This weekend I had the opportunity to join a group of women who were all interested in what I'm interested in, namely; newborns, new mothers, skin-to-skin, and breastfeeding.
Each had their own story to tell, and I shared my baby/mommy carrier with them and got unanimous support! In the last few years that I've been working on Nesting Days, the case for skin-to-skin (S2S) contact and instinctive nursing has become so compelling, that even those most opposed to change are starting to come around. There is now irrefutable evidence that mother's and babies who are put skin-to-skin, especially in the 'golden hour' following birth, and are allowed to latch unassisted, fair far better than babies that are separated from the the mother or are bottle fed or 'taught' to nurse. What I mean by 'taught' is the practice that has become all the rage, where a new mother is instructed in how to get a proper 'latch'. Recent studies have shown that the more 'left brain teaching' that was going on, the less successful the outcome. Left alone, the 'right brain instinct' of both mother and baby did much better. Bottom line, we are made to breastfeed. It is how our species survived, and the instincts will plug in -- if we trust and get out of the way! It is astounding what a newborn can do, and lactation is pretty incredible, too.
Next, lean back and enjoy it, right? I can't tell you how many moms I meet who sit ram-rod straight up, with a 'breast-friend' pillow in some god awful color wrapped around their waist, gripping their babies head is a vice like grip, and holding it up to the nipple for dear life! Oh my dear! Let's start over. I've been helping new mothers 'lean back' when they nurse ever since I heard Suzanne Colson speak several years ago. Suzanne is the author of Laid Back Nursing and is a social anthropologist who has studied nursing in cultures around the world. She found that in almost every culture, other than our Western one, mothers let their babies lie, tummy to tummy with them, with their weight fully supported, to nurse. And what about preemies? For them, skin-to-skin is a key factor in helping mother and baby regain the conditioned instincts that enable them to nurse and bond.
So go S2S, trust your right brian and lean back -- you'll never go back!