After more than 10 years, one of the most popular and comprehensive guides to breastfeeding has been updated. The Complete Book of Breastfeeding, 4th Edition is the only book of its kind that includes a chapter on sex for nursing mothers and a chapter for dads. Written by Sally Wendkos Olds, an award-winning medical writer, former nursing mother and grandmother to five breastfed children and Dr. Laura Marks, a pediatrician and nursing mother herself, The Complete Book of Breastfeeding, 4th Edition offers a wealth of information on every aspect of breastfeeding.
About the Authors
LovetoKnow (LTK): What inspired you to write The Complete Book of Breastfeeding?
Sally Wendkos Olds (SWO): Before I wrote the first edition of The Complete Book of Breastfeeding, I had been writing about women's health, children's health and family issues. In addition, I had nursed my own three daughters and found it a wonderful experience in spite of a problem I had with one of my girls. If I had known more about breastfeeding, I could have resolved the problem easily.
I knew that other women had many questions and sometimes ran into trouble. Then when the wife of Peter Workman, president of Workman Publishing, had a baby and Peter thought there was a need for a new, up to date book about breastfeeding, he asked me to write one. I did, with good medical advice from a pediatrician, and I have been updating the book ever since. Breastfeeding is easy - there's nothing complicated about it, but it isn't an instinct. It's a skill that both mother and baby need to learn. Dr. Marks and I wrote this latest edition of the book to help moms and babies learn how to nurse happily.
Laura Marks (LM): In my pediatric practice I began a "new moms" group because I found that almost every day women came to me with questions about caring for their newborn babies. A lot of these questions revolved around breastfeeding. I found that I was able to help them from the perspective of a pediatrician, as well as a working mom who breastfed her own children. So, when Sally Wendkos Olds approached me about collaborating on the 4th edition of the book, I jumped at the opportunity to help women across the country.
LTK: What does the latest research relate about the topic of breastfeeding?
SWO: Much of the research confirms what we already knew, that breastfeeding is the natural and healthiest way to feed infants and that it has benefits for mothers too.
Some of the new research has added to our knowledge about these benefits. That breastfed babies are less likely to be obese or have heart disease later in life. They are 55% more likely to have high levels of HDL (high density lipoprotein), the good cholesterol that protects against heart disease. There is also evidence that breastfeeding may increase a child's bone mineral density, which protects against fractures, and that it protects against such respiratory diseases as bronchitis, pneumonia, and asthma during middle childhood.
Furthermore new research confirms that nursing helps to protect mothers from breast and ovarian cancer, Type 2 diabetes, heart problems, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. Some of these later health benefits may be due to long-term changes in a woman's immune system induce by breastfeeding. Also, nursing helps moms to lose some of that pregnancy weight.
LTK: What major subjects does the book address about breastfeeding?
SWO: Just about any subject that women have questions about, and some they never even thought about. For example, how new dads can be a major player in their breastfed babies' lives, what the relationship is between breastfeeding and female sexuality, how overweight women can succeed at nursing, the best positions to hold babies in, how often to nurse, how long to nurse, how to help older children adjust to the new nursing baby, how to start breastfeeding even if a mom has already switched to the bottle.
LTK: What are some tips that you can offer for new mothers who plan to breastfeed?
SWO: Start to nurse as soon after birth as possible, preferably within the first hour. Ask for help from a lactation consultant or another nursing mom early on, especially if you encounter a problem. If you catch a problem early, it's much easier to resolve. Watch for cues that your baby is hungry before she starts to cry. Some of these cues include putting her hand in her mouth, moving around, "rooting" with her mouth and looking for the nipple.
More Tips for Breastfeeding Success
LTK: Do you have any other information or advice you'd like to add?
SWO: Try it - you'll like it. As we say in the book, breastfeeding comes with a 30-day guarantee. If after you try it you decide against it, those bottles and formula will always be there. But, if you never give nursing a chance, you may well look back on this time in later years and wonder whether you and your baby missed one of life's greatest gifts - the bond shared by the nursing pair. This priceless chance to nurse your baby comes only once in each baby's lifetime. Make the most of it. You may count these nursing days among the most beautiful and fulfilling of your entire life.
LTK: Where can we buy the book?
SWO: You can buy the book from any bookseller, online booksellers like Amazon or in a store.
LTK: Where can we read more about the authors?
SWO: You can read more about me at Sally Wendkos Olds. You can read about Laura on Willow's Pediatrics website.