Mother's Milk: A Breastfeeding Guide
Produced by Gina Weissman
Videorecording, 30 minutes
Available from the LLLI Online Store.
Reviewed by by Kathleen Whitfield
Los Angeles CA USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 42 No. 2, April-May-June 2006, p. 33.
MOTHER'S MILK: A BREASTFEEDING GUIDE is a wonderful video with an overview of the first weeks of breastfeeding for new mothers and those who work with them. This video is the project of Israeli LLL Leader Gina Weissman, IBCLC, and La Leche League International and is available in DVD or VHS format. Weissman is the producer and author of the video and is one of the on-camera breastfeeding mothers. She presents a great deal of information simply and accurately.
When the video begins, Weissman is sitting casually breastfeeding her baby while her older children play in the background. She describes her own experiences with breastfeeding this way: "I thought I'd put him to the breast and he would feed immediately and things would go smoothly. Things turned out a bit differently, and I had many questions." Weissman speaks in a calm and reassuring manner. She makes it clear that she is going to answer many questions that a new mother may have. Breastfeeding is presented as something that mothers can do if they have appropriate information. Some topics covered are changes in the breasts and engorgement, positioning, latch-on, and some common possible problems with breastfeeding a newborn baby. Lovely original music accompanies the pictures of babies nursing. Although the information presented may seem basic, it is detailed and current.
Particularly strong is the explanation on latching a baby onto the breast. Four nursing positions are demonstrated -- cross-cradle hold, cradle hold, side-lying position, and clutch (football) hold. There is also specific information about the way the baby comes to the breast, and the proper latch-on technique is shown. "Your key to successful breastfeeding is the latch-on," she explains. Then, detailed pictures show how to do it. The video goes beyond the typical "tummy to tummy" reference, to explain and demonstrate about how baby should come at the breast, chin first, "nose to nipple," and how the baby will then take a big mouthful of breast The latch-on technique referred to on page 74 in THE BREASTFEEDING ANSWER BOOK as Diane Wiessinger's "sandwich analogy" is demonstrated. The video shows good latch-ons in slow motion; it also shows what a bad latch-on looks like and talks about the problems with a bad latch-on. Most of the other breastfeeding videos I've seen show only a few close-ups of the baby latching on to the breast. This one has dozens, and the pictures come from many different angles. The images of squirmy infants who are latching on, letting go, and latching on again look much more like the reality of the early days of breastfeeding than neat pictures of swaddled infants happily and effortlessly breastfeeding, which are featured in some breastfeeding videos.
Some viewers might quibble over some of the messages. For example, it seems to present clothing designed for nursing discreetly as a necessity and it recommends that new mothers not sleep in a bra. The way breastfeeding and employment are discussed seems to present separation as expected. But I think those are minor points in an excellent overall package.
One thing that is particularly good in the video is a constant emphasis on the necessity for a mother to find qualified breastfeeding help as soon as what's happening with her baby diverts from the normal course of breastfeeding. The way the video explains certain aspects of breastfeeding, particularly the latch-on technique, is something that Leaders could adopt when they're helping mothers in person or over the phone.
This video would be an excellent resource for La Leche League Group Libraries to loan to pregnant women or to struggling new mothers. Weissman's calming video presence and the fact that mothers can watch this at home while helping their babies latch on makes it a valuable resource. It also would be an excellent gift to give a pregnant friend or relative. It would be suitable to show at a baby fair or at a breastfeeding class for expectant mothers. I also see it as valuable for health care providers. The way Weissman explains and demonstrates techniques provides a wonderful example for Leaders to follow. MOTHER'S MILK: A BREASTFEEDING GUIDE video offers a great resource for Leaders to share with mothers.