Thursday, March 3, 2011

Fresh Milk

 Warning- this post may contain too much information. It is about breasts so if this topic makes you squeamish I suggest you look to another post.

For everything you wanted or perhaps didn't want to know about breastfeeding and breasts in general, look no further than Fresh Milk: The Secret Life of Breasts by Fiona Giles.

Like most of the books I have read this pregnancy, I was given this one by my mum. I think in actual fact I may have bought it for her for a birthday one year. I can vaguely recall going to our family favourite bookstall and asking for the book my mum had ordered so I could buy it for her. I remember being a little startled (though not surprised) to see two large breasts on the front cover. Such is the life of a daughter of a midwife.

It was this same image that made reading this book on the train a little difficult however this is one of the themes the book discusses. Is or should popping your boobs out in public be a questionable offence? Especially when said boobs are used to feed a small child?

Fresh Milk is a series of short anecdotes that tell of womens struggle with breastfeeding, joy in discovering the usefulness of their bodies and their new identities as mothers. Breastfeeding is not all glowing faces and beautiful times. Some of the women seemed to go through terrible pain and anxiety in their quest to feed their little ones. Cold cabbage leaves, cracked nipples, milk that wont come. But through all this many of the women persisted and all in all said they wouldn't have given it up for the joy that they experienced through feeding their child.

This book leaps head first into the more socially awkward avenues of breastfeeding. Children breastfeeding at older ages, (one boy still going at eleven) the sexuality of lactation, adoptive mothers and their ability to breastfeed and even has a few recipes for breast milk in the back. It does so unashamedly and though I giggled like a schoolgirl or was shocked into silence by some of the stories I found it a really interesting read. It opened my mind to a whole side of breasts I had never thought about before and while I don't think I'll be trying the breast milk pumpkin pie anytime soon it gave me a greater appreciation of my body that has been created to sustain my little baby's life for at least the first six months of her life.

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