Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy, Laura Keegan R.N., F.N.P

Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy, Laura Keegan  Wow, Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy by Laura Keegan R.N., F.N.P has to be one of the most beautiful and unique books about breastfeeding I've yet had the privilege to review. What makes it really special is that it is absolutely packed full of intimate, heart-melting and tender breastfeeding photographs; photographs of real mothers breastfeeding their beautiful babies in comfort and joy!

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November Carnival of Breastfeeding: Product Reviews - The Food of Love, Kate Evans

 The Food of Love, Kate Evans Welcome to the November Carnival of Breastfeeding, the theme of which, as we approach the season of goodwill is appropriately enough Product Reviews. We have many great posts from lots of bloggers this month so make sure to check out their posts which will be added to this page as they become available.

Book Review: The Food of Love, Your Formula for Successful Breastfeeding

For this carnival I absolutely had to post a review of one of the wittiest books about breastfeeding I've had the pleasure of reading, The Food of Love, Your Formula for Successful Breastfeeding.

We don't tend to think of breastfeeding as being particularly funny but The Food of Love brings many humorous situations breastfeeding mothers find themselves in to the fore. It helps a lot that the author, Kate Evans, is an extremely talented cartoonist and throughout the book it is undoubtedly her cartoons which bring to life the many situations breastfeeding mothers are faced with every day.

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Mommy's Little Breastfeeding Book

Many mothers make the decision to breastfeed when they find out they are pregnant. Some do a little research; others wait to let nature take its course. The reality though is often very different from the well-intentioned plans and sadly many mothers fall at the first sign of trouble.

So what can be done to help new mothers breastfeed for longer? Well, fortunately there are a number of excellent breastfeeding books and support services available. I've mentioned many of these before both here and on my website.

Now I've got a new book to add to my selection,  Mommy's Little Breastfeeding Book: 101 Tips Your Baby Wants You to Know About Breastfeeding, written by Michelle Leigh Carnesecca, an experienced lactation consultant and registered nurse. 

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Friday's Child: The Heartbreaking Story of a Mother's Love and a Family's Loss

I've mentioned Childbed Fever (Peurperal sepsis), a complication of pregnancy on this blog before and thought I'd let regular visitors know that Ben Palmer, whose wife Jessica tragically died from this dreadful illness, has recently had his book Friday's Child: The Heartbreaking Story of a Mother's Love and a Family's Loss, published.

I bought a copy last week and was absolutely glued to it all weekend. I came away from it on Sunday night feeling that Ben was so right in the actions he took when he sued the NHS for not caring for his wife adequately and for letting her down when she most needed them.

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Christmas Wishes

My Christmas Angel!Gosh, how the days are flying by. I think NaBloPoMo killed my blog! I was so burnt out after posting every day for a month that I just sort of left it for too long!

But I haven't been doing nothing... I've been busily promoting my social network for mothers as well as adding some extra chapters to the book I've been working on for the past six months or so.

I've also been Christmas shopping :)

Which reminds me, if you're stuck for ideas for presents for mothers and with just a few days left to go, why not have a look at some of our previous Carnival posts. Last month we suggested some wonderful book and video gifts for breastfeeding mothers as well as for mothers in general! And last year we had a whole carnival devoted to gift ideas for the breastfeeding mother!

Anyway, Jack is currently pushing a piece of paper at me as he demands I draw all his favourite characters from Thomas the Tank Engine so I'd better go...

Wishing you all a very happy and festive holiday! Happy Christmas to one and all :)


November Carnival of Breastfeeding: Book and Video Reviews

Welcome to the November Carnival of Breastfeeding, the theme of which is Book and Video Reviews.

As is always the case, we have some great posts from our regular Carnival participants as well as our guest bloggers. These are listed below and will be updated as they become available.

I've had real difficulties with this particular Carnival simply because I've read so many wonderful pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby books since embarking on the journey that is parenthood.

Since I strongly believe that it is not just breastfeeding but the whole package that is important, I've chosen to list just a few of my favourite books from each catagory that I have really enjoyed over the past eight years.

