For starters, BN is laid-back breastfeeding, mothers neither sit up right nor do they lie on their sides or flat on their back. Instead, they are in comfortable semi-reclined positions where every part of their body is supported especially their shoulders and neck. Then they lie their babies on top of their bodies so that babies head is somewhere near the breast. In other words mothers make the breast available. Babies lie prone or on their tummies but their bodies are not flat but tilted up. top
First, we are always telling mothers that they need to be relaxed to breastfeed. Physiologically, this is not the right way round, in fact, to get started you don’t have to be relaxed. Women have breastfed through war and famine. However, relaxation is often the result of breastfeeding. It feels so good to give your milk to your baby.
In BN, mothers are comfortable therefore the body tension that normally follows birth is reduced, so mothers appear more relaxed. That’s why I call BN Laid-back breastfeeding. Being laid-back means low key. Breastfeeding is an activity of daily living. We should all be low key about it.
Second and importantly, for most mothers, there is nothing to learn or to remember. You don’t have to remember which of your body parts is supposed to line up with the baby’s. You don’t have to make sure the baby’s tongue is forward etc. etc. In BN, most mothers don’t attach the baby to the breast so there is no step-by-step fixed system to learn. Most babies self attach.
That’s why I love the ‘on top’ of breastfeeding. When you are on top of something you are often feeling in control and most mothers do not have to attach their babies to the breast although sometimes mothers help. It’s like in every other facet of parenting. You protect your baby or help baby achieve the activities of everyday living as baby’s own system is maturing. This is a great advantage for babies as the BN way may be a proprioceptive activity as they are learning to understand their body in relation to space and differentiate their hand from your breast for example. If they have trouble, (always sucking on their hand for example when they are at the breast), you help, otherwise, they do it themselves.
Self –attachment also seems to work better reducing the incidence of sore nipples. top
Although many mothers want to breastfeed and rates of initiation increased significantly in England for the first time from 2000 to 2005, few mothers succeed. Many wean to the bottle forced to do so by problems. In Britain 11% of mother wean during the first week, 6%, the first postnatal day. The most frequent problem is that they cannot get their baby to latch onto the breast. BN works on reflexes and innate behaviours, if you know how to release the reflex movement, the baby latches and babies latch on even when they are asleep My research results suggest that using BN reduces this early and unnecessary breast weaning. a word about knowing how to release the reflexes is important. BN is aid-back breastfeeding so mothers do not need to hold the baby applying pressure along the baby’s back, head or neck. That means that they have one or both hands free. When mother’s are laid-back, they just naturally release the reflexes so they do not need to learn how to do this. top
4. Should a mother implement this new feeding method by herself? Which health professionals could help her?
Mothers can do BN by themselves, they do not need assistance. However, all new mothers like to talk about their babies and socialize especially when the baby is feeding often. And of course, this is the time that any category of health professional can use to increase the mother’s confidence in her capacity to breastfeed. I call this purposeful conversation. For the mother, it is important to know the cues babies make indicating that they are ready to feed as well as signs that a baby is getting enough. This is where health professionals’ assessment is useful and like any aspect of baby care, the health professional, midwives, health visitors, community nurses doctors have a very important role to play in health promotion and education. top
5. How can we make an association between biological nurturing and the baby reflexes and baby’s neuro-behavioural evaluation?
All healthy babies have the reflexes at birth so that if, during the first day of a baby’s life, during episodes of 2 or 3 hours of BN, you or the mother sees no reflex activity, and baby does not feed, then that would be a reason for an early discussion or perhaps referral to a doctor. You see it is the positional interactions between the laid-back maternal posture and the baby’s body facing, touching and closely applied to the mothers that release the reflexes. Again these reflex movements occur even when the baby is sleeping on the mother in full BN positions. That is why the babies often self-attach when they are in sleep and drowsy behavioural states. top
You can use it for as long as you breastfeed. Remember it is not about lying down it is about sitting back. It is almost a slouching position except you want to have the lower back supported. Of course mothers will still continue to feed upright. There is nothing wrong with that; in fact it’s a great position and especially after the first weeks. However, even after the reflexes are conditioned just sitting back slightly opens the mothers body, her midriff making more space for her baby and making breastfeeding easier. top