New Resources for Nutrition Educators Book| Volume 49, ISSUE 7, SUPPLEMENT 2, S217, July 2017

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Work. Pump. Repeat. The New Mom's Survival Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work

      This book is a survival guide for working, breastfeeding moms.—Harry N. Abrams
      Work. Pump. Repeat: an uplifting, how-to resource for many audiences. As dietitians and nutrition professionals, we all know the benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby, and for that matter, our society. The hang-up is that knowing something is good for you is not the same as being able to follow those guidelines in our everyday lives. So how do we operationalize breastfeeding for families and employers? This book is a step in that direction.
      We know that people listen to other people who are like them or who have gone through similar life events. Jessica Shortell has pooled the knowledge of hundreds of working mothers into 1 book. This book is gold when it comes to counseling new mothers on breastfeeding. As a practitioner, use this book as a reference to help mothers navigate and operationalize breastfeeding. From packing lists to travel, this book provides practical tips and advice on how to prepare for success when breastfeeding, for a number of situations.
      The last thing new or veteran mothers need is 1 more person telling them how to raise their child. This is not that book. Shortell writes in a funny, uplifting, nonjudgmental tone that comes across as advice and how-to's in the form of a pep talk. She continually reminds the reader that a mother's worth is not measured in ounces, a mantra every breastfeeding mother should repeat.
      This is not a book just for women thinking about breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a team effort: Fathers, grandparents, coworkers, child care providers—everyone needs to be on board. There are pieces of this book that remind us that breastfeeding mothers need our support, whether it is when our coworker has dried breast milk on her blouse or when she needs help cleaning her supplies so she can make it to her next meeting on time. We should not be tearing women down for trying to work and feed their children. We should be supporting them because breastfeeding does not just benefit the child.
      The US Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health notes the following societal benefits of breastfeeding:
      • Breastfeeding saves lives. Recent research shows that if 90% of families breastfed exclusively for 6 months, nearly 1,000 deaths among infants could be prevented.
      • Breastfeeding saves money. The United States would also save $2.2 billion per year—medical care costs are lower for fully breastfed infants than never-breastfed infants. Breastfed infants usually need fewer sick care visits, prescriptions, and hospitalizations.
      • Breastfeeding also helps make a more productive workforce. Mothers who breastfeed miss less work to care for sick infants than mothers who feed their infants formula. Employer medical costs are also lower.
      • Breastfeeding is better for the environment. Formula cans and bottle supplies create more trash and plastic waste. Your milk is a renewable resource that comes packaged and warmed.

        US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Women's Health. It's Only Natural. Accessed May 19, 2017.

      As a woman who has not yet tackled breastfeeding an infant on a plane, or pumped in a public restroom, I feel I am a more knowledgeable coworker, empathetic manager, and supportive friend. This book can do it all as a reference for yourself as a practitioner, as a gift for a new mother, as an empathy-builder for coworkers and family members, and as a reality check for legislators. I look forward to future editions and hope they include updates regarding US health care mandates as they continue to evolve over time.
      Cite this article as Ouellette L.A. Work. Pump. Repeat. The New Mom's Survival Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work [New Resources for Nutrition Educators]. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2017;49:S217.


      1. US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Women's Health. It's Only Natural. Accessed May 19, 2017.