The ABCs of Breastfeeding: Everything a Mom Needs to Know for a Happy Nursing Experience

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La Leche League approves ABCs of Breastfeeing for their store!

For the new mom and her baby, breastfeeding provides countless physical and emotional benefits. Breast milk provides proper nourishment, helps strengthen a baby’s immune system, and deepens the mother-child bond. However, breastfeeding doesn’t always happen as naturally as one might expect. As a Neonatal Practitioner and Board Certified Lactation Consultant (and mother of two), Stacey H. Rubin knows the difficulties ...

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The ABCs of Breastfeeding: Everything a Mom Needs to Know for a Happy Nursing Experience

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La Leche League approves ABCs of Breastfeeing for their store!

For the new mom and her baby, breastfeeding provides countless physical and emotional benefits. Breast milk provides proper nourishment, helps strengthen a baby’s immune system, and deepens the mother-child bond. However, breastfeeding doesn’t always happen as naturally as one might expect. As a Neonatal Practitioner and Board Certified Lactation Consultant (and mother of two), Stacey H. Rubin knows the difficulties new moms can experience. Now, in The ABCs of Breastfeeding, she offers a practical and reader-friendly guide that will help every new mother feel comfortable and confident about feeding her baby. From pregnancy to weaning, this helpful book will show nursing mothers how to:

find a doctor who is breastfeeding-friendly
• hold their baby comfortably after birth
• recognize the signs that a baby wants to be fed
• take necessary steps that will prevent breastfeeding difficulties
• build a healthy milk supply
• manage the right diet
• continue breastfeeding immediately after returning to work
• know when to stop breastfeeding

Illustrated with real-life stories from the author’s own private practice of women who have overcome common and not-so-common breastfeeding difficulties, The ABCs of Breastfeeding will help expectant and new mothers turn their nursing experiences into a joyful one—for themselves and their new babies.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A solid alternative to the classic Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (7th revised ed. 2004), this will serve as both an informative and a reassuring book to any mother. Recommended for consumer health and public libraries... Her fascinating client stories, interweaved throughout, effectively illustrate the issues and success of new and experienced breastfeeding mothers alike; end notes from mostly medical and nursing journals titles support her content." --Library Journal

“The ABCs of Breastfeeding: Everything a Mom Needs to Know for a Happy Nursing Experience, by Stacey H. Rubin, MN, APRN, IBCLC, is a lucid and organized guidebook for new moms that covers the gamut—from nursing positions and latching on to how breastfeeding can affect your sex life.” –Mothering Magazine

The ABCs of Breastfeeding is on the La Leche League International Book Evaluation Committee’s Recommended Reading List

“IBCLCs will appreciate that Rubin, a neonatal nurse practitioner and IBCLC, clearly conveys key concepts for success… this book will appeal to many mothers and should be on every IBCLC’s short list of breastfeeding manuals for mothers.” —International Lactation Consultant Association Print and Multimedia Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814480571
  • Publisher: AMACOM Books
  • Publication date: 2/27/2008
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,468,785
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Stacey H. Rubin, M.N., APRN, IBCLC (West Hartford, CT) is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse and an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

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Read an Excerpt


Thinking with a Breastfeeding Mindset

“I’ll try breastfeeding, but I don’t think that it is going to work.”


Amy is preparing for the birth of her first child. She and her husband have taken a childbirth education class and a breastfeeding class and are in the process of reading two breastfeeding books. Despite all that she has learned, Amy remains doubtful about the prospect of breastfeeding the daughter she is expecting. All of Amy’s knowledge about breastfeeding can’t compete with her defeatist attitude. Any problem that arises as she adjusts to her new baby will derail the breastfeeding process and prevent her from finding a workable solution to whatever difficulty she may have. For breastfeeding to work after her baby is born, Amy must develop a positive attitude during pregnancy. A positive attitude is not an accident. As you will learn in this chapter, you are the gardener of your psyche; only you can till the soil of your mind and cultivate a positive breastfeeding mindset.


