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When my daughter was born three years ago, I spent almost a year nursing her then topping her off with a bottle. It was both time consuming and frustrating. So when I become pregnant with my son a little over a year later, I began researching options to make the process easier. I had already experienced breastfeeding and wanted to share that bond with my son. But I I knew I might need to supplement to make it easier for both me and him. It turned out that SNS was the solution for us. And it might be for you too. Below, Lactation Consultant, Melanie Venuti helps us clear the clutter around the SNS.

What is an SNS?

SNS stands for Supplemental Nursing System. It’s basically a container of of milk (your own pumped breastmilk, donor milk or even formula) that hangs around your neck with a small, inconspicuous straw that you can slip into your baby’s mouth while he breastfeeds. An SNS may be recommended for a mother to use by a lactation consultant for specific reasons concerning the baby, or reasons concerning the mother.

Who might be a candidate to use an SNS?

There’s a lot of reasons a mom might choose to use SNS to feed her baby. Here’s a few scenarios:

  • Baby is having an issue with latch.
  • Premature baby
  • Baby has a cleft lip or palate
  • Baby born with Down Syndrome
  • A mother adopting a child who either wishes to induce lactation or create an intimate bond by breastfeeding their baby
  • A mother who has had previous breast related surgeries, including augmentation, reduction, or removal of breast tissue for medical reasons, or a mother who has insufficient glandular issue

What’s so great about it?

I know, I know, sounds intense, right? It’s easier than it sounds and it saves time! Here’s a few of the benefits:

  • The baby spends more time on the breast therefore hormonally stimulates the milk supply which hopefully lessens the time needed to pump after.
  • Similar to bottles, the bags can be prepped ahead of time but don't need to be heated from the fridge because your body heat takes care of that!
  • Eliminates any possibility of nipple or flow preference, which can often happen if bottles are offered when the baby is very young.
  • Using an SNS allows for the exclusive breastfeeding experience, which is not only about providing mother's milk to baby but just as much as about creating an intimate bond. It provides a comforting, safe place for baby and offers the mother and baby a way to feed in the most natural approach.

And the cons?

  • It can be overwhelming to learn how to use at first and when you're sleep deprived and likely already frustrated, adding another new thing to learn might just be too much.
  • Cleaning the tubes takes time (you can't just throw them in the dishwasher.)
  • It can be a little bit trickier to nurse in public if you and baby are still adjusting to positioning the tubing, a nursing cover, etc...a hungry baby is a hungry baby!

Here’s 6 tips to make an SNS easier for you:

  1. Get a lactation consultant. If you suspect you might be having any of the above symptoms or issues, get a Board Certified Lactation consultant sooner rather than later! It will help to have support and guidance, especially if it's your first baby. She/he will also be able to give you advice on which system to use, and may be able to assess and improve position and latching. This will ensure that your breast is being stimulated properly and will avoid sore and damaged nipples. And don't hesitate to reach out to a lactation consultant before your baby is born if you are concerned you might have issues breastfeeding. Find a lactation consultant close to you here.
  2. Get your partner on board! Mamas have enough on their plate feeding the baby, get your partner involved by helping to make the bags of milk and clean the tubes each day. In the beginning it also will help to have an extra set of hands to help you position the bag and tubing so that baby can get a proper latch. (It takes a village, people!)
  3. Make space. Create a small area of your kitchen where you can clean and prep everything. Having one designated place to keep all your supplies will make it easier when you have a hungry baby on your hands.
  4. Explore the options. The two most popular at breast supplementing systems are the Lact-Aid and Medela SNS. Most hospitals will be more knowledgable about the Medela system; however, the Lact-Aid is much easier to use and more popular among Mother's who have tried both.
  5. If you have milk, use it! Donor milk is also always an option, as is formula. Talk to your lactation consultant if you need help creating a pumping schedule or finding donor milk. I was lucky enough to receive donor milk from my sister, who had her daughter only a few months before my son was born. They are now 'milk twins!'
  6. Give yourself a break. If it's too much or too hard, take a break and don't feel like you have to try at each feeding. If the bottle is easier, go with that as the supplement for one feeding and then try the SNS the next. Do what you can but the bottom line is always, happy mom, happy baby-no matter how you feed them.

Websites to find more information:

Breastfeeding Today

International Breastfeeding Centre

The Adoptive Breastfeeding Resource Network

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Baby stuff comes in such cute prints these days. Gone are the days when everything was pink and blue and covered in ducks or teddy bears. Today's baby gear features stylish prints that appeal to mom.

That's why it's totally understandable how a mama could mistake a car seat cover for a cute midi skirt. It happened to Lori Farrell, and when she shared her mishap on Facebook she went viral before she was even home from work. Fellow moms can totally see the humor in Farrell's mishap, and thankfully, so can she.

As for how a car seat cover could be mistaken for a skirt—it's pretty simple, Farrell tells Motherly.

"A friend of mine had given me a huge lot of baby stuff, from clothes to baby carriers to a rocker and blankets and when I pulled it out I was not sure what it was," she explains. "I debated it but washed it anyway then decided because of the way it pulled on the side it must be a maternity skirt."

Farrell still wasn't 100% sure if she was right by the time she headed out the door to work, but she rocked the ambiguous attire anyway.

