My Life with a Supplemental Nursing System™

At 2 days old my second daughter had lost more than 10% of her weight. A big no-no when it comes to newborns and breastfeeding. Our 3 options were supplementing with a bottle after breast, trying the supplemental nursing system or (SNS), or just going to formula.

Starter Supplemental Nursing System™ (SNS™)  
This had occurred before with my first daughter and I was unable to figure out how to make the darn thing work. Placement is very important, you don't want to have it too long because they will just suck on the straw, and too short they won't get any supplement.

Although with my first daughter she was jaundice (too much bilirubin) and I was a panicked young mother who was basically told her baby was starving to death. She also had dangerous levels of bilirubin which made the issue worse and ultimately we ended up just going to formula. This gave us a host of other problems that I will discuss later.

Ultimately I chose to go with the SNS. A week previous to her being born I learned that the pump I was told was covered by my insurance under the ACA was actually not. The only pump they covered for free (which is required under the Act) was a manual one. Obviously not an option when you are planning to go back to work. Unfortunately, I had already opened the box before learning this and was unable to return it. This stuck me with an over 300 dollar bill that was going towards my deductible. This set my zealousness to breastfeed under any and all circumstances. Monetarily it was also cheaper than formula.

As soon as I said yes, the lactation consultant was excited saying that many mothers didn't choose to take on the challenge and she was so happy to hear I would try again. That night my baby was a whole different child, she was satisfied and not as fussy she actually would go 2 hours between feedings. I was determined to stick with it and still am today (at almost 4 months).

The lactation consultant followed up with us over the next couple of weeks of her life. Often having us come in to check weights, bilirubin levels, and poopy/wet diaper counts. I got the go ahead to take away the feeder when she was about 3 weeks old. She had gained back the amount of weight she was supposed to and hadn't lost more than was appropriate.

Unfortunate, y she had become used to the feeder and the constant flow of formula. Since the feeder is gravity fed she never had to wait or work for let downs. So when I tried to take away the feeder promptly she freaked out like I was starving her. She started to pull away from my breast immediately after latching.

Supplemental Nursing System™ (SNS™)
I tried to clamp the tubing and unclamp it at the advice of the lactation consultant but she wasn't having any of it. I gave up and went back to the lactation consultant with my tail between my legs to tell her I was unable to wean her off of the system. The LC said that it wasn't going to hurt her to continue to use the system but recommended using the longer use version available online. I bought mine here.

Tree of Life with my Beautiful Daughter
I am still using the system to this day and probably will until I conclude breast feeding. I have intermittently tried to wean her off, but other health and weight issues have arisen. You can read more about that here.

To other mother's who might have to use this for the long haul as well due to lip tie or other reasons. You can do this! I am so glad I was able to use the feeder and have her still at my breast. The bond I have with her is priceless and the ability to feed my baby (even with a little help) is so gratifying.

What breastfeeding challenges have you had to overcome? Did you have no challenges when breastfeeding? Have you used a SNS successfully or unsuccessfully? Comment below!


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