way to introduce the basics of breastfeeding to a curious new mama. You'll be an ambassador of breastfeeding!

Sounds good, right?

BUY IT!


You can find Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner's Guide to Breastfeeding at your local or online bookseller. The best deal I currently see is on Amazon (affiliate link, but seriously!), where it's on sale for $11.66 and is eligible for free Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25.


WIN IT!


For your own chance to win an autographed copy of Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner's Guide to Breastfeeding, by Andi Silverman, enter in the comments below! Contest is open worldwide because you know I love you all.

MAIN ENTRY: Andi Silverman runs a wonderful breastfeeding blog also called Mama Knows Breast, where she gives current and interesting information about breastfeeding issues and advocacy. Check out any of her articles and tell me something you learned.

Leave an email address in your comment if it's not clearly visible on your profile or linked web page so I can contact you if you win.

BONUS ENTRIES, to increase your chance of winning:

RULES:
  • Contest open WORLDWIDE, because I don't mind shipping this fine book anywhere on the planet. (My apologies to my Martian readers.)
  • Leave each entry as a separate comment so I can count them all.
  • For actions like following and subscribing, if you already follow or subscribe, just let me know in your comment.
  • For tasks that garner you multiple entries, say something like "I blogged [link here] #1," "I blogged [link here] #2," etc.
  • You don't have to do any of the bonus entries, but you do have to complete the first mandatory one.
  • I will pick the winners through random.org after the contest closes and send an email to notify them. Leave an email address in your comment if it's not clearly visible on your profile or linked web page so that I can contact you if you win. If I can't reach any particular winner or don't hear back within a couple days, I'll draw a new name.
  • Any questions, let me know: mail {at} HoboMama.com

Contest closes Feb. 25 at 11:59 p.m. PST.


Disclosure: I received a free copy of Mama Knows Breast
for my review but no other compensation.
I try to seek out only products I think you would find
relevant and useful to your life as a natural parent.
If I don't like a product, I won't be recommending it to you.
That's how I roll. See my full disclosure policy here.

30 comments:

Marlene said...

I learned that a new study shows that anti-depressants may delay the breast milk coming in right after birth!

Trudy
onlyjustine at yahoo.com

Ryan said...

I learned you can donate your milk to the children in Haiti.

Heavenly Savings said...

I did not know that that using antidepressants can delay breast milk coming in just after birth. It makes sense but I never had heard of that before!

Kwhiz84(at)live(dot)com

Heavenly Savings said...

e-mail subscriber
Kwhiz84(at)live(dot)com

Heavenly Savings said...

Mamaknowsbest e-mail subscriber
Kwhiz84(at)live(dot)com

Heavenly Savings said...

follow you on twitter
okwhisner
Kwhiz84(at)live(dot)com

Bombtastic Belle said...

BFing lowers the chance of heart attack, strock and heart disease
eod_army_wife04(at)yahoo(dot)com

Cindy said...

I didn't know that they needed donors for Haiti. Thanks for the giveaway.

The Plumber's Wife said...

I learned that in 2006, 74% of American mothers tried breast-feeding their newborns.

katie_kitty[at]msn[dot]com

The Plumber's Wife said...

I follow on google

katie_kitty[at]msn[dot]com

The Plumber's Wife said...

Button on my sidebar #1

katiescatharsis.blogspot.com
katie_kitty[at]msn[dot]com

The Plumber's Wife said...

Button on my sidebar #2

katiescatharsis.blogspot.com
katie_kitty[at]msn[dot]com

The Plumber's Wife said...

I'm a FB fan

katie_kitty[at]msn[dot]com

The Plumber's Wife said...

I follow you thru networked blogs

katie_kitty[at]msn[dot]com

The Plumber's Wife said...

I follow you on twitter (wifeofaplumber)

katie_kitty[at]msn[dot]com

The Plumber's Wife said...

Tweet! http://twitter.com/WifeOfAPlumber/status/9410068730

katie_kitty[at]msn[dot]com

The Plumber's Wife said...

I follow AndiSilverman on twitter (wifeofaplumber)

katie_kitty[at]msn[dot]com

From Diapers To Dorms said...

We'd love a chance to win this one. Thanks!

Sarah V. said...

Oooh - I'm just in time to enter. I'm a big fan of 'How I Met Your Mother', so I was interested to read her post about both the show's female stars being pregnant during the show and both breastfeeding. Is that OK, or do I need to quote a sentence? I'll try to come back later and enter again. (I think my e-mail address is on here - I'm completely confused about how comments work in the new Blogger format.)

Sarah V. said...

Sorry, I didn't read the instructions properly - you wanted us to mention e-mail addresses specifically in the comment, didn't you? Mine is nannyogg at samael dot demon dot co dot uk. Thanks!

SocialStudiesSoubrette said...

I learned that using antidepressants can delay breast milk coming in just after birth according to a recent study.
laprochaine@gmail.com

SocialStudiesSoubrette said...

I subscribe to mamaknowsbreast via email
laprochaine@gmail.com

SocialStudiesSoubrette said...

I am your Google Friend
laprochaine@gmail.com

SocialStudiesSoubrette said...

I follow Andi on Twitter. My screen name is laprochaine
laprochaine@gmail.com

SocialStudiesSoubrette said...

I follow you on Twitter. My screen name is laprochaine
laprochaine@gmail.com

SocialStudiesSoubrette said...

I tweeted, http://twitter.com/laprochaine/status/9680144312
laprochaine@gmail.com

SocialStudiesSoubrette said...

I follow you through networked blogs
laprochaine@gmail.com

Lindsay said...

I read all about the facebook situation (fb was taking down pictures of breastfeeding moms as "obscene" and even eliminated a fb group I was part of and hadn't realized dissappeared!)

Lindsay said...

I blogged about this giveaway at MamanADroit.typepad.com

Cassie said...

I can't believe I missed this.. awesome book I am reading all about BF atm... Looking for it anyway.