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How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor
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How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  413 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, renowned pediatrician and author advises parents on home treatment and diagnosis of colds and flus, childhood illnesses, vision and hearing problems, allergies, and more. PLUS, a complete section on picking the right doctor for your child, step-by-step instructions for knowing when to call a doctor, and much more.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 12th 1987 by Ballantine Books (first published 1984)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 773)
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Janel
Not so much for the up-to-date information, as this book is quite outdated...but I took the most valuable thing possible from this book: When it comes to my child's health, I am his advocate and protector. This book took doctors down off their pedestal for me and helped me to realize that I know what is best for my child and that I am an expert when it comes to what is right for my child. It was eye-opening, as a new parent, to learn that I had the answers and that it was ok to do things "my way...more
Rose Voltaire
I had the excellent good fortune to see and meet Dr. Robert Mendelsohn many times in the early and mid-1980s. I read this book when it was 1st pub'd, and I bought several copies, had them autographed and gave them as gifts at baby showers.

The chapter re: treating childhood diseases that are believed to be treated by vaccinations is very responsible. Parents need to know if they DO NOT vax their children, recognizing and treating a disease as measles, mumps, rubella, influenza, diphtheria, pertu...more
Ginger
The title of this book seemed suspiciously familiar, when I read it in my syllabus. As I started reading I realized it is one of the many books my Mother-in-Law lent me as a young mother over 25 years ago. When I started out, I took #1 to the doctor constantly with ear infections and other illnesses. By the age of three, she was totally immune to antibiotics and still sick. I was at a loss. With the help of a few naturally minded friends and my MIL, I adopted Dr. Mendelsohn's attitude that the b...more
polly
Sep 05, 2007 polly rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents
This book is a good reference manual for parents who want to take a proactive approach to their children's health. The author, a pediatrician, discusses everything from accidents to ear infections to antibiotics.

A few words of caution, before I praise what is good:

1. This book is old. It is, therefore, rather outdated on some subjects, including vaccinations (which he calls 'immunizations'). The DTP is no longer used in the US, we have new vaccines (Hib, Prevnar, varicella...), etc. However, th...more
Vanessa
Wish I had heard of this book while pregnant. As first time parents we wholeheartedly trusted our pediatrician and doctors because of fear basically. No more. This book is eye opening and empowering for parents. Even though it's outdated, this guy was ahead of his time - advocating home birth, cloth diapering, cosleeping and the truth about vaccines. Oh, and the revolutionary idea that fevers are good and shouldn't be lowered routinely. Must read!
Melissa
Interesting book...unfortunately a little outdated, but I found his philosophy and insights very helpful.

This book was written in the early 80's, and one thing I found fascinating was how many of the things concerning pediatric care, which he warned about then, have come true. We now have an enormous vaccine schedule, our children are handed several prescriptions each visit we make, and our role as parents (as knowing what is best for our children) has been replaced by legislation and laws, etc....more
Jaimee
Some of the information is a little outdated, but it is refreshing to hear a pediatrician talk about using common sense and letting nature take its course instead of constantly prescribing medications. He presents information in an easy to read manner and is comfortingly non-alarmist when it comes to most ailments and injuries. I especially like the "quick reference guides" at the end of each chapter, which allow you to find answers quickly when dealing with a situation. Though most of the infor...more
K.
Mar 30, 2008 K. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: parenting
I loved this book. I've been wanting to read it for years and finally ordered it and read it within a few days of receiving it. It is very readable and understandable.

I really loved Dr. Mendelson's candor about the medical profession, pediatrics especially. He cleared up some questions I had about vaccines and childhood illnesses and had some super great information on things like strep throat and ear infections.

It was written in 1984 and I wondered how "dated" it would feel and I think that a...more
Mylinda
Okay, so I don't have any children. I read medical records all day and have noticed an increase over the years in testing and surgeries that in the past have not been warranted. This book talks about the medical profession (pediatrics specifically but could apply to other specialties as well) and what really is the driving force behind medications and all those tests - essentially the bottome line is $$. Interesting read. Since I already limit my interaction with the medical community (yes I hav...more
Sally
The original doctor-complains-about-mainstream-medicine book for me. He's quite a character. He even advocates the old fashioned spoonful of brandy for kids with a cold. But the premise that we turn to medicine too often and can take care of much of our family's health on our own, with simple remedies, and that often doctors make things worse, is very much true. In my opinion. ;)
Willow
If you are interested at all in being the one responsible for our childrens health this is a must for your resources!!!!! When everyone's telling you fear based opinion it's always so refreshing to read the truth and get the facts.
"He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind."
Gianni Adragna
This book is excellent. I have only one problem with it. It was written 30 years ago (that is why I give 4 stars). Most of the things I have learned sound applicable irrespectively of the fact that the science of medicine and medical practice may have changed during the last 30 years. However on some issues I would definitely love to read something more updated. One example over all, the names of drugs that he points his finger at, I am sure names have changed and it may be that some of them hav...more
Kristina Maltby
This book was great! It makes so much sense and is a rational view to healthcare. This should be required reading!
Jennifer Margulis
I don't know what compelled me to re-read this book from cover to cover in the last few days (besides insomnia and needing a break from Vanity Fair), but I'm glad I did. I read it for the first time 14 years ago when my daughter was only six months old. Dr. Mendelsohn's fearlessness, honesty, bluntness, and smarts empowered me back then to take charge of my family's health. I took a healthy baby to the pediatrician, was made to wait almost an hour, and then was told she had an ear infection (she...more
shannon
This book takes you through a variety of common things that could happen to a child and gives you reason to trust that the body is amazing. For the most part with sickness comes natural healing. I'm a little tired of taking my children to the doctor for them to tell me what I already know. There's really nothing that can be done for a viral infection except allowing the body to heal itself. Yes, yes I know I can give them Motrin for the pain/fever. Wait...fevers are a good thing and should be al...more
Cyn
I sincerely wish I'd known about this book when I was expecting my children back in the 90s.

