Myth: Gadgets Always Interfere
(Formerly "Gadgets, Tools, Scales and Such")
By Coach Smith
There is a vigorous debate about using equipment to "assist" breastfeeding. Some advocate avoiding equipment at all costs; others are very quick to bring out the latest in technological solutions. Here's my philosophy:
Swimmers must compete without equipment. However, they often use a variety of tools during training - fins, hand paddles, pull buoys, etc to improve their technique. This is good coaching - to pick the specific training aid to accomplish improved performance. To do this, the coach must thoroughly analyze the deficit in performance and select a device that will correct the error. Use of the wrong item will not improve performance, and can even magnify the error. Good results begin with thorough knowledge of optimum performance, and a critical thinking process on the part of the coach.
Scales, pumps, supplementers and yes- even bottles and teats and ABM - are tools. They are designed for a specific purpose and work best when they are (1) accurate and effective, and (2) their use is limited to specific situations where other approaches have not worked. There is no substitute for clinical judgment regarding when to use a gadget. Equipment can interfere with the mother-baby relationship, the baby's ability to obtain milk at breast, or the mother's supply if used incorrectly. Before any gadget is used, informed consent should be obtained from mother. Since the end goal is direct breastfeeding, gadgets should be used as a last resort and for the shortest possible duration to reach or return to that goal.
That doesn't mean that one should always "go without." Devices are not inherently evil. It's how they are used - too soon, too often, without a thorough analysis of the problem, without thinking of the consequences, etc. Using the right device at the right time is appropriate use of technology. Throwing a gadget at a problem because someone doesn't want to think through the issues or thinks that always using a gadget is OK is inappropriate. Keep your eyes on the end goal - direct breastfeeding.
Exclusive breastfeeding, like competitive swimming, by definition is "without equipment."
|Top of Page||