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Medela Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) Special Feeding Device

Developed initially to help adoptive mothers induce lactation, the Supplemental Nursing System™ helps trigger hormonal changes in mothers to help enhance milk production.

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The SNS is intended to enable mums to breastfeed when they would otherwise be unable to do so, and help the baby train their sucking behaviour. It offers the following advantages:

  • It can be used by mums who have or think they have a low milk supply
  • It helps to stimulate the mum’s milk supply through direct sucking at the breast
  • It can be used when there is a requirement for supplements in addition to breast milk
  • It trains the baby to suck properly by creating a vacuum at the breast

The Supplemental Nursing System is a reservoir that is filled with supplemental nutrition. It can then be placed on the mum’s chest or on a pole. The very thin, flexible tubes are fixed alongside the mother’s nipples and release additional milk and supplements as the baby feeds.

What is the SNS tubing made of?


The SNS tubing is made of Silicone.


Does the SNS include an air vent?


Yes, the vent is needed to allow air into the bottle when fluid is removed.


When do you use an SNS?


The SNS was developed to allow the baby that is not getting enough nourishment at the breast to receive extra feed or supplements while remaining at the breast. Adoptive mothers often use the product to help re-lactate or for the bonding experience the system can provide between mother and baby. The SNS should be used on the recommendation of a lactation consultant or physician.


How do I adjust the flow rate of the SNS?


The easiest way to change the flow is using the different sizes of tubing. The small tubing has a red valve, the medium has a white valve, and the large has a clear valve. The flow can also be adjusted by the height the system is worn. When the bottom of the SNS container is above the level of the nipple, the feed will flow more quickly. When the SNS is placed below the level of the nipple, the feed will flow slowly. The flow can be increased by gently squeezing the SNS container while the baby is feeding. Warming the feed can increase the flow.


What is the proper positioning for the SNS?


The tubing should extend about a ¼" beyond the nipple. The tube should be in the center of the upper lip of the baby and not off to the sides. Reposition the baby if there is no flow. Reposition the tubing if there is no flow. Make sure the tubing is not crimped.


How do I start the flow of the SNS?


The system can be primed by squeezing feed from the container into the tubing. Release only one side of the tubing at a time from the attachment ring when feeding the baby. Gently tickle the babies lip with the nipple and tube.


How do I clean the SNS tubing?


After each use:


- Fill container full of warm soapy water and force water through tubing, teat and disc/membrane assembly by squeezing teat (making sure disc/membrane assembly is inside teat lid while cleaning).
- Refill with clean water and again force water through tubing, teat and disc/membrane assembly.
- Squeeze the empty teat a few times to remove water droplets from the tubings.
- Completely disassemble and clean remaining parts with soapy water. Squeeze teat tubing assembly until the disc/membrane assembly falls out. Use fingernail of forefinger and thumb to remove membrane from disc.
- Rinse well and drain dry on a clean towel.


What are the different sizes and colors of the SNS tubing?


The large tubing is 0.85mm in diameter and has a clear top. 

The medium tubing is 0.75mm in diameter and has a white top. 

The small tubing is 0.65mm in diameter and has a red top.


What can be fed through the SNS?


Breastmilk is the preferred nutrition for babies. Clinicians may recommend other fluids, fortifiers and/or medications to meet the baby's medical and nutritional needs.


Can the SNS tubing be cleaned in the Micro-Steam bags?


The tubings from the SNS should not be cleaned in the Micro-Steam bags. It is recommended to clean tubes by flushing with hot, soapy water and rinse.

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