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Book Review: Natural Baby and Childcare

by Lauren Feder, MD
Hatherleigh Press, 2006

Reviewed by Stacey Greaves-Favors, Saudi Arabia
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 25, No. 1, January-February 2008, p. 36

There are some lucky children living in California. They are lucky because they are patients of Dr. Lauren Feder, a pediatrician who specializes in homeopathy. She is an avid supporter of breastfeeding and natural living. Fortunately, for the rest of us who are unable to see Dr. Feder as patients (or parents of patients), she has written a book. Natural Baby and Childcare gives us a glimpse into what an office visit with this doctor is like. In it she offers "practical medical advice and holistic wisdom for raising healthy children from birth to adolescence."

Dr. Feder acknowledges the difficult journey of raising a family in the 21st century and shows parents how to make this journey easier by complementing conventional therapy with natural treatments. She advocates a lifestyle that supports La Leche League philosophy. Dr. Feder takes the "naturalness" involved in breastfeeding and helps readers expand it into other aspects of their lives.

As a mother of two boys, Dr. Feder knows what goes through parent's minds and, as a pediatrician, she is aware of what parents need to know. Her husband and sons are mentioned often by name, which gives the book a personal touch. She shares some of her personal parenting experiences as well as experiences she has heard from patients in her office. Her book discusses breastfeeding as well as many other aspects of parenting.

Natural Baby and Childcare is separated into five parts. The first part introduces the concept of holistic health and natural remedies. Dr. Feder defines natural parenting as well as offering a natural perspective on health and disease. Part one also offers an overview of natural therapies, all of which Dr. Feder has learned about and personally benefited from.

In the next part of her book, Dr. Feder concentrates on the always growing, ever-changing child from birth through age 13. Many books discuss milestones and changes in infants and toddlers. It is refreshing to find a book that takes this discussion further. It is wonderful for parents of different aged children to find such varied ages together in one book.

"Natural Parenting Basics" is the title of the third part of this book. Dr. Feder uses this section to discuss practical applications of natural living. From decorating your child's spaces to healthy nutrition to pop culture, this section has a lot to offer any family.

In her section on breastfeeding, Dr. Feder offers great words of wisdom. Not only does she explain the superiority of human milk, she helps new mothers learn just how to breastfeed, including pictures to illustrate her points. Even better, she touches on breastfeeding in special situations, reassuring parents that it can be done in spite of difficulties.

Dr. Feder's segment on healthy nutrition is quite thorough. She touches on the average American diet and the USDA food pyramid. She follows it up with information on nutritional building blocks, vitamins, and minerals. She gives in-depth information on meal planning and preparation. She discusses how healthy eating may change at different ages as well as circumstances that require a special diet.

Part four is the longest portion of Natural Baby and Childcare. Here Dr. Feder addresses over 80 "minor self-limiting illnesses that usually do not require a practitioner's attention." Each section tells about an illness followed by information on care and treatment. The "care and treatment" section includes home, herbal, homeopathic, gemmotherapy, and conventional treatments.

The final part of Dr. Feder's book lists "some of the more commonly used medications for everyday complaints." Here is an index of medications, including information about each and its uses. She also lists some common medicine cabinet items that she feels are essential.

As a mother who tries to live naturally, I enjoyed Dr. Feder's comprehensive guide. Parents who are new to the concepts in this book, as well as those who are familiar with these ideas already, will walk away with a fresh interest in natural health.

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