I admit that I’ve been prejudiced in favor of the cradle carry for breastfeeding. It’s what worked for me so I naturally think it is “right.” I don’t like the cross cradle or other “carries” because they seem too complicated. And, when I see mothers today breastfeeding with their babies positioned straight onto their breasts I think they’re doing it wrong. But, it is I who have been wrong.
Emminent lactation consultant, Nancy Mohrbacher, and obstretrician, Teresa Nesbitt, have created a prenatal breastfeeding preparation program that reeducates us all about breastfeeding. Their program, Natural Breastfeeding, is based on new research and perspectives, including the work of research midwife, Suzanne Colson, on Biological Nurturing. In her article in Midwifery Today, Suzanne Colson explains:
Biological nurturing (BN) is a new neurobehavioral approach to breastfeeding initiation that aims to reduce latching problems and early unintended breastfeeding cessation. In biological nurturing, mothers lean back and place the baby on top so that every part of the baby’s body is facing, touching and closely applied to one of the mother’s curves or to part of the surrounding environment. Nursing in a laid-back position opens the mother’s body which promotes neonatal locomotion by releasing up to 20 primitive neonatal reflexes which act as breastfeeding stimulants (Colson et al. 2008)
Here’s a video illustrating Biological Nurturing.
The Natural Breastfeeding approach is also based on the Swedish breast-crawl research, which shows that, if given the opportunity, the newborn baby will find his or her own way to the breast.
And, it is inspired by the work of the “Prague School” of Rehabilitation and Manual Medicine on Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization where scientists identified the pressure points on babies’ bodies that improve their coordination. Natural Breastfeeding is also based on the work of Christina Smillie, MD on Baby-Led Breastfeeding, in which mothers learn to breastfeed by letting their babies show them how.
And, in addition to brain science research, Natural Breastfeeding has also been influenced by the work of Brian Palmer, DDS, on the physiology of the act of breastfeeding.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
If you’d like more information about natural breastfeeding in addition to the links and videos above, here are some resources:
About Peggy O’Mara. I am an independent journalist who edits and publishes peggyomara.com. I was the editor and publisher of Mothering Magazine for over 30 years and founded Mothering.com in 1995. My books include Having a Baby Naturally, Natural Family Living, The Way Back Home and A Quiet Place. I have conducted workshops at Omega Institute, Esalen, La Leche League, and Bioneers. I am the mother of four and grandmother of three. Please check out my email newsletter with free tips on parenting, activism, and healthy living.