The Gentlest Thing – Най-нежното нещо

A small Bulgarian freelancer producer company, Welldone productions, offered their help to shoot a video, promoting breastfeeding. Together with La Leche League Bulgaria this short clip was produced and shot on July 18th, 2008 in
Sofia. Vania Kostova, a Bulgarian singer well known to few generations, donated one of her songs, a very gentle one, for this clip. It’s called ‘Sea of Tenderness’.

It took some enthusiasm, 10 mothers, who volunteered for the video with their babies, very little money, a whole bunch of friends, who worked for free and lent us the camera and the studio, Vania Kostova (the singer), who gave us her gentle song for free, and of course, our friends Welldone
productions (and La Leche League Bulgaria).

It went out on National television during World Breastfeeding Week. It was inspired by ‘La Teta’.

Breastfeeding is reccomended for a mimimum of two years, by the World Heath Organisation, and a lucky baby indeed, is the one that has access to its mother’s breast for as long as it needs to, to fill up on the love that is mother’s milk.

Some societies have fears of the female body, and of the sight of babies and children being nurtured at the breast. This has a particularly negative impact on children themselves, who never grown up seeing their siblings and peers on the breast. Female children loose out on seeing how breastfeeding works – for their own life and living as mothers and loving aunts, and many young male children absorb the hyper-fetishised sexuality of the ‘advert selling’ breast as ‘real breasts.

Youtube often deals with this ignorance, by those screaming that breasts feeding children, are obscene and should be hidden. The young males deprived of positive and healthy views of the nurturing breast, often use such videos as free pornography:

But the beauty and grace of the nurtuting breast remains above such hatred. The nurturing breast is obscene only in the eye of the beholder: look to your own mind first.

One of the most wonderful things about both this video and La Teta, is that mothers and breastfed children often watch them together, and the children report how much they enjoy watching them. Breastfeeding is normal and everyday, and everywhere. If you object, please feel free to look away. 🙂
250 sec.

Breast Is No Longer Best

The shocking news for most people is not that breast is no longer best, but that formula is not benign.

The risks of formula break down into the product itself, the absence of breastfeeding, and the making of the formula.

Formula is made from modified cow’s milk. On contact with the gut, formula changes the ph balance of the baby’s stomach, and this alters the ability of the gut to mature properly. This impacts on both the gut’s ability to absorb nutrition, and to act as an immune defense against infection.

Lack of breastfeeding means that babies on formula miss out on a complex range of basic building blocks for normal growth.

And even if they add in fake building blocks, they don’t always work:

Some of these are major life threatening building blocks, such as the oral facial development that keeps sleep apnea at bay in later life, some are small and much more difficult to track. Who is going to miss 5 IQ points if you are an A+ student? No one. But if you are a D+ student, and those 5 points would have taken you to C, that’s a life changing big deal. Happy thriving and healthy babies have gone on to develop heart disease or diabetes in later life, and lack of breastfeeding was the cause of it, but who sees that 30 years later?. And the shocking facts are that more formula fed babies die than breastfed ones – even in the ‘West’.

Formula feeding increases the risks that your baby will have an illness, and for a few, that’s a life threatening illness. It’s appalling that this info is not common knowledge – but a fortune in shareholder’s profits rests on the facts being kept away from consumers:

Finally, powdered infant formula is not sterile. Manufacturing makes it impossible to produce it that way, and as many as 14% of all batches of formula are contanimated by bacteria such as salmonella and E.sakazakii.

That’s why you have to heat the water – not to make the water safe, but to make the powder safer. Because of the presence of these bugs, the WHO recommends that newborns under 8 weeks old do not receive powdered formula, but only have UHT sterile liquid packs.

Info that has been around for a very long time:

Not only are there bugs in some batches of powdered formula, once made up, formula is an excellent growth medium for them. So formula safety is crucial if you’re using it. In the UK, 5 times more formula fed babies are treated in hospital for gastroenteritis than breastfed ones. Good hygiene is vital in protecting your baby:

Left over formula that’s been fed to a baby should be thrown away after one hour.

