Carlos Gonzalez ‘Breastfeeding Made Easy’
Date: April 11, 2014
We asked three members of our GentleParenting Review Panel to read and review Carlos Gonzalez’s latest book ‘Breastfeeding Made Easy’, here are their thoughts:
Julie, Mother to Two (including a 16 week old baby).
My initial reaction to Breastfeeding Made Easy was one of scepticism – a breastfeeding book written by a man?! The old adage of ‘never judge a book by its cover’ definitely rings true here!
Gonzalez is clearly both knowledgeable and passionate about breastfeeding and his writing is empathetic, supportive and non-judgemental. The book, whilst informative, was written in a colloquial style which made it not only an easy read but also was like listening to a good friend chatting about breastfeeding with a good amount of wit and sarcasm thrown in (I might have finished with a little bit of a crush on the author!)
The book has a very comprehensive index so, if you don’t want to read it cover to cover but simply pick out the bits that are relevant (for example if you are having difficulties – real or perceived) this is perfectly possible and it is easy to jump about. Gonzalez also provides sources so you can find extra information on specific subjects if desired. The book however is a good read simply going through the chapters in order and if you have a specific interest in
breastfeeding or are a passionate lactivist, the chapters on subjects unrelated to you, the reader, such as feeding with a tongue tie or returning to work, will still be an interesting read.
I have two children. My eldest was breastfed to 20 months (when she self-weaned – solids introduced at 6 months) and my youngest is 16 weeks and exclusively breastfed. I am a passionate breastfeeder and come from a biology background. I was therefore surprised by how much I learnt from this book. Perhaps it is the easy reading style that made the content so accessible or the fact Gonzalez is not only a doctor but also a father of three and clearly in awe of his breastfeeding wife. Whatever the reason, I think there is much that can be gained from reading this book for both a first time mum who has never encountered breastfeeding but thinks she might want to give it a try or a serious lactivist who has read everything she (or he!) can on the subject.
Wendy, mother to an 8 week old baby:
I have mixed feelings about this book. The book is easy to read and can be used either as a “read it cover to cover” manual or a “dip in and out for the relevant bits” guide. As well as a comprehensive main index it has a handy quick reference index for common questions, which I found really useful. Much of the advice in the book is referenced with various research studies, and links to important websites are included. I enjoyed the positivity of the author that everyone can breastfeed, and the solutions it offered for common (and less common!) breastfeeding problems. The advice on positioning is clear and detailed with useful diagrams showing correct and incorrect latching.
However, I have questions about some of the advice given. Whilst I agree that in the majority of cases there may not be a need for galactagogues (substances reputed to increase milk supply) and that if they ARE needed it is important to discover if there is an underlying reason for the need, I disagree that they should never be used. In cases where babies are struggling to gain weight I feel it is a useful first line treatment whilst the cause of the slow weight gain is being investigated. Dr Gonzalez states that the best way to produce more milk is to feed more frequently and ensure that positioning is optimal, but if there is a physical barrier to feeding (such as tongue tie) this advice will not help and a galactague may be useful in the short term. He also dismisses what he calls the “hysteria” surrounding the use of prescription drugs in breastfeeding mothers. Whilst he claims that most drugs are passed through the milk in such small amounts that the baby is not getting a therapeutic dose and that some drugs which are regularly given to babies are only given under duress to breastfeeding mothers he seems to miss the concern of giving ANY amount of a medication to a person who does not require it.
Lucy, first time mother – currently 8 months pregnant:
I was excited about this book when asked to review it as am in the third trimester of pregnancy and very keen to breastfeed so a booked called ‘breastfeeding made easy’ seemed like it would be a great way in to mean I was well informed and best placed to give it my best shot. And, whilst there are many helpful parts to the book it is just long and densely written for me. Put aside that it is written by a man (!) but the opening chapter seems to be filled with waffle and irritating colloquialisms that left me flicking through to try and find the ‘easy’ part with the tips and techniques I will need to breastfeed my new baby when he or she arrives.
This book is over 300 pages of text and therefore is in no way ‘easy’ to plough through in the busy months before the baby, never mind afterwards. I would really like to see an edited version of this book at about half the length with the most important aspects included and much of the ‘chat’ left out. Chapter 2 on ‘how to breastfeed’ was actually pretty good but I was already annoyed with the author by then and most of the information I had already heard from my NCT teacher. Perhaps I will feel differently if I have problems with breastfeeding and want to dip in to the chapters on problems etc.