Birthing A Better World

Roma Norriss: Doula & Breastfeeding Counsellor ~ Bath & Somerset ~ 07919 896 901

General Breastfeeding Info:

This is a really excellent blog on breastfeeding and early parenting, if you search through you will probably find information on most things you’d want to know about. You can also join their facebook group and post questions to be answered quickly I particularly like her message to expectant parents
Also some useful info sheets from renowned breastfeeding expert and paediatrician, Jack Newman

And his videos of babies feeding effectively and not effectively are useful:

Kelly Mom is a great site for all breastfeeding info

Here is the leaflet on alcohol, drugs and medications while breastfeeding (Please also see below for the Drugs in Breastmilk Helpline)


Positioning and Attachment:

If you like the concept of the laid back approach we discussed, there is more info in this great Aussie vid:

Also find more on this website:

For some really good images of babies latching onto the breast in more traditional AND Biological Nurturing ways I would recommend this video if your midwife has not already given you it on Dvd

Breastfeeding twins with some diagrams of positions

The exaggerated latch or “flipple” technique demonstrated by a mother, can be useful for babies who have difficulty achieving a deeper latch


Breastfeeding Challenges:

For mothers with engorgement, a description of the “Reverse pressure softening” technique, which helps make engorged breasts easier for baby to latch onto

BfN (Breastfeeding Network) has some great leaflets, this one on mastitis

This on thrush

And this one to help diagnosis of nipple/breast pain

What the signs of tongue tie might look like

Some info about how “colic” can be related to breastfeeding issues

And this is a great article that clarifies some of the misinformation around “foremilk” and “hindmilk”

This article contains a technique for bottle feeding as a transition to breastfeeding in cases where the baby does not latch, which is not evidence based but may be helpful:



Here is the Which review of different kinds of breast pumps

Also this NHS page, which includes breastmilk storage guidelines

International mother to mother milk sharing network in case you are interested in finding donor milk



This is a useful pdf about calming your crying baby

Here’s a link to some of the current research on sleeping with your baby

And the Unicef research

Great info on carrying your baby in a carrier

Nighttime breastfeeding and mental health



The Unicef breast crawl video:

And another beautiful version:


Kangaroo Mother Care; one mother’s amazing story of how skin to skin saved her premature baby

Interesting blog article on how little we know about the amazingness of breastfeeding

The impact of breastfeeding on a mother’s brain:

And DADS this one is specially for you!:

This is just lovely, makes me cry!


Local Breastfeeding Counsellors (see further below for groups)



National Childbirth Trust (NCT)-
Catherine 01225 317 997 – BA1
Heather 01225 424471 – BA2


La Leche League (LLL)

Mara 01225 339023

Helen 01225 317631

Shannon at


Breastfeeding Support Groups:

Fri 1-3pm Bumps, Babies and Toddlers, Percy Community Centre, New King Street, Bath. term time only.

Tue 1-3pm NCT Baby Cafe at New Oriel Hall, Larkhall, Bath

2nd Tue of each month 10.15-12pm La Leche League meetings at mothers’ homes around Bath. Contact Mara/Helen/Shannon for details (or search Bath La Leche League on facebook)


Bradford on Avon:

Mon 1.30-3pm Bradford On Avon Children’s Centre, Fitzmaurice School Site, Frome Road, Bradford on Avon, BA15 1LE supported by Peer Supporters (mums who have undergone a brief training):



National Childbirth Trust (NCT)-
Jennie 0117 924 9291 – BS7
Toni 01934 642033 – BS22
Ann 0117 9109125 BS 16
Fiona 01454 856025 – BS35
Andrea 01275 851 463 – BS48
Val 01934 832800 – BS49
Marisa 01453 521 009 – GL12


Association of Breastfeeding Mothers (Abm)-
Sandra 0117 902 3025 – BS13
Georgie 0117 377 8163 – BS4
Heidi 01275 393 266 – BS41


La Leche League (LLL)-
Charlie 0117 939 3028 – BS3
Vicky 0117 966 6229 – BS4
April 0117 924 0634 – BS6


Breastfeeding Groups:

Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are welcome at the groups

below. If you are attending a group for the first time you may want to check

that it’s running that day by phoning the contact.