These risks from contanimated formula are bad enough, but if you live in a resource poor area, where there is poor hygiene and dirty water, formula feeding kills 3500 babies every day. And formula companies relentlessly push their products in these areas, regardless of the death toll:

There is an international code to protect babies’ health by restricting advertising and promotion of breastmilk substitutes:

Dr Gribble was speaking at the ABA’s “Hot Milk” conference in August 2007. podcasts are at
560 sec.

La Teta… to give the breast is to give life…

to give the breast, is to give life…
This amazingly wonderful video is a public information broadcast from Puerto Rico.
The joy in this video needs no explanation from us. The makers of the video are reading your comments, and they too are very happy! 🙂

The information on our video “Breastfeeding Toddlers” will be useful to those who had no idea that children normally breastfeed well into the age when they are walking, talking, and dancing!

As a result of comments on ‘nipple twiddling’, some of you might like to read this one: The Need to Knead

(trying to find new URL “The Need to Knead” by Kathryn Orlinsky”)

and this one: Nursing Manners

The song is “Duerme Negrito” sung by Mercedes Sosa, a famous Argentinian singer.

It is based on a traditional lullabye, sung to the baby to make it sleep, as the Mama tells the baby how hard she has worked in the fields all day, to bring little special treats to the baby. ‘Duerme Negrito’ means ‘sleep little black boy’ and ‘negrito’ and ‘negrita’ are terms of endearment for babies in the culture. The lady who wrote to tell me of the meaning, says she remembers being called ‘negrita’ by her mother, and she was as fair skinned as could be! For those who may like to lull their own negrito to sleep with this music, I tracked down the song to two albums of Mercedes Sosa’s work:

30 Anos: Verve ASIN: B0000015TL

Mercedes Sosa en Vivo: Universal ASIN:

The production credits are:

Public broadcast to promote breastfeeding
Title: La Teta
Director: Álvaro Aponte-Centeno
Producer: Cristina Molina Parrilla
DP: Carlos Díaz
Song: “Duerme Negrito”
Composer: Atahualpa Yupanqui
Interpreted by: Mercedes Sosa
2 Gatos, Inc.
Location: Puerto Rico

Ms Sosa is nicknamed ‘La Negra’ in Argentina, for her waterfall of shiny black hair. 🙂

There is quite a few Sosa songs on YouTube, including her singing Duerme Negrito live…

The song is copyright UGM, YouTube Allow, Everywhere

There are several dozen versions of Duerme Negrito across YouTube!

Duerme duerme negrito
Que tu mama ‘ta en el campo negrito
Duerme duerme mobila
Que tu mama ‘ta en el campo mobila

Te va trae’ codornices para ti
Te va trae’ rica fruta para ti
Te va trae’ carne de cerdo para ti
Te va trae’ muchas cosas para ti
Y si negro no se duerme
Viene el diablo blanco y zas! …
Le come la patita chicapumba
Chicapumba apumba chicapum …
Duerme duerme negrito
Que tu mama ‘ta en el campo negrito

Trabajando duramente
Trabajando si
Trabajando y va de luto
Trabajando si

Trabajando y no le pagan
Trabajando si

Trabajando y va tosiendo
Trabajando si
Pa’l negrito chiquitito
Pa’l negrito si

Trabajando si
Trabajando si

Duerme duerme negrito
Que tu mama ‘ta en el campo negrito

Negrito … Negrito …

Recop: Atahualpa Yupanqui
90 sec.

Breastfeeding Toddlers

Babies breastfeed, and if they are very lucky, in the West, they are allowed to follow their biological norm and breastfeed into toddlerhood.

There is no ‘natural’ time to fully wean an infant, and thus refuse it your breast. All infants give up breastfeeding themselves, when they have finished with it, and move on. This usually occurs sometime between their 3rd and 4th birthday, but many leave the breast earlier, some leave the breast later.

