Today marks the end of using the SNS as a feeding method for Sam. We started it to try to minimize nipple confusion, but still get Sam the calories she needed. At this point, we’re pretty much resigned to continued use of the nipple shield for as long as Sam breastfeeds. This is pretty frustrating, but our various attempts at weaning her from the shield have been fruitless so far.
There’s a Simpsons episode wherein Homer describes alcohol as “the cause of, and solution to…all of life’s problems.” I feel the same way about the nipple shield. We were started on it to make sure Sam was able to breastfeed right away. We needed to breastfeed Sam right away because of her low birth weight. But, as a result, Sam only learned to latch with the shield. Because shields can interfere with milk supply, we have been unable to breastfeed exclusively. What would have been ultimately better for Sam: a slower start in the hospital with potentially greater initial weight loss? Or feeding right away in the hospital, but having to formula supplement until she’s exclusively on solid foods? I don’t know. But I do wish I’d known more about the perils of this road before having embarked down it.
We ended the SNS feedings today because the clip broke. The clip broke because we sterilized the whole thing, and the clip just wasn’t up to the boiling water. It stopped clipping correctly on sterilization day, and broke entirely today. Given that the SNS documentation says “This device is intended for short-term use and should be discarded after 24 hours,” I guess we got our money’s worth.
I didn’t think I’d be sad to see it go. After all, it’s much more preparation than a simple bottle. But there’s a level of intimacy involved in having your daughter slurp sustenance from your finger that’s missing in just holding a plastic bottle in front of her. And so the separation and differentiation begins (or continues).