Bristol Babes @ Zion

Zion Community Art Space

Bishopsworth Rd

BS13 7JW

Contact: Vicky

Tel: 07766014749

Friday 1 – 3.00pm

Breastfeeding Counsellor, Peer Supporters and Children’s Centre worker


Bristol Babes @ Hartcliffe

Hartcliffe Children’s Centre,

Hareclive Road, Bristol

BS13 0JW

Contact: Charlie Stokes

Tel: 07920284796

Monday 1 – 2.30pm

Peer Supporters & playworker present


Bristol Babes @ Sea Mills

Sea Mills Children’s Centre

West Parade, Sea Mills

Bristol, BS9 2LA

Contact: Children’s Centre

Tel: 0117 3533520

Fridays 1 – 2.30pm

Peer supporters present, soft play area & garden


Bristol Babes @ Shirehampton

Penpole Residents’ Association

Community Room

60 The Ridge, Shirehampton

Bristol, BS11 0DZ

Contact: Anna Palmer

Tel: 07785977290

Wednesdays 11.30 – 1.30pm

Peer supporters present

Toys/crafts for children


Bristol Babes@ Southmead

Southmead Children’s Centre

Doncaster Rd

Bristol, BS10 5PW

Contact: Sam Hillier-Smith

Tel: 07920283713

Tuesdays 1pm – 3pm

Peer supporters present


Bristol Babes @ Speedwell

Speedwell Nursery School and Children’s Centre

Speedwell Rd, Bristol


Contact: Vikki Poole-Smit

Tel: 0117 9030329

Tuesday 12.30-13.30

Health professional, peer supporter & community nursery nurse present


Bristol Babes @ Whitchurch and Hengrove

Clinic Room

Whitchurch Health Centre

Armada Road, Bristol

BS14 0SU

Contact: Jennie Peacock

Tel: 01275 547031

Tuesdays 11.30am – 1pm

Breastfeeding Counsellor/Health visitor & Peer Supporters present

Siblings always welcome – no crèche


Bristol Babes @ Withywood

Four Acres Children’s Centre

Four Acres Road

Contact: Children’s Centre

Tel: 0117 903 0460

Tuesdays 1pm – 2.30pm

Peer Supporters present, Creche


Barton Hill Breastfeeding Support Group

Wellspring Healthy Living Centre

Beam Street, Bristol


Contact: Health visitors

Tel: 0117 3041448

Tuesdays: 11.30am – 12.30pm

Health visitor present


Bedminster Cherubs

Windmill Hill City Farm

Philip Street,

Bedminster, Bristol


Contact: Heidi Evans

Tel: 01275 393266

Monday 11a.m – 12.30pm

Breastfeeding Counsellor & Peer Supporters present

Closed bank holidays & two weeks at Christmas and Easter


Bishopston Breastfeeding group

Horfield Baptist Church [room 1]

279 Gloucester Rd

[Brynland Ave entrance]

Horfield, Bristol


Contact: Elizabeth Worley

Tel: 0117 924 9774 / 07966 249 201

Friday 10am -12 noon, term time only

Breastfeeding Counsellor and Peer Supporter present


Brentry & Henbury Breastfeeding drop-in

Brentry and Henbury Children’s Centre

Brentry Lane, Bristol

BS10 6RG

Contact: Emma Laird

Tel: 0117 9593800

Wednesday 11.30am – 1pm

Peer Supporters & Children’s Centre workers present


Clifton Breastfeeding Support Group

Hampton House Health Centre

Cotham Hill, Bristol


Contact: Becca Morgan

Telephone: 0117 330 2609

Monday 11am – 1pm

Midwifery support worker


Fishponds Breastfeeding Buddies

Little Hayes Nursery school and Children’s Centre

Frenchay Rd

Downend, Bristol

BS16 2QS

Contact: Debbie Stabbins

Tel: 0117 3532899

Thursday 09.30 – 11am

Peer Supporters present


Knowle Bumps and Babes

Ilminster Avenue Specialist Children’s Centre

Knowle, Bristol


Contact: Rachel Morley

Tel: 0117 903 9781

Wednesday 1 – 2.30pm, all year round

Peer Supporters, Midwifery Support worker, Children’s Centre staff


La Leche League for details of when & where the group is meeting

Contact: Charlie

Tel: Charlie 0117 9393028 or Vicky 0117 9666229

Peer supporters present


Lockleaze The Honeysuckle café

The Blake Centre

Off Brangwyn Grove

Lockleaze, Bristol


Contact: Marie Powell

Tel: 0117 377 2840

Thursdays 10.30am – 12 noon

Peer supporters, Children’s Centre staff present


Redfield Breastfeeding And Peer Support (BAPS)