Culture, and how we live our lives, usually interferes with the infant’s decision, and imposes a ‘set’ time on the activity. This can be from as early as 6 weeks!

Jesus, as part of his own culture, was probably breastfeeding until he was 3 years old, and then there would have been a weaning party, for everyone in the community to celebrate his growing into another phase of his life.

3 years is a common ‘set time’ for many cultures, as it appears to give the child as much support and comfort and brain building milk as it needs, and then returns the mother to fertility for another child once those needs have been met.

The Koran asks that every mother allow their baby to breastfeed for at least 2 years.

The West (where sexual ownership of the female’s body has deemed that breasts are first and foremost sexual, as opposed to how you feed babies) is the most severe in repressing breastfeeding toddlers. Such is the confusion and anxiety about breasts, there are ingrained attitudes that even newborn babies breastfeeding is actually an imposition on the sexual nature of the breast! Some areas of countries such as the USA, demands that male babies are weaned from the breast faster than female ones, as the sexual nature of the breast somehow threatens the father, the mother, and the baby.

This flies in the face of all the scientific, and social, research into the issue. Time and again, the benefits of normal term nursing – allowing the baby to continue to breastfeed as it chooses to – are shown in study after study. With a safe and secure, comforting and loving physical environment from which to view the painful and confusing world that is toddlerhood, the toddler still having access to the breast is more secure, more resilient, more confident and more independent than those forcibly weaned before their time. And still benefittng greatly from the unique nutrition that builds their brains and bones and blood perfectly.

Mothers benefit too, with protection from breast cancer etc, lost to the mother who has weaned, increasing her risk of such illness. Oxytocin from the breastfeeding biology, floods both mother and child with contentment, and helps both overcome the stresses of toddlerhood.

Therefore, the children least likely to benefit from the astounding brain building abilities of human milk, and the ones most in need of developing emotional resilience, are the ‘most privileged’ on the face of the planet. The cultures with so much, often give their infants too little.

The joy you can see on this 2 year old’s face, says it all, really. Her world is overflowing with the milk of human kindness.

The World Health Organisation recommends that all babies are allowed to receive only breastmilk for the first six months of their lives, and then to be allowed to breastfeed for a minimum of two years. Thereafter, breastfeeding should continue for as long as mother and child mutually desire.

The contradictions and confusions in the West are so extreme, that a mother allowing her toddler to breastfeed, can be viewed as abnormal, when she lives in a culture that uses images of breasts, to sell cars. Go figure.

Few mothers start their journey with their breastfeeding babies, with the intent to keep going past 2 years of age. Most fall into just putting off the decision on giving up on something so worthwhile, and so important to their child. Pressure from others can be unbearable and some mothers wean to stop the criticism…

… but mostly, the attitude normal term nursing mothers take is.. if it ain’t broke, it don’t need fixed.

You can post photos of your own breastfeeding toddler, at

and there is a wonderful compilation video of breastfeeding children on:
26 sec.

Is My Baby Getting Enough Milk? 4 of 4

Nibbling, Not Drinking.

Baby 4 is not getting that much milk, as he’s only nibbling on the breast. There is some transfer at the end, when you see the jaw move and then the ‘pause’ as the mouth fills up with milk. Baby 4 may spend a long time at the breast to fill up. There may also be fussing and arching of the back, as baby gets fed up with not much milk.

This is the fourth in a sequence of four, showing how the different skill levels in breastfeeding babies can affect milk transfer.

The full sequence starts on 1 of 4, and can be found on:

and there is a lot of written information in the About This Video section. The written info continues on 2 of 4 on:

This info covers such things as checking how to know if baby has enough milk, what to do if you have a fussy baby, and what growth spurts are.

Good Luck!
27 sec.

Is My Baby Getting Enough Milk? 3 of 4

On/Off Feeding.

Baby 3 is a bit off and on. Some good drinking, but with a rest and relax in between bouts of drinking. This baby will take longer to get full up than either baby 1 or baby 2.

