Not pictured in all those idyllic breastfeeding stock photos: the pain it took to work on that latch or the constant concern about your production levels. Breastfeeding rarely goes off without a hitch. And one mom’s photo is reminding us that sometimes, it takes a lot of extra effort.
"Sometimes this is what breastfeeding looks like,” an anonymous mom captions a photo shared by the Facebook group Breastfeeding Mama Talk. “11 weeks and we are getting there.”
This mom is using a supplemental nursing system, or SNS, to help feed her baby. An SNS works by helping babies who are struggling to nurse to suckle at the breast while also consuming milk (or formula) through a tube. That way, they can stimulate mom’s milk production and practice the mechanics of nursing even before they’re really breastfeeding in earnest, all without running the risk of being underfed. An SNS usually comes with a tool to finger-feed breast milk to babies who need additional help, as shown in this mom’s photo.
An SNS can come in handy if you have a low supply, if your baby has special needs, or if your baby has issues like tongue tie.
“We just found out lil miss has a tongue tie but it went without notice because she can stick her tongue out,” the mother writes. “I’ve been pumping since day two. On the plus side, I get to donate 100+ ounces a week to babies who need some milky goodness. We will get there! Sometimes breastfeeding takes time.”