Wednesday 25 June 2014

Book Review - How you were born & You, me and the breast These books were gifted to me, free of charge, by Pinter & Martin, to be reviewed for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Internet Scavenger Hunt. However, this review is my unbiased and honest opinion of the books.

How you were born and You, me and the breast are by Monica Calaf and Mikel Fuentes. They are part of a series of 4 books, which also contains Your daddy and me and When you were in my tummy.

How you were born recounts the birth process, as the mother speaking to her child, gently but vividly. The illustrations are beautiful, if a touch too realistic at times. You probably wouldn't want to let your toddler ask her great nan to read it, as there's a rather large illustration of the baby's head crowning! It's not graphic as such, but it's certainly obvious that you're looking at lady bits - not suitable for everyone's sensibilities. The birth story presented is what I would call the ideal - gentle, peaceful, calm, with the mother and baby being respected throughout. So, while it may not resemble the birth stories of many, it is perfect for telling a child how labour and birth happen without scaring them in any way. I love how contractions are referred to as waves, avoiding any suggestion that the mother is in pain. The father is involved in the story too, which B really likes, particularly seeing the tears of joy on the daddy's face after the baby is born. She also enjoys the inclusion of the midwife, because she remembers my midwife from when I was pregnant with M. That's the beauty of this book - it is relevant to her, because it tells her story, but also because it tells her the story of what we have been through recently with M.

B (2y10m) absolutely loves You, me and the breast. She has asked for it to be read to her several times a day since we received it, and is happy to sit and look through it by herself. Again, the illustrations are beautiful. The mum and baby the same as in How you were born, and it begins part way through that one, with the baby looking for mum's breast. As toddlers tend to do, she has fixated on one particular page - the child is being comforted by nursing after getting hurt. B obviously relates to this situation in particular, having had a few tumbles and scrapes recently, though the illustration has caused some confusion: she is convinced that the child fell off their bike because it got tangled up in the mum's hair!
The story shows the transition from newborn breastfeeding constantly to toddler nursing for comfort to child no longer needing to nurse to sleep. I like how this normalises the breastfeeding journey and, at the same time, shows the beauty and intimacy of it. Again, it is idealised, but no child needs to know that their poor latch made mum's nipples bleed or that their cluster feeding made her feel stir crazy. The story reinforces the precious nature of the relationship between a mother and her nursling. I really liked the cosleeping picture too, as again it reflects our own practice and involves daddy.

Both books satisfy the curiosity of a toddler who is beginning to ask a lot of questions. It even gives an explanation to her recent interest in her belly button. The stories also provide platforms for further questions. B keeps asking me to tell her the story of the bag of water she was swimming in inside my tummy, after reading the page about the waters breaking.

We do like these books, and the hubby has asked that we buy the other two in the series - he's particularly interested to read Your daddy and me. I'd recommend buying them, as they're interesting for children to read and provide answers for their questions about their early life. They're beautiful and really imaginative to look at too.

Pinter & Martin's ethos is to only publish books based on sound evidence and which are thoroughly researched; not getting involved with any breast milk substitute marketing companies; and the books enabling the reader to have the freedom to think. They also only publish ones they like.  They publish about 10-15 titles a year and their previous list includes the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, books by Sheila Kitzinger and Ina May Gaskin , home birth guides and books about confident birth.

Pinter & Martin are offering a copy of both books to one of my readers. Fill in the rafflecopter below to enter. Your entry also counts towards the Scavenger Hunt Grand Prize.

But don't worry - if you don't win, then you can still buy the books direct from the publishers at a discount.
These books are priced at £6.99. Buy any in the series direct from Pinter & Martin with £2 off per book and free postage and packing. Enter HYWBBLOG200 at

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  1. Id love these books for when my little girl starts asking questions. Explaining things without scaring her and giving her a sense of understanding x

  2. I think these will be great to explain the subject to my kids when they're older and asking questions

  3. Sarah Strickland27 June 2014 at 22:55

    We had a lovely book about birth when I was a child, which started from chickens and eggs! We got it out of the library on and off, and so I don't remember ever hearing about these things for the first time - I just caught on gradually as I grew up. These books sound like a similarly great way to deal with these subjects.

  4. The books look like a good way to talk about questions toddlers have

  5. Lynsey Buchanan28 June 2014 at 15:12

    very informative

  6. I have one in my parenting group library (the breastfeeding one). I do like it but think it's a shame it refers to Daddy as the other partner, would be nice if it was written to include various types of families.

  7. I like how open they are, I would love to share them with my children.

  8. They seem superb and applicable to both male and female children. It is realistic and about real life and it's connected to them and helps to address the question of where they are from. There seems to be opportunity to emphasis how much they are loved as well. It's a winner all around and i would love to win them!