During pregnancy, you are like an athlete in training. Your body is performing the Herculean task of growing a baby. While your body gets ready for motherhood, you—like the coach of a winning team—have the unique opportunity to prepare your mind for breastfeeding success. All coaches train their players to be strong and fast on the field; however, the coach of a winning team is able to do something extra that consistently leads his or her team to victory. The coach of a winning team instills a winning attitude in each player. Coaches understand that games are won or lost in the minds of their players. Players with a positive attitude play to win, whereas players full of self-doubt sabotage the team. On game day, all the hours of grueling physical training will be lost on an athlete who approaches the playing field lacking self-confidence. The seasoned successful coach prepares the team’s minds as well as their muscles.

Like a competitive athlete psyching out an opponent before the start of the game, breastfeeding begins in a mother’s psyche before her baby is born. Whether or not you are aware of it, your conscious and subconscious attitude about breastfeeding will profoundly affect your future breastfeeding relationship with your baby. As your pregnancy progresses, you may be preoccupied with work, child care, or shopping for your new baby. Even though you are busy, set aside a moment to explore your personal attitude about breastfeeding. A mother’s attitude sets the tone for her entire breastfeeding experience.

Chances are, like Amy, you have developed some negative perceptions about breastfeeding. Mothers develop these perceptions for a variety of reasons including formula company advertising, their body image, and difficulties with breastfeeding in the past. Understanding how these factors shape your view of breastfeeding will allow you to recognize your personal feelings about breastfeeding before your baby is born.


Because advertising portrays formula feeding as the normal way to nourish a baby, it is one of the most powerful influences against breastfeeding in our society. Television commercials show smiling mothers who happily feed bottles of formula to their babies. The latest trend in advertising is to hire a celebrity mom to endorse a formula that she supposedly feeds her baby. Celebrity association with anything, whether it’s perfume or infant formula, makes the product seem chic and sophisticated. In addition, parenting magazines also advertise formula, bottles, and pacifiers. I recently saw a magazine advertisement picturing an infant and a calf sitting side by side together in a double stroller. The advertisement was for a newfangled bottle claiming to keep a baby’s feeding as fresh as if it had just come from a cow. Many formulas claim their artificial ingredients are “formulated” like breast milk, and bottles claim to be shaped like a human nipple. Although ridiculous, these ads, coupled with sophisticated marketing techniques that operate on a psychological level, persuade millions of mothers that formula is convenient, risk-free, and comparable to human milk. Regardless of what advertisements tell you, the truth is that breast milk is uniquely suited to meet your baby’s needs, and your milk cannot be duplicated in a factory.

Unfortunately, formula advertising is impossible to escape. Ready-to-feed bottles of formula are directly marketed to parents by mail.1 In nearly every client’s home that I visit, I can’t help but notice a formula sample pack sitting innocuously on the kitchen counter. With formula samples so readily available, it becomes easy for mothers to succumb to bottle-feeding in a moment of doubt. Receiving a formula sample can undermine a mother’s confidence even when breastfeeding is progressing well.

My client, Sheila, is a twenty-year-old mother who has been breastfeeding her son, Cameron, since birth. Cameron is now a healthy nine-month-old and has never had formula. I was surprised when Sheila called me wondering whether Cameron needed to start formula at nine months of age. Sheila had just received a formula sample supposedly designed for older babies. I assured Sheila that her breast milk was still perfectly formulated for Cameron and discouraged her from feeding her son the artificial food.

Formula manufacturers, or pharmaceutical companies, provide pediatric offices and most hospitals with cases of free formula to distribute to their patients. By accepting and distributing formula, doctors and nurses reinforce the idea that formula feeding is the normal option and undermine any positive ideas new mothers have in deciding to breastfeed their babies.

Isabel, as a single mother, had her hands full with healthy twin boys. When I met with Isabel, she had a tremendous milk supply and her sons breastfed easily. However, Isabel was in the habit of formula feeding the twins throughout the day. She continued to feed the twins bottles because the hospital had given them formula after they were born and had sent her home with several boxes of the stuff. As a result of this pervasive advertising, Isabel, like many mothers, believed that formula was just as healthy as breast milk.

Formula samples cleverly disguised as hospital gift bags and distributed to new mothers by nurses can undermine a new mother’s breastfeeding relationship by reducing the likelihood that she will exclusively breastfeed her newborn.2 Some hospitals designated as Baby-Friendly have stopped the practice of routinely distributing formula samples to new mothers and no longer accept free formula from the pharmaceutical companies.


What formula advertising won’t tell you is that there is no substitute for human milk. Human milk is a living food made specifically for the unique needs of human babies. The best scientists in the world cannot re-create its more than two hundred components in a laboratory. Unlike the artificial ingredients in formula, which never change, your breast milk will evolve to meet the specific needs of your growing baby. This is true whether you breastfeed for one week or one year.

To begin with, nature designed your newborn’s first feeding of colostrum to be small in volume and high in value. Yellow or golden in color, colostrum, or early breast milk, is in your breasts when your baby is born. The components of colostrum are uniquely concentrated to both nourish and protect a brand-new baby. Compared to more mature breast milk, colostrum is higher in cholesterol, protein, and minerals like sodium and magnesium.3 Colostrum also contains high levels of immunoglobulin “A,” which protects your baby’s developing gastrointestinal tract from foreign germs and allergens.4 Even one exposure to formula at this critical time can upset this delicate balance in your baby’s intestines.5

As the first days of motherhood pass, your colostrum gradually becomes white in color. This transitional milk has high concentrations of living white cells called macrophages that continue the work of providing immunological protection to your newborn. Over the next few days, the ratio of proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals continues to shift, resulting in perfectly balanced mature breast milk.6 Mature breast milk is smart food. Complex fats and proteins promote your baby’s rapidly developing brain. Research has demonstrated that children who have been breastfed have higher intelligence than their formula-fed schoolmates.7 When a mother and baby eventually begin the weaning process and the total volume of a mother’s milk is reduced, the living cells in breast milk faithfully continue to protect a baby from illness.

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Table of Contents

Contents preface xi acknowledgments xv

Phase I

Things to Consider Before Birth 1

Chapter 1 Thinking with a Breastfeeding Mindset 3

Chapter 2 Finding a Breastfeeding-Friendly Doctor 17

Chapter 3 Planning for a Gentle Birth 29

Chapter 4 How to Hold Your Baby After Birth 41

Chapter 5 Avoiding Separation After Birth 54

Chapter 6 Bottle and Breast: Preventing Feeding Confusion 66

Phase II

Beginning to Breastfeed Your Baby 81

Chapter 7 The Signals That Will Let You Know When to Feed Your Baby 83

Chapter 8 Getting Comfortable: How to Fit Together Perfectly for Feeding 95

Chapter 9 How to Avoid Becoming Overwhelmed 108

Chapter 10 How to Build a Strong Supply of Mature Milk 121

Chapter 11 How to Know When Pain Is a Problem 134


Phase III

Continuing to Breastfeed Comfortably into the Future 147

Chapter 12 How to Maintain a Strong Supply of Milk 149

Chapter 13 How Do I Do This in Public? Traveling Together as a Breastfeeding Couple 163

Chapter 14 Can I Eat My Favorite Foods? Dispelling Diet Myths 173

Chapter 15 Yes, You Can Get Some Sleep 187

Phase IV

Developing Your Own Happy Ending 201

Chapter 16 How to Make Breastfeeding Compatible with Family Life 203

Chapter 17 Combining Breastfeeding with Your Career 215

Chapter 18 When Is the Right Time to Wean? 227

Chapter 19 First Baby Food: Choosing Healthy Options 238

notes 249

bibliography 259

index 265

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2014


    I am 12 and i love this book

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

    Great book for any breastfeeding mom!

    I came across this book while breastfeeding my third child and I wish I had found it sooner! The real life examples make moms realize that they are not alone in any problem they might experience. There's also a lot of practical advice, including how to deal with hospital staff, doctors, and family and friends who might not be completely supportive of nursing.<BR/>This will definitely be on my gift list for new moms-to-be!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2008

    Great Book!

    This book was perfect for me - a clueless first time mom-to-be who was unsure and scared about breastfeeding. It really brought to light for me the benefits of breastfeeding and the beautiful bond that can be built between mother and child. The real life stories were great and I can't wait to become a breastfeeding mom now. I also had my husband read select chapters so he will understand what I will be going through and know how he can best provide support. Highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2008

    Best book on breastfeeding out there

    So much good,helpful and interesting information in this should be required reading for new mothers and mothers to be.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2008

    Amazingly helpful to a new mom

    This book is a perfect guide in the uncertain waters of breastfeeding. It is so helpful and easy to follow. I needed help and this was it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2010

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    Posted August 13, 2009

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    Posted July 26, 2010

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