Working and Breastfeeding Made Simple

Working and Breastfeeding Made Simple

Nancy Mohrbacher is a star author amongst group library contributors in La Leche League.
This latest book continues her excellent work that started back in 2003 with her coauthorship
of The Breastfeeding Answer Book, which was designed to help mothers
breastfeed their babies.Whether the purpose of her books is to help others assist
breastfeeding women or they are directed towards mothers’ own self-help efforts (as this
new offering is), her style is always simple and direct in a way that is easily understood by
most readers.
The author commences with basic information on just why breastfeeding is so important
and why it’s worth the effort required to keep breastfeeding once you have returned to
work. She continues with a back to work overview dependent on the baby’s age and offers
specific suggestions on how to proceed at each stage. How to deal with employers is
covered and of course no book on this subject would be complete without comprehensive
information on pumps and pumping, milk supply, storage and handling, bottle use and
information to share with baby’s carer. The emotional issues involved in leaving your baby
with others are discussed as well as how the situation may change as your baby grows.
This is an easy to read book, chapters are set out in a clear fashion and it is not full of jargon.
There are few illustrations but the ones present are appropriate. There is an adequate
index, current references, a list of resources ranging from websites, books, smart phone
apps, videos and mother-to-mother support organisations. As is usual with an overseas
published book not all of the resources are useful to an NZ audience, but there is enough
there to provide a start for local mothers.
The table of contents is intelligently organised to allow browsing as needed; this is not a
book that has to be read from cover to cover to gain its full value. Appendices include
sample plans for different work schedules, milk storage guidelines and information for the
This book is highly recommended as suitable for LLLNZ group libraries and will make
valuable contribution for any women who are wanting or needing to return to paid
employment while still breastfeeding their babies. This book should also be read by partners
and support people so that they can understand the importance of their role in helping with
the maintenance of the breastfeeding relationship.

Original review, printed in Aroha Volume 16 Number 6

Working and Breastfeeding Made Simple
Nancy Mohrbacher
Praeclarus Press, USA, 2014
Reviewed by Averil Sheehan and Robin Jones

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Nursing Mother, Working Mother

Nursing Mother, Working Mother

In revising this edition of her classic text, Gale Pryor (daughter of Karen) has been joined by
another equally well-known US author in the area of breastfeeding, Kathleen Huggins.
The result is a thorough and reassuring compendium of most things that a new mother who is
intending to return to work after the birth of her first baby, or subsequent babies, needs to know.
The differences between the US and NZ conditions of employment can be disregarded as the
parents’ feelings, and the adjustments and preparations they have to make, are the same.
The sections on sleep and working parents are warm and reassuring. Most new research is taken
into account, and the usual background information is given about how we went from many
millions of years of everyone sleeping together, to the recent developments that in the Western
World are called ‘civilisation’, and their attendant baby-and-mother-separating apparatus of
individual bedrooms, cots, etc. The positive aspects of night-time interaction between mothers
and babies are stressed, and methods of ensuring everyone gets some sleep are outlined.
I was particularly impressed with the suggestions of how to cooperate and build solidarity with
other mothers in the workplace. These could be of real benefit to many women in this situation,
especially those in larger workplaces.

Original review, printed in Aroha Volume 10 Number 3

Nursing Mother, Working Mother
Revised Edition
By Gale Pryor and Kathleen Huggins
Harvard Common Press, 2009
Reviewed by Jill Allan, LLLNZ

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Hirkani’s Daughters

Hirkani’s Daughters
Women Who Scale Modern Mountains to Combine Breastfeeding and Working

The unusual title derives from an Indian tale from the 1600s of a milkmaid, Hirkani, who one day
delivered milk to the royal fort, high on a mountain. At dusk the gates to the fort were closed for
security reasons, and Hirkani was trapped in the fort, with her baby waiting in the village below.
Determined to return to him, she climbed down a vertical 1000 ft cliff to get back to her village.
The king was so impressed that he honoured her, and even today, the village is still called Hirkani
I found myself involved and amazed from start to finish of this book. Many of the stories tell of
women so determined to breastfeed that they went to great lengths and made many sacrifices to
succeed – sometimes with support and other times with none. Also fascinating was the
information about support available in different countries for breastfeeding mothers in paid work.
Many countries have much better legislation and conditions than does New Zealand, where a big
gap exists in that there is no provision for breastfeeding breaks, let alone paid breaks. By contrast
for example, in Slovenia, where 67% of women are in the paid work force, and where the birth
rate is extremely low, there are 365 days of paid parental leave and the mother can use an hour a
day for feeding or expressing, plus there are many other child-friendly benefits.
There is also a section on Breastfeeding-Friendly Employers. Would that all employers were like
the ones mentioned here! For example, I can’t imagine anyone ever wanting to leave the SAS
Corporation in North Carolina, where employees have access to lactation experts, a lactation room
with breast pumps, childbirth and breastfeeding classes, a company-wide recognition of World
Breastfeeding Week, an on-site Montessori daycare centre, and where mothers are paged when
their babies need feeding and can use the breastfeeding lounge any time of day!
There is a New Zealand connection with Hirkani’s Daughters – Dr Judith Galtry has written a
Foreword and Sarah Farquhar, an early childhood educator from Wellington, tells her story. Some
of you may remember their session from the 2004 LLLNZ Conference, which Sarah mentions
favourably in her story.
If you want a book that is full of the ‘how tos’ of combining breastfeeding and working, then this is
not the book for you. Try Nursing Mother, Working Mother by Gale Pryor instead. Although
Hirkani’s Daughters does have a brief section at the end called ‘What Working Mothers Need to
Know’ which contains handy hints, and although there are good ideas contained in each story, the
focus of this book is really on the amazing and inspiring stories of real women from all around the
world who have “scaled modern mountains to combine breastfeeding and working.”

Original review, printed in Aroha Volume 14 Number 1

Hirkani’s Daughters
Women Who Scale Modern Mountains to Combine Breastfeeding and Working
Edited by Jennifer Hicks
La Leche League International, Schaumburg, USA, 2006
Reviewed by Rosemary Gordon, LLLNZ

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