About the Speaker

Tom Johnston is back after a brief hiatus from the speaker’s circuit with a new specialty in the biology of human lactation.

Tom Johnston is a midwife and lactation consultant. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Nursing at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee and his Masters Degree in Midwifery at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston. He served 27 years in the US Army and retired as the Chief of Midwifery Services for Womack Army Medical Center, the largest Maternal-Child service in the Department of Defense.  Since retiring Tom has spent his time as an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Methodist University where he teaches undergraduate nurses, specializing in Maternal-Child Nursing and Nutrition. Tom is uniquely placed as a man in both Midwifery and Human Lactation and the father of eight breastfed children. He has spent his career advocating for the rights of fathers in the perinatal arena and has spoken on a variety of topics at conferences around the world, most recently for the GOLD Lactation and GOLD Perinatal, but also at several conferences around the country and abroad.  In his written work he routinely addresses fatherhood and the role of the father in the breastfeeding relationship, has advocated for better science in the field of bedsharing and has authored a chapter on the role of the father in breastfeeding for “Breastfeeding in Combat Boots: A survival guide to breastfeeding in the military”.  If you are looking for some good night time reading to help you sleep, you might also want to read his work on Self-Efficacy in the Encyclopedia of Nursing Research or the Clinical aspects of breastfeeding in the Encyclopedia of Clinical Nursing (in print, 2018).

Official Bio for Brochure

Tom Johnston is unique as a midwife and lactation consultant and the father of eight breastfed children.  Recently retired after 27 years in the US Army, he is now an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Methodist University where he teaches, among other things, Maternal-Child Nursing and Nutrition. You may have heard him at a number of conferences at the national level, to include the Association of Woman’s Health and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), the International Lactation Consultant’s Association (ILCA), or perhaps at dozens of other conferences across the country. In his written work he routinely addresses fatherhood and the role of the father in the breastfeeding relationship and has authored a chapter on the role of the father in breastfeeding for “Breastfeeding in Combat Boots: A survival guide to breastfeeding in the military”.

Bio for Introduction

Tom Johnston obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Nursing at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN and his Masters in Midwifery at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, RI (That’s right, midwife….He is also a Lactation Consultant).   He retired from the Army as the Chief of Midwifery Services for Womack Army Medical Center in Fort Bragg NC after 27 years of service. He now uses his unique perspective to instill information and enthusiasm about Maternal-Child nursing to undergraduate nursing students at Methodist University in Fayetteville North Carolina. Tom is an frequent speaker on such topics as the father’s role in breastfeeding, the molecular biology of human lactation, and the Microbiome. He is the author of various publications on breastfeeding, nursing, and self-efficacy, and even has a blog to answer questions called “Sage Homme’s Breastfeeding Blog”




Presentations

The Perinatal Microbiome

Time-frame: 60-90 minutes
CERP: yes

There is much to learn about the perinatal microbiome, What is it? What can it do? What do we do about it? How do our practices in the birth arena affect the long term health of women and their children? This presentation will scratch the surface of this exciting new area of research.

To Sterilize or Swab, That is the question: The effects of cesarean delivery on the neonatal microbiome. (In development for Fall 2016)

Time-frame: 60 minutes
CERP: no

Two emerging practices are at loggerheads in American Obstetrics.  One practice recommends sterilizing the maternal birth canal prior to cesarean delivery in an effort to reduce post-operative infections.  The opposing practice recommends “seeding” the newborn with the maternal birth microbiome by swabbing the mucus membranes with his mother’s birth canal secretions.  This presentation will explore the rationale and consequences of both actions in an effort to understand and perhaps spur future research into the value one or both of these practices.

The Maternal-Newborn Microbiome or The “Oro-boobular” axis: What do we know and what does it mean?

Time-frame: 60 minutes
CERP: yes

Did you know that a mother who breastfeeds her child is more likely to “match” as an organ donor than a mother who does not breastfeed her child? How does that happen?  The answer may lie in the Maternal-Newborn Microbiome, AKA “The Oro-boobular” axis.  The scientific world is exploding with excitement over the discovery of the microbiome. While it appears clear that suckling infant’s intestinal microbiome communicates with the mother’s lactocyte and perhaps beyond, little is known about the effects of this communication in practical terms.  This presentation will review what is known and attempt to explain what it means, both now and in the future.

Preventing the First Cesarean Section

Time-frame: 60
CERP: no

Despite the known risk factors, Cesarean Delivery rates continue to climb in much of the western world.  Yet, the risk of cesarean delivery varies as much as 10 fold from hospital to hospital in America.  It seems clear that individual provider and hospital practices has more to do with cesarean rates than maternal-fetal wellness.  This presentation will discuss practices shown to decrease the risk of cesarean section and will discuss what the Labor and Delivery nurse can do to help prevent cesarean section within their facilities.