This is the third in a sequence of four, showing how the different skill levels in breastfeeding babies can affect milk transfer.

The full sequence starts on 1 of 4, and can be found on:

and there is a lot of written information in the About This Video section. The written info continues on 2 of 4 on:

This info covers such things as checking how to know if baby has enough milk, what to do if you have a fussy baby, and what growth spurts are.

Good Luck!
38 sec.

Is My Baby Getting Enough Milk? 2 of 4

Quite Good Feeding.

In the second clip, a good swallowing motion (active jaw and muscles) is clearly shown by the baby, and nice pauses where milk is flowing into the mouth. This baby is getting a great deal of milk from the mother. It’s not quite the express pump of baby 1, but baby 2 is clearly getting a lot of milk!

This is the second in a sequence of understanding how to spot your baby is getting enough milk out of your breast. The written info starts on Number 1 on:

But it has been split up to fit! So it now continues here: 🙂

I Know My Baby Is Getting Enough But He’s Latched On For Hours!:

Babies need to breastfeed for more than just food. The act of breastfeeding, which they’ve practised in the womb by swallowing amiotic fluid, comforts and sustains a breastfeeding baby. It is a primal urge, that fills them with a sense of well being and security.

Babies come out of the womb as individuals. Some will have very high sucking needs – they need to be on the breast, comfort sucking, for long periods of time. Deprived of this, they can become fussy and anxious and cry a lot. They often crave lots of skin to skin with the mother, and wearing them in a sling or wrap can help calm them.

Others come out with low comfort sucking needs, and will only attach to the breast for as long as it takes for them to fill up.

Both these scenarios are perfectly normal.

Your baby will have its own sense of how much time it needs at the breast. Mothers who have had several breastfeeding babies, report how different the sucking needs of each of them were. 🙂

Therefore, you can have a baby that’s very efficient at removing breastmilk, and who fills up quickly, but who stays on the breast comfort nibbling, for some time.

It’s important to recognise the difference between a baby getting enough milk, but who needs to breastfeed for longer, and a baby who is not getting enough and is on for hours just to get enough. The info on video 1 of this sequence will help:

as can the support organisations detailed on ‘First Latch’:

Our video ‘Breast Compressions’ can help if you have a baby that isn’t getting enough out:

It is also important to recognise that you cannot overfeed a breastfeeding baby. Your milk adjusts to the baby’s demands and no matter how long your baby breastfeeds, the milk has the right balance.

For more help and tips on babies with high sucking needs (often called fussy babies, or high needs babies):

Many fusssy babies have a very fussy time in the late evening, and a good tip sheet on dealing with this by a technique called cluster feeding, can be found here:

Growth Spurts:

Finally, no breastfeeding baby nurses at a constant rate, all the way through. Babies have growth spurts, where their bodies are literally growing quicker, and they need to feed more to get the raw materials to build their bodies. Growth spurts are not a sign that your milk supply is suddenly dropping, and they are not the same as comfort sucking. Baby is on the breast longer, as it needs more milk.

Growth spurts can be tricky for the mother, as the sudden increase in breastfeeding can upset her own routine and sense of ‘getting on’. It’s important to recognise that this can cause an emotional reaction in the mother who is not prepared for this sudden increase in demand.

Crucially, the mother needs supported in knowing that it’s a totally normal and expected event, and is not the result of her doing something ‘wrong’ and the baby is responding by being clingy! The baby just needs more milk. 🙂
64 sec.

Is My Baby Getting Enough Milk? 1 of 4

Excellent Feeding.

This is a sequence of four babies, running down the scale from

Really Good Drinker 1/4

Quite Good Drinker 2/4

On and Off drinker 3/4

Nibbling, Not Drinking 4/4

How Much Milk Baby Is Getting is a fraught question for many mothers. Especially when well meaning family members, used to pouring vast amounts of formula down their own baby’s throats say… “but how much milk is she getting?” Many a new mother has panicked at that question, and reached for the bottle.

If you are stressed and wondering, take a moment to run through the 4 babies here, and examine their breastfeeding technique.

