Monday, July 14, 2008

The Drinks Are On Me

I consider The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International the go-to manual for all things breastfeeding. In fact, I consider myself a success at breastfeeding twice now due to the book. However, if you want all the facts listed in La Leche's book, as well as plenty of advice from a woman who has been there and done it, than you are ready for The Drinks are On Me by Veronica Sophia Robinson. The title symbolizes not only the state of breastfeeding (bf) but also her full circle accomplishment of going from the one who enjoyed socializing so much she would be the one buying, to becoming one of the worlds strongest bf advocates. She gives it to you straight, not mincing words or advice which is why I love this book. The sub-title says it perfectly-"Everything your mother never told you about breastfeeding" because alot of the information is well, stuff you never talk about. Some topics are brought out of the closet and discussed as naturally as the weather. Like extended or full-term bf.

Her message rings loud, promoting a lifestyle of sacrifice instead of a temporary experiment. The chapter entitled "Nurturing the Nurturer" is a much needed pep talk for bf mothers to take care of themselves-again, the very thing mom would tell you. It is her no-holds-barred approach to delivery that makes me love the book. Consider the following:

Robinson lists several things modern, western mommies use everyday to help care for their baby, yet they are the very things that lead to disconnection. Formula, pacifiers, the harness or leash, cradles and cribs, walkers, television, baby monitors ect.

Kangaroo care in the NICU is described as moms cuddling the infant here and there to promote healing and growth, yet Kangaroo care is really 24 hour skin-to-skin care, not occasional cuddles. "There is absolutely no reason why a child can't be treated in its parents arms."

Feeding on demand and feeding on cue are two different things: on cue is picking up on the signals the baby sends that it's hungry. Feeding on demand is when they have to cry for it.

"I find the collective psychology of society's repulsion to a lactating woman absolutely fascinating. That we readily reject the milk of our own species, but, daily, fill our fridges with milk designed to make a calf grow very quickly-and from a mum with poo sliding down her backside and onto her udder, which then has to be pasteurised to protect us, well it's all a bit odd, really."

"The latest propaganda against bf, probably put forward by no less than the infant formula companies themselves, is that there are toxins in breast milk. Not sure where they're keeping the goats and cows these days to keep them toxin free."

"Bf is not only free, it doesn't involve the destruction of forests, erosion of soil, and pollution from transportation. Bf is not connected to climate change. The impact of bf will not be visibly seen in landfills 300 years from now, or 3 minutes from now. It doesn't involve the use or abuse of an animal. Breast milk is a natural, renewable, environmentally-safe resource. Breast milk does not contaminate, and needs no production, packaging, transport, preparation or disposal."

"Because we (bf mothers) believe so strongly in the rightness and common sense of breast milk, it's inevitable that we come across as zealots. But who better to advocate bf than a bf mother?"

It is with passion Robinson writes. Those that have breast fed will thump the book and relate on every page. Those that have never breast fed will gain years of experience in just 224 pages. Robinson is not without controversy: the western culture is a bit squeamish when she mentions she still occasionally bf her 7 year old. Also, some of the artwork in the book may offend the conservative and modest, though it does make a relevant point. However, the book is a must, for those considering the joy and thrill of bf. Our society needs to hear more experiences like Robinson's to lose the phobic mentality that bf is somehow wrong. It's a gift, not only for baby but for mom, too.

As one who has bf and would love to get other moms on board, I can not recommend this book enough. Welcome to the "real world" of bf.

You can read more about Veronika Robinson at
The Mother Magazine or through The Art of Change.

The Drinks Are on Me can be purchased through the above websites as well as this link on Amazon.

All quotes taken from the book.
A publication by "The Art of Change"
224 pages