What is a SNS or supply line?

Are you being made to ‘top up’ with artificial breastmilk but want to exclusively breastfeed?
Are you stressed that after only a few feeds from a bottle, baby is taking more of a liking to bottles and ‘refusing’ boob?
Stopped breastfeeding sooner than you wanted to because you thought you had a low supply?
You’re not alone.
The ABA have found, in statistics from the 2010 Australian Infant Feeding Survey, results indicated that 96% of mothers initiated breastfeeding, although at 3 months this drops to less than half (39%) of babies still exclusively breast feed. This continues to then rapidly decline to 15% at the peak of 6 months.
To us here at the Australian Breastfeeding Project these numbers are astounding but not surprising. The lack of information available to mothers prior to leaving hospital, with the expectation of then knowing how to breastfeed, is appalling so we are here to guide you.
Artifical breastmilk should be the absolute last resort when it comes to breastfeeding your baby. As per the recommendations from WHO, babies should obtain milk from the mother at the source, expressed breastmilk, donor milk then artificial breastmilk. 
One trouble that mothers encounter is a favouritism to bottles when being topped up or been given expressed breastmilk for an extended period of time. Another is that mothers have regrettably weaned baby from the breast and want to attempt breastfeeding again.
The above is absolutely possible using a supply line or supplemental nursing system (SNS).
An SNS is a specialised tube feeding system that supplements the baby at the breast, even when the mother is no longer lactating or has a low supply. This tube is placed beside the nipple and into babies mouth, at the other end is the milk, it may be expressed milk, donor milk or artifical substitutes. Most women put a little bit of tape onto their breast to hold the tube in place. There are a few different kinds of systems.
The idea is to eventually have baby return to to feeding solely from the breast or to have the mother or the adoptive mother relactate and feed from the breast (yes this is possible!)
Here at the ABP you can purchase a syringe like system from our online store.
Other ways a supply line will be able to assist you is:
  • Help you to breastfeed and give baby extra milk at the same time
  • Increase your breastmilk supply by having baby stimulate milk production while being topped up at the breast
  • Help premature babies in establishing breastfeeding
  • Help a baby to improve his or her sucking skills for breastfeeds as babies use a different set of muscles when breastfeeding compared to bottle-feeding
  • Help a mother and baby to continue to breastfeeding with poor weight gains
  • Help a baby prevent bottle preferences when topping up is needed
 
Lastly, women are designed to breastfeed their babies and it is rare cases that we cannot. Contact a IBCLC (Independent Board Certified Lactation Consultant) to help you continue feeding.

Whether you’ve been told to top up, you’ve got low supply, you’re dealing with breast refusal, you’ve stopped breastfeeding or you want to breastfeed. It it can all be done using a supply line to your breast to simulate relactation, boosting your supply and enabling breastfeeding, the way nature intended.

If you need support please join our support group www.facebook.com/groups/australianbreastfeedingproject

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