Author(s): Rowena Gray
While there are many areas of controversy in the world of nutrition, there is unequivocal evidence that breast milk is best to feed our babies. In Australia the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recently updated their advice after reviewing the scientific research. They now recommend exclusive breastfeeding to around 6 months of age and continuing to breastfeed alongside complementary foods until the baby is 12 months of age and longer if both mum and baby wish. Unfortunately we are not achieving anywhere near these recommendations. Although we have excellent rates of mums initiating breastfeeding after birth with 96% choosing to do so, this falls away dramatically in the first few months. By 3 months of age only 39% of babies are still being exclusively breastfed, and by 5 months only 15%. There are a number of reasons why this may occur. Mothers returning to work, lack of support in dealing with problems breastfeeding, concerns over whether the baby has enough milk, wanting others to be able to feed the baby, and a lack of confidence to breast feed, especially in public, have all been cited as reasons to cease breastfeeding. In some cases there is also a lack of understanding as to the benefits of breastfeeding for both mum and baby and so the motivation to continue doing so may dwindle.That is where this fantastic book from Rowena Gray comes in. Not only does she expertly explain the science and physiology of breastfeeding, clearly outlining the many benefits, she packs in all of the practical information a new mum needs to know. Every conceivable problem is covered with potential solutions and direction given as to where to seek further help when necessary. I have no doubt that this will fast become the feeding bible for all new mums and I sincerely hope the end result is far more babies reaping the benefits of nature's truly amazing first food.