Judy Kirkwood

Judy Kirkwood


My Dream: I believe all mothers/fathers and newborns globally should receive appropriate and sustainable lactation support and maternal care. We need to see a longer duration of breastfeeding rates.

Why? This will result in healthy, holistic human beings and the sustainability of the planet.
How? The Best Start Feeding Initiative Programme including the “Shark Latch Technique”.

The Best Start Feeding Initiative is my teaching programme. It is fun, visual and easy to follow. Surely, giving LIVING, IMMUNOLOGICAL brilliant breastmilk to our tiniest members of society should be a priority? Breastmilk is Brain Food and is essential for the healthy development of the human body. Every living cell grows into its best potential from a Breastmilk medium. A mother’s own milk helps each child achieve their “Best Start In Life”
Thankfully now with “Shark Latch “ breastfeeding can be easy, fun and sustainable.

My approach has revolutionized my practice. It gives couples the 101 tools to assist with latching and the 7 Steps are easy to follow.

I believe the process of breastfeeding, the decision to breastfeed and the reasons for many life choices are not black and white. All family units are unique. At Best Start Baby we hope to partner with you and make your parenting journey a great one!

“My Dream is for South Africa to become a breastfeeding nation. It would be a great privilege to assist you in giving your child the best start in life.”

With over twenty-two years of professional experience in South Africa and overseas, Judy Kirkwood can provide you with confidence and peace of mind on your parenting journey. A registered nurse and midwife, Judy is also a Board Certified International Lactation Consultant. She is the developer of the patented breastfeeding techniques “shark latch” and “penguin posture” position. She can provide you with proven, research-based care in an honest, warm and accessible manner.

For new parents, there is often a lack of emotional and practical support in making the shift from being a couple to becoming a family. Many new parents also find it daunting to balance their new responsibilities and return to work. Judy has assisted hundreds of couples through this journey. As a mother of two, she understands the stress new parents may feel about delivery, breastfeeding and the first 6 weeks with their new baby.

Using her hands-on, practical approach, backed by a wealth of experience and professional training, Judy will walk alongside you in a supportive yet respectful manner. All classes and consultations are carried out on a personalised, one-on-one basis, where your real concerns and questions can be dealt with in a safe and open environment. Judy prides herself on providing continuity of care, from pregnancy through to birth and beyond. As her clients will testify, Judy’s highly successful breastfeeding rates are due to her effective pre- and post-birth Specialist Lactation Management plan. She can also provide practical support during your hospital stay, and visit you at home after the birth of your baby.

I grew up in the Eastern Cape South Africa spending many beautiful moments in the sea at Morgan Bay. I have always been a bit of an idealist and love connecting and being with people. I knew I wanted to make the world a better place and decided to be a nurse and study for a nursing degree. I am now able to walk with people in their times of need.

I was privileged to attend the University of Cape Town’s Department of Nursing School. I also worked many shifts at the prestigious Groote Schuur Hospital. It was also during this time that I had the surprise opportunity of meeting our then president, Nelson Mandela. While we shook hands, I too believed, I wanted to create a lasting impact on our beautiful land.

My time working in the UK, travelling in Europe and Australia gave me the lens to look at our expansive world more objectively.

After I returned home to South Africa, I married and the idea of wanting to create a family became a reality. After a miscarriage and then struggling to fall pregnant for a year, we knew we needed to seek assistance from an Infertility Specialist. This was a journey we didn’t expect to take. I soon started to realize that often life is not so black and white and actually more like a beautiful grey. My personal journey of wanting to be a mother was beginning.

I am a qualified midwife and would often shed a tear at all my deliveries. The miracle of life and the human body is a magnificent wonder.

I was therefore disappointed when I was medically advised that a normal vaginal delivery was not recommended for me or my baby. In time, I accepted this decision and was on a complete high when my son was born. He was alive, perfect and with me to hold at last.

I had started my private practice as a Lactation Specialist approximately 2 yrs before my son was born and had worked with thousands of families and neonates since my training days – so I naively thought I would fly with breastfeeding. I was partly wrong.

