The following is a series of one hour talks, originally prepared for "Interchange", a group of Lactation Consultants in Cape Town, for their CERP's. The neuroscience of the newborn brain profoundly impacts our birthing practices, our care of preterm infants, breastfeeding, newborn care in general, and support to mothering and parenting. This course therefore allowed a  deeper and structured explanation of all of this without having to repeat pieces of the underlying neuroscience.  It was originally presented over four Saturdays through a term, but can provide the basis for an intense two day workshop, or better a longer workshop with interspersed practical work.


1)  Perinatal Neuroscience

       Basic neuroscience

       Mammalian birth behaviour

       Human birth behaviour.

2)  Perinatal Separation

       Mammalian separation effects

       Separation neuroscience human infants

       Origins of separation, Place Model

3)  Perinatal Research

       Separation perspective on research

       Separation and autonomic nervous system effects (own work)

       Other research ongoing (prolactin, crying, attachment)

4)  Applied neuroscience:

       Sensory aspects of newborns and NICUs

       Developmental care and NIDCAP  theory

       Details and rationale for skin-to-skin techniques

5)  Practical neuroscience

       Opportunity to experience “applied neuroscience” demonstrations hands-on     
              (incl demonstration light meter and sound meter’’ demonstration positioning, moving and handling,
              demonstration of technique with KangaCarrier, Thari)

6)  Scientific evidence for skin-to-skin contact

       Adaptedness and epigenetics

       Gleanings from literature

7)  Neurobehavioural approach to Breastfeeding:

       Anthropological origins

       Neuroscience based definition of breastfeeding

       Breastfeeding a premature

8)  Human Milk and the Brain:

       Milk as brain food, and the  “better intelligence?” debate

       Milk contents

       Milk Banking, and Human Milk Analyzer

9)  Neurobehavioural Approach to Feeding Frequency

       Evidence on frequency and stomach capacity

       Implications for feeding premature and fullterm babies.

10) Maternal Perinatal Neurobehaviour

       Maternal neurobehaviour at birth (active birth, doula)

       Neuronal plasticity at birth, effects post-partum

       Consequences of disruption.

11) Applied Mothering Neuroscience:

       Practical application of neuroscience

       Promoting parenting skills

       Hierarchy of development

12) Neuroscience, Parenting and Society

       Fathers role in this neuroscience

       Overview of perinatal neuroscience

       Implications for women, infants and society