Book Review: So That’s What They’re For!


Janet Tamaro’s breastfeeding guide, So That’s What They’re For!, is a must read for anyone looking for solid breastfeeding advice with a healthy dash of humor. I read Tamaro’s book while I was pregnant and consulted it numerous times in the first few weeks of breastfeeding (this often meant my husband reading from the book and instructing me at 3am, “she says to…”). Breastfeeding can be a daunting process; Tamaro strikes a good balance between telling you matter-of-factly that this will be one of the hardest things you undertake and being encouraging. She also is rather blunt about the benefits of breastmilk over formula (I wouldn’t expect anything else of a breastfeeding book), but not in an off-putting way.

I found Tamaro’s tone engaging and easy to relate to; reading So That’s What They’re For felt more like a warm conversation with a wise mama friend about her experience (Tamaro does talk about her own breastfeeding journey) rather than reading a clinical or overly sappy account of nursing. We like to think of perfect mama/baby breastfeeding moments, but they aren’t all like that – Tamaro tells you about the good and the bad. But she also offers sound advice on how to handle and get through the bad. Her advice is practical and easy to follow. I particularly loved her reminder to nurse your newborn until he gets a “drunken sailor” look on his face – a little practical humor goes a long way towards making those early days a bit easier.

Most importantly, Tamaro backs her advice with both medical research and the experience of real life mamas. She references studies throughout; however, if you want to see the actual citations to read further on your own, you’ll have to contact the publisher (information to do so is provided). Tamaro also includes brief chapters on pumping, returning to work, tandem nursing/nursing multiples and weaning.

So That’s What They’re For is a great introduction to breastfeeding and handy reference for the early weeks. You may find you want to read elsewhere for information on toddler nursing, weaning, or nursing multiples, but you can’t go wrong adding Tamaro’s guide to your pre-baby reading list.

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