Matthew was born just before Christmas and the hospital was very busy. Everything seemed to be going okay until it seemed my son was not gaining sufficient weight. I didn’t seem to have enough breastmilk. I consulted with a fellow experienced lactation consultant who advised I needed to give some formula, while still further stimulating with a hospital grade breast pump and breastfeeding as well. I remember feeling exhausted, thinking to myself I was looking after twins with all this work. It definitely helped with my knowledge to understand why I still had to express etc but I then also realized why without a clearer hands-on approach other mothers could really struggle. The first 6 weeks were hard. I felt tired, exhausted, still looked 8 months pregnant and became increasingly anxious about most of the baby care responsibilities sitting with me.

I was diagnosed with postnatal depression and put on medication. Thankfully things improved, the breastfeeding got easier, my son flourished and life carried on. I made the decision I wanted to certify with the Gold Standard International Lactation Consultant’s qualification and emailed Australia. I needed to learn more and become the BEST in my game.

In hindsight, I did not realize that my pre-existing polycystic ovaries could potentially delay and possibly affect my hormones and thus my initial milk supply.

I knew I wanted to help and assist many more first time parents and try to reduce some of the extra stress I went through in the beginning. Things were certainly easier with my daughter and breastfeeding.

As my practice has grown, I have worked hard to try and develop a step by step programme and product to help new family’s on their “Baby Journey”.

I have observed many teaching and knowledge deficit gaps along the way. This has led to my patented Unique and Innovated “Shark Latch Technique”, (Trademark – Shark Latch and the Penguin Posture Position 2017)
I believe that the medical world universally has failed to break- down the process of a “deep latch” at the breast. There also appear to be limited training on the practice and sustainability of breastfeeding and breastmilk, in most medical schools. In my opinion, the nurses, doctors, paediatricians and society at large are not being kept up to date with innovative breastfeeding trends and training and I would like to change this!

With over twenty-two years of professional experience in South Africa and overseas, Judy Kirkwood’s aim is to provide new couples with confidence and peace of mind on their parenting journey. Judy is a warm, passionate and experienced expert who is renowned for providing proven, research-based care in an honest, easy-going and easily accessible manner.

As a registered nurse, midwife and Mental Health Care Specialist, Judy is also a Board-Certified International Lactation Consultant and she is also the developer of the patented breastfeeding techniques: Sharklatch and the Penguin Posture Position (TM).

Judy is a sought-after speaker, interviewee and panel expert and has had a number of articles published in local magazines. She is also available for corporate consultations and training.

Breastfeeding can be quite daunting, especially when there is the perception that it should happen instinctively and easily. In truth, around 80% of women experience difficulties when breastfeeding for the first time. This often results in them giving up and feeling like a failure – when in actual fact, breastfeeding is a SKILL and can be TAUGHT!

As hundreds of new mothers can testify, Judy will provide you with the preparation, techniques and confidence to ensure a smooth beginning for you and your baby. She will also make the process fun and informative, while also helping you feel more confident and relaxed!

Her patented Sharklatch technique is easy-to-grasp and will have you breastfeeding like a pro in under an hour! Happy mom = happy baby!

Why choose Judy?

  • International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC – the global gold standard for healthcare professionals specialising in the clinical management of breastfeeding).
  • Registered South African midwife and nurse.
  • Degree awarded by the University of Cape Town School of Nursing (BNUR UCT).
  • Twenty two years experience, specialising in the health of women and newborns.
  • Professional experience, ranging from neonatal ICU care in London to a midwife and neonatal special care nurse.
  • Consultant to both the private and government sectors.
  • Developer of the patented “shark latch” and “penguin posture” position breastfeeding techniques, an easy 7-step method of deep breast attachment.
  • Corporate – consultant in the corporate space.
  • Founder of the Best-Start Feeding Initiative, to promote breastfeeding across South Africa through mentoring, training and practical techniques
  • Corporate Social Investment (CSI) – At Best Start Baby we fundamentally believe that all families irrespective of their means need support and empowerment. Our Business model is based on the sustainability of a social enterprise.