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Book Review

Mother Food: Food and Herbs That Promote Milk Production and a Mother’s Health

by Hilary Jacobson

Reviewed by Beverly Morgan
Georgetown TX USA
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 24 No. 4, July-August 2007, p. 180

A world of possibilities will open for you when you read Mother Food: Food and Herbs That Promote Milk Production and a Mother's Health. There's a wide range of tips, from learning to recognize food sensitivities to using foods and herbs to help build a milk supply. One chapter focuses on supporting digestion, preventing allergies, and lowering the body's toxic load. As well as providing ways of using foods and herbs to promote health, the author offers recipes for basic whole food cooking as well as recipes for lactogenic foods -- which is just a fancy way of saying foods good for helping a body make milk! Today's mothers, and all family cooks and food shoppers, can benefit by the down-to-earth, practical, and easy-to-use information about herbs and foods.

Mother Food is a good general guide for mothers who want to know more about herbs and how foods can affect health. The author takes a refreshing approach to eating, recommending wholesome foods according to how they suit one's particular digestion, and selecting foods that support lactation. Much of the information in the book could help mothers spot potential diet-related problems, such as allergies and food sensitivities. For example, did you know that, according to allergists, a diet focused on one food may eventually lead to a deficiency in the enzyme needed to digest that particular food? Consequently, undigested food molecules pass through the intestines and set up an allergic reaction. Consider a mother drinking gallons of milk, for example, because it is considered to be a healthy food, only to suffer from symptoms of sinus pain and earaches and her breastfed baby suffers along with colic, too. Recognizing how food makes her feel could change her life!

Mother Food is an especially valuable book for those who have a partial or overabundant milk supply. Hilary Jacobson's years of personal research have been driven by her efforts to bolster her own faltering milk supply. Hilary has four children and had an incomplete milk supply for her first child for many weeks. She also found that her supply was very sensitive, and would decrease easily. As she read and learned more, she was able to produce a sufficient milk supply for her babies, which took less effort to maintain with each child. She found that certain foods and herbs helped her to keep it steady, and this book is her way of sharing what she has learned with other mothers. Inspired by the grief of struggling with her milk supply, and the excitement of overcoming her difficulties, Hilary became a champion for mothers who are growing their babies with love and as much milk as they can manage to make.

Once a mother has tried all the basic strategies for increasing her production and still cannot achieve the relationship she craves or the milk supply she needs, she may feel cut adrift and alone in her sorrow. Mothers facing struggles similar to those of Hilary battle with feelings of failure, frustration, and grief. A mother coping with breastfeeding problems needs a mentor as she might be facing other issues such as depression and/or health issues for her and/or her baby. Furthermore, she might be emotionally vulnerable to every perceived criticism. This book is a soothing tonic for a mother's weary heart and it offers hope as well. With this helpful manual in hand, a mother can focus on preserving her breastfeeding relationship, and celebrating every drop of human milk her body can make for her baby. The book is also loaded with encouragement and information to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding problems, especially as they relate to a lactogenic diet.

Mother Food is well researched with wisdom from India to China, from the medical records of the Greek doctor Discorides in the first century, to the results from an Iowa Women's Health Study about coffee, tea, and caffeine consumption and the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Whether you are interested in exploring herbs to help with skin rashes or depression, or foods for a low milk supply, you will find what you need in this book.

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