Be nice to me, I’m new here: Care uring the Transition to Extra-Uterine Life

Time-frame: 60 minutes
CERP: no

This presentation is aimed at delivery room nursing care. The goal is to encourage nurses to explore what they do to newborns in the name of “safety” and asks them to reflect on how much of that practice is evidence based vs. tribal lore. It attempts to highlight the difference between NRP as it is written and how it is taught and practiced. It presents a brief review of the physiology of transition from 10 weeks gestation to the first days of extra uterine life. It goes on to explore the current state of the evidence regarding well newborn transition. Note: This presentation made its debut at the 2009 AWHONN national convention and has since been requested at several levels. it is not a breastfeeding presentation, but rather a presentation for Delivery room and Newborn Nursery Nurses.

Human Milk Production: Just when you thought you knew

Time-frame: 60 minutes
CERP: yes

“I didn’t make enough milk!” We hear it on a regular basis from heartbroken new mothers.  In fact, this is the number one factor contributing to breastfeeding failure after two weeks of age is a perception of inadequate milk production.  This phenomenon of sudden onset lactation failure is widely accepted as a common occurrence among breastfeeding mothers.  This topic has been the subject of a number of quality studies that have yielded a conflicting mix of responses from primary health care providers and lactation consultants alike. This discussion will attempt to shed light on the very different concepts of “Milk Production” vs. “Milk Synthesis” and will demonstrate how confusion between those two concepts have clouded the study of milk production, promote the fallacy of “insufficient milk production syndrome”, and contribute to the failure of breastfeeding.  This presentation will also attempt to provide a preliminary course of action to begin anew in milk production research and perhaps even provide a framework for helping the new mothers facing the milk supply challenge.

Still Swimming Upstream: Breastfeeding in a Formula feeding world

Time-frame: 60 minutes
CERP: yes

In 1995 Chris Mulford published a timely article on the difficulties faced by breastfeeding mothers in a formula feeding culture.  That article was as accurate then as it is today.  This discussion will focus on continued difficulties faced by breastfeeding mothers in a society that is still decidedly focused on the formula feeding.  We will discuss the concept of “culture” and how it impacts breastfeeding, discuss the routine actions in the hospital that contribute to the formula feeding culture, and identify the prejudices of both society in general and the average American mother-baby unit against breastfeeding.

Iatrogenic Breastfeeding Complications

Time-frame: 60 minutes
CERP:

This presentation discusses the common nursing role types in the hospital and how these character traits (which most nurses recognize either in themselves or their colleagues) lead to many of the most common breastfeeding complications seen in the first months of life. Note: This session is a humorous look at ourselves and those we work with. Most who see this presentation laugh at their own weaknesses and point at colleagues that they see represented in the stories I tell.  This presentation focuses primarily on nurses.

A Father’s Role in Breastfeeding

Time-frame: 60-90 minutes
CERP: yes

Fathers are an undervalued resource in breastfeeding, often ignored or treated with indifference. This presentation highlights the unique role of fathers are the primary breastfeeding coach and the mother’s primary care giver upon discharge from the hospital. It also provides an insight into the male mind and how to talk to fathers. It also covers effective teaching strategies to bring fathers into the breastfeeding relationship.

Jarold (Tom) Johnston CNM, IBCLC


Country: United States of America
Phone number: 910-964-7679
Email: jjohnston@methodist.edu
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Publications

Labor and Delivery in my Pocket: “Fetal Death”

Tom contributed a small section on perinatal loss and bereavement care to the first and second edition of this handy little pocket guide for Labor and Delivery nurses.

New route of Danazol for Endometriosis needs more study

Johnston, JT & Ericson-Owens, D. (2004) “New route of Danazol for Endometriosis needs more study” JNMWH 49(6) p. 546-8

In this article the authors discuss the use of a Danazol loaded IUD tested for the treatment of endometriosis.

On Bed Sharing [Letter]

On Bed Sharing [letter]  JOGNN 37(6), p. 619-21. Nov/Dec

In this letter to the editor the authors discuss a recent study regarding the hazards of bed sharing and attempt to counter arguments that American mothers continue to sleep with their babies despite knowing the risks.  The Authors took issue with the statistics used and the exaggerated risks portrayed in the original published article.

Dads in Breastfeeding (published in Breastfeeding in Combat Boots, 2010)

Published in Robyn Rouche-Paull’s groundbreaking book on Breastfeeding while serving in the US Military, this little piece lays out breastfeeding for new fathers using military friendly language that all Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines can understand.  Perhaps the most popular section is the appropriation of the well known basic rifle marksmanship acronym SPORTS as a troubleshooting mantra to help fathers fix a bad latch.  Mrs. Rouche-Paull has kindly modified that section into a father friendly handout for public use.

breastfeedingincombatboots.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Dads_Breastfeeding_PERSONAL.pdf

Fatherhood

Johnston, J.T. (2013) “Fatherhood”.  Breastfeeding Matters, La Leche League of the United Kingdom.

A brief article written by a father, for fathers in the UK.  This article discusses useful tips that fathers can use to help his wife and child breastfeed successfully.