Last night I finished reading Birth & Breastfeeding by Michel Odent. I know many people really like him and he has really been a radical and devoted champion of women in birth, but I find that I just don't really "connect" with his style of writing. I love his "birth works" style and his "hands off the laboring woman" message (this book focused heavily on privacy in birth, which is really important, as well as discussing the damaging undertones to the common conception that women must have "support" in order to give birth successfully), but I find it hard to stay engaged with his books and this one I almost put down several times and didn't finish reading (I got more interested in the latter half of the book though and kept going. There was a great section about colostrum and about becoming a "colostral society" :-) I forget to emphasize sometimes just how truly liquid gold colostrum is--what wonderful, wonderful stuff (and how long devalued. He explored the near universal restriction of colostrum intake by the baby and how it serves to interfere with the natural motherbaby connection).
Another interesting (and I confess odd) section was about polygamy and how extended breastfeeding is best supported in polygamous cultures (?! This was one of the things I didn't connect with in this book).
He also talked about "new-style" childbirth educators--"for the most part, these are mothers who have no special qualification but, having given birth to their own children, feel the need to help other women who could benefit from their personal experience. They organize meetings, often at their own homes. They do not usually encumber themselves with any particular theoretical basis for their teaching, but may find it useful to give this or that school of thought as a reference. Their aim could most accurately be described as being to provide information and education, rather than specific preparation." This quote speaks to an idea that keeps floating around in my mind about hosting a birth group (vs. a CBE "class").