How To Raise A Healthy Child Book Review

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How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor
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Several friends recommended How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor and I finally got a chance to read it. Though it was written in the 1970s, much of the information is just as important (if not more so!).

Dr. Mendelsohn is a pediatrician who was hoping to change the field from the inside. In this book, he shares his experience from years of practice.

While Mendelsohn challenges many of the common procedures of Pediatric medicine, he starts by explaining that he doesn’t feel that the doctors are at fault as much as the system itself needs to be changed.

I’ve often felt the same way in my dealings with doctors, especially pediatricians. As a whole, doctors tend to be compassionate and truly interested in helping their patients, though there are still things they have been taught by a faulty system that I refuse for my children.

An Oldie but a Goodie:

With the exception of encouraging mothers to give babies a drop of whiskey to calm them, I felt that most of the information in this book was still very valid and needed in today’s world.

Mendelsohn gives advice and encouragement to parents for handling most minor illnesses at home, and gives a helpful checklist at the end of each chapter for when an injury or illness requires medical help.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I agreed with How To Raise A Healthy Child on topics of illness treatment (or non-treatment), strep throat treatment, ear aches, active children, and many other points.

How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor even touches on healthy birth (home vs. hospital), vaccination, and how most skin and respiratory problems (asthma, allergies) actually stem from food intolerances!

We very rarely take any of our children to a doctor (and NEVER give Tylenol or other drugs to bring down fever), and after reading How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor, I’m even more comfortable in these decisions. I especially love that Mendelsohn urges parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their child’s health and says that for minor illness, parents can often handle it better than a doctor could.

How to Raise a Healthy Child is an easy read (I was able to finish in a night) and I’d highly encourage it to all parents or those expecting a first child. I’ll be giving it to many friends as a pregnancy gift and think that much of the information would be helpful to many parents.

Have you read this book? What did you think? Share below!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


29 responses to “How To Raise A Healthy Child Book Review”

  1. Prudence Dagg Avatar
    Prudence Dagg

    Love love love this book. I often give it as a gift to parents, especially new parents or parents new to this perspective on health. It’s a great way to start reading and on “beginner’s” level with scientific/ health concepts.

  2. Victoria Avatar

    I just wanted to say how much this book helped me when I was pregnant with my daughter 32 years ago! I did have a home-birth, Laboyer Method, and also opted out of vaccines. (I understand this is a touch subject for many)!
    This book was so impactful, that in 1985 I wrote to Dr Mendlesohn to thank him, and to let him know how much I appreciated the information, and his dedication to the well being of children! He actually wrote me a lengthy letter back!
    I encourage this valuable, albeit, dated read! It is valuable in helping to give one insight you may not even consider, when faced with decisions and pressures from the medical world, family, friends, etc.! Arm yourself with knowledge, and trust in your instincts as a mother whi carries this life for nine months, and brings this infant into the world!

  3. Kate Avatar

    Sounds like a good book. Does it say anything about candida overgrowth? I feel this has a lot to do with illnesses in us all. And I agree with treatment of fevers, however fevers over 102 I do give medication, usually ibuprofen. My youngest, who use to have terrible candida overgrowth would get super high fevers in the 105 range when she got sick (before we took care of the yeast).

  4. Susan E. Avatar
    Susan E.

    So thankful and my heart is happy that my children never received a vaccine. I am so sad for so many parents that were brainwashed into vaccinating and having peer pressure from other parents. This book was a part of my reading in the early 90’s and I didn’t have my children until 2000’s. Thankful too that my husband was on board and for the small amount that he was skeptical, it was only because lack of knowledge. He just thought that is what you do when you have a baby you get them vaccinated but after my reading, research, and seeing our friends that also didn’t vaccinate, he just trusted me & the decision. He knew that we love OUR children so much that this was really important and not something I was doing just because someone else told me. So glad we continue to see all the great reasons why we didn’t. They are healthy kids that do get sick sometimes but when they do, they are building their immune system and healed naturally or homeopathically. Healthy kids! P.S. We didn’t have google until 1998, I think and so having that book since before we married in early 90’s was a big influence and still relevant today!

  5. Carley Avatar

    Katie what is your opinion on vaccinations?
    I am doing my own research but would a appreciate a mother’s opinion thanks, I love love love your blog

      1. Cori Avatar

        I have been wondering, also, what your thoughts are on vaccinations. I have been getting so much negativity about the vaccination issue.

