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):



For an up to date list check out



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

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

The longing epidemic

I sit here watching YouTube clips of Jamie Catto, musician, producer and leader of inspirational, spiritual workshops. He’s talking about feeling intense pressure on your chest, pain across your solar plexus and the benefit of noticing these interesting sensations. I’m feeling them. I feel a weight pressing down on my lungs, a sharp pain in my heart and a strangling sensation around my throat. Emotionally, I feel a confused amalgamation of anxiety and nauseating longing. As I allow it to expand, it gets intense and I sit back and watch with curiosity and affection. The feelings arising in me are actually in response to Catto himself, the intensity of which has come and gone for some weeks, since I met him. I feel like the kid, Kenny in South Park, who vomits every time he sees the girl he likes. My Somatic Experiencing therapist, Bevis Nathan, has tasked me with watching Jamie Catto and allowing the sensations. Although it would be easy to get confused; Jamie is a smoking-hot creative genius, wise teacher, loving coach, glorious embodiment of entrancing masculinity, dedicated single dad and actual live rockstar, I’m not taking this infatuation too seriously. I’m aware that this is a projection of my early longing for one parent or both. Longing is a feeling I realise I know well. And as I reacquaint myself with it, I notice it everywhere. In lyrics of songs, artists expose themselves as stalkers and I realise I’m not alone. Billboards advertise to that longing, promising to numb or distract from the borehole in our hearts. Why is that sense of longing such an... read more

Love tickles, knee squeezes and licks

While I’d consider us as a fairly loved up, snuggly, nuzzly clan, the truth is I’ve had to actively force myself to be physically affectionate with my kids. Not because I wouldn’t want to show them affection, but because it wasn’t wired in my brain under Mothering 1.0. I’ve had to actually train myself to kiss them goodbye each time I go out. Children need to feel connected to us as much as they need air. Affection is like a beautiful thread that strings the connected moments of a day together. I don’t know when I started using love tickles, but they are a sweet way to say “I’m right here” particularly if I’m driving. I usually just slip my hand into my child’s lap and that’s the code to say “I love you”. Their part of the code is to tickle my hand. It feels warm and fuzzy. Or let me know they are feeling off track by whacking my hand, which is fine too. Other little check-ins between chores or separations might be hugs or nuzzles, knee squeezes or running my fingers through their hair. My kids never want to be touched if they are feeling upset, so I back off if they resist my touch. We do lots of kisses and little licks in our house too. I’m really grateful to my husband for injecting abundant use of the words “love you” into our family; something that was rarely said in mine. And I think we need to make the effort to connect physically even when our children grow beyond the sweet intimacy of the early... read more

Ecstatic Birth is not Hypnobirthing

I often get asked; Ecstatic Birth, is that like hypnobirthing? No, not really from what I can tell. The emphasis with hypnobirthing seems to be on minimalising the intensity of birth. Instead of contractions, we’ll call them waves or surges. We won’t mention the words pain or fear, but instead focus on the positive. But my experience in hypnobirthing is limited to having heard a few tapes and doing a fair amount of plain old hypnosis. I may have this completely wrong and if that is the case, I’d love to hear from any practitioners/mothers who can enlighten me. Throughout pregnancy and particularly when a woman enters the altered state of labour, releasing hormones, endorphins and even the psychedelic chemical DMT, any underlying fears and negative beliefs can start to manifest in the environment around her. If she has been avoiding these fears by focusing only on what is positive and affirming, she may get railroaded by them. Ecstatic Birth is about addressing fear at the root cause, (which is the impact of her own birth and the beliefs she has taken on about birth and life). Women who prepare ecstatically, using Binnie Dansby’s approach, look forward to birth as an opportunity to experience their life energy in full technicolour. Some crazy folks invest a lot in getting a rush from paragliding, base jumping or mountain climbing. Here we have this amazing opportunity for exhilaration and empowerment available to us in a normal family event. More importantly, it is an opportunity for profound and fast-track healing of our core wounds that stem from the way we were welcomed to this world. Hypnobirthing seems to be more about... read more

Your kid can recover from traumatic times

Dan Siegel, in his wonderful book, Parenting From The Inside Out, outlines research that suggests a child’s attachment status can actually be predicted by how coherent their parents’ autobiographical narratives are. Our stories reflect how well we have made sense of our lives and this directly impacts on our ability to parent responsively. I know personally from spending many hours using listening partnerships to make sense of some of the hard things in my life, that the process is transformative. I feel lighter, more authentic, more playful. I experience greater intimacy and uncontrollable belly laughs several times a day! Siegel suggests helping children heal their experiences too, by telling them their story. I had been waiting for the opportunity to do this with my 7-year- old. This morning we were off on an adventure, just the two of us. He was in the back of the car playing with Lego vehicles and one of them represented me. They fought and he said to my vehicle, “Aw, you broke my heart”. “Did I?” I asked. “Nah…” he said. Now was my moment; he was calm and connected and was captive to the car journey ahead. I took a deep breath. “I might’ve broken your heart at some points in your life,” I said casually. “Really?” he was intrigued. So I told him his story. How when he was a baby he had two very devoted parents who were right there with him and helped him with everything he needed. But when he was a toddler Daddy was confused about whether he loved Mummy or a different lady and became unsure if he wanted to... read more