St George Pre-school

Netham House

Blackswarth Rd

Redfield, Bristol


Contact; Louise Summers

Tel: 07511223466

Wednesdays 1 – 2.30pm, Term time only

Peer Supporter present


St Anne’s BAMBI

St Anne’s Park Children’s Centre

St Anne’s Park,

Lichfield Road, Bristol


Contact: Children’s Centre

Tel: 0117 3773189

Monday 1.30pm – 3.00pm

Midwife, Peer Supporters & Children’s Centre staff present


Upper Horfield Breastfeeding Support Group

Upper Horfield Children’s Centre

Sheridan Rd, Horfield

Bristol, BS7 0PU

Contact: Pam Slater

Tel: 0117 9031281

Mondays 3pm – 4pm

Family support team leader & worker present


Baby Buddies Calne Children’s Centre

Prince Charles Drive

Calne, Wilts

SN11 8PF

Thursdays 10-11.30am



Spring Rise Children’s Centre

01249 464008

Mondays 1-2.45pm

Buttercup Babies

Station Hill Baptist Church

Chippenham SN15 1EG

01249 463040

Wednesdays 10-11.30am

Get in Touch

Cuts, bumps & scrapes

My daughter was playing with a gaggle of kids the other day and they decided it would be fun to all pile into our small sauna. In the scuffle, one of the other kids was closing the door and accidentally caught her finger quite badly. On hearing her shriek, I ran and lifted her out. She was screaming, very distressed and for a while I didn’t know what had happened so I took her to sit down and just held her. I could see she was holding up her finger and that it was squashed and bleeding. She was besides herself with heavy sobs and wailing and I just said simply “Your finger got trapped” as she heaved and tried to tell me the story. I stayed close as she shuddered and shrieked and told fragments of the story and just offered simple observations such as “That really hurts, your finger got caught” and letting her know “I’m with you, I’m so sorry that happened.” After about 10 minutes her crying started to die down and I suggested “Shall we have another look?” She looked again at her finger and once more started bawling. I wanted to help her stay with the feelings of upset so she could release them fully from her system and recover from this mishap. I continued encouraging her to keep looking at the finger and crying more. When children cry after small bumps, the intensity of emotion can often feel disproportionate to the level of injury. We tend to want to appease them with plasters or medicines or stop them crying through reassurance that... read more
Sometimes children seem to be so unreasonable, don’t they? They lose it over the most insignificant of things, such as which coloured cup you give them, or which flavour ice lolly they got. And it’s hard not to find that immensely frustrating when you are doing your best to be kind and help their lives go well. You did everything right and they are having a huge meltdown about nothing. Except, one thing you can guarantee is that it is never about nothing. We sometimes refer to this at Hand in Hand as the ‘broken cookie situation’; you give your child a cookie and the corner has broken. They scream and scream that they wanted a ‘whole one’ and refuse to eat the broken one, even if it’s the last in the pack. We see it that there is actually some wisdom in this. When humans are in optimal emotional health, we make use of the body’s inbuilt, self-mending mechanism; we release hurt, stress and tension through emotional release like laughter, crying and raging or trembling. By adulthood, most of us have inhibited this response after being shushed, or scolded from babyhood when we went into emotional release. We hold back tears, we stifle laughter, we try to stay calm when we are angry. But children tend to have their emotional release mechanism in full working order and make really good use of a small pretext like a broken cookie, to offload some stored up feelings. I recently had a ‘broken cookie’ moment myself and it has given me a greater understanding of how it feels for a child... read more

The rescue we all need sometimes

This scene is the aftermath of deep emotional work. Where all the lights… and eyes, were on me. An experience unparalleled except for in ceremonies where all my people showed up just for me – like our wedding or my beautiful blessingways. I have shared a fair bit on Facebook about how I have recently been going through an intensely emotional time. I have had to face several really hard things this year, culminating in an excruciating situation which triggered two core hurts from childhood. This pain I had spent my whole life avoiding finally found a way out in the shape of a breakdown where I spent four months unable to do much beyond feeling, shaking, crying, raging. I was deeply distressed most of the time, waking each night for several hours distraught, frozen in angst and horror. I was exhausted and out of my mind. My capacity to think has been very much inhibited, as well as my ability to parent or hold space. I have leaned on my community a lot. My listening partners have held me through this with such presence, patience, love and dedication. And somehow through the shame of being so needy, broken and unable to give back and feeling that this was all my own fault and I deserved it, I knew I needed to ask for even more. So I rallied my listening partners and asked if they would be willing to perform what Patty Wipfler has developed as a ‘Parent Rescue Squad’. This is where a parent in crisis summons support through one way extensive listening time. An intervention that... read more