        1. Emily Mogielnicki Avatar
          Emily Mogielnicki

          I am a first time mom with a ten month old daughter. Growing up I’ve had a few friends who were never vaccinated and were fine, I’ve had a friend whose son got vaccinated and immediately started showing signs of autism, and also the majority of the people I know have been vaccinated and are perfectly fine. I’ve even met a person who had menigitis and survived with no problems.
          I was vaccinated on schedule up until the age of 12 when my mother found some information about vaccines that scared her. I’ve been fine and never had any reactions or any illness that vaccines could protect against. Since I became a mother I’ve had a very tough road with vaccines. When my daughter was first born she was being vaccinated on schedule. Then I went on the CDC website and did some intense research on the ingredients of vaccines and found the usual aluminum, thimerosal (mercury), formaldehyde, along with animal cells as well as cloned aborted fetus cells (MRC-5 and WI-38). This freaked me out and I stopped the vaccines, which made her pediatrician refuse to see my daughter. I tried to find a naturopathic/homeopathic pediatrician and the closest one was an hour away. After months of pressure from my husband and friends and even DCF, I finally gave in and took my daughter to a traditional doctor and resumed the vaccines. Now we’re doing them one at a time with a week’s time inbetween each one. I can’t help but feel regret and like I’m doing the wrong thing when i see my baby scream when they stick her. But then again, I’m afraid of the illnesses too. I don’t know what to do. Your opinion on vaccines would be very much appreciated, as I trust your judgement. Thanks Katie.

      2. Ashley Avatar

        I would love to hear your opinion. I’m 28 weeks pregnant and my husband and I are researching everything we can about each vaccine. Maybe an alternative schedule would be best? Thanks in advance!

    1. Sarah Avatar

      I absolutely love this book. I keep it on my dresser and refer to it when my children are sick, always! It has saved me from the precipice of panic many a time. And the info on childhood diseases is priceless. No doctor EVER explained these diseases to me… I have nine kids so that’s saying a lot. I’ve owned it for 10 years and already bought a copy for my soon to be son in law who is studying to be a nurse. THE BEST! Glad I know you think so too.

  6. Monica Avatar

    Thanks for the review. I just moved to a new city and am at a loss for finding a good Pediatrician (and by good, just a paleo friendly and open to not giving vaccines). Any suggestions on how to find one when ??

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      We actually just found a good general doctor who practiced with a nurse practitioner. They are great for any medical needs, and since they aren’t specifically pediatric, they don’t get as worked up about not doing well baby visits, vaccines, etc…

    2. Liliana Rose Avatar
      Liliana Rose

      I live a lifestyle that is almost 100% natural. I’m also a born skeptic who has worked in public health and for a pharma company. I avoid antibiotics, unnecessary visits to the doctor, and OTC medicine like the plague unless it is absolutely necessary for the children. If you can present your reasons and research intelligently, most doctors are happy to oblige. What I can never get behind, and what they will never be behind, is avoiding vaccinations. The more I learn, the more I believe in them. Not everything is a health conspiracy.

      1. Shelley Wilson Avatar
        Shelley Wilson

        after nirsing and being a midwife and Muni totally agree . i too am a natural skeptic and don’t give my child drugs to reduce a fever. But vaccination is vital- dont let the unscientifis scare mongerers get to you.

        i think its also vital throughour pregnancy and ealy childhood to nuture your childs intestinal (and other) flora. if your child has a healthy gut, unlokely they will have any problems with vaccination.

        1. ita Avatar

          Shelley, dear
          When you actually do the requisite research on vaccines before you take on the responsibility to tell others that “vaccines are vital” and that they are “scientific” – you will find as ALL honest seekers do -that vaccines are as unscientific as can be and that they ONLY damage health as they were deliberately designed to do. Without the vaccine agenda – there would be absolutely no use for 99% of pHARMa products and procedures. All illness, dysfunction, and compromised health is due to “INFLAMMATION” throughout the body and brain. By what mechanism do vaccines operate? By causing inflammation – and not the beneficial kind. Only the chronic and insidious kind. If you studied “healthcare” through pHARMa-sponsored schools and textbooks and gained your self esteem, honor, “respectable” income through all those efforts – it will be difficult for you to recognize the truth. But many doctors have courageously done just that. You are indeed responsible for the better health or damaged health that results from people following your advice – so consider jumping off the pHARMa-ship and getting aboard the Function Forum Flotilla that is thank G-d sailing around the conscious world.

