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The Bio-Energetics of Breast-Feeding
The text of the booklet posted below is also included as a chapter in my Orgonomic Midwifery - A Short Textbook. This publication, ISBN 978-0-9574850-1-3, is now available. You can order it via our Artificers of Fraud PayPal page. Just request the title in the accompanying message option. Cost £10:00 plus (second class) postage of £1:50.
Orgone-Therapeutic Breast-Feeding Support
A site-visitor in the US has contacted me for help with a breast-feeding difficulty and I am helping her as best I can at a distance. If there is one mother out there with a problem who is interested in support from a bio-energetic point of view, maybe there are others. So I am now offering breast-feeding support to anyone who contacts C O R E. Please see Breast-Feeding Support, if this interests you.
Sensing the Orgone while Nursing Your Baby
Readers who browse round our site regularly may have noticed mention on the News Page and the Spiral Cultures page of the discussion on the BBC Radio 3 website of the tingles that people feel when listening to very moving music. Many breast-feeding mothers will know what these feel like and have felt them while feeding their babies. These are another example of orgonotic streamings. A few mothers on the NHS maternity wards where I used to work confided to me, often quite shyly, even embarassed by the experience sometimes, that they experienced the most gorgeously pleasurable sensations while feeding their baby. One lady told me that she felt these tinglings in her feet. People in orgone therapy experience similar feelings as their armouring breaks down. I remember feeling them during my very first session with the Norwegian orgone therapist, Ola Raknes. (4. 8. 14.)
Breast-Feeding Festival in Manchester, August 2014
C O R E was hoping to have a stall at this event and to contribute to it, since the bio-energetics of breast-feeding is an important topic new to most people in the field of breast-feeding. Our polite and informative e-mail explaining what we have to offer and who we are, with a link to the breast-feeding pages on this website, has received no reply. This is the predicament of orgonomy in the UK - censorship wherever we turn. Breast-feeding mothers and their babies must be protected from these people! (8. 4. 14.)
There is to be a breast-feeding festival in Manchester in August, 2014. C O R E hopes to be contributing. Watch this space for details of dates, venue, etc. The same info will be posted on our events and news pages, as soon as it is available. (19. 3. 14.)
New YouTube Video from Brazil Touches on Baby's Orgonotic Bond with Mother
A new video on YouTube made by our colleagues in Brazil mentions the baby's orgonotic bond with his/her mother as the baby's first 'sexual experience'. This is a good summary of Reich's discoveries and teachings on sexuality and emotion and the common divorce between the two, brought about by muscular armouring. Here's the link - http://youtu.be/OPucxo-R70E . The video has English sub-titles. (29. 12. 13.)
Human Milk from GM Cows?
The latest atrocity to be devised by the unholy marriage of marketing and mechanistic science is the production of human milk from genetically modified cattle! I bumped into this by accident on YouTube while looking at videos of human milk posted by our friend and supporter in Cyprus, Christos Pechlivanis, who alerts me to so many important things. At the end of the video of his wife's milk up came the usual collection of related videos and there were two amongst them showing how GM cows have been persuaded to produce human milk. According to one of the videos, the people developing this 'product' expect it to be on sale within about three years. Is there anything more stupid than slogging away in lab and factory in an effort to produce industrially something that humans can make perfectly well without any help from science? Doubtless mothers buying this 'product' will think they are breast-feeding their babies by giving it them, unknowingly denying them the crucial part of breast-feeding, the bio-energetic contact with their mother, something whose existence is denied by mechanistic science. Mechanistic science has reduced 'breast-feeding' to the chemical contents of the milk. (15. 7. 13.)
Bio-Energetic Vitality of Mother's Milk vis-a-vis Bottle-Milk
A recent visitor to C O R E who is feeing a baby has offered to donate milk samples for this research project and it looks like we will now be able to move ahead with this important research. (Watch this space.) (23. 3. 14.)
A few years ago, before C O R E had filming facilities and very high magnification, I submitted samples of mother's milk and bottle-milk ('formula') to the Reich blood test. As that test demonstrates the orgonotic vitality of a subject's red blood cells, it seemed that it might be revealing to try it with breast-milk and bottle-milk, to measure, if possible, their relative bio-energetic vitality. Breast-milk is also a blood product, and is only a thin layer of cells away from the mother's blood circulation. As I have been asked to give a talk on the RBTs in Italy next October, I would like to repeat these investigations here in Preston and film the results, so that I can show them in Italy. To do that I need some samples, please. If anyone reading this lives in or near Preston and is feeding a baby at the moment and is willing to provide samples of milk, can you please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org ? Thanks. This is an important research project. Please see the bottom end of the Reich Blood Tests page for more information. (4. 1. 13.)
