Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I am extremely excited to announce the release of my breastfeeding book, The "Yes, It's Normal!" Guide To Breastfeeding, available NOW in the Amazon Kindle store and in print at It's a short, encouraging book in question-and-answer form, along with appendices that offer additional useful information. If you or someone you know is pregnant or has a new baby, you really should check this book out. At just $1.50 for Kindle, what do you have to lose? And, if you want to make it a nice shower gift or new-mom present, it's available for $9.99 in print with a full-color cover and spiral-bound for convenience. I am also working on creating an ePub version so that it will be available for other e-book readers and in other e-book stores.

Click here for the Kindle version.
Click here for the print version.

I've posted some excerpts here, so you can get a sense of what the book is like. Please pass this link along to anyone you think might be interested!

Excerpts from The "Yes, It's Normal!" Guide To Breastfeeding
by Jessica Shaham
Copyright (c) 2011 Jessica Shaham. All rights reserved.

From the introduction:

What’s in this guide?

It’s 3:00 in the morning. You’re up with your four-day-old baby, nursing for the sixteenth time today. You’re tired, your nipples are sore, and you’re not sure if the baby is actually getting anything to eat. You’re seized with the sudden fear that you’re doing something wrong, but who can you call at three in the morning for help? You pull out your iPhone and Google “Is my baby getting enough milk?” You’re bombarded by links to websites full of what looks like good information, but some of them are contradictory, and there’s just so much out there. How do you know which sites to trust? You glance over at your pile of “mommy” books, consider grabbing one of the breastfeeding books you registered for. But there are 21 different pages to look at all related to milk supply!

What now?

Now you open up this book on your Kindle app. You see in the table of contents, “How do I know if baby is getting enough to eat/drink?” You scroll to the page. And there, right in front of you, is a clear, half-page answer. You read it quickly and put the Kindle down. That’s all you needed to know. Your baby has fallen asleep, and you’re ready to join him.

That’s what this guide is for. Many new mothers share similar concerns, and I’ve tried to compile the most common questions that come up in the first few weeks of your baby’s life and give you short, reassuring answers to those questions. If and when you need more information on a particular topic, I’ve also provided the direct address of a recommended webpage that will have more answers and detailed information for you. There’s a lot of misinformation out there. It’s important to know which websites to trust and who to go to for advice. I’ve pointed you toward reliable, up-to-date sources that I use regularly, so that when you do have a chance to do more reading, you’ll know where to go.

After the question-and-answer part of the guide is a glossary that will define many of the common words and phrases associated with breastfeeding. You will also find a few appendices with additional information you might find interesting or useful as your nursing relationship begins and continues.

When in doubt, though, contact a local International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), a local La Leche League leader, or an experienced breastfeeding mother you trust for personalized help on a particular question. If you have any concerns about your baby’s health, contact your pediatrician immediately.
Though I have done plenty of reading and have experience nursing a baby, I am not a medical professional, and my advice is not a substitute for consultation with a qualified expert. The advice provided in this text is for your information only, and you should use your best judgment when deciding what’s best for your health and the health of your child(ren). Sometimes I reference studies that I found in my own personal research, but I have not verified the results of the studies or their methodologies. My goal is to provide a helpful and reassuring introduction to breastfeeding.

To find a La Leche League meeting near you, visit the La Leche League International website at and use their “Find local support” feature to locate a group in your area.

To find a list of IBCLC’s near you, visit the International Lactation Consultant Association website at, go to the Directories tab and select “Find a Lactation Consultant” (

Sample Questions:

What is the number one piece of advice you would give a new mother about breastfeeding?
The first thing I would say to any new mother is, “Keep nursing!” The more you nurse, the easier it gets, and the more you nurse, the more milk you make. You’ll often hear “breastfeeding is normal” or “breastfeeding is natural,” which is true, but it’s important to remember that breastfeeding is a skill that must be learned and practiced, by both mother and baby. Just like with any skill, the more you do it, the better at it you get. When my first son was born, I was so convinced that breastfeeding was natural and instinctive that I was very discouraged by how complicated it all seemed. I felt like I needed three or four hands. When my second son was born, despite all the reading I had done, it still took several weeks for me to find comfortable positions and the easiest way to get him latched on and sucking as quickly as possible. As awkward as you may feel in the first few weeks, you’ll find it getting easier by the day if you just keep at it.

The second basic piece of advice I always offer is, “Give it six weeks.” The first few days and weeks can be challenging, and even painful, as you adjust to having a new baby and all the new demands placed on you by this change in your life. If you persevere through the first six weeks, nursing on demand, getting used to the baby’s cues and needs, it only gets easier. I’ve seen new mothers go from “Why is this so hard? I don’t want to do this anymore!” to “Oh yeah, I think I’ll nurse for at least a year,” in the space of just a few weeks. There’s something about that six-week point after which everything starts to seem easier. Also, as the baby grows, breastfeeding gets easier just because the baby is stronger and more able to support himself. If you stick it out for those first six weeks and put in the work at the beginning, you’ll be able to continue your breastfeeding relationship for as long as you and your child desire.

