Good book but lacking in breastfeeding information
Why Home Birth Matters was a very accessible and enjoyable book. However, I have mixed feelings about it. On the whole, it was a really positive book, showing how and why somebody might choose to have a home birth. It explained well why giving birth at home can be such a positive and straightforward experience. Having had previous experience of both home and hospital births, the book had me reminiscing about my own previous experiences. The author was able to evoke some of the powerful feelings and emotions involved in giving birth, particularly a positive birth. I would suggest this book to somebody who was thinking about a home birth.
However, any suggestions would have to come with some caveats. I felt that the book was too black and white, without enough acknowledgement that some things work for some women but not others. I bristled a bit when the book told me that doing certain things was wrong or an error, or that I should feel a particular way. Having spoken with many women over the years and heard many birth stories, whilst I would agree that home births tend to lead to positive births, this is not always the case. I have heard enough stories of incredibly positive hospital births and less positive home births. I would have liked to have the book recognise this fact, as I felt that it was saying that a home birth is by definition a positive birth. This runs the risk of setting women up for disappointment, if they choose to have a home birth and then end up with a less positive experience.
Secondly, I was surprised to see so little mention of breastfeeding. So many women choose to give birth at home because they want to maximise their chances of getting breastfeeding off to a good start. I was surprised that this was not mentioned. In addition, when the author described what birth might be like, I was startled to read the suggestion of lying on one’s side and cuddling up with the baby. Whilst this might feel like the right thing for some women, on the whole, we know that physiologically, the baby is going to expect to have their first feed at this point. This is more likely to happen with the mother reclined and the baby on her chest. However, no mention was made of breastfeeding in this context, which was disappointing, as the first feed is normally considered part of birth. The omission of breastfeeding in the context of birth seemed out of place.
I did feel that the points mentioned above were disappointing enough that I have given it four stars. Having said all of that, it was still a very enjoyable book to read, and I would recommend it to others, with these caveats.