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About Hilary Jacobson

While still in her teens, Hilary Jacobson went to Switzerland to study music. After becoming a mother, she changed her career path to explore neglected areas of women’s medicine. She was certified as a Holistic Lactation Consultant in Switzerland and, over a span of fifteen years, she wrote and published the tome: Mother Food: A Breastfeeding Diet Guide with Lactogenic Food and Herbs.

At the time that she began her research, it was (actually and unbelievably) illegal for a medical professional, including lactation consultants, to talk to mothers about herbs or food for milk supply. They could easily lose their license or certification if they stepped over that line. Hilary chose to be independent rather than certifying as an IBCLC. This would allow her to teach and write freely.

Fortunately, the university libraries of Basel, Switzerland, offered her a multitude of resources, including access to medical journals. Her main subjects included ethnobotany, ethnomedicine, anthropology, psychology, anatomy, phyto-medical and lactation-specific books, as well as historic and popular books on herbalism and nutrition.

During this time, she met with persons from holistic medicine in Switzerland and Germany: doctors and midwives who still remembered the “old ways” and who still worked with herbal and dietary traditions.

Jacobson’s three books for breastfeeding mothers each address unique areas of knowledge and experience that are critical for mothers.

These books are frequently recommended to mothers with specific struggles by their healthcare professionals . 

Most recently, Hilary co-authored a work of metaphysical and historical fiction: Red Madder Root, Tales of Initiation: A Novel of Fairytales and Forgotten Histories. It is a gently written series of tales that are based on traditional girls’ stories. The novel interweaves women’s herbalism with spiritual practices and cultural insights. It presents an overview of the loss and suppression of women’s medicine over centuries of European history, but gives hope, courage, and perhaps also inspiration to carry on.

Background: The Madder plant is a forgotten medicinal herb. It suggests the secretive “code” of forbidden medicine. Although the madder root has been used primarily as a dye (the red cloak of Red Riding Hood would have been colored with the Red Madder Root), it was also used to hasten childbirth, to treat kidney and urinary tract infections, and as an emmenagogue, that is, as a way to prevent pregnancy by forcing the flow of menstruation.

Over centuries of European history there were always movements to suppress women’s knowledge and use of herbs, specifically the use of herbal birth control. At one point, midwives were forbidden by law from using any herbs at all, for fear that the herb might be an abortifacient.

Therefore, the title, Red Madder Root, Tales of Initiation, suggests the ongoing oppression of women’s wisdom, the narrowing of our western understanding regarding women’s reproductive medicine (including for milk production), and the kinds of human strengths, knowledge and skills that are needed to navigate being a woman and taking on a positive role in our culture.

The book is particularly valuable for those working in the alternative health field, those who are intrigued by the mysteries of human consciousness, and aware of those areas of human experience that are routinely denied or neglected by today’s mainstream science teachers. 

In 2013, Jacobson was certified in mindfulness and somatic-based hypnotherapy.

Her small hypnotherapy practice is available to parents and healthcare professionals.

In 2022, Jacobson is preparing a new edition of Mother Food that will include new insights from the last decade of research and observations.

She holds online classes for mothers and IBCLCs (and other postpartum caregivers and doctors) and is a guest speaker at LLLI meetings, medical conferences and summits.

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