I wrote The Nursing Mother’s Companion for you!

on December 20, 2013 in Breastfeeding, Why I love what I do.

So, as you may or may not know, a nursing mother who came to me with latch issues with her newborn ended the happy session by telling me she thought I should write a book about breastfeeding.  The year was 1984, and I had been working with many moms on a daily basis both in person and on the “Breastfeeding Warmline” 24/7 for a few years.


While I was flattered, I dismissed the idea.  Later that evening, I told my husband what she had said and to my surprise, he agreed with her! My husband also said to write it like a “car manual”. So I sat down at the kitchen table and wrote out an outline of what would be in the book, starting from the beginning of the breastfeeding relationship, and adding in “survival guides” for the nursing periods that sometimes come with additional special situations.


Early in the writing process, I read a book “Writing for Professionals” and I will never forget how the author started the book.  He said that lots of people say they are going to write a book, but few ever do!  That scared me, thinking that if I didn’t write every single day until it was done, I would never finish it. So I wrote each and every day, an easy guide to everything I could think of,  keeping all of the nursing mothers to come in mind.


This was the time that there were no personal computers, so I wrote the book on yellow legal pads and sent them to a woman who was a whiz on a “word processor” and then she sent them back to me.


I asked Phil Anderson, an expert on medications and breast milk to write a chapter filled with nearly every medication known to man.  Fabulous ideas as at the time, there were few resources on this topic. I have referred to his section on medications in breast milk in the Appendix countless times!


Next, as the writing progressed, I began searching for a publisher. We sent out my resume and a sample chapter to numerous publishers and excitedly waited for an interested company. And the letters started coming; all form letters that said the same thing; “Thank you for your interest in publishing with us.  Unfortunately, at this time, this book does not meet our current needs.”  For some strange reason, I scotch taped each rejection letter to the dining room wall.  Soon I had a wall full of rejection letters!

For some reason, I never got discouraged. One Sunday morning, just as my daughter and husband were literally out the door on the way to brunch, I heard the phone ring.  I stepped back into the house and to my amazement; the man on the other end of the phone introduced himself as Bruce Shaw from Harvard Common Press, asking if I had found a publisher yet. Finally in print in 1985, the first copy of The Nursing Mother’s Companion arrived in my mailbox.  I had the great help of a wonderful editor Linda Zeidrich who did wonders with my words.


The book sold very well.  I got letters from mothers and great reviews from booksellers and those in the lactation field. It changed my life over night!


After writing the early editions of The Nursing Mother’s Companion, I co-authored, The Nursing Mother’s Guide to Weaning, Nursing Mother, Working Mother, 25 Things Every Breastfeeding Mother Should Know, and The Nursing Mother’s Breastfeeding Diary. I think one if my favorites is the Breastfeeding Diary!  More than an app, the Diary gives daily information on breastfeeding, inspirational quotes for you, and a nice area to write your thoughts, your questions for your doctor, or maybe just a shopping list.  The Diary becomes a keepsake of your baby’s first two months of life.


The Nursing Mother’s Companion has been revised every five years and as of the last edition, the Sixth edition, it has sold well over a million copies! The last revision was the most extensive that I have ever done with a great section on reviews of the most common breast pumps.  Dr. Anderson has also revised his chapter on medications and also built the National Institutes of Health’s LactMed, so that parents and health professionals alike can get the most up to date info on this frequent issue. I plan on another revision in 2014 with new and updated chapters that will be released in 2015.


So at this point in time, book sales of most books are dropping dramatically. Bookstores are going out of business. The current generations of parents often visit “Dr. Internet” for their breastfeeding information and support.  While I have participated on breastfeeding help sites, eager mother supporters are great at cheerleading, but may not be thorough in getting a complete history and even less helpful with giving the best advise, other than nursing more often!


I want you to know that I am here for you!  The Nursing Mother’s Companion, is here for you.  In the middle of the night, it can be right next to your bed, holding your hand and giving solid solutions when times may be tough. Many mothers have told me that “The Nursing Mother’s Companion” was their “bible” while they nursed their little ones.  While nice to hear such sweet and appreciated comments, I just want you to know that everything I have learned after helping thousands of nursing mothers reach their breastfeeding goals, I am here for you.  I would be so happy to personally sign a book just for you!