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Book Review
The Nursing Mother's Herbal

by Sheila Humphrey, BSc, RN, IBCLC
Fairview Press, 2003
Available from the LLLI Online Store.

Reviewed by Diana West, IBCLC
Gaithersburg MD USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 21 No. 3, May-June 2004, p. 100

The use of herbs and natural remedies during lactation dates back to the earliest breastfeeding mothers and has become increasingly popular over the last decade. Yet, until now, there has been no comprehensive, accurate, well-researched resource on the topic, resulting in a vast hole in the lactation literature. When I learned that Sheila Humphrey, RN, IBCLC, and LLL Leader, was writing a book about herbal use during breastfeeding, I was overjoyed. She has been long recognized as one of the foremost authorities on herbal use during breastfeeding and such a book is sorely needed by lactation professionals and mothers alike.

Prior to reading The Nursing Mother's Herbal, I expected it to be a specific reference book about herbs relevant to lactation. When my copy arrived, I was astounded and thrilled to see that it went far beyond this basic premise. The Nursing Mother's Herbal artfully weaves information about ways that herbs and natural remedies can benefit or harm the nursing couple with practical breastfeeding solutions. It places its primary emphasis on the value, benefits, and process of breastfeeding. What's more, the information about breastfeeding is absolutely accurate and thoroughly up-to-date. The author's extensive experience in lactation consulting is clearly reflected in the breastfeeding information presented in the book, to the benefit of even the most expert lactation consultants.

Although research studies about herbs and natural remedies are few, The Nursing Mother's Herbal's comprehensive information about the use of hundreds of herbs and natural remedies during breastfeeding is also highly accurate, bringing together the wisdom of the herbalists and the knowledge of the scientists. The book includes an extensive table of plant safety, listing several hundred herbs, a discussion of herbal products, explanations of alternative healing options, as well as herbal resources and Web sites.

The Nursing Mother's Herbal is written in a warm, engaging, intelligent, reassuring manner. The reader is consistently urged to seek the help of an LLL Leader as her primary resource.

Any mother who considers the use of herbs or natural remedies while nursing will find The Nursing Mother's Herbal to be an excellent addition to her breastfeeding library. LLL Leaders, lactation consultants, and health care professionals will also benefit tremendously from this long-awaited and excellent book.

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