#5: HopeTalks with Jo Lockhart, mother and doula, about Supply Line Feeding (a.k.a. At Breast Supplementation)
We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to interview Jo Lockhart, nursing mother, doula, and creator/moderator of the Supply Line Breastfeeding Awareness Project Facebook page. In this interview, Jo shares her early struggles with breastfeeding and how using a supply line (a.k.a. at-breast supplementer) has been a key element in her successful nursing relationships with her two youngest children. Jo is now a pioneer for supply line feeding for mothers with low milk production all over the world. Cry and celebrate along with Jo as she shares her inspirational journey in this monumental podcast episode.
Listen to Jo's interview:
We learned from Jo that a supply line is the term used in Australia for what we in the US call an at-breast supplementer. A supply line, or at-breast supplementer, is simply a container that holds expressed milk or formula with a tiny feeding tube leading from the container to mother's nipple. Supplemental milk or formula is drawn through the tubing and delivered to the baby as she nurses at the breast. Using a supply line allows the baby to be exclusively nourished at the breast, without the need to switch from breast to bottle when mother is not producing enough to meet her baby's needs. This is why it is sometimes fondly referred to as "the external milk duct." Supply line breastfeeding has the further advantage of supporting milk production by increasing the time the breasts are actively stimulated with baby's suckling.
Jo explains that supply line feeding can be done with a commercial device, such as a Lact-Aid or Supplemental Nursing System (SNS)*. These devices work very well for many mothers. But for Jo and other parents, crafting a homemade device also works well. A homemade device is initially inexpensive (feeding tubes must be regularly replaced), and simple to assemble and clean.
*Note: The SNS is manufactured by Medela, a company that violates the World Health Organization'sInternational Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.
The idea of using a supply line can feel uncomfortable to mothers. Jo suggests that we first ask the question, "What makes you uncomfortable about using a supply line?" Is it social? Is it practical? Once we understand a mother's hesitation, we can help support her. Jo has certainly done her part in supporting nursing mothers. Locally, in her hometown of Perth Australia, she openly nurses with a supply line when she participates in playgroups and in public. And online, she embraces mothers with her hugely popular Facebook page where mothers share their photos and stories of supply line breastfeeding. The Facebook page also contains video links, including this video clip showing one way to latch a baby with a supply line.
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We are proud to present a series of podcasts for parents Breastfeeding Outside the Box, where we aim to support the nourishing and nurturing of babies in exceptional families - families who historically have not received the help and support they need and deserve. Our exceptional families include adoptive, intended, and foster families; gender, sexual, and racial minorities; families with special needs babies; parents who have had breast surgery; mothers with IGT or low milk production for other reasons; exclusively pumping mothers; and more.
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Breastfeeding Outside the Box aims to be as inclusive as possible. We are aware that the term "breastfeeding" has limitations: not all of our listeners have breasts and not all of our listeners are feeding at the breast. We are also aware that not all of our listeners identify as mothers. Therefore, we will regularly use the term "nursing" rather than "breastfeeding", and "parent" rather than "mother." While we cannot identify directly with every listener, as adoptive mothers who nursed their babies, Hope and I do understand what it is like to parent outside the box and will make every effort possible to embrace anyone interested in being a part of Breastfeeding Outside the Box. We also know that we are human with our own limitations and biases, and look forward to learning and growing with you. Please let us know how we can make you feel more welcome and supported.
Breastfeeding Outside The Box exists to provide education and information about breastfeeding options for people everywhere. Every effort has been made to provide up to date and accurate information, but this information should never be used to diagnose or treat problems you may be experiencing. Information shared in this episode is not intended to replace medical advice or care from your health care provider, and we encourage you to consult with your personal physician, pediatrician or local IBCLC before making decisions about your care or the care of your baby.