"When I got to work I googled the brand and realized not only do they not sell clothing but it was a car seat cover."

The brand, Itzy Ritzy, finds the whole thing pretty funny too, sharing Farell's viral moment to its official Instagram.

It may be a car seat cover, but that print looks really good on this mama.

And if you want to copy Farell's style, the Itzy Ritzy 4-in-1 Nursing Cover, Car Seat Cover, Shopping Cart Cover and Infinity Scarf (and skirt!) is available on Amazon for $24.94.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy.You've got this.

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Daycare for infants is expensive across the country, and California has one of the worst states for parents seeking care for a baby. Putting an infant in daycare in California costs $2,914 more than in-state tuition for four years of college, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Paying north of $1,000 for daycare each month is an incredible burden, especially on single-parent families. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines affordable childcare as costing no more than 10% of a family's income—by that definition, less than 29% of families in California can afford infant care. Some single parents spend half their income on day care. It is an incredible burden on working parents.

But that burden may soon get lighter. CBS Sacramento reports California may put between $25 and $35 million into child care programs to make day care more affordable for parents with kids under 3 years old.

Assembly Bill 452, introduced this week, could see $10 million dollars funneled into Early Head Start (which currently gets no money from the state but does get federal funding) and tens of millions more would be spent on childcare for kids under three.

The bill seeks to rectify a broken childcare system. Right now, only about 14% of eligible infants and toddlers are enrolled in subsidized programs in California, and in 2017, only 7% of eligible children younger than three years of age accessed Early Head Start.

An influx of between $25 to $35 million dollars could see more spaces open up for kids under three, as Bill 452, if passed, would see the creation of "grants to develop childcare facilities that serve children from birth to three years of age."

This piece of proposed legislation comes weeks after California's governor announced an ambitious plan for paid parental leave, and as another bill, AB 123, seeks to strengthen the state's pre-kindergarten program.

Right now, it is difficult for some working parents to make a life in California, but by investing in families, the state's lawmakers could change that and change California's future for the better.

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When a mama gets married, in most cases she wants her children to be part of her big day. Photographers are used to hearing bride-to-be moms request lots of pictures of their big day, but when wedding photographer Laura Schaefer of Fire and Gold Photography heard her client Dalton Mort planned to wear her 2-year-old daughter Ellora instead of a veil, she was thrilled.

A fellow mama who understands the benefits of baby-wearing, Schaefer was keen to capture the photos Mort requested. "When I asked Dalton about what some of her 'must get' shots would be for her wedding, she specifically asked for ones of her wearing Ellie, kneeling and praying in the church before the tabernacle," Schaefer tells Motherly.

She got those shots and so many more, and now Mort's toddler-wearing wedding day pics are going viral.

"Dalton wore Ellie down the aisle and nursed her to sleep during the readings," Schaefer wrote on her blog, explaining that Ellie then slept through the whole wedding mass.

"As a fellow mother of an active toddler, this is a HUGE win! Dalton told me after that she was SO grateful that Ellie slept the whole time because she was able to focus and really pray through the Mass," Schaefer explains.

Dalton was able to concentrate on her wedding day because she made her baby girl a part of it (and that obviously tired Ellie right out).

Ellie was part of the commitment and family Dalton if forging with her husband, Jimmy Joe. "There is no better behaved toddler than a sleeping toddler, and she was still involved, even though I ended up unwrapping her to nurse her. I held her in my arms while my husband and I said our vows. It was really special for us," Dalton told POPSUGAR.

This is a wedding trend we are totally here for!

Congrats to Dalton and Jimmy Joe (and to Ellie)! 🎉

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The internet is freaking out about how Peppa Pig is changing the way toddlers speak, but parents don't need to be too worried.

As Romper first reported, plenty of American parents have noticed that preschoolers are picking up a bit of a British accent thanks to Peppa. Romper's Janet Manley calls it "the Peppa effect," noting that her daughter started calling her "Mummy" after an in-flight Peppa marathon.

Plenty of other parents report sharing Manley's experience, but the British accent is not likely to stick, experts say.

Toronto-based speech and language pathologist Melissa James says this isn't a new thing—kids have always been testing out the accents they hear on TV and in the real world, long before Peppa oinked her way into our Netflix queues.

"Kids have this amazing ability to pick up language," James told Global News. "Their brains are ripe for the learning of language and it's a special window of opportunity that adults don't possess."

Global News reports that back in the day there were concerns about Dora The Explorer potentially teaching kids Spanish words before the kids had learned the English counterparts, and over in the U.K., parents have noticed British babies picking up American accents from TV, too.

But it's not a bad thing, James explains. When an American adult hears "Mummy" their brain translates it to "Mommy," but little kids don't yet make as concrete a connection. "When a child, two, three or four, is watching a show with a British accent and hears [words] for the first time, they are mapping out the speech and sound for that word in the British way."

So if your baby is oinking at you, calling you "Mummy" or testing out a new pronunciation of "toh-mah-toe," know that this is totally natural, and they're not going to end up with a life-long British pig accent.

As Dr, Susannah Levi, associate professor of communicative sciences and disorders at New York University, tells The Guardian, "it's really unlikely that they'd be acquiring an entire second dialect from just watching a TV show."

It sure is cute though.

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