The Bio-Energetics of Breast-Feeding
The text has now been posted in just about legible format. My apologies for the strange appearance of the footnotes. This is one.com's wonderful software doing its worst, yet again. I can't increase the size of the font, carried over from the paper version of the booklet, typed in Word, and won't even try to change the footnotes numbers from roman numerals to arabic ones, which they are in the original version, for fear I might lose the lot, if I tried that. This is another example of the endless problems C O R E has with our website, all caused by our lack of competent help in that area. I, PJ, a computer-illiterate, severely handicapped in this realm, have to stumble from one crisis to another with our website and cope as best I can. I won't even waste time asking again for help in the field. Computers? Give me a cantankerous baby with no sucking reflex whose mother wants to breast-feed him and is lactating poorly any day. All problems that are solvable with experience and ingenuity, unlike computer ones.
As the result of some random coincidences, breast-feeding is becoming topical, at least in my own private on-line world. I recently received a request to sign an on-line petition from Baby-Milk Action against the activities of Nestle in the Philippines, where they are trying to undermine the government's strongly protective policies on breast-feeding and the marketing of substitutes for mother's milk.
This led me to look at BMA's website and I noticed that there has been an on-line conversation between members of Netmums and Mike Brady of BMA. I looked that conversation up. He was accused of making mothers who bottle-feed their babies feel guilty. He did not bat away that one, but denied trying to make anyone feel guilty. It is an old and illegitinate ploy in argument to blame your opponent for the bad feelings you are having because of your own actions. ('How do you think that makes me feel?') The arguments about breast-feeding debate endlessly the chemical properties of 'formula' versus those of mother's milk. There is little mention of the more and more common habit of bottle-feeding babies with expressed mother's milk. This assumes that the only desirable qualities of mother's milk are its chemical ones and ignores the need of the baby for bio-energetic contact with his/her mother. This primary need of the young infant is ignored and denied in our culture and paediatric medicine would ridicule it if it were ever raised in a serious debate. The habit fits, of course, perfectly, the western custom of forcing mothers economically to work outside the home and to be separated from their babies at an early age and, doubtless stems from economic pressures on mothers.
Thanks to our friend in Greece, Maria Andreoulaki for sending these photos of a close friend feeding her babies. I am sorry about the poor quality page lay-out. That is a mixture of my poor computer graphics ability and the limited one.com software. It has a life of its own
and I just cannot get it to do what I want it to do. But it seems better to have these pictures posted than not to have them. The software insists on the textbox and I cannot get rid of it. Many thanks to Maria's friend and her babies. I know I am courting disaster with now two textboxes. (I have just added Elena's comments, sent to me by Maria, 13. 6. 12.) These do not move when the text above expands and other web pages on C O R E's site have often ended up with text across pictures with both illegible. And I don't realise this as the only way of finding out how a page looks is to visit the site from outside as if you were surfing! Absolutely daft. Later this summer someone is visiting to help with the website and we hope to set it up in Word Press, if he can teach me how to manage it. If you are visiting this page and find a confused mess of text and pictures, please let me know at email@example.com Thank you. PS Well, exactly as I feared, the text box containing Elena's words about her happy experience of feeding all her three babies ended up over the next paragraph below, an illegible mess, so I have had to remove them. I just give up on this moronic, insane software. I have been appealing for computer help for five years now and still am struggling with this ridiculous website on my own with no PC skills to speak of. If you find the site has gone suddenly, it's because one.com has pushed me over the brink and I have wiped the lot.
Apologies for the peculiar state of the references in the text below. When I copy the text of a booklet to this site, the software always does this to the references. I have so little grasp of how the sytem works that I daren't try to change them back to the original condition, for fear that I may lose the lot. I am sure intelligent, persistent readers will be able to work out what goes where. If you can't, I can send you the complete text on line. PJ. (PS April, 2017: the text of this booklet is included in C O R E's recent publication, Orgonomic Midwifery - an Introductory Textbook.)
