Increase Breast Milk – Supplemental Nursing System



Supplemental Nursing System

supplemental nursing system

Today, I’m going to be discussing one way to increase breast milk supply.  It is called the Supplemental Nursing System, or SNS, for short.  I have personal experience with using this.  When my baby was four months old, he became uncharacteristically fussy at the breast for early evening feedings.

Looking back, I’m quite sure that it was caused by a supply and demand issue, whereby the early evening feedings had become shorter or less frequent, and so my milk supply went down during that specific time of the day.   My lactation consultant suggested that I use the supplemental nursing.

The Supplemental Nursing System is something that can be used by preemies who are not getting enough milk from the breast due to sucking problems, adoptive moms, or moms who need to reestablish lactation.

What is Supplemental Nursing System

So what exactly is the Supplemental Nursing System, you’re probably wondering?   It is a method whereby you hang a bottle around your neck (inside of which can be expressed breast milk or formula), and two little plastic  tubes come down from the bottle and you tape one tube onto each nipple. Then when you latch your baby onto the breast, his/her suckling stimulates milk production so that your baby will get some breast milk and some of the supplement.

I think that the first days of using the Supplemental Nursing System, my son was mostly getting formula as I could not feel the usual let-down reflex.   The way I knew that I was starting to produce and increase breast milk supply was that I once again had the sensation of let-down.  After a few weeks, we were able to stop use of the SNS and revert back to full breastfeeding as my milk supply had once again increased.

Controlling the milk flow

At first I must say it was hard as I was unable to control the flow of the milk and this led to overfeeding the baby.It is important to regulate the speed of the supplement flow according to your baby’s need.

A slow flow might not work well with underweight babies because they use a lot  of energy  while sucking hence they give up easily and this might lead to loss of weight.Additionally, a fast flow might be too much as in my case.


When to use SNS

You might be wondering when is the right time to practise SNS. Well,there are various factors that might lead to use of supplemental nursing system these include:

  • A mother with low breast milk supply
  • An adopted baby and you would like to give a breastfeeding experience
  • Encouraging a baby latch after being bottlefed
  • The tubes can be used to encourage sucking exercises especially with preterm babie

Pros of Supplemental Nursing

  • Encourage milk letdown
  • Creates a bond between mother and baby
  • Reduces nipple confusion in babies
  • Baby associates feeling full with the mother’s breast hence baby desires to breastfeed
  • Eliminate baby’s stress with milk flow if the mother cannot produce enough
  • Baby gets a grasp of breastfeeding art

Cons of Supplemental Nursing

  • Cleaning the tubes thoroughly might be hard
  • Might be a challenge before you get the hang of using it
  • Homemade systems might leak
  • Not suitable to a baby who is not latching or has difficulty in latching

How to set up a  Supplemental Nursing System

Supplements used in Supplemental Nursing system

Supplements depend on your preference as a mother.Commonly used supplements include; the mother’s expressed breast milk,donor’s milk and formula.

Types of Supplemental Nursing System

There are various types of SNS in the market. However the common ones are the Medela and Lact-Aid. Like I mentioned earlier on, you can also make your own system at home though it has it’s downside.I tried it and it worked for a few days before I totally gave up on it.

How to make your own SNS at home for you nursing baby


Before Baby Arrives-Preparing for Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a learned skill. Often it takes some time and practice for both mother and baby to be completely at ease breastfeeding. Find sources of good breastfeeding assistance and use them if you need to. Learn as much as you can about breastfeeding before your baby comes, and ask for help at the first sign of a problem. If you have questions, ask your local hospital for names of breastfeeding specialists in your area. It is normal to need some help from a knowledgeable professional in the first few weeks. Seek accurate and reliable help from your health care provider, IBCLC, local La Leche League Leader or Nursing Mothers Counsel volunteer. Attend a series of LLL meetings in your area, and meet other breastfeeding mothers.

During Pregnancy:

While you are pregnant, the skin around your nipple becomes darker and your breasts increase in size. No special nipple or breast preparation is necessary before breastfeeding. You can check your nipple shape to rule out flat or inverted nipples. If you have flat or inverted nipples or if you have questions about previous breast surgery discuss them with your health care provider, IBCLC, or breastfeeding specialist.

Sore and cracked nipples are usually avoided by using a good positioning, by latching baby on to the breast correctly, and by learning as much as possible about breastfeeding and proper latch-on technique. Do not use soap or other preparations on your breasts or nipples. It is not recommended to pump before your baby’s birth. It is a myth that breasts and nipples need “toughening” in order to prevent painful breastfeeding. Good positioning and latch-on are the keys to comfortable and effective breastfeeding. Seek help from your breastfeeding specialist and health care provider if breastfeeding is painful.

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