Alternative Feeding Device: Supplemental Nutrition System

Alternative Feeding Device: Supplemental Nutrition SystemEven during its hardest times, breastfeeding is a beautiful gift to your baby. When things aren’t going as you expected – as sometimes happens with breastfeeding – it’s important to remember your goals and look for solutions to meet your challenges. In certain situations an alternative feeding device called a supplemental nutrition system is a wonderful way to help new mothers continue to breastfeed while also offering expressed milk at the same time.

Here’s how a supplemental nutrition system works:

A supplemental nutrition system is an alternative feeding device where a tube connects a bottle or bag of expressed breast milk to the outside of the mother’s breast. The bottle or bag usually hangs around the mother’s neck or to her side and the tube is taped to her breast. When the baby latches onto her mother’s nipple, she also takes the small tube in her mouth. As she sucks, she receives breast milk directly from her mother and from the tube simultaneously.

Ideal times to use a supplemental nutrition system:

A supplemental nutrition system can be used at several critical times to establish healthy breastfeeding practices. Adoptive mothers and mothers who are relactating often choose this method to help stimulate their milk supply but also ensure their babies are getting the nutrition and satisfaction of breast milk through the tube.

Mothers who are trying to establish a healthy milk supply or who tend to have low milk supplies at certain times of day may also use a supplemental nutrition system. Since lactation is both a stimulation and supply-and-demand response, the more often a baby is at her mother’s breast and empties the breast, the more milk a mother will produce. By using a supplemental nutrition system, babies can help boost their mother’s milk supply while also getting enough milk through supplementation, all at the same time. It’s natural for mothers’ milk supply to ebb and flow based on her menstrual cycle (if it has returned), diet, lifestyle habits, medications or even the body’s natural rhythms at certain times of day. If supplementing with expressed breast milk is necessary, it can be done while breastfeeding using a supplemental nutrition system.

Benefits of a supplemental nutrition system:

Initiating breastfeeding and maintaining a breastfeeding routine can be challenging. All too often mothers give up due to low milk supply or other impediments. However, a supplemental feeding device can help babies learn to breastfeed and continue to breast feed despite many common issues. This type of alternative feeding device allows babies and mothers to learn to breastfeed by breastfeeding. It’s a hands-on experience for everyone! This can be especially important for preemies who struggle to latch and suck.

Using a supplemental nutrition system can often put a mother’s mind at ease because she knows her baby has access to plenty of milk. As her baby enjoys the amazing nutrients in breast milk, mom is boosting her milk supply with each feeding. Plus, it is done simultaneously so moms don’t have to breastfeed and then supplement afterwards. Other alternative feeding devices may pose a problem when shifting to, or back to, breastfeeding as babies get used to the way they are being fed pretty quickly. For example, some experts believe babies who are bottle fed can form nipple confusion when going from bottle to breast.

Additionally, a supplemental nutrition system allows mothers and babies to stay close to one another through a loving breastfeeding embrace. Skin-to-skin contact, eye contact, warmth and a secure hold are all part of the breastfeeding experience that benefit babies and mothers. Other forms feeding options do not allow the same closeness as this alternative feeding device.

Sources: Ask Dr. Sears, International Breastfeeding Centre and KellyMom