The Bio-Energetics of Breast-Feeding
Introduction and Explanations
The subject of this essay is so unknown in this country and so strange to most people’s way of thinking that I need to explain a few basics before we get to the meat of the matter. If you care about the needs of new-born babies and their long-term welfare please read on and give the arguments a chance.
Bio-energetics is a less exact term for what the founder of this science, Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957), called orgonomy, the study of the orgone. Orgone was Reich’s own coining for the bio-energy that he discovered in Norway in the later nineteen-thirties.[i] Before he made the actual discovery and started using the name orgone he knew he was on the track of such an energy and often referred to it as bio-energy. He uses this term frequently at the end of his scientific biography, The Function of the Orgasm.[ii] I have used it in the title of this booklet, as I imagine it will mean a little more to readers than orgone. The actual words are irrelevant. The scientific concepts and discoveries and their significance for new-born babies and their mothers are the crux of the matter under discussion here. Reich’s discovery of the life-energy is ignored and denied by conventional science and medicine and it rarely gets a serious hearing in the UK. His work is less known here than possibly in any other European or westernised country. I do not wish to go into the details of this discovery or the demonstrations that confirm its existence and effects. Readers who wish to find out more about Reich’s discoveries can read summaries in C O R E’s other booklets[iii] or, better still, read Reich’s own writings, which are available now.[iv]
In practice, although this discovery is almost unknown here, most readers, except dyed-in-the-wool mechanists, will readily be able to recognise many of the things that I am writing about here. Orgonomy simply confirms scientifically what many people, especially the mothers of new-born babies, already know intuitively.
I shall cite a few common experiences that can be explained as the movement of our bio-energy within our bodies. One commonly referred to all the time is the tingle that we often experience when we hear music that moves us deeply. Some of us will feel this when we see someone we love, especially after a separation, for example the sight of that person stepping off a train, or coming through the arrival doors at an airport. If our own bio-energy is mobile enough, we may feel the same sort of movement within when caressed by our partner or at the sight or touch of anything that we find particularly beautiful or moving. This could be a smiling, happy baby that we know well, a stranger’s open smile of contact, the waves on a beach, reading an especially effective and moving poem, the sight of a first swallow in the spring, or looking at the rising sun through the doors of our tent on a camping holiday.[v]
It is quite obvious that small children, before their armouring solidifies and they forget the experience of their bio-energy in motion, often feel it moving. They frequently say things that indirectly reveal this. One wonderful example that I was lucky enough to witness some years ago was a little girl’s response to the sight of a jellyfish pulsating in the clear waters of Oban harbour. She was screaming with delight and jumping up and down, as if she were dancing to music. (The pulsating wave-like movements of a jellyfish as its corona expands and contracts is very similar to human breathing. Reich used to get his patients to make what he called the jellfish movement to remobilise their breathing, which had become restricted by their armouring.[vi]) Both are examples of orgonotic pulsation. See below for an explanation of this term.
What moves us will depend on our personal history and interests. Common to all these experiences will be the movement of energy within. This sensation of movement within was what led Reich to his discovery. His patients during their therapy with him often spoke of a sensation of ‘something moving.’[vii] He wanted to know what this ‘something moving’ was. The returning sensation of movement was one of the effects of the new psycho-therapeutic method that he was developing at this time.[viii] He found that he could also observe this movement in the most primitive organisms in nature, amoebae.[ix] The movement, the expansion and contraction that he observed, is a basic function throughout nature.[x] Now if it occurs in adult humans and in the simplest living organisms, it is going to occur in new-born babies and new-born babies will be able to feel this movement of energy within.
What right have I to speak so strongly on this subject? I have been a serious student of orgonomy for over 40 years now. I worked for fifteen years as an NHS midwife. Helping new mothers to breast-feed their babies was an everyday part of my work. I saw the many difficulties many mothers experience in the early days. I have many women friends who have nursed their infants for long periods, much longer than the few weeks that are common nowadays. To orgonomists the influences that our surrounding culture has on parents’ abilities to satisfy their children’s basic needs are important. We are aware of them and see how hostile so many of these influences are to those who wish to satisfy their children’s primary needs. Society is not organised round the needs of mothers and babies. Mothers feeding their babies in public often get abused and insulted. Not for nothing has the Scottish parliament felt it necessary to pass a law protecting a mother’s right to feed her baby out in the world.
