Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Black Woman's Guide to Breastfeeding: Review & Giveaway

Looking for a book on breastfeeding that directly speaks to the specific concerns of African-American moms? Well, there is exactly ONE currently on the market. Sad, I know. Luckily, it's a great resource on breastfeeding that offers a ton of information, great advice and pictures in an easy to read format. That book is Kathi Barber's The Black Woman's Guide to Breastfeeding: The Definitive Guide to Nursing for African American Mothers.

What I love about this book is that it clearly explains why breastfeeding is best for both mom and baby and doesn't assume the reader has already planned to nurse. Unfortunately, many moms of color need an extra push to even attempt breastfeeding and this books clearly spells out the benefits of breast milk and breastfeeding to both mom and baby. Ms. Barber understands the special circumstances that African-American moms often face, so she includes chapters on why fathers are so important for a successful breastfeeding relationship and why dad should be supporting of nursing; the heritage of breastfeeding in the black community and why we need to reembrace nursing; and the barriers that black moms face and how we can overcome them.

This tiny book packs a ton of information! Everything from breastfeeding basics to solutions to the most common problems during breastfeeding and how to manage nursing when you return to work or school. Advice on pumping and milk storage, pictures and drawings of the various nursing positions and good latch, as well as stories from real moms interspered throughout. It even includes breastfeeding laws by state (which is a bit out of date since the book was published in 2005) and resources for more information.

The only con, in my opinion, is that Ms. Barber doesn't urge African-American moms to delay solids until the age of 6 months. I know that many people believe you should "watch the baby, not the calendar," but black people have a tradition of starting solids entirely too early. Although the book cautions that if you start solids at 3 months you should go slowly, I would have liked her to advise against it completely. Although I disagree with her, perhaps Ms. Barber thought she would lose her readers if she was too insistent on ONLY breast milk for the first 6 months, fearing people would disregard the other good advice in the book because waiting so long to start solids is almost unthinkable in the black community.

Overall, I really love this book and I have given it as a gift to friends and now I have a copy to give to one of my readers! Just leave me a comment telling me if you'd keep the book for yourself or gift it to a friend.

This giveaway ends next Sunday, March 1 at 11:59 pm (eastern time). US mail addresses only, please. And please make sure your profile is public or add your email address to your comment so I have a way of contacting you if you win. Winners will be announced on Blacktating and via email.

If you'd like to learn more about Kathi Barber, please go listen to the wonderful interview she gave to Tanya at the Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog.

You can also check out her organization, the African American Breastfeeding Alliance, or her advice column on Mothering Magazine's website.

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