“Breastfeeding Made Easy” by Carlos González – Book Review and Giveaway

Dr Carlos González is something of a legend among many breastfeeding supporters. I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve been party to that opened with concern over a child’s fussy eating and concluded with a recommendation of his book My Child Won’t Eat. I flew through my own copy of it last year, both reassured by his scientific understanding of what was going on with my toddler and frustrated that he wouldn’t give me any quick and easy fixes (because, well, she’s human so there aren’t any!). I haven’t had a chance yet to read his other book Kiss Me, though a review in The Guardian made me desperate to get my hands on it.

I was excited, then, to hear that he’d written a book on breastfeeding. Breastfeeding Made Easy is published by Pinter and Martin who also published La Leche League’s The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. The book is an extensive guide to breastfeeding, drawing on González’s evident experience and knowledge as a paediatrician and breastfeeding supporter. He has a real gift for making the scientific accessible without dumbing it down. Breastfeeding Made Easy arms mothers (and those around them) for success with common sense supported by properly cited references.

If I had to sum up the over-arching message of this book in a word, it would be “believe”. González admits that if every woman believed that breastfeeding works, he wouldn’t have to write this book. The book tears apart myths that stand in the way of breastfeeding, providing solid information on how things happen. He tackles the ordinary breastfeeding experiences as well as the extremely rare problems. Everything from plugged ducts to prescription drugs, hypoplasia to HIV, baby led weaning to guilt gets a look-in. If something is unlikely to be the case, he’s not only frank about that but he’ll even give you an idea of what the odds are.

And it’s all very conversational. This isn’t a hefty textbook. It’s a friendly guide that would make a great gift for a new mother or a friend who is expecting. You can dip in and out, looking at sections of particular interest or fly through it, cover to cover, as I did.

In the interest of balance, I noted two points for concern though I feel both are minor. In the section on pumping, González suggests giving the bottle of expressed milk a good shake, which as far as I know is no longer recommended because it disturbs the composition of the milk’s particles (though it’s still good milk). The other is that he doesn’t seem to believe that medical galactagogues (drugs that stimulate milk production) work. I can’t agree with that, personally, but then I’m guessing that medical opinion must be divided on this point.

Having begun a second breastfeeding journey, I found Breastfeeding Made Easy a helpful read. It’s one of the books I wish I’d read it before I’d had my first child. The insights aren’t restricted to the newborn period. There’s lots here to take the reader through the six-month mark, past the first birthday and even into the third year or so. And, as with so much of González’s writing, we’re not just talking about process, mechanics and facts here. Primarily, this is a book about love.

If you’d like to win a copy for yourself, a friend or your local breastfeeding group library, tell me in the comments who you’d like to win it for.

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS NOW ENDED. Congratulations, Fiona!

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