Biological Nurturing®Laid-Back or "Natural" Breastfeeding

Research By Suzanne ColsonPh.D, RM, RGN, BA, MSc 

While breastfeeding initiation rates continue to rise; early breastfeeding cessation rates at 3 through 12 months remain stagnant and well below the AAP, Healthy People 2010 and 2020, World Health Organization and UNICEF recommendation of exclusive breast-feeding/breastmilk for the first 6 months and continued breastfeeding for 12 to 24 months and beyond. 

Mothers are often encouraged to swaddle their babies 
from birth and keep them in the bedside box unless they are actively feeding. This practice assumes that the continuity 
of maternal nutrition (via the placenta) ends at birth and separates
mothers from their newborns, even when they are in the same room. 

New research provides evidence that an approach to breastfeeding, that proponents 
have termed "biological nurturing
®", stimulates reflexive feeding behaviors in the newborn and mother alike. These synchronized reflexes support both effective, pain-free latch 
and ingestion of milk". (Early Human Development, S. Colson, S. D., Meek, J. H., & Hawdon, J. M. (2008). 

When mothers and babies start off breastfeeding using biological nurturing
® and "natural", laid-back [semi-reclined] breastfeeding positions from the start, babies easily adapt to more traditional upright positions and are able to maintain good latch and milk transfer. Mothers benefit by feeling more empowered, confident and competent. 

~ On your upper right, you see newborns breastfeeding while the mother is in a natural, laid-back or semi-reclined position. Below is the mother of a five week old using the laid-back principle but feeding her baby while comfortably sitting upright.~

So, what is biological nurturing
It is ~ 
  • Mother-baby positions and interactions that release essential hormones and instinctive feeding behaviors 
  • A method that does not have to be “taught” 
  • Mother-baby instinctive behaviors  that aid latch and sustain milk transfer 
  • An aid in the early metabolic adaptation of the baby 
  • More than 'just' skin-to-skin contact   at the time of birth 
Using  biological nurturing
®, mothers neither sit up-right nor do they lie on their sides or flat on their back.

To start breastfeeding, mother is semi-reclined and fully supported in 
a laid-back position that she finds comfortable and sustainable. Then she places her baby on top of her body so that her baby’s head is near her breast. In other words, the mother makes her breast available. The baby will be on his/her tummy at the same incline as the mother. In this position, a baby’s 
innate, primitive feeding reflexes will be stimulated and assisted by gravity. 

Biological nurturing
®/laid-back breast-feeding is a non-prescriptive, easy to do method for mothers and babies that easily evolve into breastfeeding. This has come to be called "Natural" breastfeeding. There is nothing for the mother to “learn” or remember because most mothers don’t “attach” the baby to the breast. If given the opportunity, most babies self attach and self attachment has been shown to work better in reducing the incidence of sore nipples.

All this can rapidly build confidence in the mother. A confident, empowered mother that finds enjoyment in breastfeeding will breastfeed longer

Biological nurturing®/laid-back 
breast- feeding encourages and allows mothers and babies to do what they instinctively know how to do in comfortable, sustainable positions that enhance and promote hormonal bonding, attachment and ease of breastfeeding.  Biological nurturing®/laid-back breastfeeding
introduces the concept of nurturing and enjoyment. 

Supporting mothering behaviors that increase pleasure with breastfeeding will help extend breastfeeding duration and improve long term health in both mother and baby.

In practical as well as biological terms the nutritional, developmental and emotional needs of the newborn infant are met through suckling. (McNabb and Colson, 2000) 

As early as 1954, Grantly Dick-Reed summarized maternal biological capacity to meet neonatal need. He claimed that breastfeeding satisfies neonatal needs for warmth, security and food. These claims have always made good common sense. Research findings now support his common sense findings.

Biological nurturing
®/laid-back breastfeeding is a "back to the future" strategy that builds upon previous observations and research of Reed, 1954; Winnicott, 1964; Montagu, 1971; Pryor, 1973; Righard, 1990; Colson, 2000 and others.

Biological nurturing®/laid-back breast-feeding can help parents explore more traditional nurturing styles and experience the joys of exclusive breastfeeding from birth.                                                                                                                                      

Laid-Back/Natural Breastfeeding Pictures

Various laid-back or natural positions

Newborn self attachment with laid-back 
or semi-reclined position

Laid-back or semi-reclined breastfeeding 
works beautifully with twins!

Biological Nurturing® 


Biological Nurturing® is simply keeping your baby close to you. 
Dads can do this as well as Moms.

Watch a video here.

Read an excellent article here.

Please see Dr Suzanne Colson’s new book:


Another excellent article can be 

Once breastfeeding is           going well, 
please consider donating 
some of your precious milk 

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