What do I do if baby needs to eat while we’re out and about?

The idea of nursing outside the house can be intimidating. Most of us are not interested in flashing our breasts to the general public. Before my son was born, nursing in public was one of my great fears. I couldn’t see myself lifting up my shirt in public like that. Also, if you’re used to nursing in a particular chair at home, or using a support pillow such as a Boppy or My Brest Friend, it can be hard to get comfortable when you don’t have one available. I do recommend that you practice nursing in other positions or places in your own home so that you can find ways that work for you. If you’re worried about what people might see, try nursing in front of a mirror a few times. You’ll see that from the front, the baby hides almost everything.
You should know that nursing in public is absolutely legal, and the majority of U.S. states and the Federal government have laws protecting the right of mothers to breastfeed in public, and that public breastfeeding is generally not considered “indecent exposure.” It’s also nice to know that many malls offer a “family care” area or something similar that is equipped with private nursing booths and comfortable chairs as well as diaper-changing facilities. I was pleasantly surprised to find such a place in my local mall when my son was a baby. Baby-oriented stores also often have “mother rooms” for the same purpose. You can ask a staff member if you’re not sure where to find it. Supermarkets and other stores will often try to accommodate your request for a private place to nurse, either by informing you about a lounge area in the restroom or allowing you to use the employee lounge. This will vary from store to store. I, frankly, would rather nurse just about anywhere but a public restroom, but if you’re in need of privacy, that may be an option for you. I also found that most department stores were happy to allow me to nurse in an empty fitting room. I also liked nursing in my car when that was an option.

If a private area is not available, or you’re not in a position to seek one out but you are uncomfortable with the idea of possibly exposing a breast, there are options for cover-ups, as well. You can purchase nursing covers or shawls in many fun patterns and colors. There are also specially designed nursing shirts. I purchased a nursing shirt from Motherhood Maternity* that looks like a nice v-neck+camisole unit. The v-neck can be moved aside, where a cutout in the lining allows access to the breast without exposing anything else. Old Navy also sells similar types of shirts. Nursing, like pregnancy, is becoming fashionable and mainstream, and it is easier and easier to find solutions like this. 

Another option I used often is to wear two layers, a camisole or tank top under a loose t-shirt or blouse. Lift up the top shirt, pull down or open the camisole/tank top, open your bra, and nurse. Your stomach, sides, and back are covered by the camisole, and everything else is covered by the loose top shirt.
Despite my qualms in the beginning, I quickly became used to the idea of nursing in public. I felt like I was in my own little “nursing bubble,” and even though there were people around me, I didn’t particularly care what they saw or what they thought. The only thing that mattered was feeding my son. Some women even become comfortable enough with nursing in public to continue walking around while nursing the baby, although I never quite made it to this point. You can also “wear” the baby in a front carrier, sling, or wrap and learn to nurse while wearing the baby. This is usually the most discreet and efficient way to nurse in public, if you can manage it, and you get the bonus of having your hands free. I eventually did figure out how to nurse in my Asian-style front carrier (called a mei tai), and I found this to be incredibly convenient when I had to nurse the baby and keep track of my toddler at the same time, especially in a crowded place like the zoo! 

Rest assured, there are options, and it can be done. And I like to think that the more women we see nursing in public, the more normal nursing in public becomes, and the less embarrassed anyone will need to be.

*I am not endorsing any specific brand, nor am I being compensated for naming any particular store or manufacturer.

Other Questions Include:
  • How often should my baby be eating?
  • Do I have to switch sides during a feeding? How long should the baby stay on each breast?
  • My baby is suddenly eating nonstop. What’s going on? Do I have enough milk for him?
  • Does what I eat get into the breastmilk? How do I know if something I’m eating is bothering the baby? 

Appendix A: Introducing Solid Foods
Appendix B: Weaning Your Baby from the Breast
Appendix C: “Off-Label” Uses for Breastmilk
Appendix D: Pumping and Storing Breastmilk
Appendix E: Bad Advice and Hospital Practices that Interfere with Breastfeeding Success


There's a lot more in the book - 28 questions, plus a glossary and the five appendices. The print version is 73 pages, so it's shorter than your average breastfeeding book while still containing tons of useful information.

Oh, and the Kindle app is available for Android, iPhone/iPad/iPod, Blackberry, and PC for free, so even if you don't have a physical Kindle, you can still download and read my book on any of those devices, as well!

If you have any questions about the book, please feel free to ask me in the comments. I'll respond promptly.

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