Friday, August 9, 2013

Book Review: Balancing Breast and Bottle

I stumbled across this book when I was devouring all sorts of research on breast pumps. Let me sum it up quickly for is fabulous and a must read for any mom who is or is planning to breast AND bottle feed {especially all those working mamas}! The focus is on bottle feeding including how to introduce, maintain, and trouble-shoot bottle feeding.
*Of note, this book is targeted towards full-term healthy babies.*

The Authors: 
The book is written by Amy Peterson, a IBCLC (aka International Board Certified Lactation Consultant), and Mindy Harmer, a CCC-SLP (Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology). 

In other words, they are experts in feeding, especially for infant and babies. As a pediatric Physical Therapist I have personally treated pediatric patients alongside Speech-Language Pathologists and am blown away by their knowledge. Furthermore, all of their information is backed up by evidence-based research {the best kind}. 

I love that this book is how packed it is with information and pictures and yet it is still a concise and easy to read {I finished in <5 hours}. It is well wroth reading even before the baby comes so that you will be more prepared and quickly able to access the information you need to reference later {because lets be honest...all won't go as planned}. 

Some of my favorite topics covered are: 
  • How to observe a baby's suck to select the proper baby bottle and pacifier {with TONS of useful pictures and explanations}
  • How and when to properly introduce a bottle without confusion or preference for bottle or breast
  • Trouble shooting bottle feeding difficulties 
  • Tips for making bottle feeding more like breastfeeding 
  • Strategies on storing and using breast milk
  • "Putting It All Together" -  chapters near the end that run through schedule strategies for your day and baby's day
  • The index at the back of the book that ranks baby bottles by flow rates - a very important resource when picking a bottle
Before reading this book I was {just a little} nervous about pumping, building a supply, coordinating feeding/pumping, and selecting the right bottle and pacifier. Now I feel significantly more equipped and I know where to find the answers to trouble-shoot any problems after baby girl arrives.

A few tips from this book that I learned:
  • To maintain milk supply breastfeed as much as possible when you are with your baby. Why? Because a baby is more efficient at stimulating your milk supply than a pump. 
  • Introduce the bottle for the first time around 3-4 weeks. Then, give the bottle as a snack at least every 1-2 days to prevent the baby from forgetting how to take it. 
  • Have 2-3 different bottles available when you introduce bottle feeding. This way you can observe your baby's latch and have alternatives if the first selection doesn't work. {I need a whole other post to talk about my initial bottle choices based on the information I learned in this book.}
  • Wait to introduce a pacifier until 3-4 weeks old {after breastfeeding is well established}. 
  • Pacifier use during the day should be weaned starting at 4 months old when they can start exploring other objects with their mouths {important for development - in the physical therapy world I still try to encourage only appropriate hand to mouth objects such as toys. It's never too early to start teaching what is NOT appropriate for your mouth such as tiny objects, strings/cords, etc.}. 
More Information: 
I can't say enough great things about this book. It's especially great for those sofa mamas who aren't allowed to attend the pre-natal courses offered at your local hospital {I'm still secretly hoping they clear me to attend the birthing class...time will tell}.

Check out their website Furthermore, they have a consulting website which includes contact information for both local and virtual/online consults, online classes, and more. 

If you want more of a preview, check out this article written by Amy and Mindy.

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