Do note that this is not a latch issue! All these babies are latched well – but their skill levels on breastfeeding are different.

Baby 1 is an excellent breastfeeder. Look at the jaw and cheek muscles go! Huge amounts of milk are being extracted from this mother’s breasts. Excellent muscle tone is being built by those jaw muscles, and the mouth is being filled with milk fast and furious. This baby will not need to feed for more than a few minutes, before falling off in a Milk Induced Coma! There is an excellent match here between the baby’s internal mouth shape, and the mother’s breast, and a lot of milk is being extracted quickly.

In the second clip, a good swallowing motion (active jaw and muscles) is clearly shown by the baby, and nice pauses where milk is flowing into the mouth. This baby is getting a great deal of milk from the mother. It’s not quite the express pump of baby 1, but baby 2 is clearly getting a lot of milk!

Baby 3 is a bit off and on. Some good drinking, but with a rest and relax in between bouts of drinking. This baby will take longer to get full up than either baby 1 or baby 2.

Baby 4 is not getting that much milk, as he’s only nibbling on the breast. There is some transfer at the end, when you see the jaw move and then the ‘pause’ as the mouth fills up with milk. Baby 4 may spend a long time at the breast to fill up. There may also be fussing and arching of the back, as baby gets fed up with not much milk.

It’s important for any new mother to recognise that babies do the breastfeeding – hence all these different levels of skills, and that babies get better the more they practise. Jaw muscles build up, mouth shape adapts and grows, and baby gets better at it. So don’t panic if your baby is more Baby 4 than Baby 1!

Some hints and tips to help you out:

Basics first – when do you feed the baby?

How do I know baby is getting enough milk?:

If baby is peeing well, and having a pooh at least once a day – all is well. Counting wet nappies/diapers is one way to know everything is okay. No need to panic and weigh the baby! What goes in, must come out!

The info on this section continues on video 2 of the sequence…
33 sec.

Latch On

This superb video was made by Ameda, who make breast pumps. It’s wonderful to see a commercial company make the effort to hire excellent and well qualified people to produce a high quality marketing video that is informative and exhibiting Best Practice. Well Done Ameda!

We can’t reccomend this video highly enough, but although Ameda make it available for file share on the site (presumably they are happy with viral replication – it is a marketing tool after all!) we can’t get it to load properly.

We urge you to go to the site and see all of it:

The site also contains excellent breastfeeding support advice.

The pity of it being somewhat speeded up here, is you can’t get a sense of the wonderful ‘bobbing’ motion that the baby is doing, as it signals to the mother that it would like to breastfeed, as it’s getting hungry.

This ‘bobbing’ is an excellent cue to get baby onto Mum’s breast asap. Learning your baby’s feeding cues will save a lot of anxiety. Baby escalates up to starting to cry and get distressed as hunger kicks in (it’s never felt hungry in the womb, so hunger is a new and powerful feeling for it. Powerful feelings are quite scary for small babies – they haven’t a clue what’s going on.)

A good resource on feeding cues can be found here:

The latch info in the animation is so good, it doesn’t need any comment from us. There are a whole list of latch links that complement this video on “First Latch”:

If you have already got nipple problems because of a shallow latch, there are links to help on “Poor Latch Good Latch”:

The sheer competency of this five day old baby, as it seeks to latch itself to the mother, is just so wonderful to watch! This is another baby that knows exactly what it is doing, and Mum is doing a great job in supporting and helping baby.

However, as we explain in ‘Breast Crawl’, not all babies come out ready and willing to latch like this as modern birth practices can get in the way. If your baby is sleepy, disorganised or refusing the breast, the info and links on ‘Breast Crawl’ will help you:

Before we go – we are only reccomending this video, and the excellent breastfeeding advice on the Ameda site – not their products. None of us have ever used them, so we cannot comment.

Do go to the site, however, and watch this baby find that nipple and self latch! 🙂
107 sec.

