What an inspirational milksharing image.
via Emma Kwasnica with the caption,
“Breastfeeding mom, Courtney Jarecki, shares her story of donor milk feeding with an at-breast supplementer via this wonderful photo and caption.
I am heartened to see more and more women speaking out about donor milk and at-the-breast supplementation… and yet I am sad that there is still stigma around this (and BF in general, yo!). Please share this photo and honour Courtney and her kiddo, and ALL the mamas who use another mother’s milk to nourish their children.”
Thank you for sharing that powerful image, Emma. Without you, I would have never seen such a thing, a proud mama nursing in public with an at-breast supplementer.
At first glace I thought this mama had ipod wires in her shirt. But after taking a closer look, I realized those were for nursing! At-breast supplementers, like Madela’s Supplemental Nursing System and the Lact-Aid, are options for breastfeeding with donor milk or formula. Because breastfeeding is more than just about the milk. It is about bonding, sharing that special connection, hormones, and so much more.
What is an at-breast supplementer?
Quite simply, an at-breast supplementer is a feeding tube that is attached to a formula or breast milk filled bottle that allows for supplementary feeding at the breast. This system enables mothers (and fathers too!) to breastfeed baby even though baby is being supplemented. One brand, Lact-Aid has been around for over 40 years and is recommended by doctors, nurses, lactation consultants, oral physical therapists & books on breastfeeding, birth and parenting.
What are the reasons for using an at-breast supplementer?
- Babies need to nurse for security, bonding and company, all the while positive hormonal releases are happening. The at-breast alternative to bottle feeding is an at-breast supplementer.
- An at-breast supplementer is a helpful tool for adoptive mothers to induce lactation.
- For currently lactating mothers that are looking for ways to naturally increase their milk supply without pumping or ingesting teas, herbs or taking prescription medications, an SNS or Lact-Aid can enhance milk production by triggering hormonal changes in mothers because the baby is at the breast suckling.
- Even if the mother has no milk at all, using a supplementer is a wonderful way for the mother and baby to benefit from the bonding experience.
- They are also used to aid in Suck-Training, oral physical therapy for infants.
- Using an at-breast supplementer helps prevent nipple confusion because the baby is nursing at the breast, not on a rubber nipple.
- If a mother needs to maintain or re-establish the breastfeeding bond, a supplementer is a wonderful tool.
According to Dr. Linda Palmer, author of The Baby Bond, when a baby is nurtured by the snuggly warmth of our body, comforted by our familiar scent (pheromones), hearing the beat of our heart and the sound of your voice, our baby’s neurons and hormones program them to desire and flourish in this environment.
And bottle feeding can weaken a baby’s suck reflex and even, unfortunately, lead to early weaning. I want my babies to be at-breast for as long as they need to be, not for me, for them, because that is what I believe is in their best interest. The mother above, Courtney, has breastfed her baby for 16 months using an at-breast supplementer because she knows the importance of nursing from the breast, even if her body cannot produce milk. My own personal breastfeeding goal is two years for my new baby, who just turned one last week, and then weaning when she is ready and not a day before if I can help it.
How does this image make you feel? Have you ever participated in milk sharing or tried an at-breast supplementer?
- Low Milk Supply — At-Breast Supplementers
- Tips on using the Lact-Aid Nursing System (video) - Youtube
- Supplementing with an SNS Kit (video) - Youtube
- Supplemental Nursing System - breastfeeding.com
- Watch it! Donor Milk: The Documentary – Trailer - Paa.la
- Formula or Donated Breast milk? Donated Breast milk FTW - Paa.la
- Got milk? Milk Donors Needed! - Paa.la
Milk Sharing In the News