I have done a great deal of orgone therapy with young infants and seen with my own eyes and felt with my own fingertips the damaging effects that results when babies are denied this vital early physical contact with their mothers.[xi] I have done this therapeutic work with babies openly before the eyes of many other people and I and these witnesses have seen the effects of muscular armouring in infants at a very early age. I am happy to demonstrate this work to anyone seriously interested in these questions.
The Bio-Energetics of Emotional Contact
I have already hinted at the mutuality of the sensation we often feel when two people’s energies excite each other. Bio-energy is the medium of mutual contact and excitation. The bio-energy of an individual can be excited on its own in certain conditions, but mutual excitation clearly excites bio-energies more effectively. When the bio-energies of two people touch and merge we have that beautiful experience of complete emotional contact with another being. Alas, this experience is fairly rare now and to many people, I am sure, quite unknown. It does not occur easily in a noisy world full of distractions and artificial stimulations. If people lose the capacity to experience this deep contact that in the absence of muscular armouring needs so little stimulation to occur, they will need massive, synthetic stimulation to feel any response to anything.
Muscular armouring, the formation of permanently tightened muscles, interferes with the natural movement of a person’s bio-energy and may in severe cases make them unable to feel its movement at all.[xii] Such people will ridicule anyone who claims to feel these sensations of movement and will write this essay off as complete rubbish. (Many such people will be found within the world of conventional science and medicine, unfortunately.) The armouring will have formed in early childhood to protect the child from the pain of frustrated primary needs.[xiii] This will in the short term help the child in that he will not feel the pain of these unsatisfied needs at the time, but it will also have a bad effect on his capacity to feel and to make contact with other human beings.[xiv]
Yet again, though the idea of muscular armouring may seem strange and new to many readers, we all use expressions that imply an awareness of the process of armouring and its effects. We describe some people as hard-hearted, hard-headed, hard-bitten, cold-hearted, heartless, or dry-eyed. We talk of someone glazing over, when they cut off the feeling in their eyes, or stomaching something unpleasant. We also, thank goodness, notice the absence of armouring and its effects. We refer to certain people as warm-hearted, soft-hearted, to an exciting atmosphere between people as pulsating, to a naïve person as a simple soul. We talk of having a soft spot for someone, a vulnerable, unarmoured place within.
Emotional contact has a strongly expansive effect on physiology. It tends to mobilise the parasympathetic side of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ease with which a woman’s let-down reflex occurs depends on this influence. One woman who attended one of my baby-therapy workshops in Berlin was amazed by this effect. She had not breast-fed her baby of two or so for at least six months. She repeated at home the movements that I had demonstrated during the workshop with her toddler, who soon fell asleep. Soon after she had a shower and found that she was lactating again. Recently I heard a woman who has not breast-fed for more than two years describe how she felt her let-down reflex and the accompanying sensations starting when someone else’s bottle-fed baby started rooting towards her breasts while she was cuddling him.
The Bio-Energetic Bond between Mother and Baby
After saying all the above, it seems pointless to explain what the bio-energetic bond is between mother and baby, but I shall, because I know from the hard experience of giving talks on orgonomy in many different places that readers or listeners do not make these, to me, obvious connections. When two animal orgone energy fields touch we get this beautiful sense of contact where words are unnecessary and we are in complete touch with what the other is thinking and feeling. We are so used to more mental, conscious modes of contact in our culture that this more ‘primitive’ sense of contact is almost ignored and barely acknowledged by most people. It is almost the only mode of contact that the new-born baby is capable of. It is a devastating situation for the infant to find himself in, that his main way of making contact with others is a foreign language to them, a predicament in which he speaks and the world is deaf.
But if the mother speaks his language, (and later on, of course, other carers), then he is in heaven. Life is now perfect. The slightest movement or sound, and she is there for him, responding and giving. This communication can only occur if there is enough skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby. Breast-feeding automatically provides this contact without anyone having to even think about it. It also brings into contact two highly charged organs, the mouth and the nipple/breast. The bio-energetic contact between mother and baby at the breast was first described by Reich in The Cancer Biopathy, originally published in 1948, and, mercifully, still in print.[xv] As far as I know, he is the only observer to describe this contact and to point out its importance for the new-born infant.