Breast Compressions

The breast is made up of soft tissue, with a fine line of milk ducts running over the tisue, and under the skin. They are producing milk constantly, and the act of pressing down gently on the breast, will make the milk flow faster while you press down. When you release, the flow drops back to normal.

This is what your milk ducts look like, and where they are in the breast:

Breast compression, as Dr Jack Newman explains clearly here, can help when you have a struggling baby who is upset milk isn’t coming out fast enough. It’s a way of using the milk production system in the breast, to encourage faster flow just when you need it.

Not every mother will need to use breast compressions, but it is a useful tool in the toolbox. It is important to squeeze down gently, in a massage motion, as opposed to a pinch. Restricting the milk ducts, with too tight a bra, or restrictive closing, or pinching them hard, can cause plugged ducts, which are painful, and can lead to mastitis, an infection.

This is an excellent handout that explains breast compressions:
143 sec.

Poor Latch Good Latch

The huge value in this tiny video is… stop pressing down and poking on your nipple like that! Getting milk out of your breast requires a lot of the breast tissue BEHIND the nipple to be compressed – it’s got nothing to do with the nipple itself, in that sense.

Baby sucking on your nipple, and/or you poking and prodding your nipples and trying to get your gold milk (colostrum) out, may swell up your nipples and prevent the milk coming out at all!

Hand expression will get out milk, and let you get to know your own breasts:…

Sometimes, nipples get swollen from IV fluids in labour, or from too much milk coming in very quickly. A swollen nipple will not let down well. A swollen breast with too much milk in it is called ‘engorgement’ and if this happens to you when you transition from gold to white milk, hand express to get some comfort – or put baby on full time and let baby suck it out!

An excellent technique to use if too swollen, is called Reverse Pressure Softening – scroll down to the bottom of this page:…

Do note that this mother is trickling gold milk (colostrum) and a little trickle like this is all baby needs for the first few days. There is another clip showing white milk being ejected in streams, but so far, we can’t get it past YouTube, for some bizarre reason.

If a baby is sucking on your nipple, and does not have a lot of breast tissue in its mouth – you will be in pain. You may also develop cracks and blisters on the nipple, as it will be being squished and squashed. An excellent video showing you where your nipple should be can be found on:

And a help sheet on nipple pain can be found on:


Be patient – your milk will come. Good Luck on learning hand expression!
12 sec.

Third Latch 3 of 3

A really short clip that shows very clearly the baby’s jaw going up and down, and shows the ‘pause’ as the baby’s mouth fills with milk.

So many mothers, their confidence eroded by others well meaning (and not so well meaning) comments, become paranoid that Baby Isn’t Getting Enough Milk!!!

You wonder how we made it out of the caves, huh?

Proper hydration is vital for the baby, especially in the first few days, whilst you wait for the transmission of your milk from gold milk (colostrum) to white milk. Production is low in the first few days, in order not to flood baby out, and let baby build in both confidence and skill. Constant licking and stimulating of the nipples as it laps up gold milk, will keep baby well hydrated, even if its not latching on yet. It will also build your milk supply wonderfully!

However, as we mention in ‘Breast Crawl’:

modern birth practices mean that some babies come out sleepy and disinterested for the first couple of days. It’s vital that these babies get gold milk from the mother dribbled into their mouths often. If the mother is traumatised from the birth (such as an unwanted caesarian section, a too long labour or a too quick labour) then her milk may be difficult to express and sometimes stress levels can be so high, the mother’s stress prevents ‘letdown’ – thus convincing her she has no milk. In these circumstances, donated human milk should be given to the baby. If there is no donated human milk available (do ask at the hospital – there are human milk banks) and the baby is dehydrating, then formula will have to be given.

Don’t think this means we need formula… if it wasn’t for the need to make huge profits from formula for shareholders (and thus push formula on mothers), there would be enough human milk for such babies.

Many hospitals in the world are ‘formula free’, and they have happy healthy and well hydrated babies in them!

