Have you taken the time to purchase and read any breastfeeding books? It's never too late! Whether you're TTC, expecting, or if you've already had baby! You can always educate yourself further, and even use your knowledge to help educate others. (That's what I've been doing!)
I've gone out of my way to purchase a whole shelf of them (including the textbooks for my CBS course) and let you all know what kind of information, graphics, and goodies are inside.
Note: This is a collective list of different books available, their general contents, and whether or not they contain images, color, deep text vs brief explanations, etc. Not "full content reviews" per se, as I have not read every word of every book. This is more of a guide to help you better understand what's in the books before purchasing, because you truly can't judge a book by its cover!
I'll add all of the books I've purchased, and over time add more and more details to the mini reviews as I read further.
These books are great resources for aspiring Lactation Consultants or Breastfeeding Specialists as well! Including the very hefty textbooks that are required for courses.
This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase through one of my links, I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps to support my blog and family! Read my full disclosure here.
Boost Your Breast Milk Covers almost everything there is about milk production, milk supply issues, causes, myths, lactogenic foods and so much more. It's even got a very large section of recipes featuring those wonderful lactogenic foods! It has a handful of charts and diagrams as well, including illustrated breastfeeding positions. I was expecting it to be completely about food and
nourishing your body/milk supply, but I'm so glad I was wrong! It's definitely one of my favorites, if not my very favorite. I love that its laid out in very simple and easy to understand language, and isn't "word soupy" at all.
Lactivate! Is the first breastfeeding book that I ever bought, it covers (very briefly) all of the basics around preparing for and starting breastfeeding, getting a good latch, "troubleshooting common codes" and has tons of cute and helpful diagrams along the way. I love that it's formatted in a way that makes lactation seem like a machine. It doesn't go into a ton of detail on some things like other books do, but it's a very nice little handbook to keep around your breastfeeding/pumping station.
Making More Milk is a bit more of a deep dive, almost into textbook territory, complete guide to breastfeeding. The chapters vary in content ranging from the basic "understanding your milk factory" to what's normal and what's not, causes for what's not normal, hormonal imbalances and dysfunctions, pumping information, galactagogues, and even planning for your "next time". The images are all in black and white, but there are quite a handful of them and they're very helpful. This one is a bit thicker "word soup" but if you're interested in the topics it's extremely educational. I love visual aids with learning, and this one has a lot of very scientific "behind the scenes" such as this anatomy of the lactating breast here.
The Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding is more formatted like a chapter book/heavier read. This one is put together by the La Leche League International, with the original work being published in 1958 and updated many times since then. This book has 5 sections, a total of 20 "chapters" all with a handful of subcategories. It covers everything from nesting during pregnancy, preparing to lactate, building your "network" (aka village), labor, latching, ages and stages, sleep, solids, and more. It's really a thorough coverage of the very beginning to the very end, with the final section being the "tear sheet toolkit"- this includes many things like hand expression, medications and breastfeeding, dealing with plugs and blebs, mastitis, and so much more. This one has very few images, and feels much more like a deep read than a quick flip reference guide.
It also has lots of resources for finding support at the end!
Latch Baby is officially the cutest baby/breastfeeding book I have ever seen. I hesitated and bought Lactivate! Instead with my second baby because I could actually see on Amazon what was inside, that's usually a selling point for me. If it's just a cover image it's harder to imagine what I'm buying. As you can see here, this type of illustration (full color, very large) is what the book contains, over 90 of them. A lot of us, myself included, are visual learners. It's much easier to see an image and understand it rather than a chunky paragraph of long words trying to tell us how to attach pump flanges! This is just one of the many super well done images throughout this small guide. It covers topics from benefits of breastfeeding, types and shapes of breasts and nipples, diagram of the interior of the breast, packing your hospital bag, latching, different holding positions, feeding and diaper number charts, and so much more. I honestly regret not buying this when I was still pregnant! It's going to be a great point of reference for coaching, that's for sure!
The Nursing Mother's Companion is also more along the lines of a deep read, a few scattered images and diagrams, and lots of chapters. It turns out I accidentally bought the 7th edition instead of the 8th edition, but the format and content is likely mostly the same. There are nine chapters, starting in preparing during pregnancy and extending all the way through to nursing a toddler. One interesting topic I found was "Special mothers, special babies"- which covers nursing during either mom or baby having a medical condition, which you don't see much of in other books. There is also a lengthy appendix at the end with product recommendations such as pumping bras, flanges, information on pump rental, and more. This book is much more of a "sitdown read" than a short guidebook with lots of imagery.
Before skimming this appendix, I literally did not think there were special cups for hand expressing milk into.
Bestfeeding was first published in 1990, and has been revised only two times since then (last in 2004) so it is not as up-to-date as other books are. However, some information just doesn't change with time. This book has a handful of "case studies"- stories of other mom/baby breastfeeding issues and what the issue was there. They have also included resources in the back, including a list of other books we may find helpful, a short glossary, and multiple pages of contact information for breastfeeding help in different countries. This one does not quite top my favorites, I'm a sucker for books with color, images, and a little bit less density. I also prefer newer revisions because of the constant changes in discoveries/new information surrounding breastfeeding.
The Breastfeeding Book was first published in 2000, and revised in 2018. This book is actually part of a collection called the "Sears parenting library"- Martha and William are married and have written these books together with the help of some other professionals. (Fun fact: they write the dedication to their 8 breastfed children!) This book covers topics such as why you should breastfeed, how to breastfeed, troubleshooting, nutrition and fitness, medications, breastfeeding for babies and/or mothers with special needs, and toddler nursing. There are not a ton of infographics or diagrams, but a handful. They've also included some handy charts like this one here on the stages of sore breasts. This one is halfway between a guidebook layout and a deeper chapter book.
This is one of two textbooks I purchased for my Core Lactation Consultant Course, and when I say textbook I really mean textbook. This is no light read for an expecting mother. This thing is heavy and hefty, full of long scientific words like immunoglobulin and torticollis. Not your average coffee table book, but I'm having a blast with it. I'm personally very interested in everything about breastfeeding, including the science behind it. If you get bored, google "HAMLET" and read about that. In simpler terms, there's a compound in breastmilk that combines with a compound in the infants GI tract, that when paired together, are able to literally fight and kill tumors, cancers, etc. It's CRAZY. The power of breastmilk never ceases to amaze me!
There's not a ton of graphics, but it's still full of so much information, I'm very glad that I have it.
Breastfeeding Answers is the perfect companion for Lactation Consultants. It's laid out in a way that you can reference common (or uncommon) problems with latching, milk supply, milk transfer, milk expression, and so much more. This book is literally HUGE, which goes to show how many breastfeeding questions are out there! This is also no easy red, bedside table book intended for new moms. This is a book geared specifically towards specialists to use as a point of reference when counseling or coaching families.
I personally go through a ton of questions when coaching people on pumping- there are so many things that you need to know before even trying to offer a solution. Some are easy, some are complex, and some require referrals to IBCLC's or even an OBGYN. This book has been extremely helpful in that and in the course I'm taking. They also make a "pocket version", which may not actually fit into a pocket but is certainly much smaller than this beast.
I hope this little rundown has helped provide some clarity on what book has what content, and which one is right for you!
Am I missing something? Do you have a breastfeeding book request or recommendation for me? Please don't hesitate to reach out and let me know!
Are you breastfeeding or pumping? Check out some of my other resources: