The best breastfeeding books

3 authors have picked their favorite books about breastfeeding and why they recommend each book.

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Breastfeeding…Naturally

By Jill Day,

Book cover of Breastfeeding…Naturally

If you are intending to breastfeed, then it is important to pick up a book on breastfeeding. Don’t make the mistake of being so focused on pregnancy and birth that you forget about lactation. There are several good options for breastfeeding books. As an Australian mother, I turned to the Australian Breastfeeding Association and I made sure I read Breastfeeding…Naturally. It gave me the knowledge I needed to know.


Who am I?

I’m a clinical and developmental psychologist, a parenting researcher at the University of Queensland, and a mother. My research is focused on applying and commitment therapy (ACT) to parenting including the parenting of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities. I wrote Becoming Mum while becoming a mother for the first time. In fact, much of the book was written while I cuddled my new baby, my laptop propped up on my knees so I could write! I am also the first author of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy the Clinician’s Guide to Supporting Parents. It is the first clinical manual on using ACT with parents.


I wrote...

Becoming Mum

By Koa Lou Whittingham,

Book cover of Becoming Mum

What is my book about?

Becoming Mum supports all women through the psychological ups and downs of becoming a mother, covering the journey from the earliest days right through infancy with advice for specific challenges from miscarriage to postnatal depression to preterm birth. Becoming Mum is grounded in the latest research and lived experience.

You will discover: your unique parenting values, and how to harness these to become a confident and happy mother, how to use mindfulness and acceptance to create a loving bond with your baby and support your baby's emotional development, techniques for coping with criticism, unhelpful advice, distressing emotions, and physical pain, how to keep your romantic relationship healthy and your support network strong, flexible, step by step strategies for facing major challenges that can be adapted to your personal circumstances.

Your Baby's First Year

By American Academy of Pediatrics,

Book cover of Your Baby's First Year

This book is the encyclopedia of baby care. It has it all, from guidelines for newborn care, to safety checks, to tips for choosing childcare programs. The first half covers stages of development, and the second is organized by topic. It’s super-easy to check the index for what you want and then flip to the page. Sure, you can consult Dr. Google about these things, but it’s so handy to just pull the book off the shelf and start reading. I consider it a comprehensive, up-to-date, indispensable guide for new parents. 


Who am I?

When I was a young mom, I had questions:  Why won’t my baby sleep? Are all these hiccups normal? Am I doing the best I can for my child? I wanted answers. So, I read lots of books and learned as much as I could. While no book can give you all the answers for your unique child, reading some good ones can take some of the mystery out of parenting.


I wrote...

That Mama Is a Grouch

By Sherry Ellis,

Book cover of That Mama Is a Grouch

What is my book about?

Will anything get a mother yelling about time outs and withholding favors faster than a toy-strewn house? In That Mama is a Grouch, an intelligent and very wise narrator reminds us in charming rhyme that mothers are human, most often loving, and that certain situations will guarantee driving them to their breaking point. Children from three to seven will delight in this story of a mommy who’s nearly out of control, and they will learn the importance of something as simple as putting away toys. When nerves are tested, pick up this book and start reading!

The Politics of Breastfeeding

By Gabrielle Palmer,

Book cover of The Politics of Breastfeeding: When Breasts are Bad for Business

This was the book that really opened my eyes to the power of marketing, and the impact this can have on the way babies are fed – in all countries of the world. It’s an absolute classic – a seminal work. It showed me how the infant formula industry (and increasingly the baby food industry in general) uses any tactics it can to influence and distort the dialogue around infant feeding. I was especially horrified to learn how, as a health visitor and midwife, I could unwittingly be used to promote products and practices that had the power to undermine breastfeeding, even while I thought I was supporting mothers and babies to do it.

Who am I?

I got hooked on breastfeeding when, during my health visitor training, our class had a lecture from Drs. Penny and Andrew Stanway, who wrote the original Breast is Best. I breastfed my own children, became a breastfeeding counsellor and lactation consultant (IBCLC), and championed breastfeeding as a health visitor and midwife. I then worked for 14 years with the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative, teaching and supporting healthcare staff to improve standards of care for breastfeeding mothers and babies. Throughout, I gained a huge respect for babies’ abilities in relation to breastfeeding. This directly influenced my belief in their capacity to continue feeding themselves when they start solid food, which is my current focus.


I wrote...

Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide

By Gill Rapley, Tracey Murkett,

Book cover of Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide

What is my book about?

Solid foods are nowadays recommended from around six months. At this age, the vast majority of babies don’t need to be spoon-fed, and they don’t need their food to be pureed. Instead, they can feed themselves with pieces of real food, using their hands. They know what they need to eat, how fast, and how much. The parent’s role is simply to provide healthy food and shared mealtimes, and to trust their baby’s abilities and instincts.

I first began speaking and writing about BLW back in 2001. A few years later, I teamed up with Tracey Murkett to write the first edition of this book, which sets out the benefits of baby-led weaning, why it makes sense, and how to do it. Since then, baby-led weaning has taken off worldwide and the book – now in its second edition – has been translated into over 20 languages. As a result, many authors have followed in our wake. But our book was, and remains, THE definitive guide.

Breastfeeding Uncovered

By Amy Brown,

Book cover of Breastfeeding Uncovered: Who Really Decides How We Feed Our Babies?

Amy nails the many aspects of today’s UK society that make breastfeeding so difficult for mothers and their babies. She looks at the myriad subtle – and not-so-subtle – ways in which breastfeeding is discussed and presented, so that it comes across as something laudable in theory but unrealistic and undesirable in practice: great if you can do it, but keep it to yourself and don’t frighten the horses. She also explores the many, seemingly unrelated, notions we have about how babies should be cared for, such as where and for how long they should sleep, which are quite simply incompatible with what babies really need, and with helping breastfeeding to work. Never mind pressurising women to breastfeed – how about we just support them to do it!

Who am I?

I got hooked on breastfeeding when, during my health visitor training, our class had a lecture from Drs. Penny and Andrew Stanway, who wrote the original Breast is Best. I breastfed my own children, became a breastfeeding counsellor and lactation consultant (IBCLC), and championed breastfeeding as a health visitor and midwife. I then worked for 14 years with the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative, teaching and supporting healthcare staff to improve standards of care for breastfeeding mothers and babies. Throughout, I gained a huge respect for babies’ abilities in relation to breastfeeding. This directly influenced my belief in their capacity to continue feeding themselves when they start solid food, which is my current focus.


I wrote...

Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide

By Gill Rapley, Tracey Murkett,

Book cover of Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide

What is my book about?

Solid foods are nowadays recommended from around six months. At this age, the vast majority of babies don’t need to be spoon-fed, and they don’t need their food to be pureed. Instead, they can feed themselves with pieces of real food, using their hands. They know what they need to eat, how fast, and how much. The parent’s role is simply to provide healthy food and shared mealtimes, and to trust their baby’s abilities and instincts.

I first began speaking and writing about BLW back in 2001. A few years later, I teamed up with Tracey Murkett to write the first edition of this book, which sets out the benefits of baby-led weaning, why it makes sense, and how to do it. Since then, baby-led weaning has taken off worldwide and the book – now in its second edition – has been translated into over 20 languages. As a result, many authors have followed in our wake. But our book was, and remains, THE definitive guide.

Breastfeeding and Medication

By Wendy Jones,

Book cover of Breastfeeding and Medication

Sadly, one of the many obstacles to breastfeeding lies within the healthcare system. For too long, education about how breastfeeding works has been severely lacking in the training of doctors, pharmacists, and a host of other disciplines. The result is that time and again, women who seek help – often for conditions unrelated to lactation – are given advice or care that fails to take into account their feeding choices, Many are told that they must stop breastfeeding in order for either them or their baby to receive treatment. As a pharmacist and breastfeeding counsellor, who, for years, ran the UK’s Drugs in Breastmilk helpline virtually single-handed, Wendy’s knowledge in this area is second to none. In the hands of health professionals, this book has the power to bring about huge change.

Who am I?

I got hooked on breastfeeding when, during my health visitor training, our class had a lecture from Drs. Penny and Andrew Stanway, who wrote the original Breast is Best. I breastfed my own children, became a breastfeeding counsellor and lactation consultant (IBCLC), and championed breastfeeding as a health visitor and midwife. I then worked for 14 years with the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative, teaching and supporting healthcare staff to improve standards of care for breastfeeding mothers and babies. Throughout, I gained a huge respect for babies’ abilities in relation to breastfeeding. This directly influenced my belief in their capacity to continue feeding themselves when they start solid food, which is my current focus.


I wrote...

Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide

By Gill Rapley, Tracey Murkett,

Book cover of Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide

What is my book about?

Solid foods are nowadays recommended from around six months. At this age, the vast majority of babies don’t need to be spoon-fed, and they don’t need their food to be pureed. Instead, they can feed themselves with pieces of real food, using their hands. They know what they need to eat, how fast, and how much. The parent’s role is simply to provide healthy food and shared mealtimes, and to trust their baby’s abilities and instincts.

I first began speaking and writing about BLW back in 2001. A few years later, I teamed up with Tracey Murkett to write the first edition of this book, which sets out the benefits of baby-led weaning, why it makes sense, and how to do it. Since then, baby-led weaning has taken off worldwide and the book – now in its second edition – has been translated into over 20 languages. As a result, many authors have followed in our wake. But our book was, and remains, THE definitive guide.

The Big Letdown

By Kimberly Seals Allers,

Book cover of The Big Letdown

Kimberly writes from personal experience and from the heart. She pulls no punches. Her book covers a lot of the obstacles you’d expect – societal attitudes to breastfeeding, the formula industry, and so on – but it’s her chapter on ‘the feminist fallacy’ that really spoke to me. I’ve always been baffled by the lack of support that feminist writers have shown for breastfeeding. They talk about it as a chore, as a restriction on women’s freedom, not as something amazing that a woman’s body can do. Kimberly challenges this thinking head on, fearlessly exposing the flawed thinking that has, in the name of equality, blindly followed an agenda set by men, with the result that motherhood is devalued and breastfeeding is framed as simply an issue of ‘choice’. Her conviction provides me with the hope that we can reverse this. Brilliant.

Who am I?

I got hooked on breastfeeding when, during my health visitor training, our class had a lecture from Drs. Penny and Andrew Stanway, who wrote the original Breast is Best. I breastfed my own children, became a breastfeeding counsellor and lactation consultant (IBCLC), and championed breastfeeding as a health visitor and midwife. I then worked for 14 years with the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative, teaching and supporting healthcare staff to improve standards of care for breastfeeding mothers and babies. Throughout, I gained a huge respect for babies’ abilities in relation to breastfeeding. This directly influenced my belief in their capacity to continue feeding themselves when they start solid food, which is my current focus.


I wrote...

Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide

By Gill Rapley, Tracey Murkett,

Book cover of Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide

What is my book about?

Solid foods are nowadays recommended from around six months. At this age, the vast majority of babies don’t need to be spoon-fed, and they don’t need their food to be pureed. Instead, they can feed themselves with pieces of real food, using their hands. They know what they need to eat, how fast, and how much. The parent’s role is simply to provide healthy food and shared mealtimes, and to trust their baby’s abilities and instincts.

I first began speaking and writing about BLW back in 2001. A few years later, I teamed up with Tracey Murkett to write the first edition of this book, which sets out the benefits of baby-led weaning, why it makes sense, and how to do it. Since then, baby-led weaning has taken off worldwide and the book – now in its second edition – has been translated into over 20 languages. As a result, many authors have followed in our wake. But our book was, and remains, THE definitive guide.

I Don't Know How She Does It

By Allison Pearson,

Book cover of I Don't Know How She Does It: A Comedy about Failure, a Tragedy about Success

I definitely preferred the book to the movie. Lots more character and lots more humour. This book kept me company during the dark hours of midnight breastfeeding and became my literary best friend during that time.


Who am I?

When I first became a mother, life as I knew it disappeared. I REALLY struggled with new motherhood, and funny, relatable books about parenthood showed me I wasn’t alone. Early motherhood inspired me to write the Bad Mother’s Diary – mainly because I wanted to cheer myself up and turn difficulty into comedy. I loved writing the Bad Mother’s series and am so honoured by all the emails and Facebook comments I receive begging for more books. Thank you readers!


I wrote...

The Bad Mother's Diary

By Suzy K. Quinn,

Book cover of The Bad Mother's Diary

What is my book about?

Juliette wants a happy family. But Daisy’s dad just walked out. Can she find love with a baby in tow?

By the time I got knocked up, I thought I’d be married and living happily ever after. But Daisy is already three months old and Nick has only just proposed. And I’m not all that sure I should have said yes. Nick isn’t behaving like a responsible husband to be. Instead, he’s bar-hopping while I stay home with the baby. With a wedding fast approaching, I have to decide whether to stay with the father of my child or try a new relationship with my childhood sweetheart. But how can consider seeing handsome, successful Alex Dalton, when my bathroom is full of suppositories and stretch mark cream?

The Breast Book

By Emma Pickett,

Book cover of The Breast Book: A puberty guide with a difference - it's the when, why and how of breasts

Whoever said ignorance is bliss was lying! Ignorance about one’s body is a massive obstacle to breastfeeding. As a newly qualified breastfeeding counsellor I remember being amazed at how many women become mothers without really knowing anything about how their breasts work. But why would they? In formal lessons about ‘growing up’, breasts are hardly mentioned (beyond the fact that they will appear at some point) – almost nothing about how they function, and even less about what they’re for. And, of course, most children in the UK never get to see breastfeeding in action. Emma’s book is the antidote to all that ignorance. It’s the book I wish I – and my daughter – had had, aged ten. I’m so glad it’s there for my granddaughter.

Who am I?

I got hooked on breastfeeding when, during my health visitor training, our class had a lecture from Drs. Penny and Andrew Stanway, who wrote the original Breast is Best. I breastfed my own children, became a breastfeeding counsellor and lactation consultant (IBCLC), and championed breastfeeding as a health visitor and midwife. I then worked for 14 years with the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative, teaching and supporting healthcare staff to improve standards of care for breastfeeding mothers and babies. Throughout, I gained a huge respect for babies’ abilities in relation to breastfeeding. This directly influenced my belief in their capacity to continue feeding themselves when they start solid food, which is my current focus.


I wrote...

Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide

By Gill Rapley, Tracey Murkett,

Book cover of Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide

What is my book about?

Solid foods are nowadays recommended from around six months. At this age, the vast majority of babies don’t need to be spoon-fed, and they don’t need their food to be pureed. Instead, they can feed themselves with pieces of real food, using their hands. They know what they need to eat, how fast, and how much. The parent’s role is simply to provide healthy food and shared mealtimes, and to trust their baby’s abilities and instincts.

I first began speaking and writing about BLW back in 2001. A few years later, I teamed up with Tracey Murkett to write the first edition of this book, which sets out the benefits of baby-led weaning, why it makes sense, and how to do it. Since then, baby-led weaning has taken off worldwide and the book – now in its second edition – has been translated into over 20 languages. As a result, many authors have followed in our wake. But our book was, and remains, THE definitive guide.

The Science of Mom

By Alice Callahan,

Book cover of The Science of Mom: A Research-Based Guide to Your Baby's First Year

The Science of Mom explores the research behind nine important – and controversial – parenting topics, like vaccine safety, breastfeeding, and sleep training. I liked that Dr. Callahan covered each question very thoroughly, helped the readers understand the advantages and limitations of science, and kept her writing personal and warm. You will appreciate this book if you’re looking for an in-depth understanding of the latest research (the 2nd edition was released in November 2021) and would like the tools for interpreting future scientific studies on these topics.


Who am I?

When I first became a mom, I searched for an evidence-based, practical, whole-picture, supportive book to guide us through our baby’s first year – and couldn’t find it. I have a doctorate degree in biology and specialize in ecology, a discipline that studies how living things relate to one another and interact with their environment. Most of my research focuses on what young animals need to thrive. So I decided to write the book I had been searching for by applying my research training, my perspective as an ecologist, and my experience as a parent of three children.


I wrote...

Baby Ecology: Using Science and Intuition to Create the Best Feeding, Sleep, and Play Environment for Your Unique Baby

By Anya Dunham,

Book cover of Baby Ecology: Using Science and Intuition to Create the Best Feeding, Sleep, and Play Environment for Your Unique Baby

What is my book about?

I carefully examined 800 scientific papers on baby feeding, sleep, and care through the lens of my research field, ecology, to find out: What do human babies really, truly need? And how can we proactively create spaces and experiences for them to thrive instead of using techniques to solve ‘problems’ later on? I discovered 10 biology-based, interconnected building blocks of the environment that nurtures every baby’s unfolding abilities; they are easy to put in place, yet often missing. Baby Ecology will show you what these building blocks are and how to create them for your unique family, so your baby has the support and freedom to sleep well, explore happily, grow into an adventurous eater, and reach their full potential.

Future Superhuman

By Elise Bohan,

Book cover of Future Superhuman: Our Transhuman Lives in a Make-Or-Break Century

This one is brand new! My publisher also published Elise Bohan’s debut, so I got to read it ahead of publication. I was blown away. Future Superhuman is an intelligent, funny, and engaging take on technology, and the likely transhuman future in which humans are enhanced by tech. This is an area full of speculation, and no small amount of made-up nonsense, but Future Superhuman is anchored in exceptional research from a dozen or more fields, setting it apart.

Elise is an author to watch. Not only does she have an endless supply of smart things to say, but her writing is funny, her expression original, and her style appealing to a very wide audience. Reading this book reminded me how much fun good non-fiction can be.


Who am I?

I’m a scientist who studies the evolutionary tussle between cooperation and conflict that makes sex so infernally complicated. I started out by studying small animals, but the last decade or so have seen an increasing focus on humans. At the same time I’ve been intent on sharing what I learn with curious audiences on television, radio, and in print. I lead a program at my university that introduced me to some amazing technology researchers, from engineers in AI and robotics to lawyers who work on privacy. That’s when I realized the value of evolutionary knowledge in understating the fast-paced technological revolution we are currently living through.


I wrote...

Artificial Intimacy: Virtual Friends, Digital Lovers, and Algorithmic Matchmakers

By Rob Brooks,

Book cover of Artificial Intimacy: Virtual Friends, Digital Lovers, and Algorithmic Matchmakers

What is my book about?

In Artificial Intimacy, evolutionary biologist Rob Brooks takes us from the origins of human behaviour to the latest in artificially intelligent technologies, providing a fresh and original view of the near future of human relationships.

Sex robots, social media, dating apps, and AI ‘friends’ are finding their way into our lives. Apps can sense when users are falling in love, when they are fighting, and when they are likely to break up. These machines, the ‘artificial intimacies,’ already learn how to exploit human social needs. And they are getting better and faster at what they do. This book isn’t just about the technology. It’s ultimately concerned with how humanity’s future will unfold as our ancient, evolved minds and old-fashioned cultures collide with twenty-first-century technology?

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