A genuine word of caution here. If you are in the unfortunate position of having to give formula to your newborn, the World Health Organisation states that only pre-mixed UHT liquid formula can be used for the first 8 weeks of life. This is because powdered infant formula is not sterile, as it’s impossible to ensure this in the manufacturing process. About 14% of batches of powdered infant formula have nasty bugs in them, and every now and then, a new born baby dies from infections from the powdered infant formula. It’s not very many, but it is a risk – and as parents you have a right to know about this risk, so you can act accordingly. Full details on how to safely prepare powdered formula can be found on:

Back to the babies! Most babies will be well hydrated by nipple contact in the first few days, but dehydration is serious and if you are worried at all (all new mothers worry about EVERYTHING!) there are a few simple things to look for, such as is baby peeing? These links explain it all for you…

.. but if you are worried – phone someone for help. Don’t wait until the next midwive or doctor’s appointment – phone someone qualified and ask for help. The ‘First Latch’ video has links to organisations who can talk it through with you if you’re panicked enough to wonder, but Not Really Sure!

They’ll also explain that the baby sneezing in the first few days is not a sign that baby is about to drop dead of bubonic plague! We’ve been there… we’ve sat and watched baby breathe all night too! 🙂

But the best sign that all is well when baby is on the breast, is the ‘pause’ you see so clearly in this video. Every pause means baby’s mouth is filling up with Mama’s Magic Milk!

Good Luck
39 sec.

Second Latch 2 of 3

Again, just like in ‘First Latch’ this video is showing excellent practice in lactation support. Mother and baby are both comfortable, Dr Jack Newman is quiet and respectful of them both. No coercion is happening at all, and most importantly, no hands are on the back of baby’s head, trying to force matters. Notice that when the mother trails her nipple across the baby’s top lip, and the baby opens its mouth really wide in response, that the mother and Dr Jack move the baby forward ever so slightly from the supportive position of holding the baby’s shoulders and the base of the neck. Nothing is pushing this baby out of alignment, just the whole body moving forward a quarter inch so that ‘gape’ now has a lot of breast in it.

If you think about it, and put your own hand on the back of your head now and push… what happens? Your head moves down, your mouth closes and your throat is constricted. This is not gong to help you open your mouth really wide and swallow well. 🙂

Baby’s head actually needs to move back and up, not forward and down. The positioning of the baby (presenting the baby to the breast) and the calm and confident way the mother is holding and supporting the baby along her body and on the shoulders and base of the neck, is allowing this baby to ‘gape’ without any stress.

There are more links to this ‘latch’ technique on the ‘First Latch’ video in our library here on YouTube.

But do remember – what works for your baby works for you! 🙂 There is no ‘one way’ to do this. You’ll find your own path with your little one – trust yourself, trust baby!

If you ever see a breastfeeding video (especially on YouTube, where formula manufacturers place videos to lure you to their formula sites) where the baby is having its mouth forced open, or where the baby has a hand on the back of its head, being ‘pushed’ onto the breast – be aware this is not Good Practice – and may ruin your breastfeeding relationship for a while, until baby recovers from being forced.

Dr Jack discusses this so clearly in this video, that the conversation is just as valuable as seeing that powerful little mouth work that breast tissue and get loadsamilk!

What he’s saying, and showing, makes good sense. Mothers need to be confident and supported and relaxed, and babies need to be with their mothers. A good milk supply comes from letting the baby have as much access to the breast as possible in the vital first few weeks. Taking baby off the breast, sticking a dummy or pacifier in its mouth when it cries, scheduling feeds for set times and for set amounts of time, having one bottle of top up formula to keep Grandmother happy… all these things can compromise your milk supply in the first few weeks. So be aware of the effect of such interventions, and use them wisely.

It’s hard being a new Mum, and you often feel you ‘have to get on’ and do other things in those first few weeks. But resting and letting baby breastfeed as much as you can, and getting others to do housework and laundry and bring you nice things to eat…is what ‘support’ is all about! (Not having people saying “He’s not feeding again!?! Why don’t you give him formula is he’s so hungry?” or “Well if you let me bottle feed her, I can take her off your hands and you get some sleep.” Advice like this is a poke in the eye with a blunt stick!)