Staylistening at Amma

I just took my kids on a slightly wild adventure to see Amma (the ‘hugging saint’) in London. They managed to hold it together throughout the 5 hour car journey, despite being sprung straight from school without any Special Time to top up connection levels. We scraped them through a quick dinner in a cafe, where they were pretty on the edge. They ADORED the Amma program; running about Alexandra Palace, making friends, playing, eating cake, sitting on the stage near Amma. And this went on for many hours. Until one passed out under a table of blessed water at 3.30am and the other was still going strong. I wondered how much more they could hold the crowds, the excitement, the lack of sleep. At 5.30am our tokens were called for ‘darshan’ (our chance to hug Amma). We moved through the queue before deciding to wake Arte up so that she had some time to acclimatise. Having only slept a couple of hours after staying up so late, she was understandably hysterical when I tried to scoop her sleeping body into my lap. And here it came, the tidal outpouring of emotion I had suspected might be on the cards. She threw herself off my lap, onto the ground and I sat by her as she screamed “I’m NOT going!” “You don’t want to go up” I validated and let her know she didn’t need to do anything she didn’t want to. Only she was still upset. “Get away from me! Leave me alone! Go AWAY!” screamed my fiesty 5 year old over and over again. I stayed close,... read more

The job of the Birthkeepers

“The job of the Birthkeepers is to pave the way for the Earthkeepers to come through. Get hooked up to the Earth Mother, connect with your intuition and trust it” Robin Lim Last weekend I returned from Findhorn, to where there was an unusual exodus of birthkeepers for the Healthy Birth Healthy Earth Conference. I had long yearned to visit this fairy founded enigma and once I got beyond the odd appearance of the village with its tarmac road and 70s bungalows, I fell in love with it. The energy was SO bright and I have never felt the unseen realms so strongly in a place. For additional magic factor there were dolphins, sunsets over the hot tub, enchanted gardens where pixies stole my shoe, shooting stars like cartoon rockets and one night, a freak appearance of phosphorescence in the bay. The conference was beautifully organised and held impeccably so that we built deep emotional safety and a collaborative vibe that allowed us all to ‘own it’ – a vital model for the new birthing paradigm. We were saturated with the generous presence of the elders of this field. True luminaries such as Michel Odent, Binnie A Dansby, Ray Castellino, Robie Davis Floyd, Elena Tonnetti-Vladimirova and Robin Grille. And also doulas and lay midwives, who brought indigenous wisdom learned from birthing women and passed down through generations. I was most blown away by Robin Lim and found myself shivering or welling up with her every word and gesture. This incredible woman has set up free midwifery care for women in Ubud, Acheh and in disaster zones and trains 7000 midwives a year.... read more

Healing is messy

Healing is messy. Sometimes it looks like chocolate coconut water on a plate, having snorted it out of your mouth and nose. I’ve not been OK at all recently, (which probably signifies being more OK than I’ve ever been). Ive lost my drive, run aground. In short I’m having a disproportionate reaction to a heartbreak, which is triggering the early trauma of not being met. Coincidentally, trauma they are working on my brain to release daily with the neurofeedback this month. Last weekend I wept and laughed hysterically for four hours. Thankfully two of my best women were with me and knew exactly how to keep me crying; one of the benefits of having trained everyone around me to listen really well. At one point I started speaking nonsense that I really believed at the time. “I shouldn’t be allowed to live in this house, they should keep me in one of those ‘safe houses’ for special people. I should have a warning sign on me” “What would that say” urged my sister “Keep upright. Handle with care.” I wailed. And then I pissed myself laughing and remembered all the times where being horizontal with a certain person recently has got me into this mess. The relevance of being kept upright on loving skin as a baby rather than horizontal in an incubator was not lost on me either. It was an epic release. Snotty tissues piled up. My tearstained tshirt became a beautiful piece of art that my friend Alice dubbed ‘Rainfall on heartache’. We continued with our ritual Sunday pancakes until someone said the words ‘fragile friends’... read more

