So, I finished Birthing From Within, and have been meaning to review it. Here it is:
Birthing From Within is a good book for moms who are looking for an aternative to your average childbirth preparation book. I could see where it would also be a good book for doulas to read. Overall though, I would say it is acceptable but not exceptional. I think it is worth reading, but only if you are able to read more than a few books in preparation for your birth.
Some of the gems from this book are about facing fears, and how your ideas can shape your birth experience. I think that is really true. I also liked what she has to say about the importance of supporting moms during birth, but think Mothering the Mother is a better choice for that topic. I also liked the references to traditional cultures and their birthing practices, they were fun and informative.
The one part that gets a BIG THUMBS DOWN from me is about breastfeeding. Here it is:
“I generally do not encourage breastfeeding-on-demand to the exclusion of bottle feeding. In these days of working mothers, breastfeeding-on-demand for many months can be unrealistic.” She then goes on to talk about giving a baby 3-4 weeks of age a bottle every day, “to take better care of yourself during the stressful postpartum period”. She says that it is necessary to give the bottle early and every day because if you go past 6 weeks and you have to introduce a bottle you are more likely to have problems, and if you don’t do it every day they might “forget”.
Of course in my mind this is a load of malarkey to put it mildly. Breastfeeding-on-demand is VERY REALISTIC. And I feel it doesn’t add any stress to the postpartum period most of the time. There is no reason to give baby a bottle just in case. If he/she gets hungry enough and that is all they have available they will take it, or you can try alternative feeding methods if needed. Besides, you can get help in sooooo many other ways from dad. How about a load of laundry? How about picking up the house? I personally never suffered from sleep depravation when I had a baby; I nursed on my side and co-slept… I never even really woke up at all. OK, I feel better. Just throw out that piece of the book; maybe I will put electrical tape over that section in my copy…LOL
There are some pieces of advice I found were good. I really liked the stuff about coping with pain, and the ideas about training for it are pretty good (she uses holding an ice cube as the “pain” to practice techniques). And, I think it did a good job of telling women in a hospital situation about the possible difficulties they are facing. Also, her explication of why drugs can impede labor progress was one of the most concise and understandable I have heard yet. “Pain also raises endorphin levels in your body, while analgesic drugs and epidural anesthesia lower them. This is significant because endorphin levels correlate with the release of oxytocin. So, when pain is relieved through drugs or an epidural, the stimulus for endorphin production is eliminated, and its levels fall. This change is often accompanied by a drop in oxytocin, thus slowing down labor and dilation.”
So, overall, on a scale of 1-10… I give this one a 7.