Two highly-charged beings experience a strong mutual attraction and move towards each other. The baby moves decisively and urgently towards the breast, and, if the mother is not too severely armoured, her nipple moves towards the infant, erecting vigorously, that is, reaches out towards the infant. Alas, because of the presence of armouring, or possibly the depressing effects of the bad experience of birth, few mothers’ nipples do erect in this way, and not many babies show this decisive movement towards the breast. Yet again, this situation is one in which the bio-energetic movement and attraction is tacitly acknowledged by those helping new mothers to breast-feed. We talk of babies who ‘jump on’. The new-born baby, supposedly incapable of almost any voluntary directed movement, in the right circumstances, can make this complex, active, and motivated movement. We never see a baby jump on a bottle and teat in the same excited way. Babies in a bio-energetically contracted state feel no urge towards the breast. This lack of response from the baby is an extremely dispiriting experience for a new mother and possibly the most difficult of breast-feeding problems to deal with. It would be a great deal easier to help mothers and babies in this unfortunate predicament, if the baby’s bio-energetic state were acknowledged and made a vital part of care in labour and after.
The new-born baby needs this mutual excitation to maintain her capacity for expansion in the early weeks and months of her life.[xvi] No-one who has observed many babies at the breast can deny the enormous power of the infant’s drive to embrace the breast with his mouth and the complete bliss that he expresses as he falls asleep, replete, at the breast, completely relaxed in his mother’s arms. It is not difficult to imagine that a baby who experiences this deep satisfaction again and again and feels that it will reliably be there whenever he needs it is going to grow up with a deeply trusting feeling about life, that life is alright and will give him what he needs when he needs it.
Neither is it difficult to imagine that a baby who never experiences this high level of bio-energetic excitation and satisfaction, something that is his biological birthright, will feel a deep sense of wrongness about life, that there is something missing, though he is not quite sure what. The truth of the matter is that only a mother and this bio-energetic contact with the mother can give this satisfaction, which is every baby’s birthright. It is also true that the few mothers who attempt to give their babies this satisfaction often find it onerous and difficult, surrounded as they are by a world hostile towards breast-feeding and the satisfaction of infants’ primary needs. Our society expends great energies to produce completely secondary and unimportant pseudo-satisfactions for children, such as junk-food, junk-drinks, and electronically magic gadgets but does nothing to encourage, and in fact does much to prevent, the satisfaction of these deep primary needs. Without the secondary desires created by the thwarting of the infant’s primary needs, there would be no market for these pseudo-satisfactions.
Breast-Feeding Today – Attitudes and Trends
Although a great deal of energy is expended in NHS propaganda for breast-feeding, breast-feeding rates stay obstinately low in this country. The level of commitment to breast-feeding that I am talking about in this booklet and which babies need from their mothers, if they are not to form armouring against the pain caused by the frustration of their birthright, is in most cases, a long way away from the possible and achievable at present.
In the discussion of ‘to breast-feed or not to breast-feed’ that we see in baby-care books and the information handed out to expectant mothers by the NHS the two ways of feeding are compared side by side as if they are two consumer products and the infant’s need for bio-energetic contact with his mother is never even mentioned. It is, of course, unknown and unacknowledged in conventional medicine and baby-care. This view of mother’s milk as a product rather than breast-feeding as a contactful relationship, makes it easy for some women to decide to express their milk and to feed it, or get others to feed it, to her baby in a bottle. This, at a stroke, instantly deprives the baby of his bio-energetic contact with his mother.I have not done a statistical survey, but I get a strong impression from my work in the NHS that this way of feeding is becoming more and more popular. It fits conveniently the economically enforced separation of mothers and babies and the desire or need of many mothers to go back to work as soon as possible. Many woman cite plans for an early return to work as a good reason for not breast-feeding at all. In the local Indian community in Preston that used to have a very traditional culture, with all mothers staying at home and breast-feeding without question, more and more woman are now working outside the home and bottle-feeding from the start.
All these tendencies mean that breast-feeding and the satisfaction of infants’ needs for bio-energetic contact with their mothers is threatened more than ever before.
