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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:

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