Here’s some links on how you might manage this juggle, if you don’t think you’re up to saying “No, my job is feeding the baby, and I will sit here and let myself relax!”

Finally, Dr Jack mentions ‘breast compressions’ as a way to get more milk into the baby if either of you are struggling. This link explains it..

but there is a seperate video going into it in detail on:

Good Luck! Remember – you can do this! 🙂
273 sec.

First Latch 1 of 3

This is an excellent video, by the wonderful Dr Jack Newman, showing a classic cross-cradle hold, and a baby latching well.

Notice how gentle and respectful of the baby Dr Newman, and the mother, are. Only two interventions happen – one to pull the baby’s hand gently out of the camera view – so you can see what’s happening, and one very gentle encouraging finger to the chin after latch has happened.

No one is telling this baby she doesn’t know what to do! 🙂 No one is ‘traffic wardening’ the mother, and making her lose confidence. This is good stuff, and if it doesn’t match your own ‘support’ experience, find better support! There a variety of volunteer organisations who will give you this sort of support – do use them! 🙂

This baby is small and quite young. Notice how easily the mother is supporting the baby’s shoulders and neck, and managing to keep the length of the baby’s body snug and secure across her body. This can be an excellent hold for new mothers, but all that’s important is that you and baby are comfortable, and the breastfeeding is working well. As baby gets older, and heavier, Mum and Baby will find different holds that keep them both feeling supported and happy.

The important part of this video is what’s happening at the mouth/nipple exchange. You hear Dr Newman say to wait for the ‘gape’ and then you let baby attach. The point is that quite a lot of breast needs to go into the mouth, for milk to transfer.

Baby having too shallow a latch is a classic way to have sore nipples. If it’s painful – something is wrong!

Incidentally that jaw action you see is one reason breastfeeding contributes so much to the overall development of the baby – that jaw action is working on moving the plates in the baby’s head back into place from the birth canal squish, and is building excellent muscle tone in the jaw and face, helping build up to good chewing and speaking skills.

Is another good resource – don’t make the mistake of thinking the hand in this animation is ‘pushing’, it’s supporting after the event, not leading it.

and, of course…

Good Luck!
104 sec.

Breast Crawl – Initiation of Breastfeeding

This video has been produced by UNICEF to save the lives of babies by making sure they have what they need to begin breastfeeding in the first few moments of life. And what they need is to be placed on their mother, naked skin to naked skin, and left to get on with it.

Do make sure you stay with it until you see the latch happening at the end.

All babies are born to breastfeed, and as you can see, come with the instincts and skills hardwired. Unfortunately, many modern birth practices disrupt this process and prevent it happening. Baby is taken from mother, washed, dressed, and handed around. Well meaning helpers try to push baby onto the breast, or force it to open its mouth before it is ready. Sometimes the baby is trying, and someone will push the back of the baby’s head up onto the breast – would you do what was wanted if someone treated you like that? Drugs from modern births pass into the baby’s bloodstream, and babies can come out sleepy and disorganised. Sometimes it’s a day or two before baby ‘wakes up’ and by that time, damage has been done by pushing the baby and stressing out the mother.

If your baby doesn’t achieve this ‘miracle’ in the first few moments of life, don’t despair! You’re not alone! Many mothers have sleepy and uninterested babies and go on to a happy and successfull breastfeeding relationship.

Protect your milk supply by stimulating your breasts and emptying them regularly, and keep baby naked skin to skin on your chest. Babies can find your breast at any point in the first few weeks, so Don’t Panic!

But it is lovely to see how it can happen, if all the conditions are right. 🙂

There is a lovely clip of it happening in a more ‘Western’ setting, on:

If you are failed by lactation services, or from lack of support, and end up having to use formula, you should know of the risks, and how to minimse them. This video gives the facts and references you’ll need.
368 sec.