In the past and recently in last few weeks, I have supported some mothers with their use of lactation aids or supplemental nursing systems (SNS). It's not always easy and it can be a long process to achieving sole breastfeeding. With dedication, persistence and support it can be achieved! Let's talk more about their use and their benefits.
Some mothers and babies benefit from the use of lactation aids and supplemental nursing systems. They are used to supplement the baby (if medically required) at the breast which eliminates the need for artificial nipples. The use of artificial nipples may impact breastfeeding as their use may interfere with latching onto the breast. The baby may need to be supplemented if the mother has a true insufficient milk supply (supply is a common concern but true insufficient supply is not common), if there is a delay in lactogenesis (the onset of milk secretion), if the baby is struggling to breastfeed and needs supplemental support with care, or if other medical indications call for supplementation.
With the use of lactation aids or SNS devices, the baby continues to latch and feed from the breast. The supplement is given along with breast milk from the breast and breast stimulation will encourage increased breast milk supply. These devices come in many different forms, from a simple tube to an inverted bottle with double tubes. The principal of use is the same. The tube is placed on the nipple and the supplement is delivered as the baby latches and draws the supplement from the tube. They can be difficult to master at first and you may wish you had a couple of extra hands! But ease will come with practice. The support of a Lactation Consultant or other breastfeeding support person is important in successfully and safely using these devices.
Benefits of use:
- Baby learns to latch and breastfeed
- Mother learns to latch and breastfeed
- Baby receives breast milk with the supplement
- Baby may be weaned to sole breastfeeding with the aid of professional care and support