I've seen a lot of breastfeeding videos, and have helped two hospitals choose videos to use in their breastfeeding classes. And I can say that many breastfeeding videos are outdated, clumsily made, or (this might sound like a funny critique of an educational video) overly pedantic.
So I approached watching BabyBabyOhBaby: Nurturing Your Gorgeous and Growing Baby with Breastfeeding with a little trepidation. But I was far beyond relieved when I watched it. What makes this DVD special?
Simply put, this is the most beautiful educational breastfeeding video I've ever seen.
The clean, minimalist, high definition images are just stunning. The moms and babies are adorable and of mixed ethnic backgrounds, and the narration is modern-sounding. The close-up confessional-style segments of moms telling their stories are honest, intimate, and captivating. The stripped down, white background and clothing allows you to zero in on the mothers and babies, and the filming is so intimate and clear you can almost feel the babies' soft skin. It's big on breastfeeding bliss, but still seems grounded in reality.
Because the wardrobe and furnnishings are very basic (clothes, furniture, and background are all white) and classic, there isn't any danger of the images seeming out of date over time. This is a big problem with other videos - old hairstyles and clothing are very distracting and make the information seem similarly out of date.
When a video is this gorgeous, it's inspirational. Aspirational, even. I can see pregnant moms watching it thinking, "I want that to be me."
I think that this film is representative of a trend toward simplicity in breastfeeding instruction. When I first started teaching classes at our local hospital eight years ago the video seemed interminable. And my class reflected this, too - I tried to cram every last bit of information into a two hour class, and it still felt like I was leaving things out. The class always got good reviews, but I knew that I was bombarding everyone with more information than could really be absorbed.
More and more I see educational materials which approach teaching about breastfeeding by reducing the number of messages. I think it's no coincidence that this is concurrent with the rise in popularity of Laid Back Breastfeeding (Biological Nurturing), and a shift in counseling techniques to an approach which emphasizes mothers' and babies' own instincts and wisdom. As a strongly left-brained person neither of these shifts have been that easy for me, but I know that they are the right direction to be moving in.
But back to the content of this film. This film is up-to-date, covering the breast crawl, laid-back breastfeeding, and baby-led breastfeeding. The topics covered include breast changes, early breastfeeding, positioning, feeding cues, sources of support, partners, working, and weaning. Is every topic covered in a lot of detail? No, and I'm sure that this wasn't the creators' intent. It's the perfect jumping off point for further investigation, whether a mother sees it in a class or support group setting, or on her own.
So, knowing that this film isn't supposed to be encyclopedic, are there any basics left out? There are two things which I think could have used a little more emphasis: feeding frequency and latch. Feeding frequency is addressed indirectly, through a strong discussion of feeding cues, and mention of it taking a lot of hours each day. If a mother took this to heart and followed her baby's feeding cues (assuming a healthy, full term baby), she would most likely end up feeding in the 8-12 times/24 hour range. So is it important to mention the normal range? For some women, I think so. The other issue, latch, could have used some direct discussion. What should it look like? How should it feel? What should a mom do if she's having pain with latch? Even in the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, which in its latest edition takes a similarly "laid back" approach when it comes to positoning, discusses what to look for in a good latch, both in terms of attachment and comfort. And when I talked with Suzanne Colson about this she said that mothers using Laid Back positions still often need to help their babies achieve a good latch.
But these are topics which could easily be covered in more detail in a breastfeeding class, and the trade off for such beautiful production and up-to-date information is one I'd happily make. If I were still teaching breastfeeding classes, this is the video I would show.
A companion DVD, Bonding with your Beautiful and Brilliant Baby through Infant Massage, is similarly gorgeous and inspiring!
*I was provided with a review copy of these DVDs.