In recent years hospitals have made progress in breastfeeding promotion. This is largely due to the work of excellent public health initiatives like the Baby Friendly Initiative.  Today, no one would argue that breastfeeding is the best way to feed babies.  However, aspects of current practice remain unsupported by any research evidence (Colson, 2005a 2005b).

For more than 25 years, we have observed and supported thousands of mothers who appear to enjoy breastfeeding in a variety of acute and community settings.  Appointed as one of the research midwives on the Hawdon, DeRooy and Williams team examining patterns of metabolic adaptation for healthy, moderately preterm infants, Suzanne used biological nurturing to support breastfeeding and formally articulated the strategy as a breastfeeding intervention for an MSc dissertation in midwifery studies (Colson, 2000; Colson, DeRooy and Hawdon, 2003). In 2001, in conjunction with South Bank University, Biological Nurturing was introduced during a midwifery practice development project funded by the Department of Health and carried out in East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust (Dykes, 2004). This project resulted in a peer reviewed nurturing booklet written for mothers (Colson, 2001). To date over 8000 copies of this booklet have been distributed or sold.

Suzanne was awarded a PhD for her research examining the mechanisms of biological nurturing.  A number of neurobehaviours, observed during the metabolic studies, that appeared to lie at the heart of BN, have been described, compared in breast and bottle feeding positions and validated.

Many mothers and health professionals alike will find that biological nurturing is not really such a new approach to breastfeeding…it is rather a ‘back to the future’ strategy supporting mother-knowledge with research evidence and summing up what mothers who love to breastfeed have experienced.

Suzanne Colson

Suzanne Colson PhD, MSc, RM

Dr Suzanne Colson, retired midwife and honorary reader at Canterbury Christ Church University, is first and foremost a mother of 3 breastfed children and co-founder of La Leche League, France. Suzanne’s personal journey of extended breastfeeding for 10 years combined with 40 years of clinical experience supporting mothers and a passion for education provides a unique platform for her to innovate on breastfeeding. Suzanne developed the Biological Nurturing approach and completed her PhD research examining the mechanisms of biological nurturing in 2006.  Working closely with Dr Michel Odent in Pithiviers State hospital in the 1980s provided insight into the impact of environmental conditions on maternal instinctual behaviours.  Practising as an NHS caseload midwife for 30 years, Suzanne was responsible for a French-speaking African refugees and reduced the rate of caesarean section for this vulnerable group from 28% to 12% in one year. Suzanne now lectures widely in online Zoom conferences and teaches a 6-day Biological Nurturing certification workshop in both French and English. Since 2018, over 150 health professionals are certified in Biological Nurturing.

Suzanne Colson

Joelle Colson

Joelle Colson BSc, BA

Joelle is a qualified nurse and worked in the NHS community public health sector where she championed infant feeding. Joelle is passionate about breastfeeding, and has personal experience of breastfeeding her 3 children spanning over 10 years. She became a La Leche League Leader in 2007 and is the director of The Nurturing Project, a small organisation with the purpose of disseminating Biological Nurturing research through conferences, workshops and other events. Joelle is an active member of the COFAM (French Coordination for breastfeeding) whose mission it is this year to promote breastfeeding friendly-workplace.  Joelle organises the Biological Nurturing certification 6-day workshop and teaches together with Suzanne; she also has an independent practice working as an antenatal/postnatal doula and BN lactation consultant.  For an individual consultation with Joelle contact