Monday, November 14, 2011

You Me And The Breast

'You Me And The Breast' Is written by Monica Calaf and illustrations by Mikel Fuentes.

Upon receiving this book I thought it would probably be a lovely little story about how nice it is to breastfeed babies and tell you all about the benefits of a breastfed child. And that it is.
It tells how mummy breastfed wherever she was and how it comforted her child and how it made them feel close.

I did breastfeed my son, but only for about a week. He was a hungry hungry child and I just couldn't keep up. I also had little help with how to breastfeed and I ended up with very sore boobies. I wish I could have breastfed longer as I do think 'Breast Is Best'.  

Now, as lovely as the premise for this book is, I don't understand it. I don't know what kind of age group this book is aimed at as it's a little bit creepy! I don't think my 3 yr old would quite appreciate me telling him all about mummys boobies because he doesn't understand that milk comes out.

Not just that but I also think the illustrations are very poor. The front page is of what looks like an older boy poking his mothers breats and the way half their face is a different colour kinda freaks me a bit too :s

And then upon opening the book you're greeted with a giant nipple. Where's the decorum in that?! I thought perhaps they might have covered the mum up a bit because what child actually wants to see that?  Maybe if the illustrations hadn't been so weird quirky then it might have looked a lot better.

I also found the font quite annoying to read. the curly joined up writing is cute yes, but unnecessary. I had to look twice at a few of the words to try and make out what they mean.

So, although I do like the idea of this story, the way that it's been done just gives me the heebies. If they had used a different illustrator and font I might be giving this a better review because the actual story itself is adorable.
I also didn't read this book to Oscar as I found it a tad inappropriate for a 3 yr old child who doesn't quite understand what boobs are for. And for now, he doesn't need to know.

I received no financial reward for this review, however we did receive the book for review purposes. This is my honest opinion. please see Disclosure tab for more info


  1. "Inappropriate"? Why shouldn't a 3 year old understand what boobs are for? We are mammals; we have mammary glands to nurture our young with. And I'm not sure why an illustration of a nipple in a book about breastfeeding lacks decorum? They are an integral part of the nursing process!

    Breast isn't best. It's biologically normal. The sooner our society gets it's collective head around this simple fact, the better. And hopefully books like You, Me and the Breast will go some way towards educating the next generation.

  2. this is purely MY opinnion.
    And I never stated anywhere that no 3 year olds understand what breats are for. I quite clearly said MY OWN CHILD does not understand what breats are for. He has not been around anyone who has breastfed before and i didn't breastfeed him for long either.
    Yes it is normal. And yes i do agree more people should breastfeed however I personally found the book a little strange mostly for the illustrations rather than the story which i also clearly stated.
    This book I felt was inappropriate for MY son. I have decorum towards my 3 year old. He's not seen a naked woman since he was 1.5years old as I personally dont think it's healthy for a young boy to see those images.
    Younger children than 3 who are being breastfed why not. older children who have siblings who are being breastfed i may also sort of understand. If this book had better font, and better looking illustrations AS I SAID in the review then i would have enjoyed it more.

  3. His book you felt was inappropriate for your son!!!!! when you say: "I have decorum towards my 3 year old. He's not seen a naked woman since he was 1.5 years old as I personally dont think it's healthy for a young boy to see those images.
    What do you think is appropriate for a 3-year-old?
    To read books the Harry Potter and watching F1 of ruby!!!!!! now of course he acts more like a teenager slamming doors and telling you to "shush your face".
    you have a teenager 3 years old?

    The mind may avoid the discomfort of consciously admitting personal faults by keeping those feelings unconscious, and by redirecting libidinal satisfaction by attaching, or "projecting," those same faults onto another person or object...

    The font is infantile and ilustracions (visual culture, a manner of viewing things), a Book of Encouragement for All Ages...
    We must re-educate to educate!!!!

  4. I am loving the fact that you've posted anonymously.
    You do whatever you like with your 3 year old. I'm not bitching to you about your parenting styles. I agree to my son reading harry potter when he's old enough because getting a child to read just about ANYTHING in this day and age is a feat in itself. And there's nothing wrong with F1. boys like cars! I am giving him his independence and if he likes those things who am I to tell him to stop?!
    He doesn't slam doors in fact he's a gentle little soul and is very loving and affectionate to just about everybody. He's not missing out on anything because i have refused to let him read this book.
    He is NOT intrested in breastfeeding and why would he be? He doesn't know any other children who are breastfed so he can't exactly relate to it at all. This review is based on ME AND MY CHILD. If you want to read this book and enjoy it with your child then FANTASTIC I hope you like it. But MY SON and our way of life, this book just does not fit into it.
    And it is MY OPINION that I do not like the illustrations. If you like them then great. but this is a blog about me and my taste in books and what my child enjoys to read. I didn't like this one so I said so and many mother have agreed with me.

