Cover image for The reality of breastfeeding : reflections by contemporary women
The reality of breastfeeding : reflections by contemporary women
Brown, Amy Benson.
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Bergin & Garvey, 1998.
Physical Description:
xi, 233 pages ; 24 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RJ216 .R43 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



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.

Author Notes

AMY BENSON BROWN teaches in the Department of English and Philosophy at the State University of West Georgia. Her current study, Rewriting the Word: American Women Writers and the Bible exploring American women writers' revisions of the Bible, is forthcoming from Greenwood Press. She lives in the Atlanta area with her husband and daughter.

KATHRYN READ MCPHERSON recently completed a doctorate in English and Women's Studies at Emory University, and writes on religion and maternity in seventeenth-century England. She also makes her home in the Atlanta area with her husband and daughter.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Two literary scholars have compiled 50 essays by women (and two men) discussing breastfeeding. The articles are grouped into broad areas: "Latching On" talks about establishing the nursing process; "Hanging On" deals with problems such as breast infections, the effect of the mother's diet on milk flavor, and nursing twins; and "Moving On" considers issues like juggling work schedules with breastfeeding, nursing in public places, and the family dynamics of breastfeeding. The editors' introduction provides a bit of historical background, and a brief bibliography suggests books offering both practical advice and social commentary. While these personal commentaries are fairly interesting, this book is not an essential purchase; the essays are too specific and sometimes too self-involved. Women's studies collections may want to consider, but most libraries should stick with La Leche League's The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (Plume, 1997. 6th ed.) which provides practical information.¬ĎBarbara M. Bibel, Oakland P.L., CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Latching On: Narratives About the Early Nursing Experiences Frozen in the Moment by Gillian Gilman Culff
Babies Aren't Forever (It Just Seems Like ItJana Bouc
Monday Morningellen
Rule OutJoeAnne Hart
Sweet ReleaseAmy Benson
Brown Breastfeeding JournalLindsay Ahl
Enough for TwinsNancy Hagen
One Nurse's StoryMary Blanchet
The Roller Coaster Ride of Our LifeLorraine Kostinas
The StruggleKathryn Read McPherson
First FeedingsYeganeh Modirzadeh
What Changes EverythingAlice Edwards
Hanging On Nursing a High-Need BabyL. Alison Wisner
True Confessions of a Defiant NurserMay Lynn Owen
On Location and The Nursing SignCarol Dorf
Sometimes Band-Aids Are the Perfect CureTracy Y. Scottel
Nursing Though ThrushSheila T. Cavanagh
Shared DelightsLee Schaffer Atonna
Breastfeeding Times FourA. Eileen Cunningham
Latching OnCharyl Zehfus
If It Was Good Enough For Mary...Robin Fountain Nea
May the Circle Be UnbrokenVanessa Park
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the BottleRegina Dilgen
The Real StoryFaye Dresner Dry Steering and Beloved Breppie and Karen Johnson
Ranen Diet DilemmaVirginia Aronson
NirvanaLaura Stavoe
Harm Cold Turkey: The Painful Process of Weaning My SonRae Colley
Breastfeeding and Postpartum DepressionAnn Smith
That's What Mommies DoMary Ann Martino
Sharper than a Serpent's Tooth: A Breastfeeding StrikeValerie Booth
Moving On: Family, Work, and Political Issues Weaning: One Man's StoryJeffrey S. Cramer
The First LessonMichael J. Nagro
Making It Work: Reconciling Breastfeeding and Full-time EmploymentMalinda Hamann
What They're ForPatti See
With Claire AttachedNancy Ryan
Two Mommies, One CowLaurie and Susie Kezh
The Milky WayCarolyn Hall
The More Things ChangePeggy Harrington
How Breastfeeding and Working Full-Time Worked for MeTracy Yarchi
In League with Nature: Personal Reflections of a La Leche LeaderClaire McLean
Real Women Can: The Breastfeeding BacklashKaren Giles
Breasts: Journey from Form to FunctionKathleen Weir
Madness Along the Milky WaySusan Green Mother to Daughter and Rachel Cressman
"Merry Christmas" at the MallKathleen Shanahan
FlashbackSusan M. Tiberghien
My Grandmother's StoryJan Epton
Seale Sali's StoryRonit Walker
Mother America: Reflections on a Breastfeeding ExperienceLauren K. Watel
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