Orgonotic Pulsation and Biopathies – the Psycho-Physiology of Lactation and the Let-Down Reflex
Breast-feeding is an example of what Reich named orgonoticpulsation[xvii] and its success depends on the mother’s and baby’s mutual capacity for this pulsation. By pulsation, in orgonomy, we mean the build up of bio-energetic excitation in an organ or organism and the consequent discharge. Reich first discovered the function of pulsation in human sexuality, but soon came to realise that this occurs all the time throughout the organism and even in an organism as simple as an amoeba when it divides into two daughter organisms. He realised that orgonotic pulsation, that is pulsation driven by the charge and discharge of orgone energy, is the life function per se.[xviii]
In breast-feeding we see pulsation within the breast. If she is not too armoured the mother’s nipple erects and reaches out towards her baby. As her let-down reflex occurs the smooth muscles in the milk ducts contract to expel her milk or colostrum.[xix]* Sometimes a woman’s let-down reflex is so strong that she expels milk even before the baby is on the breast.The baby, if the feeding is bio-energetically healthy and occurring in conditions of high mutual excitation, discharges her excitation by means of an oral orgasm.[xx] This is rare in our culture, possibly because not many nursing couples are bio-energetically alive enough. The baby’s oral orgasm is ignored in most writing on breast-feeding.+ It is certainly not going to occur if the baby’s experience of being born has been traumatic and exhausting and his mother’s experience of giving birth has been distressing and unrewarding. Many difficulties in breast-feeding start at this point, when both mother and baby are too exhausted, with very low bio-energy levels, and cannot reach out towards each other in the way that breast-feeding needs.
The baby also discharges energy downwards by means of swallowing and the pulsation of the digestive tract, that is by peristalsis, a process that occurs on and off all the time and which is stimulated by feeding. Babies frequently urinate or defecate while feeding. This is what we would expect to happen as the pulsation of the digestive tract and the bladder is stimulated by the excitation of feeding. The bio-energetically highly charged mother’s milk or colostrum is going to stimulate this process much more actively than bio-energetically dead artificial feed. This is suggested by the fact that very premature babies who are fed their mothers’ milk by tube are less likely to develop necrotising entero-colitis than babies fed artificial feed.[xxi] Mother’s milk seems to assist the establishment of natural pulsation in the digestive tract. This paragraph is speculation based on an understanding of orgonotic pulsation, the functioning of smooth muscle, and the effects of the disruption of a natural energy charge, which must inevitably occur in an organ system which is not even meant to be functioning yet.
We have now come to the crux of the orgonomic understanding of physiology - the autonomic nervous system, and the part smooth muscle plays in it. There is an important table of the autonomic body functions in Reich’s classic work, The Function of the Orgasm.[xxii] The section containing this table is the foundation of what has now become orgonomic medicine. This table is part of Reich’s schema of the ANS and the functional identity of physiology and emotion. This is based on an earlier and not so well-known work, The Bio-electrical Investigation of Sexuality and Anxiety.[xxiii] Reich links the parasympathetic side of the ANS, pleasure/sexuality, and expansion. The sympathetic side of the ANS corresponds to anxiety and contraction. As he puts it, the first corresponds to out of the self towards the world, the latter to away from the world into the self.[xxiv] Readers will, I hope, be able to see how this plays a part in breast-feeding. A chronic inhibition of the capacity to expand and experience pleasure is built into the organism by muscular armouring.[xxv] This interferes with an organ or system’s capacity to expand and contract spontaneously in harmony with the organism’s needs. This interference always affects smooth muscle and organ function in some way or other.[xxvi] Reich named a disturbance in the organism’s capacity for spontaneous pulsation a biopathy. The let-down reflex is a smooth-muscle reflex.[xxvii] Some women experience great difficulty with this reflex. Put plainly, it does not occur. This is no surprise in a culture where girls, as they grow up, must experience very ambivalent, possibly only negative feelings about their breasts. In severe cases this may go so far as to produce in a woman complete disgust at the very thought of nursing a baby on the breast. I have never forgotten one woman who, when I asked her if she was going to breast-feed her baby, hurriedly crossed her arms over her breasts, pulled her shoulders together, and said ‘Yuk!.’
Just as the bio-energetic bond between mother and baby is ignored in our society, the powerfully pleasurable, sexual feelings that some women feel while breast-feeding are also ignored. Very few women ever refer to these feelings and some women who try breast-feeding are obviously put off by these strong sensations. While I am writing this I have just heard a news item on the radio that claimed that only 2% of British women feel satisfied with their bodies. We can be sure that of the 98% who are not satisfied with their bodies a large proportion focus their dissatisfaction on their breasts. This dissatisfaction will, of course, be to do with their appearance, their shape and size, and nothing to do with their capacity to feed a baby happily.
