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Thread: Problems using SNS

  1. #1

    Default Problems using SNS

    Hi, I'm new to the forums and hope I can get some help! My lactation consultant sold me the Medela temporary SNS device (long story, but I have been having issues BF my DS - have to use a nipple sheild, DS gets frustrated when he doesn't get milk quickly, etc.). It seems like it would work great, but either everything spills out or nothing comes out of the tubing at all. I just tried to use it for a feeding and a little formula came out from me "priming" it, but then nothing at all. I tried sucking on the tube and I couldn't get anything out, so I don't know how my baby is supposed to! What am I doing wrong? I am on the verge of having to give up BF and would really like this to work!! I would really appreciate any advice from someone who has used a SNS device before - I figure there must be some trick to getting them to work.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,355

    Default Re: Problems using SNS

    Supplemental Nursing Systems are really tricky. I found that taping the tube down near my nipple made it easier to get the end in proper position to get it into the baby's mouth- not that that is the answer to the question you asked.

    If your baby gets it into his mouth, do you think he's getting supplement from the tube? I know it's hard for you to get it to work, but maybe your DS is having more luck?

    Can you tell us more about the issues you're having? Maybe we can help! Don't give up, Mama- so many of us have been where you are and a lot of us came through to the other side.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    144

    Default Re: Problems using SNS

    I agree with PP. When I used the SNS 5 years ago I would tape the tube with medical tape to my nipple so that the tube was facing downward. I don't remember problems with not being able to suck any out. The tubes can clog up though. Run some water through them to make sure they are all cleaned out.

    One thing that I learned to do with the SNS was to have my DS latch and empty my breasts first before I supplemented with the SNS. Otherwise he would get full on formula and never get a letdown which wasn't going to increase my supply.

    It really does work though! I didn't have a pump and regained a full supply from doing the nurse, nurse with SNS routine.

    Good luck to you!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Problems using SNS

    Thank you for the advice and encouragement! I am using a band-aid to keep the tubing in place. I originally had problems because I am using a nipple shield and the SNS. I have to use a nipple shield because I have flat nipples and he wouldn't latch on at the hospital - then a nurse gave me the nipple shield (I didn't know about the issues at the time, although I know many mothers like using the shield) and he won't latch on any other way. The nipple shield caused problems because when I had trouble getting him latched, the milk would keep flowing from the SNS and make the shield slip around and off the nipple, even though I had it on pretty securely by flipping it out half-way then putting it on and using lanolin to make it stick. I now think I solved that problem by treading the tubing through one of the holes in the shield so that it sticks out just a tiny bit - then the milk doesn't pool in the shield while we are trying to get a good latch.

    I tried again with the SNS and finally my husband had luck getting the milk to flow better by really making sure the teat was screwed on tight. I was able to nurse my baby for a few minutes then and I could tell that he was getting milk from the SNS and I think some from my breast as well. Unfortunately, I couldn't go longer than that because I had already given him his full portion from a bottle to keep him from getting too frustrated while I was fiddling with the SNS. (He is 6 weeks and has been getting the bottle while I pump since coming home from the hospital at 4 days old - I had a c-section, so I was there longer. He lost so much weight at the hospital that the doctors told me I had to supplement.) I have increased my supply with the pump, but am pretty much just maintaining it right now while I decide whether or not to continue. If I can keep up using the SNS, I will try to increase again (I have a hospital grade pump right now with about 20 days of a monthly rental to go, but can't afford that every month.) and will purchase a more permanent SNS device. It is encouraging to hear that it can be done with just the SNS, because I hate pumping! It is hard to get the time in while taking care of the baby, so the burden falls a lot on my husband, who has to go back to work soon. I hope I can get this to work. I feel a little bitter because I've tried so hard and I am a stay-at-home mom while I work on my dissertation, so I have the time to BF! I did expect BFing to be hard, but I thought that the difficultly was only with the pain due to not latching properly and that I could deal with that. I didn't expect to have the issues I am having!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    144

    Default Re: Problems using SNS

    That's great that you had a little success with the SNS! The more you can supplement with the SNS and the less with the bottle--great! Your LO will learn that he will get success at the breast and will fight it less and accept it more. You have a pump too which is fantastic. Use that thing like crazy. I know it totally sucks to deal with all this equipment, but you will regain a full supply SO much faster if you use the SNS and pump.

    When I had to use the SNS it felt like ALL I did was nurse. Feeding sessions took FOREVER (like 1 hour) and he was hungry again in 20-30 minutes. It was thoroughly exhausting. I remember calling my mom crying and saying I couldn't do it. She always talked me back down. It was SO worth it though because after about 1 week of formula, my supply rebounded enough to where I slowly was able to ditch the SNS. I took DS in for weight checks every 2 days during this time to make sure he was gaining properly. It was super stressful but worth the effort. We nursed EBF until he was 6 mo. and he nursed until he was just shy of 14 mo. It was thoroughly rewarding. The hell we went through to get there is now just a distant memory 5 years later.

    The good news...I had very few nursing problems with my DD. DS had pulled my nipples out enough to where she didn't have latching problems like DS did. Supply was never an issue and we are going strong at 16 mo. You CAN do this. It will take serious motivation but you CAN! Surround yourself with supportive voices (LLL website is fantastic for that. Only wish I knew about it when I had troubles) and rid yourself of people telling you can't do this and it is all a waste of time.

    I have very little experience with the nipple shield. There are many women on here who have successfully ditched it. My DS struggled to latch because of flat nipples. I would draw them out with my fingers before latching and that helped. I also nursed in football hold almost exclusively which also helped a lot. He had a much easier time latching on that way.

    Good luck mama!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,355

    Default Re: Problems using SNS

    then a nurse gave me the nipple shield (I didn't know about the issues at the time, although I know many mothers like using the shield) and he won't latch on any other way.
    I wish medical professionals wouldn't just hand out shields like candy!

    I now think I solved that problem by treading the tubing through one of the holes in the shield so that it sticks out just a tiny bit - then the milk doesn't pool in the shield while we are trying to get a good latch.
    That's really creative! Good job, Mama!

    It is encouraging to hear that it can be done with just the SNS, because I hate pumping!
    I understand completely. Pumping sucks! (No pun intended.) But if you can possibly continue on, I encourage you to do so. While some moms (like the PP) can regain a full supply without pumping, not all moms can. Continuing on with the pump will maximize your chances of success.

    I did expect BFing to be hard, but I thought that the difficultly was only with the pain due to not latching properly and that I could deal with that. I didn't expect to have the issues I am having!
    It's like walking in grizzly country- the bear you see isn't the one that eats you. I know I didn't expect the kind of struggle I got. But in the end I am strangely glad I encountered the problems I did. Facing them and surmounting them made me a stronger mama and a better person.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

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