Complementary Feeding: Nutrition, Culture and Politics
January 10, 2018
Eat Well, Lose Weight, While Breastfeeding
January 10, 2018

Children’s Health A to Z for New Zealand Parents

This book by paediatrician, Dr Leila Masson, a member of LLLNZ’s Professional Advisory
Group, provides extremely comprehensive information about how to help our children get
better and stay well naturally.
The first section focuses on lifestyle choices that will help keep everyone healthy, identifying
the four steps parents can take towards optimal health for their child/children. These steps
are: nutrition, sleep, healthy lifestyle and avoiding environmental toxins. The author’s dislike
for sugar is portrayed in the nutrition page; however, there are a few nutritional ideas other
well researched nutritionists would disagree on. Having said that, compromises sometimes
need to be made, and the nutritional and other lifestyle advice is great for the novice to a
healthy way of living. On page 26, ‘What about co-sleeping?’, the author mentions that it is
safe from three months of age to co-sleep if certain measures are in place. This contradicts
some of the advice in the LLLI book, Sweet Sleep. However the author does recommend this
book for further reading.
In the next part (Part 2), she groups the information in alphabetical order under 20 common
health issues experienced by children as they are growing up. Each chapter includes a
diagnostic ‘Questions to Ask’ section that helps parents decide about the significance of the
symptoms displayed and the type of action needed, from getting medical help immediately
to reading the information she provides. There are plenty of suggestions for natural athome
treatments, as well as some suggestions for prescribed and OTC medications.
In the final part (Part 3,) Dr Masson includes a diverse range of subjects (in no particular
order) that range from mineral-rich foods through how to teach your child to swallow
capsules and finishes with ‘5 steps towards positive parenting.’
The design of the book is superb: the layout, with use of headings, bullet points, cute
photos, caution icons and the uncrowded pages makes it an easy read. The book includes
Endnotes listing scientific references and a comprehensive index that also includes subheadings.
Dr Masson also includes many useful websites throughout the book where
parents can source additional information from reliable sources.
Caution: Don’t try to read this book straight thought as you would a novel you could be
overwhelmed with all that could go wrong – but rarely wouldn’t. Far better to treat is as a
reference book or dictionary and use the index to look up only what you need when you
need it.
With the plethora of childrearing books available here from overseas it is refreshing to have
a book written in our ‘heart’ language (New Zealand English) that also reflects the medical
system we have here rather than the unfamiliar and different systems in other countries.
The book will be helpful to and appeal to parents and caregivers. Children’s Health is
approved for Group Libraries, but please note that there are contradictions in the sleep
section with other LLL material, and there are numerous recommendations for certain
branded supplements and medicines (LLLNZ does not usually make such recommendations).

Original review, printed in Aroha Volume 17 Number 5

Children’s Health A to Z for New Zealand Parents
Dr Leila Masson
David Bateman Ltd, NZ 2015
Reviewed by Jeannie McNaughton and Janette Busch