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The Nursing Mother's Companion

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  3,151 ratings  ·  272 reviews
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 25 years, and is respected and recommended by professionals and well loved by new parents for its encouraging and accessible style. Kathleen Huggins equips breastfeeding mothers with all the inf
Paperback, 25th Anniversary Edition (6th Edition), 368 pages
Published April 6th 2007 by Harvard Common Press (first published October 3rd 1985)
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rivka In my opinion, The Nursing Mothers Companion is by far the better of the two.
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Lisa R.
Jun 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who are interested in breastfeeding
First you'll use this book when you're pregnant, to gain some breastfeeding confidence and reinforce the "basics".

Then hopefully you'll bring it with you to the hospital, where you and your partner will use it to try out different holds for the baby to get off to a good start with nursing, and to gain some reassurance that it won't always be so painful.

Then you'll take it home with your baby and consult it roughly 8,000 times a day for the first nerve-wracking, sleep-deprived couple of weeks - a
A very comprehensive guide that reads like a textbook. Definitely handy for having around to troubleshoot, but not one of the more "fun" books on breastfeeding. For lack of a better word, this book takes a very "medical" approach to breastfeeding, so there are lots of discussions about how many ounces and ml's a baby should be getting and how much weight they should be gaining. In particular, I think the discussions about milk supply and ways to gauge it are fairly overkill for most mothers. Ins ...more
Jul 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have struggled to breastfeed both my children. Most of the books that are supposed to help you succeed only succeed in making you feel like total crap if the process isn't picture perfect. This book, instead, has a real-life approach to trouble shooting. The author uses language that is encouraging and helpful. Plus, the suggestions she make really work. This is my go-to book for any breastfeeding problems. In addition to it providing much-needed guidance and advice, it also helps me know I'm ...more
I would probably have rated this book higher had I not purchased another nursing book as well and had I not also owned a baby book with a really good breastfeeding section. I bought this book because it was touted many places as "the" breastfeeding manual to have. Overall, it is adequate as a guide, although I do think that the author spends more time on some subjects that most mothers will never need and doesn't cover other subjects as well as she should. I started looking over the starting sol ...more
Nov 13, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There is some good information in this book, but unfortunately it's buried underneath a range of other topics. In fact, the whole book is a maze of "for more about this topic, see page 250" ... *turns to page 250* ... "for more about this topic, turn to page 62" and on and on until I was flipping between four different chapters just to get a cohesive idea of why my baby coughs a lot while she is nursing and how to help her. It was very difficult to find what I was looking for, and even when I di ...more
Oct 26, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book advocates for PDF (parent directed feeding) and talks a lot of shit about La Leche's FOD (Feeding on Demand) system. Hilariously, both methods actually are close to the same, once you get past the terminology. Too much of the book is spent attacking La Leche (the milk) and talking about how kick-ass PDF is.

I just noticed that I seem to be the only male who reviewed this book. Weird, huh?
Nov 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting-books
This book saved my nursing relationship with my daughter at a time when we were really struggling. My supply was dropping, she wasn't gaining weight. This helped me get my supply back up in a very step-by-step way which was exactly what I needed at the time. Perfect for the type-a personality to get away from a measured "How much is my baby eating" to a more relaxed "My baby is eating enough and I don't have to measure every ounce". ...more
Mirah Curzer
Some helpful tips, but also a lot of information I know to be false.
May 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good reference guide, though pretty far down the "breastfeeding or bust" spectrum. Also, very biased toward unmedicated labor and delivery. ...more
Aug 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERY SINGLE PARENT!
This is HANDS DOWN my FAVORITE and MOST RECOMMENDED Breastfeeding book!

It goes in with the tone that you WILL succeed and you will NOT give up, something that mother's need more of! Finally, there is a bit on what to do if you really, truly CANNOT breastfeed (which is extremely rare), so I'd consider it a very well rounded and just wonderful book!

Breastfeeding is HARD and this book answers ALL of your questions with REAL info you can use! It really does cover ALL aspects of breastfeeding, ALL th
Not sure if it's really any help at this point so no rating. She covers everything and I mean everything. To the point where I was slightly appalled at the end when she suggested that breastfeeding until 4-years-old, through another pregnancy, was doable. I'd prefer not, thank you very much.

I appreciated her devotion to the topic-- and I understand it. But, as I read about feeding through illness after illness, I got tired. I'm sure that ONE bottle during a bout of the stomach flu or whatever w
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this because it was recommended as the best book for nursing mothers to be. However, there is a fairly large bias in this book regarding breastfeeding. It may make mothers who do end up using formula or breastfeeding minimally feeling bad. Nonetheless, it does have some useful information in it in terms of addressing a lot of different topics surrounding breastfeeding. It also does a good job of separating time periods (first few days post-birth, first week, first few months, etc.).
Mar 04, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book contains very practical, useful information for anyone seriously attempting to breastfeed. It is written as a reference book, for the mother to look up information as questions or problems arise. It is not meant to be read cover to cover, but I did anyway even though much of the text is redundant. I checked this book out of the library and read it to see if it was worth purchasing. My conclusion is that it is worth purchasing as a reference source. The book contains a lot of advice abo ...more
Sep 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of all the parenting/birthing books I've picked up during pregnancy, this one by far gets the most technical/clinical. And, all right, it's written by a nurse who's a MAJOR proponent for breastfeeding so, yeah, a bit judgmental for anyone who DOESN'T think breastfeeding is the greatest thing ever. (I'm trying to keep that fact in check because I know from hearing several new moms' stories that frustration over breastfeeding can be a slippery slope to postpartum depression if you're not careful). ...more
Jan 11, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenthood
A fine reference. We each have our own unique relationships with breastfeeding as we raise our babies, and I received a few good tips to work through my own small woes. I was surprised, however, at the emphasis the later chapters placed on how to troubleshoot through the disapproval some women receive when they breastfeed "too long" (my own daughter turns one month old tomorrow, and I cannot say when we will wean, but I do aim for the one-year mark at a minimum, if biology allows it)--suggestion ...more
Feb 18, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Glad to see a 7th edition is being published this year because I found this edition to be outdated in parts.