How to be your own guardian angel

  I have discovered a superpower and I’m going to share so you can be a superhero too. I’ve discovered that by just being with whatever is going on in my body, I am more likely to remain “in charge”. Last night, I was staying with a friend in Devon. As I snuggled down in bed I experienced the familiar meltdown my body goes into when it comes into contact with feather bedding. I noticed my throat closing, my ears becoming unbearably itchy and cascades of mucous filling my nose. I often have a pretty extreme reaction to feathers, dust or cats (my lips and eyes swell, I start wheezing, my head explodes with a thousand scratchy critters attacking me from the inside out), but this time I did something different. I tapped my chest soothingly and spoke to my body “Hey body, it’s OK, you are just reacting to feathers, you’re going to be alright, this is NOT an emergency, just fall into a deep sleep and relax, you’ll be fine”. And guess what… the symptoms eased off and I slept pretty well! How awesome is that? Bodies are remarkably obedient (I discovered this once when I told my 2 year old sternly to STOP bleeding and sure enough the gory pumping action ceased instantly). Another triumphant moment was when I got uncontrollably triggered by my son attacking his sister. I wanted to whack him, but somehow managed to whisper to myself like a seraphim through the sound of blood pounding in my ears “It’s not an emergency, you’re flooded, you need space, keep the children safe”. I closed... read more

What if you spoke to yourself the way you speak to your kid?

I was walking up a long, beautiful hill in the wilderness today, with my reluctant 3 year old in tow. She was shivering and taking a few little steps at a time. About halfway up the hill she started screeching “I’m too tired” and “I can’t walk” over and over.   When the black clouds opened and spewed hail into the pounding winds, I held her frozen little hand and she huddled under my long coat . Although part of me shared her concerns about how I’d get a weary, icy Lausbub up the hill, what I said was things like “I know, the top looks so far away…You feel like you can’t go on… You are doing so well… You’ll make it… Just one step at a time… Look how far you’ve already come”. And suddenly, listening to her words of doubt screaming on repeat, I felt like I was hearing my own voice. The 3 year old in me that feels “I can’t do it” or “I’ll never get there” about pretty much anything long or hard that I do. And it struck me… what if I spoke to myself with such calm, patience and reassuring authority? I’ve previously been far more likely to agree with my inner doubting 3 year old, or worse, lay on heavy criticism. When I imagine how ineffective/damaging it would be to speak to my daughter like that, it pains me to think how I’ve done that to myself for so many years. My mother was doing her absolute best, but didn’t have much capacity to encourage me like that. Unfortunately her rather... read more

7 Tried and Tested Mastitis Remedies That Worked for Me

7 Tried and Tested Mastitis Remedies That Worked for Me Few breastfeeding challenges are more sudden or painful than mastitis. Unfortunately, mastitis and I go way back. I had two tongue-tied babies, both of whom had trouble latching properly, and I endured several sprees of recurrent mastitis. I can remember being held down, delirious with fever, screaming in pain, by three women who latched my baby for me and kept him feeding to try to get the blockage out. I tried everything to cure mastitis, from drugs to home remedies. Here’s what I learned and the solutions that worked for me. What Causes Mastitis? Mastitis is an inflammation caused by a blocked milk duct. It’s characterised by a red patch on the breast, breast pain and flu-like symptoms. Your milk can get backed up for various reason: Your baby’s latch could be ineffective, so it doesn’t clear all the milk. You could go a prolonged period between feeds due to separation of mother and baby, initiating routine feeds, or sudden breast refusal or weaning. One of your milk ducts could be compressed by too-tight clothing or underwired bras. If the mastitis is related to latching issues, then these need to be addressed first. Sometimes ‘laid back’ positions can help you achieve a deeper latch. If you have consistent issues latching, get support from a Breastfeeding Counsellor for ideas and to rule out an underlying cause such as tongue tie. If you have an older baby, you may just need to pay extra attention when latching, particularly if they are teething or going through a developmental leap. But sometimes, a mastitis case has a deeper cause. Often, it’s a physical expression of an underlying emotion. Mothers... read more