When you’re a new mum, all the jargon and lingo thrown at you can be a bit confusing. We get it, we’ve been there too! What does FTM stand for? What’s the difference between crying and colic? Where does nipple confusion come from? It can be tricky to wrap your head around everything during those early sleep-deprived days with your newborn!

Something you might hear about is a supplemental nursing system (SNS), also known as a lactation aid or breastfeeding supplementer. A SNS is a device that many mums experiencing issues breastfeeding can use to help provide nourishment to their little ones. So just exactly what is a supplemental nursing system, and how does it work? We at Haakaa are here to explain and demystify it all for you!

What is a supplemental nursing system?

A supplemental nursing system (SNS) is a special contraption designed to assist mothers by supplementing breast milk or formula at the breast through a thin feeding tube. Many mums and their bubs have found this little system incredibly useful when they run into breastfeeding issues such as latching difficulties, low milk supply, extra nutrition and more.

The SNS Haakaa offers is known as the Haakaa Silicone Feeding Tube Set. This set is designed to be used with the Haakaa Gen. 3 Silicone Baby Bottle, with a Variable Flow (X-shaped) teat. Unlike other SNS’s that hang around the neck, the flow of our Silicone Feeding Tube Set can be controlled via three ways: by squeezing the bottle body, moving the bottle higher or lower, or using the flow controller!

Haakaa’s Silicone Feeding Tube Set contains an inlet tube, outlet tube, tube adaptor, flow controller, cleaning brush, medical tape and a carry case. All the parts that come in contact with your bub’s milk are made of food grade silicone, and everything is BPA, PVC and phthalate-free!

When should I use a supplemental nursing system?

If you are able to proceed with your breastfeeding journey without a SNS – that’s great! There are some mums though who may choose to use a SNS because they need a little extra assistance as they learn the art of breastfeeding. Common reasons why some may use a SNS include not having enough supply to meet baby’s demand, struggles with tongue-tie affecting baby’s ability to suckle or other latching difficulties. A SNS can be used both short-term and long-term – so no need to worry if it takes more than a few days for your supply to increase, or if bub takes longer to learn how to latch properly!

Supplemental nursing systems also allow a non-lactating parent to bond with their baby through the experience of breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact. These can include adoptive parents, mothers who have used a surrogate, and many more.

Note: We recommend visiting a breastfeeding or medical specialist if you have any concerns with breastfeeding and feel a SNS could be of assistance to you and your baby.

How does a supplemental nursing system work?

Haakaa’s Silicone Feeding Tube Set works by connecting a bottle of supplemented milk to the breast, using an inlet tube to draw milk from the bottle and a smaller outlet tube to directly feed your baby. The inlet and outlet tubes are joined by a tube adaptor.

As your baby feeds at your breast, the supplemented milk is delivered via the tube into their mouth. This means that your baby will receive any milk you produce alongside the supplemented milk as well, all while the system helps to replicate a natural breastfeeding experience. Not only does this provide your little one any extra nutrition they might need while feeding, but it can also encourage breast milk production as your baby sucks!

How do I clean a supplemental nursing system?

To clean the Silicone Feeding Tube Set after use, simply put hot water in your baby bottle and run the water through the tube (like you do when using the tube for milk) until any excess has been rinsed out.

Scrub the inside of the inlet tube by pulling the provided tube brush through. Repeat as necessary. Once done, sterilise by boiling in water for 2-3 minutes or use a steam steriliser.

We hope this has helped to clear things up for you about the SNS – especially our Silicone Feeding Tube Set! If you have any other questions, you can ask us through our live chat, get in touch through this page or email customerservice@haakaa.co.nz. All the best!