Help your child prepare for school

We’re really lucky that our daughter is getting the opportunity to start processing her feelings about starting Reception in September each time we drop her brother off at the school. Last week she started crying as we were leaving his classroom under the pretext of wanting me to pick her up. I was unhurried and relaxed in the warm sun and felt able to Staylisten. “I’m not going to pick you up Sweetheart, you can walk just fine.” She wailed that she couldn’t walk, her feet were cold, she needed me to carry her. I gave her my full focus and warmth and said simple things like “You wanted me to carry you.” I was worried the noise might disturb the classroom, so I scooped her into a corner of the playground and sat by her as she flailed and screamed on the ground. She was still crying about her feet being cold. Then she said quietly “Anyway, the teachers in my class aren’t nice.” I love that she was able to now work on the real upset. I responded that it is a big school with lots of new children and teachers and every time I said that it allowed her to sob heartily. She has been really excited and positive about starting this school so I know that these were feelings of fear moving through. She was able to offload all her doubt about not knowing where to go and not knowing the other kids. Then as the feelings died down she needed another pretext to keep offloading about. She became fixated with the play equipment that... read more

When you fall apart you know you’re in the right place

Here’s my daughter getting the Embercombe after party started. Rock N Roll kiddo. We just got back from an inspirational family camp there called ‘Grow the Grownups.’ I returned my kids to their dad filthy, covered in bites, scratches, blisters and bruises, itching, exhausted, sun-kissed and with matted hair, but with their hearts and imaginations swollen by an epic tsunami of love, friendship and connection. Sign of a good week I say. I realise I wasn’t quite prepared for what transpired, having naively anticipated a relaxing, gentle week of play and connection with my kids. I blogged here about the last time I took my kids away for a week and they delivered a textbook version of what we call ‘Spoiled Outing Syndrome.’ This is where you have a special outing or trip with children, lavish them with attention and they respond by screaming the place down. What is really happening is that when you have time to really be present and unhurried with your child, their brain senses the extra emotional safety available and makes use of it to offload feelings about times in their life where things have been harder. The body is a clever self-mending organism, which likes to dump out old hurts and recover its optimal ability to function. Except this time it was me who had the Spoiled Outing Syndrome. I totally melted down for the first couple of days. Finally after holding so much together in my family and for others week after week, I had reached a community of willing supporters, many of whom were highly skilled in listening. At first I... read more

Why does my kid lose it when we are having the loveliest time?

Hi from the beautiful sun drenched Algarve, where I have made an impromptu winter escape with my two kids. They are having a delightful time, splashing in rock pools, running about my aunt’s gorgeous villa, loving each other and… crying a LOT! This afternoon after a sweet morning of Special Time we set out for another adventure at the much adored local beach. Except my daughter did not set out; she stood naked outside the front door refusing to wear clothes, get into her buggy or walk with us. “I’m cold, I’m cold, I won’t go to the beach” she wailed on repeat. I listened “I hear you, I’m sorry you don’t like our plan right now.” And I listened. And about 40 minutes went by, by which point her brother was running out of patience. Now she was howling “I want a different Tshirt” and I was reminding her that the one on offer was just fine. “I’m dying of boredom, I don’t even want to go anymore” now my son was sobbing too. I was fairly under-resourced and getting fed up by this point and vented to no-one in particular “I’m just trying to take you guys for a picnic on the beach, nothing horrible ya know!” And then the penny dropped. Spoiled Outing Syndrome. That is the technical term at Hand in Hand Parenting for this kind of phenomenon where you are having a lovely time and your kid loses it for no apparent reason. And sure enough, the wailing about the Tshirt progressed into a quiet “If Daddy were here, you could take Zephyr to... read more

Why African babies REALLY don’t cry… and why Western ones might need to!

*******This is a response to a previous article by a Kenyan author. I appreciate that Africa is a vast and diverse continent and that it is not appropriate to generalise. By using the term ‘African babies’ I am referencing and responding to Claire Niala’s description of parenting practices in Kenya.******* I read the original article ‘Why African Babies Don’t Cry’ some years ago and loved it. I even told folks about this article as a Breastfeeding Counsellor and had it linked on my website for some time. Yes! I thought, all babies need is for us to respond to them. And they do undoubtedly need that. There is still a very predominant cultural throwback to the Victorian era when it comes to parenting, which does not encourage responding to babies’ needs for fear of making them too dependent. This has thankfully been debunked by developments in recent neuroscience, however the paradigm shift will take some time. So I’m glad that someone is fighting the corner for babies. And, what I’ve discovered more recently is that quite likely, our babies DO need to cry sometimes. Now just to be clear, let me define exactly what I mean by this. Ideally, just like ‘African babies’, babies from anywhere else would get fed and held and their toileting needs responded to before they even need to cry. However, ONLY when these needs are all met it may be totally justified and even beneficial if they still cry. *** Edited to add – some babies may be crying due to undiagnosed medical conditions and these of course need to be addressed. *** Crying... read more