ABOUT THE BOOK
Most U.S. mothers set out to breastfeed their newborn baby and they do try, but the majority reluctantly give up within the first three months of their infant's life, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Breastfeeding Report Card (CDC 2016). In numerous studies, the main reason mothers cite is the belief that they don't have enough milk to nourish their young. They suffer postpartum depression, guilt, and sadness––a phenomenon scientists describe as "existential lostness as a mother" forcing oneself into a constant battle (Palmér et al. 2012). The message: Breastfeeding can be complicated.
Finally, scientists are shedding light on a deeper root of the problem which may explain the common premature cessation of breastfeeding and why focusing on breastfeeding mechanics and respective challenges (like most breastfeeding books on the market) is not enough. In a ground-breaking study titled "Breastfeeding and Infant Temperament at Age Three Months" published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers concluded that breastfed babies behave differently than their formula feeding counterparts and cause many parents to misinterpret nursing challenges, misdiagnose problems such as insufficient milk supply, and cease breastfeeding unnecessarily (de Lauzon-Guillain et al. 2012).
The study places blame, in part, on voids of common knowledge and widespread lack of available public information about breastfed infants following decades of formula feeding dominance. Specifically, mothers need more information about infant cues and "the behavioral dynamics of breastfeeding, so as to have a better expectation and understanding of normal infant temperament," the study concludes. It's an information gap that's contributing to premature weaning. Filling it would give mother more confidence in their body's ability to provide enough milk for her growing baby. Most importantly, scientists resolve how women can increase their odds of success by learning how nature intends breastfed babies to feed and signal their needs.
Not one breastfeeding book we found has made that the focus of instruction––until now. SUCKLE, SLEEP, THRIVE is a solution to the widespread problem of premature weaning. It's for anyone determined to breastfeed, whether counting down to her due date or already in the heat of things with her warm bundle.
From the nearly 50 year of expertise of Pediatric Nurse and Infant Feeding Specialist Andrea Herron, R.N., M.N., I.B.C.L.C., it's the first lay person's breastfeeding book that responds to researchers' call for help to teach infant cues and educate mothers on how the breastfed newborn behaves differently than formula-fed infants. It focuses on teaching how to prevent problems, troubleshoot concerns, manage challenging phases and difficult temperaments to help keep the mother from sabotaging her own breastfeeding success.
Best of all, it lays the foundation to meet long-term breastfeeding goals by offering a coordinating parenting approach, coined Baby Watching, developed through Herron's 48 years working with mothers and babies as a highly trained pediatric nurse practitioner specialized in infant feeding. This mothering style deploys intuitive methods designed to help parents discover their infant's unique temperament traits and sensitivities so they can best understand their baby and smoothly manage feeding, sleeping, crying, attachment, and more––ideas tried, proven, and backed by the most recent research.
From the unexpected birth experience, to the establishment of breastfeeding, and through the 10-week learning curve, SUCKLE, SLEEP, THRIVE deals with breastfeeding realities. It coaches how to prevent the most common fates of other mothers who give up breastfeeding, emphasizing typical pitfalls like perceived insufficient milk supply, fears that a baby that won't fall asleep unless breastfed, and problem prevention, such as nipple injury and bottle refusal. It teaches how to manage feeding, sleeping, and crying during difficult but normal developmental phases typical of the breastfed baby and fussiness during the first 10 weeks. The book addresses each baby's unique temperament and how developmental and environmental changes impact the infant's ability to eat, sleep, interact, and calm effectively.
SUCKLE, SLEEP, THRIVE will help mothers troubleshoot the most common early problems that often lead to premature weaning. It begins with breastfeeding education. Then, it empowers the reader's intuition by teaching Baby Watching, a method to identify her baby's unique body language and behaviors––cues that say, "I'm hungry," "I'm tired," "I'm uncomfortable," and others that signify overstimulation, pain, readiness to engage or disengage, and satiation. Parents will gain the ability to quickly understand the newborn's needs and how best to meet them––from how his environment affects his states of awareness to sensitivities that will clue parents into what kind of care he needs. Herron will help mothers discover their infants' temperament and how it relates to the management of sleep, meals, play, and attachment so they can learn how to accomplish each of these tasks more smoothly. Parents will learn what's behind extreme fussiness and colicky behavior so they can either resolve challenges on their own or identify when they need to seek extra help. By quickly and truly getting to know the baby through deciphering all this "Baby Talk," parents will learn how to respond appropriately to nurture a relationship of trust, promote healthy cognitive growth and development, and support her breastfeeding practice to ultimately meet her personal goals. In short, it will make parenting her newborn easier. The book tackles the most common breastfeeding challenges and offers feeding and treatment plans for each obstacle.
Told by journalist and former television producer, Lisa Rizzo, B.S., this book features inspirational stories of real mothers who struggled and strived to overcome great obstacles to meet their breastfeeding goals.
Graphics and sidebars break up this informative text and summarize key points. The multiple-choice style of the "Nursing Notes" feature offers readers an easy way to interact, troubleshoot, and record their personal situation. Sidebars, charts, and appendices break down complex information while boxes like the ones titled "Action Plan" offer steps to meet goals. Dozens of beautiful photographs by renown photographer Lisa Maksoudian shows perfectly the cues the text describes.
Rather than continuing with the "Breast is Best" rhetoric repeated in nearly every breastfeeding book on the market, SUCKLE, SLEEP, THRIVE drops the sales pitch and changes the conversation from "You should breastfeed," to "So, you want to breastfeed. We are here to help." Doing so removes the pressure, keeps the maternal guilt at bay, and shows the readers that the authors are on her side. As the text directs moms on solutions to challenges or mere concerns she is facing at a certain stage in her baby’s development, it also considers the emotional aspect by acknowledging how she might be feeling as she works through specific problems, particularly social pressures. Certainly, the benefits of human milk for human babies is included in the book like all others of its likeness, however, in a manner that allows the mother to select from a list of potential reasons (benefits) to record her own determination for choosing this feeding path––an interactive feature that's also geared toward reinforcing her personal goals.
Written in a journalistic style with evidence-based research, the book is intelligently balanced, being as emotional as it is cognitive. Many chapters begin with an anecdote like an article would in any popular parenting magazine. The writing is conversational––infused with witty comments, noted by their parenthesis, to evoke humor and lighten the tone of the informative text.
Herron’s advice is so good––it’s addictive. Her manner gives mothers the confidence to do just what they need to do to overcome the realities of infancy and succeed at breastfeeding. Her expertise unveils a world of opportunities to prevent a myriad of other problems, so that parents can focus on what nature intended––to love, nourish, and cherish their little miracle. Herron belongs in every town in America. Her book, SUCKLE, SLEEP, THRIVE, will make that possible.
CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). 2016. CDC Breastfeeding Report Card 2016. Accessed via:
de Lauzon-Guillain, B. D., K. Wijndaele, M. Clark, C. L. Acerini, I. A. Hughes, D. B. Dunger, J. C. Wells, and K. K. Ong. 2012. Breastfeeding and Infant Temperament at Age Three Months. PLoS ONE 7.1.
Palmér, L., G. Carlsson, M. Mollberg, and M. Nyström. 2012. Severe Breastfeeding Difficulties: Existential Lostness as a Mother—Women's Lived Experiences of Initiating Breastfeeding under Severe Difficulties. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-Being 7.0.