A bit of caution:
I am reading this before giving birth, but if I was reading this while struggling to breastfeed, I might get frustrated. There is one line among 200+ pages that supports women who end-up not breastfeeding, "If you have given nursing your best, but finally end up having to bottle-feed, you have not failed as a mother," and it does not match the tone of the rest of the book
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
Pretty decently well-organized and a lot of fairly detailed tips for various situations. If you're the slightest bit prone to parental anxiety or guilt though, probably best to skip the "why breast is best" section, it's a bit over the top. The activism bleeds through in the rest of the book as well (I'm skeptical that breastmilk really has that significant long-term benefits over formula, especially after the first 6 months) so maybe for the weaning sections, just take what's useful from it and ...more
Jan 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All nursing moms
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Susan Orr, Lactation Consultant
A must read for all breast-feeding Moms. I used this book at all times. Do consult with your pediatrician, however. The author makes a couple of statements that just aren't true (particularly about introducing solid foods). Also, ignore the parts about how long you should breast-feed if you don't plan on nursing your kids through adulthood. Ha ha! ...more
Very helpful, although biased in favor of attachment parenting. My least favorite line can be paraphrased like this, "you can do any number of things to manipulate your child into sleeping through the night if you are willing to deprive them of their natural need for human contact." And who is accusing whom of being manipulative?? ...more
Amber Rolih
I think while breastfeeding, this book was a bit of a cheerleader, but besides keeping me going, some of the advice was a bit unrealistic. When I finished, I felt like I wasn't living up to the women that truely commit to breastfeeding and I breastfed my son until he was 10 months old! Good reference book for things that may come up, but you have to be in the right mind set to read it. ...more
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book, together with the Kellymom website were invaluable for me with my first child. I successfully breastfed my daughter (as a working mom) through 13 months and this book was a great resource.
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Informative, but at times outdated, and at times willfully omissive of other options. There's no need for some of the propaganda if your position is already strong and well supported. This was especially true of more tangential beliefs of the holistic parenting community (i.e. co-sleeping). ...more
Antoinette Maria
A lot of the information in this book is sound, but there's something about this book that doesn't feel empowering to women. ...more
The Rainbow Zebra
The best book on breastfeeding--better than the one published by LLL. Easy to read and relate to, helped me nurse for 2 years!
A little preachy and willing to make you feel guilty if you decide not to breastfeed. But lots of good information if you don't succumb... ...more
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book I recommend for any nursing mother. I read my sister's copy years ago during boring visits to the clinic for my nephews check-ups. I found that the information was relevant and easy to understand (even for a bored teenager!) and I was somehow absorbed. I might have looked odd reading a book on breastfeeding in a clinic waiting room however I have no regrets. I understand way more about breastfeeding than I should should right now and that is a testament to how well written this bo ...more
Carlos Artilez
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book about feeding your baby and toddler

This book is a complete guide about breastfeeding that includes all the questions that you might have. It covers how to breastfeed, recommendation about essentials products, how to pump, how to handle and conserve breast milk, how to increase breastmilk, medications and breastfeeding, and many more.

I totally recommend it to have a great understanding on your baby first weeks. Also to keep it as a reference when having questions related to the to
Ashley Jones
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a must-have book for all first-time moms!

The author, a registered nurse and board-certified lactation consultant, outlines the value in breastfeeding and gives practical advice on how to make it a successful and pleasant process for both mom and baby. The book covers every conceivable topic and scenario related to nursing, from pregnancy to weaning. It also includes a fresh perspective on related topics like preventing SIDS and when and how to introduce table food.

Whether you're determ
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
This is probably the most useful book I’ve read. It has been immensely helpful! Lots of practical strategies and advice. Includes “survival guides” for different phases (week 1, months 1-2, pumping and storing etc). I read a lot before baby arrived and it helped me feel fairly confident from the start. The focus is obviously nursing, but it has lots of great information about general baby care and what’s “normal”.
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very easy to digest for someone who has basic knowledge of nursing. Also a great index with great organization for easy reference throughout your breastfeeding journey. The pump review and explanation section is the best I've come across. ...more
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For more than twenty-five years, Kathleen Huggins, R.N., M.S., I.B.C.L.C., has dedicated her medical career to helping mothers care more effectively for their newborn babies. A registered nurse with an M.A. in perinatal care from the University of California at San Francisco, Huggins has spent the past two decades as a perinatal clinical specialist and board-certified lactation consultant at San L ...more

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