We’re such slackers, busy with the actual day-to-day of parenting rather than dealing with our professional responsibilities. Oh well. We’ve had the most delightful children’s book sitting on our desk for months now, sent to us by the author to review, and we’re only now getting to it. You’d think that it’s a busy life being parents to three active children, three dogs, a cat and miscellaneous friends and neighbors! 🙂
Anyway, Near Mama’s Heart is a sweet little children’s book about breastfeeding and a good addition to your library if you do have little ones who are nursing. Here’s a typical verse from the book: “I love when we cuddle / with my Daddy, too. / My sister was breastfed / and look how she grew!”
I don’t entirely agree with the perspective of the author, Colleen Newman, who says that she believes breastfeeding still carries a social stigma as we’ve seen such an overwhelmingly positive, supportive reaction when we’re breastfeeding (well, when Linda’s breastfeeding, at least. People look at us oddly when I try :-), but otherwise the story of how she decided to write the book is interesting…
“The text for Near Mamaâs Heart came to me late one night while I nursed my infant, Claire. I gazed down at the beautiful gift I held in my arms and thought about how perfect breastfeeding was. I admired how content and peaceful Claire looked. It was as if she were saying: âNear Mamaâs heart, and at Mamaâs breast, I feel loved, I feel special, and I feel blessed.â? The rhyming text just started to flow out of my headâ¦and heart. Near Mamaâs Heart was born.
“The complete text came to me over the next several days. I thought about all the benefits of nursing that I and my babies have personally received. We all are familiar with them. For baby, there are nutritional, immunologic, developmental, social, and emotional benefits. Itâs absolutely true. Breast milk is the perfect food for life in more ways than one, irreplaceable. Itâs delicious, too!
“Then for mom, there are great reasons to nurse. Quicker recovery to pre-pregnancy size, reduced risk for certain cancers, natural form of birth control (in many cases), release of âhappyâ? prolactin, the milk hormone, and, most importantly, establishing an unbreakable bond with a new little miracle. Isnât this what motherhood is all about?
“I brought out all of these points, and more, in Near Mamaâs Heart. My main target audience was older siblings and so I crafted each verse in a lively, crisp style I believed they would find appealing. The phrases sounded like music to my ears and Iâd sing them to my little ones as they were falling asleep. What a lullaby! I guess my book passed muster.
“But I also felt like I was composing a great epistle to nursing moms. I wanted them to feel special because they were breastfeeding. They were doing the most important thing for their babies and deserved a testimony, an affirmation, a âthank you.â? These moms didnât need the American Academy of Pediatrics to recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life followed by at least another six months and until it was âmutuallyâ? decided to wean completely off the breast. They knew all this, and more, already!
“Lastly, I hoped that Near Mamaâs Heart would make an impact on people not so convinced about the beauty and importance of breastfeeding. This is really where the bookâs subtle message comes in. La Leche League International 2003 statistics show that in the United States and Canada about 70% of new moms initiate breastfeeding but the number dwindles to about 30% when their infants are only four-five months old and even less at one year of age.”
That’s a lot for a simple 28 page book, but if you are nursing an infant and/or know someone who is, this could be a delightful little book to share with them. You can also learn more at the Near Mama’s Heart Web site too.