Social Changes Needed to Support the Satisfaction of Babies’ Bio-Energetic Needs
Since, in the early years, at least, mothers are the source of babies’ bio-energetic satisfactions, supporting the satisfaction of these needs boils down to supporting mothers of new-born and young babies. At present the so-called bottom line of any reform or new government policy is its theoretical cost in paper money. If we make the bio-energetic health and vitality of our infants a social priority, the bottom line is infant health: what effect does anything have on the satisfaction of infants’ primary needs and their mothers capacity and freedom to satisfy those needs?
I am under no illusions about this and do not for a moment think that any political party is going to adopt such a protective policy. A change towards a culture where the satisfaction of infants’ primary needs was a priority would be a greater revolution than any advocated by any political group in the past. It will take a long time for it to take place, even if large numbers of people want such a transformation. We can but start with a few small, but important and possible, steps. The most far-reaching steps will be those taken by individuals of their own free will, because they believe that these things are important. A government in a democracy cannot undo such changes by legislation. We have had such a huge social change in the last thirty years: it is now the norm for mothers of children to go out to paid employment outside the home. This did not come about through government legislation. If people decided that the satisfaction of babies’ primary needs was vitally important, they would slowly and, to begin with cumbersomely, start to organise their lives to make this possible. We would see new social institutions, situations and combinations - for example – some women at work with babies or relatives or even friends going to work, so that a mother could stay at home with a baby longer than present maternity leave allows.
Some of these changes will doubtless be quite unforeseen. The social inventiveness of large numbers of individuals is unpredictable and highly ingenious. (It as often undermines positive social change as it produces changes beneficial to life.) Government can support this tendency if it wishes. A much longer period of paid maternity leave, whatever it costs, would take the pressure off new mothers to return to work before they wish to. A longer period of paid paternity leave would also be supportive. (Scandinavian experience shows that a long period of paid maternity leave has a dramatically positive effect on breast-feeding rates.) A large increase in support services for nursing mothers at the beginning of their children’s lives would ensure that breast-feeding was less stressful, easier, and more likely to succeed than it is at present. I believe (I base this belief on my experience of helping new mothers to breast-feed) that many women do not start breast-feeding because they are afraid of failure. It is easier not to take the risk than to start and to fail. John Holt, the libertarian educator, discovered this strategy of avoiding failure in schoolchildren and I think it applies throughout life.[xxviii] People avoid challenging experiences that may lead to failure. If we could guarantee success at breast-feeding to any mother who tried it, this culture of defeat and fearfulness would soon dwindle. Even now with midwives overworked and mothers receiving far less support than they need, many women manage to breast-feed happily in the end in the face of great difficulties. With patience and commitment almost all feeding difficulties solve themselves.
This would still leave a small number of women who do not wish to nurse their baby under any circumstances as they find the close contact and the sensations of nursing disgusting. This is, of course, one of the effects of armouring. It could possibly be alleviated by counselling and short-term orgone therapeutic advice and support. Obviously there will be some women who just do not want to feed their babies and we will have to accept that. I imagine this number would get smaller and smaller as the joys and satisfactions of nursing became better known and breast-feeding became culturally easier. Women who have grown up in cultures where all mothers nurse in public without thinking about it already know how to feed a baby even before they have one of their own. I have met quite a few such women in my NHS work and they all shake their heads in bewilderment at the difficulties that women in our society have feeding their babies. They cannot imagine such an everyday activity being difficult.
Further Information and The Study of Orgonomy
There are, as far as I know, no courses in orgonomy or orgone therapeutics anywhere in this country. C O R E runs occasional days and weekend courses on particular orgonomic topics and breast-feeding would lend itself very well to such a short introduction. We can run one in your own area, if you can gather a handful of students and find a venue. If you feel inspired by this body of knowledge, which can obviously bring great benefits to new mothers and their babies, you may be very disappointed by other people’s lack of response to it. By all means tell the world about it, if you wish. I must warn you that you may be letting yourself in for a bruising disillusionment. Most people feel very threatened by this body of knowledge and do not wish to have anything to do with it.
