OK so the time finally came and went, the speech therapist came by Friday night to do suck training on my little guy. What can I say than I LOVED her! She was super sweet with Owen & extremely patient. She was meant to work with babies.
She assessed his suck at first by allowing Owen to suck her finger. She then tested to see what his range of tongue motion was & what was going on inside his mouth. She concluded that he ate with no suction, did not bring her finger where it had to be (soft pallet) and happily that he didn’t suffer from a tongue tie!
First, his suck. Using her finger she felt he didn’t bring her finger back to where it needed to be which his soft pallet. This would explain the nipple pain I endured from day 1 of his life. She triggered his natural reflex in his mouth to bring her finger back to where it needed to be. She said she can’t understand why it works, but it just does. All babies have this trigger spot and it fixes their natural reflexes.
The next thing she did was put his bottle of milk in his mouth to see how he ate. While his tongue was in the right place, milking the nipple (another clue he’s not tongue tied) he was using his tongue to hold the bottle in his mouth. He has nearly no suction. This totally explains why he couldn’t get my nipple into his mouth and keep it there long enough to do anything with it and why after weeks of using the shield, it started causing me so much pain. His lack of sucking basically led to a way of eating that caused a lot of friction in the shield. She actually said that the shield shouldn’t be used for fixing nipple damage as it actually just keeps things as status quo for the life of the shield’s use. So…she worked her “magic” by activating the right muscles in his jaw by poking certain spots on his cheeks and he started to suck properly! Next was putting him on the breast. This was a tough process where he fussed and cried a lot. We used the side laying position. She used the shield three times and then that was it. She said I didn’t need to use the shield anymore. He was breast feeding! He finally had suction which I now realize was a part of why why I tried putting him on myself he kept letting go. There was no suction to keep him on. He did cry quite a bit and hard. This was some thing the lactation consultants always told me not to allow happen or else he’d have negative association to the breast. Glynnis said that wasn’t accurate. And she was right. He was lacking confidence in breast feeding and she said all he was doing was protesting and he showed fear of his abilities to breast fed. He calmed down really fast so she said he wasn’t really all that upset to go from 100 to 0 that fast. By the end of the hour, he had breast fed! He’s not efficient and bobbed on and off but, he was doing it.
The plan now is to feed twice a day at the breast and slowly increasing how often he’s on the breast. At first it’s very likely I will need to top him up until he can efficiently feed. I got him on the breast three times yesterday. The first two times he didn’t protest but the third time, he wasn’t having much of it. His latch isn’t great. I don’t feel like he’s bringing the nipple all the way back most of the time so, my right nipple is very sore. This morning I fed him and it was a struggle. I’ll try again later this evening. She did say some days and some feeds won’t work out as hoped & that’s ok. I can just bottle feed. I have decided however if his latch doesn’t improve by end of tomorrow, I will be asking for Glynnis to come back. I’m too affraid to have nipple damage again. And I’m starting to feel less confident today.
All in all, huge improvements. This hasn’t happened since he was born. And luckily we caught it while he still has his natural newborn instinct. She said after three months their eating becomes purposeful and not instinctual and it’s harder to train.
I really wish I knew Glynnis ages ago like before I got into pumping. I just have to hope this will work in the end. It would be priceless to me.
Owen turned 11 weeks as of Saturday! He’s lots of joy. He holds his head up really well, he’s very alert to things going on around him, he’s starting to laugh and he babbles tonnes! Love this cutie!!