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Required Reading: Which Book Do I Need for My Course?

Required Reading
Required Reading
In the world of lactation textbooks, there are a lot of options to choose from.
If you recently enrolled in one of LER’s three Lactation Training courses, you probably noticed that each lesson provides assignments in two different texts.
Both Breastfeeding and Human Lactation (by Karen Wambach and Jan Riordan) and Breastfeeding Answers: A Guide for Helping Families (by Nancy Mohrbacher) may be used for the Lactation Consultant Training Program, Core Lactation Consultant course, and the Bridge Lactation Consultant course. You may also use both!
Both texts are available in the LER Bookstore for lower prices than you’ll find anywhere else. We offer Breastfeeding and Human Lactation at a 40% discount and Breastfeeding Answers: A Guide for Helping Families at a 25% discount.
Wondering why there are two books, which one might be best for you, and how you might use each beyond the exam?
Below, Julie Grimes, IBCLC, and Angela Love-Zaranka, BA, IBCLC, RLC, FILCA answer those questions.
Why does LER offer both Breastfeeding and Human Lactation and Breastfeeding Answers: A Guide for Helping Families as textbook options?
LER believes that no single human lactation textbook can do everything, and that books with different perspectives and voices serve different needs.
“There simply is no one complete and perfect text for our profession,” explains Love-Zaranka. “These books each have different strengths and are great compliments for each other.”
What are the strengths of Breastfeeding and Human Lactation?
Authored by two nurse IBCLCs, this book is rich in in-depth, scientific information, particularly about lactation in the early days.
“This text has the most detailed information on anatomy and physiology, composition of human milk, pharmacology, and pathology,” Grimes explains.
In addition to helping with exam questions, this perspective can assist you in your practice.
“We are allied healthcare professionals,” Love-Zaranka stresses. “An IBCLC needs to be able to discuss lactation in medical terms when communicating with other providers.”
Many students also find this text’s pages of color photos attractive and helpful.
What unique strengths does Breastfeeding Answers: A Guide for Helping Families offer?
This book’s focus is on clinical advice—it’s the how-to.
This will help students in two ways—in nailing exam questions, and in providing solutions to families once they’re practicing.
“Nancy Mohrbacher started as a La Leche League leader and her book drills home going back to the basics as the first step for any lactation problem, whether a simple case of sore nipples or more difficult issues such as cleft lip or Pierre Robin Syndrome,” Grimes explains.
“This will serve you in good stead on the IBLCE exam (and in practice too!) as you are often asked what to do FIRST on exam questions. She also focuses on the autonomy and feelings of the parent, more good points to remember for the exam.”
Another plus? Mohrbacher’s book is very easy to search, with wide margins that include the key points. This allows you to quickly find your needed topic and then read the relevant details.
“It’s extremely easy to find what you are looking for,” says Love-Zaranka. “For the busy practicing IBCLC or CBS, that is sometimes the most important thing. You need to get the information you need to help a client quickly.”
“This is also the text that gives the most attention to later lactation and older babies,” Grimes adds.
Mohrbacher’s book is also notable for its international perspective.
‘Nancy is doing a lot of teaching all over the world,” Love-Zaranka notes. “She is listening to people all over the globe, and she brings that to her book.”
Do I have to purchase both Breastfeeding and Human Lactation and Breastfeeding Answers for my course?
No. You may choose one or the other. However, with the significant discounts available on both at the LER Bookstore, having both in your lactation library may be more accessible than you think!
If I’m only going to buy one, which one should I buy?
There is no one right answer to this question.
“No one text is for everyone,” Grimes says. “If you work in a hospital, you might prefer Mohrbacher’s book so that you become used to first looking for the expected and not the pathology. Or, you may prefer Wambach and Spencer because it corresponds more to your work setting.
“Lactation peer counselors may want to purchase Wambach and Spencer to immerse themselves in the technical sciences of lactation, or they may prefer Mohrbacher as it will align with their philosophies of practice.”
“The two books have different perspectives,” Love-Zaranka agrees.
“Together, they provide you with a more 360-degree view of the profession than either can alone—the full view of the nuts and bolts of what you need to know to pass the exam, and what you need to do as a provider to support families.”
What if I am still not sure what to do?
One option is to start your class and then decide.
“Look at the topics that interest you the most, or that you need the most information about,” Love-Zaranka says. “Then see which book has more pages listed for those topics.”
And if you need more guidance, contact LER!
“Call us or email us,” Love-Zaranaka says. “We’ll talk you through it.”
“Whichever book you choose, your course assignments will have the page numbers for you,” she adds. “We’re excited to offer both as options.”

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