From Pregnancy to Breastfeeding to Parenting

If I was in the early stages of pregnancy and heading off on the trip of a lifetime to a desert island where I would be stranded for at least a couple of years, there are a few must-haves that would make essential reading for me!

A_child_is_born One of these is Lennart Nilsson and Lars Hamberger's A Child is Born. The images in this book are absolutely stunning and really helped me bond with my own babies during each of my three pregnancies.

I kept this book right by my bedside and followed it avidly all the way through from conception to birth marvelling at the miracle happening right inside my own body.

The amazing images of sperm meeting egg, the little prawn curled up in a ball, the tiny fisted fingers, the little skinny legs and arms, the plumped out baby almost ready for birth... these images all helped me peep into the world of my own unborn babies. I embraced their every development and thrilled at the day by day, week by week changes that were happening within me.

The_fat_ladies_club The Fat Ladies' Club by Hilary Gardener et al would be an absolute necessity to read alongside A Child is Born.

Written by a group of women who first met up in antenatal classes, this book willl almost drive you to distraction! I laughed so much reading it first time around that I worried I would go into an early labour.

The relationships these mothers share with one another and the support and reassurrace they provide illustrates how motherhood often brings women closer together. Have you ever found youself having almost intimate conversations in the shopping aisle of Sainsburys with a complete stranger - just because she's a fellow mother?

The sequel, Facing the First Five Years, is just as good a read as the first although tinged with sadness as one of the mothers who contributed to The Fat Ladies' Club died after suffering bowel cancer. However, the interest her friends take in the children left behind is heartwarming and makes you realise that the relationship the Fat Ladies have is truly special and lasts well beyond pregnancy and the early days of parenting.

Ncts_breastfeeding_for_beginners Once my desert island baby was born I would reach straight for the tiny little breastfeeding mothers' bible that is the NCT's Breastfeeding for Beginners.

Although small in size, this book more than makes up for it with its concise and well researched breastfeeding advice. Covering everything from preparing for breastfeeding to positioning, how often to feed to biting babies, returning to work to stopping breastfeeding, it doesn't go into very great detail but is, as you would Mama_knows_breastexpect from its title, perfect for beginners!

Another breastfeeding book I would keep by my side and which would guarantee a bit of humour during the darker days would be one which I reviewed a few weeks back, Andi Silverman's Mama Knows Breast. You can read that review here.

I've always enjoyed personal accounts of pregnancy, breastfeeding and parenting and for that reason a breastfeeding book I would insist on packing would be The Breastfeeding Cafe by Barbara L. Behrmann.

The_breastfeeding_cafeThis book looks at breastfeeding from the point of view of women who have breastfed. With this beautifully written book we are taken back several generations and allowed to see what breastfeeding was like for our grandmothers and mothers. We get a real opportunity to see how much things have changed sometimes for the better, sometimes not.

It's a great read and as with many books of this genre makes you feel you've got someone by your side guiding you along the way!

The_ultimate_breastfeeding_book_of_For the days when I needed something a bit more technical then I would have to have Dr Jack Newman's The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book Of Answers, a fascinating read and one which comprehensively covers everything a breastfeeding mum could possibly want or need to know about breastfeeding. 

Mums_the_wordFinally, as my new baby began to grow and as I looked towards the future I would reach for Mum's The Word, a collection of true life stories about motherhood written by some of Ireland's top women writers.

Compiled and edited by Sarah Webb, Mum's The Word is one book that I've just recently added to my collection. Already it's one of my firm favourites as it allows you to see motherhood in so many different ways and through the eyes of so many different mothers.

Ever wondered what it feels like to be told your precious newborn has Down Syndrome?

Katie McGuinness knows and ever so eloquently brings the joy of a child with Downs right before our eyes in her story Ellie. Written about her youngest child, Katie takes us on a trip describing the shock of learning about her baby's condition, her darkest moments in the early days of Ellie's arrival and her fears and anguish for the future.

Ultimately however, she accepts that Ellie will always be a little bit different from her other children and the absolute love she feels for her replaces the angst and pain.

