The Nursing Mother's Companion: Revised Edition

by Kathleen Huggins

Paperback, 2005



Local notes

EC Motherhood




Harvard Common Press (2005), Edition: 5th Edition, 336 pages


"Breastfeeding is natural, but it is not entirely instinctive for either mothers or babies. The Nursing Mother's Companion has been among the best-selling books on breastfeeding for over 30 years, with over 1 million copies sold. It is respected and recommended by professionals, including The International Lactation Consultant Association, T. Berry Brazelton and The American Academy of Pediatrics, and is well loved by new parents for its encouraging and accessible style. Kathleen Huggins equips breastfeeding mothers with all the information they need to overcome potential difficulties and nurse their babies successfully from the first week through the toddler years, or somewhere in between. This fully updated and revised edition provides information on topics such as: [bullet] Benefits of breastfeeding [bullet] How to cope with breastfeeding obstacles and challenges [bullet] Incorporating a nursing routine into working life [bullet] Treating postpartum headaches and nausea [bullet] Nutritional supplements to alleviate postpartum depression [bullet] Sharing a baby with baby (co-sleeping) and the risk of SIDS [bullet] Introducing solid foods [bullet] Expressing, storing, and feeding breast milk [bullet] Reviews of breast pumps Readers will also find Huggins's indispensable problem-solving "survival guides," set off by colored bands on the pages for quick reference, as well as appendices on determining baby's milk needs in the first six weeks and the safety of various drugs during breast-feeding. In addition, this edition opens with a new Foreword by Jessica Martin-Weber, creator of the very popular website The Leaky Boob and a new Preface by Kelly Bonata, creator of the go-to site KellyMom. These two much-loved authorities speak to the importance of owning an authoritative breastfeeding book that cuts through the jumble of opinions, information, and misinformation on the Web. Now more than ever, The Nursing Mother's Companion is the go-to guide every new mother should have at hand"--… (more)


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

336 p.; 9.3 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member LLLMontebello
Problem-solving manual for new mothers with step-by-step solutions to many problems from latching-on difficulties to slow weight gain. Organized according to baby's age; specific information is easy to find. The author's recommendations differ in some areas including milk storage guidelines,
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"crying it out" as a possible solution to night waking, and starting solids. She also recommends medications, which is beyond the scope of the La Leche League Leader.
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LibraryThing member atimco
Breastfeeding can be an intimidating venture for the first-time mother. I have heard all the warnings from more experienced moms who have had varying levels of success in their breastfeeding attempts: the first week/month is hellishly painful, I leaked milk constantly, I had too much/not enough
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milk, I tried really hard but I just couldn't do it, etc. While these are true experiences, they aren't the whole story. I knew I wanted to breastfeed my son (due to arrive in a little over two months), but I was a little worried after hearing the struggles and early weanings that seem so frequent. That's why Kathleen Huggins' The Nursing Mother's Companion has been so helpful.

Breastfeeding is natural but not entirely instinctive. Just reading that was a huge encouragement, because it seems like something we should just be able to do. After all, don't our bodies already know how to develop and birth our babies without too much direction from us? But breastfeeding is different because it is a learned skill. Some may learn it more easily than others for whatever reason, but it's okay to be bad at it at first.

Of course a book like this is very partisan toward breastfeeding, and Huggins makes a compelling case early on for why you should strongly consider breastfeeding your child rather than defaulting to formula. The immunity benefits to the child are enormous, and formula just doesn't compare nutritionally either. Breastfed babies are less prone to ear infections, obesity, and all kinds of other childhood maladies, including colic. And there are benefits to the mother, too: besides the obvious cost savings, mothers who breastfeed tend to reach their pre-pregnancy weight faster.

Huggins is also a proponent of cosleeping. I haven't been planning to cosleep, but her approach did not make me feel defensive about not being on board with that ideology.

In general this book relieved the sense of discouragement I felt at the complexities of breastfeeding and all the time, energy, and commitment it takes. It has given me extra motivation to breastfeed and practical help for the problems that may arise. The only chapter that left me feeling a bit overwhelmed was the one on continuing breastfeeding after returning to work. I'll be returning on a part-time basis so it should be a little easier, but the dedication to pump frequently and regularly is going to be a discipline I will have to learn. Not the book's fault... at several points Huggins acknowledges that it's normal to have mixed feelings about the "intense relationship" of nursing your child.

Another thing I appreciated about this book was that it did not show an excessive number of pictures. I have another breastfeeding book that not only has a completely exposed mother on the cover, but also on the spine — ! I had to help her to some modesty with duct tape. I don't mean to be prudish, but I know what I look like and I don't need a ton of pictures of what other women look like. Just the helpful diagrams and occasional tasteful photograph are perfectly sufficient, thanks. Yes, I know breastfeeding is not sexual but there's no need to plaster breasts all over everything.

Speaking of sexuality in the context of breastfeeding, Huggins does touch on the topic of mothers who have been sexually abused and how they may experience varying feelings about breastfeeding. Her advice may be helpful to women who have that baggage in their past and find it affecting their thoughts and emotions about breastfeeding.

I also appreciated how Huggins does not pressure moms to breastfeed without covering in public. There is quite a vehement minority out there that likes to push that philosophy on breastfeeding moms, saying that covering yourself while feeding your child is like saying you're ashamed of it. No, it is not. It is respect for myself and consideration for others that will motivate my practice of covering up completely or removing myself from public view while breastfeeding our son.

Huggins also talks about breastfeeding the older child, mentioning its benefits but not pushing it too hard. It is a personal decision when to wean and there isn't a right or wrong answer.

If I had any doubts that breastfeeding was the way to go, this book has laid them to rest. I am sure I'll be revisiting it often once our son is here. Recommended.
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LibraryThing member being_b
Severely repetitive- definitely meant as a reference book to consult, rather than something to read through. Also lots of scare tactics about the horrible things that could happen if you a) use drugs during birth (might make breastfeeding harder!) or b) feed your baby formula (your baby will be
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stupid! and might die!).

The most disconcerting part, to me, was the repeated discussion of how to keep your milk supply going... NO MATTER WHAT. Seriously, it seemed like the author believed that the worst part of having cancer or needing surgery is that it might make your milk supply dwindle.

Probably could have been at least 50% shorter without sacrificing any information or utility. Perhaps the 7th edition was more tightly edited.
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(50 ratings; 4.1)
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