Fortunately, my son was spared the brutality of circumcision, but I made many other decisions about him and my daughter that I wish I could change; decisions that were based solely on full faith in doctors, thinking - erroneously - that they always know best. How foolish of me.

*Some* of the information in this book is a bit outdated (it was printed in the 80s, and the author died not long afterwards) - H...more
Abigail
First off, this is an outdated book. So a lot of the facts could have changed over the last couple of decades.

I am skeptical of the anti-vaccine information but would like to read more from the other side to see how they refute Dr. Mendolsohn's claims (or if they can?). While I think he's a little over the top in his characterization of pediatricians ("the most dangerous kind of doctors"...really?), his basic philosophy of trusting your instincts as a parent was nice to hear. I especially liked...more
Jeniann
This is a book written by a pediatrician that interestingly somewhat mocks some of the things that pediatricians do. As an example, he points out that measuring children's size by percentile based on numbers that were established in the 1950s isn't really a very useful measure. I didn't agree with everything he said in this book, and some of it I would have to research further to know if I really believe it, but in any case, it gave me a new perspective on things and got me thinking about what I...more
Magdalena Saito
I enjoyed how he gave methods of treating the simple, non threatening, casual complaints at home, and what to expect. like having a pediatrician remind you that grandmothers methods were actually pretty good.
Angela
Aug 26, 2009 Angela added it
Okay, that title sounds strange but I truly loved this book. It shows us how far we've come that we go to the doctor for little colds. I used to take my kids to the doctor all the time, but I've had my eyes opened a bit by this book and some other books about alternative medicine. My family and I are healthier that we have ever been, because we have decided to take our health into our own hands. Like this book, if you have visited the doctor in the last year with a cold please read this book.
Christine
I learned:
*that fevers serve a purpose and that making it go away can make matters worse.
*that you shouldn't go to the Dr. for every little sniffle and why
*That many procedures done to children are unnecessary at best and are often harmful or worse.
*that there are in fact times when going to the DR. is necessary and how to make that distinction.

I review specific areas when I have questions. It has become a great resource for me as a parent
Tharn
Great book, even if many descriptions of doctor's behaviours apply more to the USA where overconsumption of drugs and people being just considered as products more common than here in Europe.

It helps a lot to put into perspective when the child suffers some ailments tough, and to stay relax & zen when those happen, knowing at the same time the important things to notice and when a visit to a professional is advised.
Chrissy Daly


Very practical point of view in all ailments of children's health. Some of his views are a bit extreme and out dated but the base of his message is solid and admirable. You as a parent can make better decisions for you child's health than you doctor sometimes. He is trying to Put the power and confidence back in the hands of parents. Definitely recommend it to have on hand at least for reference.
Reni
I really appreciated the info in this book about how to handle most basic childhood illnesses but also how to tell when it really is serious and medical care is needed. It definitely comes from the perspective of natural health care, recommends against immunizing in most cases, etc. Right up my alley for the most part but I did find it to be a bit dated and a tad reactionary on a few topics.
Courtney
This is a great book about how to deal with common kid health issues. There are a few things that I disagreed with such as giving kids alcohol and avoiding all vaccines... BUT even though it may seem a little out dated it is a great book, with lots of good advice that doctors don't always willingly give out. I think it can save us all a lot of worry and money if we read this book.
Kate
Awesome book, though I really wish I had an updated version. I love his slant toward not using medicine unless it's REALLY needed, and trying other things (like rest and good nutrition!) first. But I don't feel confident following all his advice without seeing what the literature says now, just because this book is so old.
Jenny
This is a great book. It's written by a doctor. It's not anti-doctor, even though the title gives that impression. This is a great book for a new parent trying to figure out when to go to the doctor and when to take care of things at home. Basically, there's a lot we should be more self-reliant about. I loved this book.
Becky
This books includes a lot of easy-to-read information for how to deal with most common childhood problems without running to the doctor for every single thing. It's been very helpful for me, so that I don't overreact to simple problems, but also recognize instances that do need assistance.
Laura
For any parent who is interested in an alternative and natural way to raise their child. This doctor opens up your eyes to how the medical field can sometimes push parental instinctive wisdom aside for the more modern but not always right way of medically treating children.
Mugsymkelly
I LOVE this book that I happened upon in a library search even though it is old (copyright 1984). The long-practicing M.D. (pediatrician) author is hilarious with advice and a confidence about the body's miraculous ability to heal itself that are right up my alley.
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