Ever considered the pain of losing a baby?

For sale: Baby Shoes. Never Used. by Anne Marie Forrest will certainly bring you understanding. What really brought the reality of this story to me is the fact that my own parents unexpectedly lost their first baby at 13 weeks of age during a heart operation.

My mother's memory of returning from the hospital to an empty house, devoid of baby clothes, toys, and all the other signs of a baby having lived there, is as fresh today as it was when it happened 36 years ago. The smell of talcum powder as she opened the front door still haunts her memory.

Reading this story made me understand just how dark a time my own parents endured and brought me to a closer understanding of their lives and the terrible pain they suffered after losing their first-born.

Ever felt overwhelmed with the responsibility that is motherhood? Ever suddenly realised what a wonderful job your own mother did and felt an alarming and sudden bond with her? Ever wondered if your next pregnancy will be the same as your last?

This book covers all these areas and more from mothers who've experienced it all.

The most wonderful thing about Mum's The Word is the fact that it is written by such fabulous writers. They are able to do real justice to the path that most of us embark upon at some point in our lives. They know the words to use and the feelings to convey. At moments this book had me smiling in understanding, crying in sympathy and chuckling quietly in recognition.

So, that's my list. What are your favourites?

Find out what the other contributors to this month's Carnival have chosen:


Snug As a Bug

Regular readers of my blog will be aware that occasionally I review books that have a breastfeeding or parenting theme. These are books that both I and my children have enjoyed and which I believe other parents and their children will appreciate.

And so this month Snug As a BugI am reviewing another wonderful story book for children by renowned author and naturalist, Michael Elsohn Ross.

Having recently reviewed a couple of books by the same author, Mama's Milk and Baby Bear Isn't Hungry, when this latest book arrived there was great excitement in our household as the children had really enjoyed the previous books. And again, unsurprisingly, this book didn't disappoint and thoroughly delighted all three children.

In fact as I attempted my review this evening I was battling with Jack, my youngest, who was determined to get it off me!

Anyway, on with the review...

Snug As a Bug is one of those rare childrens stories that capture the imagination and which your children will emplore you to read over and over again.

A bedtime classic of the future, comparable with the wonderful Goodnight Moon, the story explores bedtime in a bug's world.

With its soothing rhythm and soft lulling rhyme, Snug As a Bug familiarises young children with the bedtime scenario and helps gently settle them for sleep!

Throughout the story we witness a medley of adorable little bugs listening to bedtime stories, kissing goodnight, going to bed, snuggling up and falling asleep.

Skillfully illustrated by renowned artist Sylvia Long, the vivid, colourful characters and tenderly conveyed scenes personify the bugs beautifully; bugs in cosy pyjamas getting into their beds of leaves, branches, an old cap and the suchlike!

With Michael Elsohn Ross' eloquent and simple text and Sylvia Long's intricately detailed illustrations, Snug As a Bug effectively captures the tenderness of  the bedtime hour.

Snug As a Bug is a valuable, and dare I suggest necessary, addition to every child's bookshelf.

Whilst Snug As a Bug will be appreciated by young and old alike, I highly recommend it for children from 12 months to approximately six years of age.

Published by Chronicle Books, Snug As a Bug is available here from Amazon.com ($11.86) and Amazon.co.uk (£8.99)

For more information on Michael Elsohn Ross or to explore more of his books, visit his website, BugAuthor.com.


The Secret to Changing Your (Breastfeeding) Diet for Good - Paul McKenna I Can Make You Thin!

I_can_make_you_thin_paul_mckenna_1  Ooooh I feel a little sick... We decided to go out for lunch today and after glancing through the menu and without really thinking about it I ordered gammon (Sorry Jennifer!).

Anyway as I started to eat my meal I suddenly thought about all the recent activity on The Lactivist Breastfeeding Blog over the last few days and all the comments I had read regarding pork.

