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Breastfeeding with a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) by guest blogger Jessica

Jessica breastfeeding with a supplemental nursing system (SNS)I tried so very hard to keep her just breastfed, but I didn’t have enough tissue. She dropped her birth weight and for almost 4 weeks continued to be underweight. I was forced to start supplementing.  So while I worked on building my milk up (while everyone around me told me I was killing my baby by not just putting her on a bottle.) I used a supplement feeding device to keep her at my breast and to stimulate more milk production by sucking.

I want to give other mothers hope to not quit, even if they are having set backs. The bond of breastfeeding is amazing. When I was forced to give her a bottle the first time she greedily gulped it down, she had been starving at my breast and I had been nursing her nonstop day and night hoping to stimulate my milk.  I felt jealous of the bottle and betrayed by my breast. I should be able to give her everything she needs! Not some plastic device!

My mom, boyfriend, and his mother all told me to give up and bottle feed her. I refused to give up but did supplement. She gained a pound in one week.

Everyone still thought I was crazy for trying to give her the little milk that I had, that it was a waste of time and she was just sucking air. My own mother told me my milk was dried up.

I have been working with a lactation consultant and not giving up. To all the other mommies out there, don’t give up, encourage others along the way.  Share your setbacks and your tricks of success.

I never gave up, still trying!!



  1. Amazing! ((Hug)) So proud of you!

    • Stephany Wilk says

      Keep going! Never say “never”, and do what your heart tells you to do! You’re doing the right thing!

  2. Awesome! Any amount of your milk is worthwhile! Good for you for not letting others talk you out of doing something that is impot

  3. Kristee Sturgill says

    My first child was a whopping 9 lbs 14 oz at birth. He struggled to nurse and get enough milk to be able to sustain such a large body. I used an SNS with formula/breast milk for about a month and am so glad I did! He nursed for 12 full months. While it was a challenge in the beginning (pumping every 2 hrs around the clock, finger feeding, cup feeding, SNS, you name it I used it), I am so glad I kept at it. The bond was worth it. My personal feeling was always that I would nurse no matter what. I think it’s all about finding the right support person. I used the hospital lactation office for 2 months (didn’t help much) and was about to give up when I found a better lactation consultant.

    Keep it up. You can do it and in the end you will feel so empowered by your strength and perseverance. My mantra was “there wasn’t formula in 1939, so what would I have done then? I would have stuck it out to ensure my baby survived!”

    Oh and on a side note, #2 just hit one year and is nursing strong. She was so much easier than my first even though she didn’t have the rooting or sucking reflex at birth. We immediately saw our lactation consultant and within a few weeks she was going strong with little intervention!

  4. I’m trying to relatch my son and I’m having trouble doing so. I’ve been looking for an sns and can’t find it anywhere. Feeling stuck and disappointed.

    • Did you try your local health department? Their lactation counselors through the WIC program gave me one! Not only that, but she drove it out to my home (in the country, a good twenty minutes from the health department), showed me how to use it, made sure the baby took it and kept in contact with me to see how it was going.

  5. A Mothers Love… Truly Untouchable!
    Congratulations on Following your Heart and your Love for your Daughter.
    There’s no bond quite like the trust made through breastfeeding your infant.

  6. I had to use a SNS with my son. I wasn’t producing much milk and he was losing weight fast. I got the sns from the hospital where I had him and started pumping like crazy! I ended up having to give him a bottle of pumped breast milk. After 2 weeks of pumping, using the sns, and bottle feeding I finally started producing enough to ditch the bottles! He is now almost 10 weeks old and exclusively breast fed. I am so glad now that I didn’t give up!

  7. My story is almost the exact same! My daughter is 18 months and I still continue to give her whatever milk I have. I had everyone bullying me and it was horrible that I felt little support to continue breastfeeding and to just give her a bottle. I started with the feeding tube and never looked back. Thanks for sharing your story 🙂

  8. Thanks for sharing your story! Gives me hope! I wasn’t able to breastfeed my first son, so I was determined to breastfeed my second one. My second son was born with a tongue tie (which did not get released until day 13) and had jaundice. He was hospitalized on day 5 due to weight loss and dehydration, and we were forced to supplement with formula, at first with a lactation aid or improvised SNS of feeding tube and bottle. When he still was not gaining weight, we had to give him the bottle. My heart broke as I thought that was the beginning of the end of our breastfeeding relationship. We went home supplementing with expressed breast milk and formula through the bottle. After seeing different lactation consultants, we saw one at six weeks who advised me to stop pumping and stop using bottles, and just use the lactation aid at every feed. We have been using it for three weeks now so all supplementation is at the breast. Your story gives me hope to just continue what we’re doing to give my son as much breast milk as I can!

  9. My son was born 3 weeks and 1 day early, he had jondus very bad. He dropped two pounds in a week. The doctors all told me to stop breastfeeding they had an unlimited amount of reasons. When i refused i was told i was starving him! My husband, my sister, and my mom were the only support i had. They wouldn’t let him leave the hospital till i agreed to supplement a little formula a. day.

    • That lasted about a week or two…now he is 1yr and still breastfeeding and so healthy !!!!! I’m glad i didn’t listen to them!!!

  10. Kristy Hughes says

    I had to do this with my little guy. I fought really hard to get my supply up and was able to get him back off the formula and back on the breast. He’s 20 months now and still breastfeeding with no end in sight. It was difficult, but I refused to give up!

  11. Kendra Prior says

    Way to go mama! A SNS can be a helpful alternative to bottle feeding for babies that are struggling at the breast. I used one with my first who had difficulty latching on due to my flat nipples. I was encouraged by a lactation consultant to use it to finger feed my baby by attaching the tube with tape to my finger. I was told that finger feeding is much closer to breastfeeding that bottle feeding was. In the meantime I also focused on pumping to build my supply as well as offering the breast at least once every feeding. We struggled for nearly two months before my baby really latched and began feeding exclusively at the breast. At the time I had felt so very discouraged because I had no idea a mother/baby pair could struggle so long and still go on to have a successful breastfeeding relationship. I encourage anyone struggling to nurse their baby to seek the help of a lactation consultant…I credit the LC who helped me as the reason my baby and I were able to make it work. Thanks for sharing your story!

  12. Great job, Mama! I have been using SNS since by baby was 3 weeks. Our stories are very similar! Now she is almost 12 months and we are still using the SNS! I make some breast milk, but not near enough. I am so happy that we stuck with the SNS. My family ended up being a big support.

  13. My baby turns one in exactly one week. I haven’t given up although I’ve had some close moments. She won’t latch at all… but I have held onto hope all this time.

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