Cover image for How my breasts saved the world : misadventures of a nursing mom
How my breasts saved the world : misadventures of a nursing mom
Shapiro, Lisa Wood.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Guilford, Conn. : Lyon's Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
xiv, 234 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RJ216 .S462 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



"How My Breasts Saved the World is mother's milk for any new mama struggling with confounding transformation from woman into human canteen."--Vanity Fair "Refreshingly hysterical. Any woman can benefit from Shapiro's hard-won education."--BUST magazine "Shapiro's memoir . . . offers a welcome real-life complement to weightier breastfeeding advice."--Brain, Child magazine In this hilarious breastfeeding tell-all--the first of its kind-- Lisa Wood Shapiro recounts her misadventures of new motherhood from the delivery of her daughter and her rookie days as a food source to the bittersweet end of weaning. This may be the information age, but so much of nursing still exists in the smart gal's rumor culture. Only after Shapiro shares her own nursing saga, complete with lactation consultants, chocolate binges, and a new use for green cabbage, do her friends and relatives confess to their own travails. Breastfeeding may be natural, but it is not always instinctual, and one doesn't have to go it alone. There are professionals who can make it work without pain, and it does get easier. Whether or not your breasts have been involved in any world-saving activities, you won't be able to put this book down until you've read the last line.

Author Notes

Lisa Wood Shapiro, a writer and an Emmy-winning filmmaker whose work has appeared on PBS, A&E, Nickelodeon, Noggin and elsewhere, studied nonfiction writing with the late Lucy Grealy and the poet Thomas Lux. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and two children

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Like many mothers-to-be, Shapiro romanticized breastfeeding: "I envisioned tender mommy moments... nursing my baby." As a result, before daughter Sophie arrived, Shapiro followed the ignorance-is-bliss approach: "I remember thinking breastfeeding instruction was a waste of time. `It's the most natural thing in the world.' " Surprise, surprise when she discovers it's significantly harder than Brooke Shields makes it look in The Blue Lagoon. Mimicking the frank, humorous style of The Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy, Shapiro relates, in frequently graphic detail, the perils of breastfeeding: tender breasts, engorgement, sore nipples, nursing injuries and cluster feedings. Over the course of Sophie's first year, Shapiro, with the help of lactation consultants and a nursing support group, becomes a breastfeeding advocate, proselytizing to new moms ("I found it difficult to fathom how easy nursing had gotten. My instinct was to spread the word"). Shapiro maintains an easy voice, though the book turns startlingly somber as she writes of September 11, 2001, which feels starkly out of place in this breezy memoir. Shapiro is this book's star, and Sophie (never mind husband Peter) plays a surprisingly small role. At times, Shapiro seems shallow, obsessing about her appearance and the commonness of her daughter's name. Mothers who formula feed will find little in this narrative; those who have struggled with breastfeeding, however, will laugh with empathy at Shapiro's tales of weight loss (or lack thereof), cabbage leaves (used to relieve engorgement) and the unending fluids that emerge from a nursing woman's body. Agent, JCA Literary Agency. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Another book about nursing? You bet. Anything different about this one? Not really. It's the familiar story of a mother, in this case an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, who gives birth to a baby girl and discovers that breastfeeding is an ordeal most women lie about. Her goal is to expose the myths by relying solely on her highly typical experience. If only the narrative didn't sound like countless others, it would be possible to read it from cover to cover. As is, it is good but simply not good enough. For a completely original take on the myths and truths about breastfeeding, see Fresh Milk (LJ 4/1/03), an anthology of truly mind-blowing essays about nursing. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Preface: The Most Natural Thing in the World and Brooke Shieldsp. xi
Part 1
1. Silly Pregnant Ladyp. 5
2. Don't Bite Your Newbornp. 20
3. The Panic and the Painp. 43
4. They Are Going to Reach Out and Touch Youp. 57
5. Get Yourself to a Breast-feeding Support Groupp. 70
6. Feed unto Others as You Yourself Would Like to Have Been Fedp. 77
7. Behind Every Successful Nursing Motherp. 85
8. Find Your Own Kindp. 100
9. Red Angry Nipplesp. 113
10. The "Vacation"p. 122
Part 2
11. It Gets Easierp. 141
12. The Other Thing Behind a Nursing Mom ...p. 149
13. The Purgatory of Part-time Workp. 161
14. The Comfort of Nursingp. 173
15. A Half-hour Late to a Half-hour Class or the Baby Formerly Known as Sophiep. 183
16. Beware of Bake Salesp. 197
17. Weaningp. 208
18. In Sync with the Universep. 216
Epilogue: Cranks, Hot Mamas, and Sherpasp. 221
Acknowledgmentsp. 225
Bibliographyp. 227
Resourcesp. 229