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Spilled Milk    by Andy Steiner order for
Spilled Milk
by Andy Steiner
Order:  USA  Can
Rodale, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

Even experienced mothers will wish they had had Spilled Milk available prior to breastfeeding their children. Those who are in the process of breastfeeding, considering it, or thinking about giving it up, are lucky to have access to this book. With wry, self-deprecating humor, Steiner conveys that breastfeeding in all its glory, is sometimes, well, frankly, just plain hard!

Many new mothers do not anticipate roadblocks to a perfect breastfeeding union, and end up feeling guilt and confusion. In a society where maternal perfection is expected, Steiner tells us that it's ok if we don't have all the answers. It's ok if it doesn't work out. Her book gives new mothers permission to be human, to make mistakes, and yes, to stop breastfeeding if it is not working. Make no mistake: the author is a breastfeeding advocate. She relates with tenderness the great joy she experienced when she and her first child finally achieved nursing bliss. However, the road was paved with many more bumps than she could ever have anticipated. Steiner's goal is honesty, her message is clear: Lose the guilt, ladies!

Breastfeeding is a surprisingly controversial subject. Steiner's gripe is that society is quick to judge a woman for many of her motherhood-related decisions, causing her to experience self-doubt. Steiner initially was concerned about scaring new mothers regarding the realities of breastfeeding, fearing that they would give up before they even tried. But she has found a good middle ground, emphasizing that for most women, breastfeeding really does work out, even if there are initial problems.

Steiner is a journalist, and her book was thoroughly researched. Though at times it reads like a newspaper account, the inclusion of personal anecdotes make it entertaining. Spilled Milk is a must-have book for any new mother, or expectant mother, about to embark upon a nursing journey. And this is a book that I am sure many experienced mothers will wish they had read prior to their own breastfeeding challenges.

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