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Supplemental Nursing System

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Updated April 21, 2009

Definition:

A feeding-tube device used at the breast to provide supplemental milk for the baby and to stimulate supply simultaneously.

The system consists of a holding container for expressed breast milk or formula, which hangs around the mother's neck. A thin cord, which originates in the container, is adjusted so that the bottom of the system is level with the nipple. The cord is then attached to the mother's nipple (usually with surgical tape). When the baby suckles at the breast, the baby receives the supplement at the same time as the breast milk.

Feeding-tube devices are typically used in the following situations:

Baby Situations

  • Hyperactive or hypoactive
  • Down Syndrome
  • Preterm
  • Cardiac problems
  • Cleft lip or palate
  • Experienced perinatal asphyxia
  • Nipple-confused
  • Neurologically impaired
  • Low, slow, or no weight gain
  • Lethargic

Mother Situations

  • Adoptive nursing
  • Relactating
  • Breast surgery
  • Primary lactation insufficiency
  • Severe nipple trauma
  • Recently discontinued short-term medications contraindicated for a nursing infant
  • Suffering from an illness
  • Flat or inverted nipples (where the baby cannot latch on)

List Source: Riordan J, Auerbach KG. Breastfeeding and Human Lactation.

Also Known As: SNS

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