Trick Question

Is breastfeeding right for you? It’s a big decision that every mother-to-be must make, and according to Andi, there are a lot of factors to consider. “Breast milk is really the gold standard; it has the perfect combination of nutrients and antibodies to nourish a baby,” she says. “Remember, we’re mammals, and mammals breastfeed.” So if breast milk is best, then breastfeeding must be the way to go, right? Not so fast, says Andi. “Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone,” she notes. “Each mom has to figure out what works best for her and her baby. Some moms exclusively breastfeed, some only use formula. Some do a combination of the two. There isn’t a right answer.”

Table Manners

Considering it’s something as old as humanity itself, you’d think breastfeeding would be pretty well established as far as house rules go. Not so, according to Andi. “There isn’t an Emily Post guide to breastfeeding etiquette,” she says. “So moms more or less make it up as they go along. They’ll find a quiet corner and discreetly let their babe chow down.” And if you happen to run into a new mother who’s breastfeeding? “Just smile at her,” says Andi. “She’s probably been up all night and could use a little friendly encouragement!”

Learning Curves

“I think most moms don’t know much about breastfeeding before they have kids,” says Andi. “It’s sort of a big mystery. How do you do it? How often do you feed? Where do you find help if you have a problem? That’s why I wrote this book. We moms have a very steep learning curve, and Mama Knows Breast can make things a little more fun.”

She's stacked, baby

The aha moment for journalist Andi Silverman came while she was checking out other women in bathing suits. She was in South Beach with family, six months postpartum and walking proud, enjoying that bodaciousness that’s a perky perk of breastfeeding. This’ll be the only time I’ll stack up, the petite new mama laughed, realizing that there are many aspects of being a nursing mom that aren’t exactly offered up in the hospital handouts. Now there’s a story idea, a family member joked.

When she left the beach, Andi went online to check out the scope of breastfeeding books on the market. But she already had a pretty good idea from her own shelf searches that the pickins were not bodacious. Medical texts and factual how-to’s, sure, the market was engorged with them. But books that treated breastfeeding in a hip, savvy way? Dry, dry, dry.

So Andi set out to write the kind of book she wished she’d had before her two sons were born —educational but lighthearted, honest and easy-to-read. Medically useful but tell-it-like-it-is candid. A book that might help people choose to breastfeed by making it more manageable than militant. This past September, after countless hours of nursing while hunched over the keyboard, she birthed the thing: part how-to and part humor, a mommy-world catharsis of a book called Mama Knows Breast.

As a lawyer and journalist, writing was nothing new to Andi. But writing funny was a different story. So was writing about breasts: from whipping them out in public to keeping them from leaking, from maximizing the suction quotient of breast pumps to reviving your sex life (a.k.a. trying to make your boobs do double duty). Much of her material came from a blog she launched along the way, designed to share information, collect anecdotes and compile resources. On she posts news, links and commentary relating to lactating ladies, creating a general sense of community related to motherhood. This is where she gets to show both her journalistic chops and her lawyerly diplomacy. Blogging while walking the fence on the touchy stuff — breastfeeding vs. formula, working outside the home vs. toiling within — is no small feat. It’s a bodacious achievement.

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