Manufactured lactation aids are particularly useful when the need for a lactation aid arises in an older baby, when a mother needs to supplement twins, when the need for a lactation aid will be long term, or whenever difficulty arises using the improvised lactation aid. Though the manufactured lactation aid is not inexpensive, the cost is about equal to two weeks of the usual milk-based formula.
Please Note: Using a tube with a syringe, with or without a plunger, instead of the setup mentioned above, seems unnecessarily complicated and adds nothing to the effectiveness of the technique. On the contrary, it is more cumbersome and pushing the milk into the baby’s mouth with the syringe does not teach the baby how to breastfeed because he gets milk even if he sucks poorly.
(Use should be shown by a person experienced in helping mothers with breastfeeding).
1. The baby may be latched on to the breast first, and the tube slipped into the baby's mouth at the appropriate time (after the baby has breastfed on at least both sides first). The better the latch, the better the baby will get your milk and the easier the aid will be to use, and the more quickly you will be able to get rid of it and the supplements. The breast should be gently eased out of the way so that the corner of the baby's mouth is seen, and the tube, held between the index finger and thumb, should be slipped into the corner of the baby's mouth so that it enters straight towards the back of the baby's mouth and at the same time, slightly upwards towards the roof of the mouth (see the video clip called Inserting Lactation Aid). The tube is well placed when the supplemental fluid works its way down the tube at a rather rapid rate. There is usually no need to fill the tube with supplemental fluid before putting it into the baby's mouth.
2. Or, the baby is latched on to the breast and the tube, which is run along the mother's breast and nipple, at the same time. The better the baby's latch, the easier the lactation aid is to use. Also, the better the latch, the more likely and the sooner the baby will be able to do without supplements. Therefore, proper positioning and latching on of the baby are still very important.
3. The tube may be taped to the breast if the mother desires, though this is not really necessary and not always helpful.
4. The tube does not need to pass the end of the nipple and needs to be only just past the baby's gums to function properly. It does seem to function better if the tube is placed in the corner of the baby's mouth and enters straight into the baby's mouth over the tongue. (Point it slightly to the roof of the baby's mouth). It is occasionally helpful for the mother to hold the tube in place with her finger, as some babies tend to push the tube out of position with their tongues.
5. The bottle containing the supplement should not be higher than the baby's head. If the lactation aid functions only when the bottle is held higher than the baby's head, something is wrong. Keep the bottle higher only if the doctor or lactation specialist suggests this (as in the care of breast refusal for example).
6. It is best to use the tube as necessary to keep the baby drinking at the breast. Follow the Protocol to Increase Breastmilk Intake. Feed baby from both breasts before adding the supplement. Some mothers find it easier not to use it during the night. Better eight supplements a day of 30 ml (1 ounce) per feeding than 2 large supplements a day of 120 ml (4 ounces) each.
Do not cut off the end of the tube as cutting it makes the end sharp -- it works fine as it is.
7. It should not take an hour for the baby to drink an ounce of milk from the lactation aid. If it is taking this long, the tube is probably not well positioned, or the baby is poorly latched on, or both. When the lactation aid is functioning well, it takes 15-20 minutes, usually less, for the baby to take 30 ml (1 ounce) of the supplement.