    It's about peoples different tastes and you shouldn't bitch to people when their opinion and differences don't match with your own.

    I have explained my side and you have expressed your opinion which Is great. Thanks for taking the time to comment however I do not expect anymore comments from you. They will be deleted if you do.

  5. do children need to understand the naturalness of breast feeding? from what I gather this discussion has stemmed from the opinion that society misinterprets the naturalness of "the breast", and that by "re-education" to youngsters through books like this, we can change the connotations associated with breast feeding. but as far as I can tell this argument is pointlessly hypothetical. I don't believe that a more thorough understanding would benefit, a) the children, b)the adults these children become or c)society more generally. the drawings are obviously either purposefully questioning the age that infants should stop breastfeeding(as these are clearly depicted as young children) or are just completely careless in their intent. Either way I'm not sure this is a topic which many mothers or children could relate or empathize with, and more to the point I don't understand why the re-education of attitudes towards breastfeeding is at all important enough to warrant an uncomfortable and bizarre read for both mother and child. Due to this I fully endorse the opinion of the blog author.

  6. oh and one more thing. i truly believe the pictures are bizarre and give off weird vibes. they have echos of impressionist art and seem to slightly emulate the work of Picasso who commonly expressed madness through portraits with jaunty angles and blocked color. I just cant work out if the illustrator knew this and the plan was to lay it on heavy with the controversy or whether its just a careless book. just a thought.

  7. perhaps your opinions "anonymous" would be more relevant if you put your name to them

  8. I know this is an old review, I just wanted to say, I think this book is aimed at a young child who was breastfed, and has recently stopped or maybe has a new sibling on the way, to help them understand the whole breastfeeding relationship. I think it would be great to be read to any child though, as a way of normalizing breastfeeding (of course your 3 year old doesn't know what breasts are for, but by reading the book to him he would then learn, which is actually a good thing, because then when he has his own kids, he will have the idea that breastfeeding is normal and beneficial ingrained and possibly be a more supportive husband as a result etc). Not being critical of your review, I agree the curly text is hard to read etc and you are of course allowed to have an opinion on the illustrations. I don't agree that it is "harmful" for a 3 year old to see a breast in this context, I think its helpful, clearly its not in a sexualized manner and at age three kids are beginning to understand physical gender differences, so its educational if nothing else.

    To the last anonymous, not that you'll read this a year later but in his own words Picasso was attempting to draw/paint in a uncorrupted childlike manner, so it would make sense that his style of imagery might appeal to a child. and I'm guessing the book was written by someone who simply thought it was quite normal to breastfeed a toddler, which it is, and the book is really more about that relationship, where is becomes more than just a means of getting calories, its not meant to be political, just normal. And yes of course society would benefit from the normalizing of breastfeeding, both economically (less parents having to stay home from work with sick kids, less kids in hospital being payed for by taxpayers money etc) and physically. Social barriers/lack of support are the biggest reason women don't breastfeed, breaking them down subtly makes so much more sense than guilt tripping women with "breast is best' slogans and yet forcing them to lock themselves away all day if they do try to breastfeed.

    1. Hi Emma, I just wanted to clarify that at no point in my review did I mention that the book was sexualised or that breastfeeding is not normal.
      I agree that children and adults alike should see breastfeeding as something normal as it is only a child feeding.
      My problem with this book was the fact that I would not read this to my child. Even if i was breastfeeding in front of him I would try my best not to give him an eyeful as I think it's inappropriate for young children to see breasts fully. Although breasts are used for feeding babies they can also be a sexual part of a woman and I don't feel comfortable exposing myself that way to such a young child. I would also like to point out that I am also not a prude. I am quite happy for my son to understand boobs and he quite regularly will find my bra's and say "I found your boobies mummy". I have nothing against my child understanding parts of women. But if a woman walked past my son in the street, naked, I would avert his eyes some place else, as I believe there is a very fine line between breasts being a food source and them being sexual and this book was cutting it close by exposing nipples.

      As I say in the review, I love the concept of this book, but the fact that it's also teamed with the worst illustrations and font i've ever seen doesn't help its case.
      I feel that perhaps if they'd left the nipples out of the illustrations I may have been a bit more comfortable reading it to small kids.

      I would also like to point out that myself and all five of my siblings were not breastfed or raised to understand that breastfeeding was normal, however I partially breastfed my son for a while and I'm planning on fully breastfeeding my second. My brothers also agree with me in this matter. So I don't think your argument of showing this book to my child so that one day he will see it as normal will quite cut it.

      Regardless, I respect your opinion and if you feel that it's something you would want to show your child to help them understand that that's your way of teaching. But from what I can tell you are part of the small minority that would.