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A letter from Clare Byam-Cook!

Hi Clients readers and friends:

I just received a lovely letter from Clare Byam-Cook which I would like to share with you. For those of you who do not know who Clare is here is a little about her.

Clare Byam-Cook, is a qualified nurse and midwife, but retired from practicing as midwife in 1985. In 1988 she joined Christine Hill, teaching at her private ante-natal classes in London, and for the last 25 years she has specialised in helping mothers resolve feeding problems.

Clare is firmly committed to helping mother’s breastfeed but she does not have rose-coloured glasses! Although breastfeeding is ‘natural’, she believes that it is still a skill that has to be learned and feels that many mothers fail to establish breastfeeding simply because they receive inappropriate or inaccurate advice. Her advice differs from many midwives and lactation consultants because she concentrates on giving advice that she knows will work, rather than following the latest trends and textbook theories.

Over the years she has built up a huge practice, with all clients coming either by word-of-mouth or by doctor or hospital referral. She does not advertise or give out contact details. She was encouraged by her clients to write a book so that more mothers would have access to her advice. She subsequently published What to Expect When You’re Breastfeeding…And What If You Can’t? Followed in 2003 by the visual guide available on DVD, Breastfeeding Without Tears.
For more information on Clare’s books please visit Ebury Publishing

Here is the lovely letter from Clare:

Hi Tizzie,

I am sorry it has taken me so long to e-mail you following our meeting. It was lovely to meet you (and your perfectly behaved son!).

Thank you for sending me your book, which I have only just managed to look at this weekend. I have only got to page 10 but already I think it is the best book ever and I will certainly recommend it to all my mothers. Everything you say makes such sense – no wonder it is a bestseller! I will certainly read it from cover to cover as, even at the age of 55 and having spent the last 25 years helping mothers feed and settle their babies, I know I can learn a lot more from your expertise.

With all the recent fuss over Penelope Leach’s new book, I wish that you had got an equal amount of publicity to explain the damage that is done to both mothers and babies when they are all sleep deprived. Of course, we all agree that babies should not be left to cry for hours on end but I think it is such a shame that Penelope’s views are being interpreted as saying that a baby should never be left to cry, even for five minutes. There is clearly a big difference between a baby who is crying for a reason and a baby who is crying because he needs to go to sleep, but cannot settle himself.

Whenever controlled crying is discussed, it is so often misinterpreted as meaning that the baby should be left to cry for hours on end with no end goal in sight, the implication being that the baby eventually stops crying only because he has learnt that his mother doesn’t love him and is ignoring his distress, rather than realising that he stops crying because he quickly learns to settle himself and get a better night’s sleep. It is also a shame that people like Penelope Leach imply that any book that recommends a routine for a baby is putting the mother’s needs before that of her baby, whereas in fact it is completely the opposite – books such as yours teach mothers that to bring up a baby happily and correctly, they need to put the baby first and make sure that he is having his feed and sleep times when he needs it rather than when it suits the mother.

Luckily many mothers realise that books like yours are absolutely brilliant and good news spreads fast.

Kind regards,


PS I would be happy for you to put any or all of this e-mail up on your website

4 Responses

  1. That was such a lovely email from Clare. A completely relaxed, measured and non-emotive response to what seems to be a very emotional topic of routines and self-settling.

  2. Starting to really get into Tizzie thank you, especially now that I’m finally interviewing for jobs. Travelling a lot – we were in Portugal last week and organising our trip to Iceland next week. Blue Lagoon here I come.
    Thank goodness Mia is a lovely person to travel with, I’m always very grateful at the end of every trip.
    PS: I loved Darragh’s picture in his bath in Italy – you guys must be loving your time and Nathan has finally joined you.
    PPS: Mia now (out of the blue and finally) loves her monkey harness buddy ! so much for lending it to Darragh when she next sees him!!!!! Sorry Darragh, but luckily you are such a great boy you don’t really need it xxx

  3. I love clare she has amazing breastt feeding advice! A lot of my friends have used her DVD and is excellant, really think it made me succeed with breast feeding, definatly recommend it.

  4. Hi Tizzie,
    Love your book and your advise on breastfeeding although my little boy couldnt latch on to my breast as my nipples wer inverted. I tried for the first month but nothing,i also tried expressing but nothing worked. I was so disappointed as i had a;ways wanted to breastfeed.It took us 4 yrs and 1 failed ivf to get our beautiful baby which were so thankful for. Im trying your routine for 7 month olds but not having much look but we’ll keep at it. Must go there he is awake again.
    Thanks hope your tour went well saw you on tv3 in Dublin.
    Karen in Dub

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