  7. Leah Avatar

    This was a great book! My medicine cabinet consists of band-aids, high quality essential oils and my fridge! It is such a pity that mothers are taught to fear fever so much…it is the body’s immune system doing it’s job, and it is amazing! My daughter is 6 and her immune system works well, she will get a fever and I just give her plenty of healthy fluids and she is usually better within 24 hrs, never prolonged runny nose for weeks at a time (because the tylenol etc brings down the fever and then the body can’t fight off the virus…such a sad cycle!)
    I’m so happy to see the rising trend of using natural means to help the body heal itself…chiropractic care, naturopathic medicine and clean eating!!!

  8. Bessy Reyes Avatar
    Bessy Reyes

    how to do you reduce your childrens fevers?
    i do use tynelol and i never feel to good about it but i panic over a fever. so an alternative would be great!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      I’d encourage reading this book. I really don’t bring down fevers unless they are really high, which is virtually impossible from a regular illness. In those cases, I’ll use peppermint oil and cool baths.

    2. Pam Rinas Avatar
      Pam Rinas

      Read the book. Educate yourself. You are fearing the wrong thing. Fever is not the big bad thing even if it is high. Read Mendelsohn’s book!!!

  9. Jacque Avatar

    This is an excellent book and puts the parent back in charge of their children’s health and well being. I am a mother of 8 and highly recommend this book. Mama use your best judgement that God gave you and stop being afraid. You’ll do the best job raising your healthy children, not the government, or a doctor.

    1. Jacque Avatar

      Wow! I couldn’t have said it better myself…my family read this and thought it was me. My name is Jacque and I have eight children as well. Love this book.

  10. Cho Avatar

    Sounds brilliant I am going to read this, have you read the seen things your doctor doesn’t tell you? Sounds similar x

  11. Regina Avatar

    I was given this book as a new mother. I had found myself caught in the popular cycle of: Baby has a cold: Baby gets antibiotics: Baby gets better : baby gets another cold worse than the first.  I was frustrated by my pediatrician who didn’t seem concerned about my child’s symptoms yet  continued to prescribe antibiotics. A wellness-minded mommy friend gave me this book and it was the answer that I was looking for. It truly opened my eyes to the world of natural health and taught me to trust in my motherly instincts.  My first born is now 6 and his brother is 2. I continue to reference this book. Sure its older, but I find that the information in it is much for accurate than information Ive found in much more recent books. My wish is that all new mothers read this book and gain the confidence in themselves to stand up for what they believe in when it comes to their children!

    1. Laura F Avatar

      A doctor gave antibiotics to a baby with a cold? I have never heard of such a thing. Are you sure it was actually a cold and not a bacterial infection?

  12. Chernoff Avatar

    looks really interesting.  I don’t know how the U.S. treats here but here in Canada the trend with most family doctors and pediatricians is actually not interferring with an illness and allowing the child’s immune system to do the work itself.  Tylenol other pain killers are not encouraged either unless it’s over 39 degrees celcius.  So I know we are moving in the right direction.  We also chose to delay vaccinations until almost 5 years old.  That was a fight but we finally earned some respect.  I believe as a country we are heading in the right direction.  I think it helps a lot that we have free health care here.

    1. Lorene Preziosi Avatar
      Lorene Preziosi

      I love this book. I use to call it my parenting bible haha. I had it in the 80s when raising my 4 children. It was out of print for a while so happy to see it available again. A must have you young parents. We followed his recommendations and chose not to vaccinate our kids. They are all very healthy adults. I am worried for my grand kids. Where there is a risk there should be a choice. Forced vaccination will never be ok. Thanks for all you do Kellie. I really appreciate all your research and blogs.

  13. Michalraeann Avatar

    Just ordered this!  Can’t wait to read it!  Thanks for the recommendation.

  14. Anna Avatar

    This book really opened my eyes!  I have referred back to it so many times since reading it 5 years ago.  Very, very helpful!

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