If you wish to read further, C O R E’s booklets on different orgonomic topics should be helpful. A Student’s Guide to Orgonomic Literature and Resources will give you some leads. Other relevant booklets are Orgone Therapy with Babies and Orgonomic Midwifery. Armouring, Orgone Energy, and Physiology goes into the orgonomic understanding of the ANS, smooth muscle, and muscular armouring in greater detail. (See back cover for a complete list of these booklets.) If you are already a midwife or breast-feeding advisor, a basic knowledge of orgone therapeutics would certainly be useful in your work and some practical experience of orgone therapy would enable you to use it as ‘first aid’ with women and babies experiencing difficulties while breast-feeding. C O R E has for years been trying to set up a training course in orgone therapeutics, but there has not yet been enough interested students to start the course. If you are seriously interested, please contact us. We may be able to get it started one day. There is a first time for everything, even an orgonomy course in the UK.
The many references are pointers to further information as much as evidence for what I am saying. If you have found this essay informative and interesting, I do urge you to follow up some of these references. The books in question will be available from your local library. (If they are not in your local library’s own stock, they can still obtain them for you. You just have to wait a while for them.) C O R E has some second-hand copies available for sale.
Preston, March, 2008, revised September, 2010.
* This reference, Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Professional, is written from a completely orthodox, modern bio-medical point of view. Nevertheless it comes to many of the conclusions that orgonomists have come to over the years. It provides hard, scientific evidence for many of the claims I make here. The authors’ conclusions and recommendations for breast-feeding practice are exactly the same a those given here. This book is an invaluable resource for anyone working to assist breast-feeding mothers and their babies. See endnote references for full bibliographical details.
+ For example it is not mentioned in the work cited above.
[i] Reich W (1983); The Function of the Orgasm, Souvenir Press, London.
[ii] ibid; Chapter IX, From Psychoanalysis to Biogenesis.
[iii] Wilhelm Reich’s Discovery of the Orgone
Demonstrations of the Orgone Energy
Sensing the Orgone
What is Orgone Energy?
[iv] Reich W (1983); The Discovery of the Orgone, volume I, The Function of the Orgasm,
Reich W (1948); The Discovery of the Orgone, volume II, The Cancer Biopathy, Orgone Institute Press, New York. Both these books are now known by their shorter titles, respectively, The Function of the Orgasm and The Cancer Biopathy.
[v] Jones P (2006); Sensing the Orgone, C O R E, Preston.
[vi] Reich W (1969); Character Analysis, page 396-397, Vision Press, London.
[vii] Reich W (1983); op cit, page 271.
[viii] ibid; Chapter VIII, The Orgasm Reflex and the Technique of Character-Analytic Vegeto-Therapy.
[ix] Reich W (1978); The Bion Experiments on the Origin of Life, chapter 1, The Tension-Charge Formula, FSG.
[x] Reich W (1973); The Cancer Biopathy, page 154, Vision Press, London.
[xi] Jones P (1995); Orgone Therapy with Babies, C O R E, Preston.
[xii] Reich W (1969); op cit, page 319.
[xiii] Reich W (1983); Children of the Future, Armouring in a Newborn Infant, pages 89-113, FSG.
[xiv] Reich W (1969); op cit, chapter XIV, Psychic Contact and Vegetative Current, 6. Contactlessness.
[xv] Reich W (1973); op cit, page 384.
[xvi] ibid; pages 384-385.
[xvii] Raknes O (1970); The Orgonomic Concept of Health and Its Social Consequences, in Wilhelm Reich and Orgonomy, Oslo University Press, Oslo.
[xviii] Reich W (1973); op cit, page 154.
[xix] Lawrence R A, Lawrence R M (1999); Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession, page 206, Mosby Inc, St Louis.
[xx] Reich W (1973); op cit, page 385.
[xxi] Lawrence R A and Lawrence RM; op cit, page 460.
[xxii] Reich W (1973); op cit, Chapter VII, The Breakthrough into the Biological Realm, 6. Pleasure (Expansion) and Anxiety (Contraction): Primary antithesis of Vegetative Life.
[xxiii] Reich W (1982); The Bioelectrical Investigation of Sexuality and Anxiety, FSG, New York.
[xxv] Reich W (1983); op cit, Chapter VIII.
[xxvi] ibid, pages 291-292.
[xxvii] Lawrence R A, Lawrence R M; op cit, pages 74 and 923.
[xxviii] Holt J (1984); How Children Fail, Part 2, Fear and Failure, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth. (The second edition, cited here, contains major revisions. If you wish to benefit from John Holt’s profound understanding of children and the effects of the fear of failure on anyone learning anything, please make sure you get this later edition.)
FSG = Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York
Posted June 13th, 2012. Last revised April 22nd, 2017.