I am so pleased to welcome you to the Biological Nurturing (BN) web site.  BN, developed from observations of mothers who enjoy breastfeeding, describes the holding and cuddling that most mothers naturally want to do as soon as the baby is born. It is a newly developed approach to breastfeeding underpinned by a strong neurobehavioural theoretical framework.

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). 

People often suggest that breastfeeding is the easiest and most natural way to feed a baby.  However, many mothers disagree, saying that breastfeeding does not feel natural at all; many do not appear to enjoy breastfeeding.  Mothers often say they find breastfeeding difficult. This bad press together with gaps in the evidence base and static, low breastfeeding continuance rates present a strong argument to examine and develop new approaches.

Biological nurturing is one such approach.  For more than 25 years, I 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, I 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.

I have been awarded a PhD for my 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.  Full results should be available soon. 
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.  To do that, I have introduced some new breastfeeding vocabulary, the concept of ‘postnatal lie’ and ‘hormonal complexion’ (Colson, 2005a Colson 2005b). It is expected that the scientific research results examining the mechanisms will turn many of our breastfeeding assumptions on their head offering new ways to look at breastfeeding practices and assessment.

Please stay in touch with me adding comments, suggestions and your own personal experiences with Biological Nurturing.

With best wishes,
Dr. Suzanne Colson.