Now I don't eat red meat at all and until a few years ago I only really ate fish and chicken. Then I used to eat the odd rasher of bacon believing it too was white meat and swiftly moved on to gammon and ham. But I had never realised before the sort of food that pigs are fed until I read some of the comments on Jennifer's blog! And as a result of the thoughts flooding into my head as I attempted to eat my my dinner I was unable to finish the gammon; and somehow I doubt I'll be ordering it again!

The food association was just too much for me to stomach... which brings me neatly onto the following...

I have been feeling absolutely exhausted for a long time. Now having three children, and still breastfeeding one, I have been putting it down to my lifestyle. But as a result of my New Year's resolutions last month I decided it was time to tackle my diet.

Now I am not overweight. I weigh 8st 10lbs which is pretty normal for my height, 5' 5''. But over the last few months I have been eating an awful lot of junk food. A lot of it I realised was due to cravings when I got hungry, bored or just pure greedy - if there are biscuits in the cupboard I will just keep helping myself every time I feel the urge. And because I am breastfeeding luckily I haven't put any extra weight on because  I guess Jack drinks all the extra calories away!!

But I have been feeling guilty lately about my dreadful diet. I've started to think of the consequences for my long term health if I keep eating so many empty calories - especially the danger they pose to my heart.

But self-will is my problem.

Now anyone who is breastfeeding knows that breastfeeding and dieting do not go hand in hand so what I was really more interested in was controlling my sugar cravings rather that dieting. And after doing some research one food plan kept coming up again and again - it was Paul McKenna's I Can Make You Thin (Book and CD).

Now I know I am already fairly thin and I'm not trying to get thinner - so why you may wonder did I choose this particular plan? Well the reviews I was reading made it sound like just the thing for anyone wanting to learn how to control cravings. The book sounded perfect - plus it comes with a CD to help.

So who is Paul McKenna? Well, he's very well known over here in the UK as an hypnotist with an excellent reputation. And having seen him on television many times over the last few years and reading glowing testimonials about his work, well, that's enough for me!

So off I went to Amazon and ordered both I Can Make You Thin (Book and CD) and the accompanying journal, I Can Make You Thin 90-Day Success Journal to record my progess.

To be honest, when the book and journal arrived I wondered if I was mad to even consider taking it on but I have reached the point where I do want to make changes to my life; I really want to be around to see my children grow up and I also want to set them a good example by letting them see I eat a healthy diet.

I started to read the book and was absolutely engrossed. I had it finished within just a few hours and was raving to go! Normally I would think, okay, I'll get started on that tomorrow, but I just couldn't wait...

So what is so special about this diet? Well, for starters, it isn't a diet...

Basically, what Paul does is he suggests you eat what you want when you want but only if and when you are hungry. And you must eat slowly and enjoy every mouthful thoroughly. No foods are banned!

Plus if you really want to never eat a particular food ever again he gives you a food association technique to practice (which he warns you not to try unless you really never want to enjoy that particular food ever again!)

To help you along he also suggests some exercises to help you recognise when you are having a craving as well as subliminal messages from the CD.

So, has it worked?

Well, I am astounded because after almost a week of following this plan I haven't once felt the urge to chomp through a packet of cookies. I am also really enjoying eating food slowly and am enjoying feeling the texture and tasting my food instead of wolfing it down.

Best of all though is that I am bouncing with renewed energy. I feel so alive again. I can sit up late, feed Jack a couple of times during the night and I get up no problem in the morning.

I can't quite believe that the food I was eating was burning me out so much. And even though I had read and heard about sugar highs and how they can leave you feeling exhausted only now am I fully appreciating that that was my problem all along.

Paul doesn't recommend weighing yourself although you can if you want but since I'm not really trying to lose weight that is irrelevant to me - although it will be interesting to see if I do lose any weight after cutting down on all the bad habits!!

I'm not trying to do the hard sell here by the way. It's just something I'm impressed with and if you are concerned about your weight or just your food habits I do recommend you give this one a try.

You can purchase Paul McKenna I Can Make You Thin (Book and CD)  and I Can Make You Thin 90-Day Success Journal (I Can Make You Thin) here from Amazon.co.uk. Unfortunately Amazon.com don't stock this book yet but they do have others by the same author which may well be worth trying out too!