Across the world mothers are urged to breastfeed, but in Western society many find this a difficult task. Those who stop can feel demoralised and unsure as to why such a desired, encouraged and biologically normal behaviour can appear so challenging in reality. Breastfeeding Uncovered examines why this continues to happen, revealing how complex social and cultural messages work against new mothers, damaging the normal physiology of breastfeeding and making it seem unmanageable. Dr Brown removes the focus from the mother and instead urges society to rethink its attitude towards breastfeeding and mothering and instead to support, encourage and protect mothers to feed their babies. This book is for anyone who has ever struggled with breastfeeding, supported new mothers or just wondered what all the fuss is about. Most of all it is a must read for anyone who has ever thought a breastfeeding mother should cover up, or feed her baby elsewhere.
This is not a book about the benefits of breastfeeding: those are widely extolled. Dr Brown instead engages with why women make the choices they do concerning whether and how long to breastfeed. This book can benefit both those who already support breastfeeding, by helping them to understand why women make the choices they do, and those who can help to make our wider society more conducive to higher rates and longer durations of breastfeeding.
Before reading Amy BrownÕs book, I became aware of a highly critical review of it, written by someone who admitted to not having read it. She felt pretty strongly that the world doesnÕt need any more books exhorting women to breastfeed.<br /><br />Having actually read it myself, I get the feeling that Amy Brown would agree with that sentiment; and while Breastfeeding Uncovered: Who Really Decides How We Feed Our Babies comprehensively demonstrates the importance of breastfeeding for babies, mothers, and society, this is not a book telling mothers that they must breastfeed, but rather one that explains the complex range of reasons why so many of us donÕt. ItÕs not even a book that is explicitly aimed at mothers, since it isnÕt a how-to-breastfeed manual; and it is likely to be useful to a wide range of readers including new fathers, grandmothers, health professionals, and anyone supporting a breastfeeding mother. It also might be a helpful read for mothers who have stopped breastfeeding and perhaps have mixed feelings about that decision. And one final demographic: IÕd recommend this to policy makers, politicians, budget holders, and anyone involved in public health promotion Ð these are the people who can really use this information to protect and support breastfeeding in a society that just doesnÕt seem to get it.<br /><br />Breastfeeding Uncovered addresses social, cultural and political issues; examines the impact of transition to motherhood; and talks about the reality of breastfeeding for modern families. There are some lovely clear explanations, for example the SIDS statistics in relation to bedsharing; and I found myself trying to memorise certain facts and phrases for use in my own work.<br /><br />Amy BrownÕs voice comes across very clearly, and initially I wasnÕt sure if I would find the occasional sarcasm a bit annoying. But she uses it to make such good points that itÕs pretty hard to get annoyed. She really just tells it like it is.<br /><br />If I had to find gaps in this thorough work, I would like to see a little more mention of highly qualified volunteer Breastfeeding Counsellors such as those trained by NCT and ABM, who occupy the space between Lactation Consultants and Peer Supporters. There is also a vast network of support now available on social media and websites like Netmums, but perhaps thatÕs scope for the next book.<br /><br />The real strength of Breastfeeding Uncovered is its firm grounding in an absolute wealth of evidence, both from the authorÕs own research and from many other reputable sources. Haters gonna hate, but they canÕt actually argue that Amy Brown is wrong, or that she doesnÕt understand the complexities of infant feeding, or that she is exhorting mothers to do things her way; to do so would indicate that they too have not read the book.
Breastfeeding uncovered is a comprehensive review of the barriers that women in our society experience when deciding to breastfeed. The in depth analysis of the barriers women face on their journey into motherhood and breastfeeding demonstrate that the lack of strategic support from government and the societal views of women, babies and breasts. Amy shows we are often setting women up to fail at breastfeeding and the breast is best message just chucks all responsibility onto individual women instead of this being seen for what it is, a public health and societal issue. If only all health professionals and government policy makers could read this we would be in a better place in the U.K.! Amy's writing style and humour shows up the nonsensical culture we live when breasts feeding babies are the topic of discussion. Brilliant read!
A fascinating book - with unsurprising conclusions. Brown forms a convincing and honest argument and IÕm certain it could be used to change the minds of many who ÒdisagreeÓ with breastfeeding. The economics of breastfeeding, information on sleep and psycho-social-cultural factors, and the section on breastfeeding in modern society were particularly informative and incredibly interesting sections to read. The structure of Breastfeeding Uncovered with its focus on Amy BrownÕs 18 steps made it a relatively easy read- if there was a section of particular interest then you can find the step and read the relevant information. Definitely worth a read, IÕve learned a lot from this!
I found this book hard to put down once I had started it. It gives a balanced, informative and evidence based account of the reasons women breastfeed or not in the UK today. It is neatly broken down into 8 chapters covering the different issues with suggestions in each chapter of what might be done to improve the situation. It is very readable and even funny in places and definitely not only for those of us working in the field of breastfeeding support but for anyone and everyone. I am thinking of sending a copy to my MP!