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Bottle to Breast! February 9, 2013

At eight months old Naomi began losing weight again and her latch and suck at the breast declined. I offered her more and more bottles of formula and she began actively refusing the breast. By 10 months Naomi was latching every few days, and only for a few seconds. I was pumping and only getting about 1-1.5oz each time.

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Naomi had her posterior tongue tie revised for the 3rd time, and upper lip tie revised for the second time when she was 10.5 months old. She latched deeply and nursed for several minutes immediately after the procedure.

Two days after the revision I tried the Medela SNS, but, Naomi felt the tube and threw her head back refusing to latch. I tried several more times with the same result. I then tried a periodontal syringe with a 5FR tube attached and she still refused. Finally, on the third morning post revision she latched on in her sleep and I snuck the syringe in (without the tube) and squeezed some milk into her mouth.

On the fourth day I hid all artificial nipples and promised myself they would stay hidden for a minimum of 3 days, and up to a week before I reassessed.

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By the fifth day she was consistently taking the syringe, with the tube and I switched to the fastest SNS tube . . . and she took it!

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Within 2 weeks my supply increased, and within 2 months we weaned off the SNS. Naomi has since gained weight faster than she has ever consistently gained. Her transfer is still low for her age, but, we nurse all the time and we both enjoy it!

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Things that helped me get her to latch during the two months she was refusing:

Lots of skin to skin time

Bed sharing (and nursing while sleepy)

Bathing and showering together, and allowing her access to the breast during that time.

Babywearing

Allowing her access to the breast while moving (rocking chair, walking etc.)

Most importantly, providing access as much as possible, and encouraging, but, never pushing her.

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Big Gain! August 15, 2012

Go ahead and ask me: “How did your baby suddenly gain weight so well after months of sliding down the growth charts?”

The simple  question, “why isn’t she gaining?” introduced me to the complex answer that led to our solution, and delicious FAT on Naomi’s baby thighs for the first time since birth – at 8 months old.

Here are the problems and solutions:

1) Not transferring enough milk during feeds

Adding formula to expressed milk and/or mixing formula to 24 calories (under a doctor’s direction) and “topping off” with a bottle after breastfeeding

Releasing posterior tongue tie and upper lip tie

2) Allergies causing diarrhea and reflux

Eliminating allergens from my diet (cow dairy, soy, corn, gluten)

Switching to a high calorie homemade formula with no ingredients she is allergic too (more info below)

3) Still burning more calories than she was taking in after PTT release

Craniosacral therapy to release muscle tension associated with the ties

4) Low milk supply – likely because of the ties which were not properly revised until Naomi was 5 months

Fennel tea for me (I took domperidone prior to the PTT release and craniosacral therapy)

Pumping after feeds

Weighing Naomi before and after feedings every 2 weeks to estimate supply and transfer so she is not over supplemented

Many people ask me about homemade formula. It is my recommendation that you do your own research and find (or create) a recipe that is best for you and your child. I chose goat milk because Naomi is allergic to cow milk, I chose ingredients I can afford, feel are safe, can easily obtain, and are calorie dense. I started giving it to her at 6 months in addition to breastmilk – she was old enough to eat solid food, so it really is not much different, other than I give it to her in a bottle! I started making the formula with pasteurized goat milk and switched to raw because I researched and felt that was a healthier decision for my baby.

I am just a mom trying to help her baby – everyone should do their own research before trying any homemade formula recipe. I also recommend using another mother’s breastmilk whenever possible, we could not because of Naomi’s many food sensitivities.

 Naomi, 8 months, 15 pounds – up 7 lbs 1 oz from her lowest weight – the awesome part being that most of that growth has been in the past month! Notice the fat around her elbows, cheeks, and thighs – she had never had any extra fat! So exciting and beautiful! She is crawling around on the playground here – after her revision and craniosacral therapy she has been excelling with her motor skills as well!

 Proud moment for us both!

 

Suck/Swallow Therapy March 3, 2012

Revising my daughter’s posterior tongue tie helped so much, she went from removing around 1/4 ounce of breastmilk to removing about 2 1/2 ounces. Still, she seemed to constantly break suction while nursing. I chose to revise her upper lip tie as well, she can now flange her lips more and she no longer has a painful looking mark on her lip after nursing; unfortunately it did not solve the problem with poor suction.

We had already seen a speech-language pathologist through our county’s “Birth to Five” early intervention program, and she had helped us some, but, seemed to think my baby was nursing well enough and we opted out of the program. Our lactation consultant (IBCLC)recommended a specific team of speech-language pathologists that specialize in infant sucking and swallowing issues and work in the NICU where I delivered. I had low expectations, but, the IBCLCs I have been working with have given me great advice so far, so I made the appointment.

My daughter (12 weeks old now) had her first appointment with the new speech-language pathologists yesterday, they were AMAZING! They did the most thorough oral examination of anyone so far, and were able to see that my baby has a perfect range of motion and a perfect latch, but, they noticed when she breaks suction (and slides further towards the tip of the nipple, not having enough areola in her mouth) that she also retracts her tongue. She is nursing like she is still tongue-tied! What amazed me, is that they went on to suggest some techniques (the main one being to provide cheek/jaw support, which also encourages her tongue to come forward and in turn results in stronger suction). We will work with her during bottle and breastfeeding both (as I suspected she “nurses” the same way regardless if it is bottle or breast) for two weeks, and then we will see the speech pathologists again . . . they seem optimistic that my little one will be much improved by then, but, if not they will keep working with us.

I just cannot believe throughout this journey how many different types of professionals can help so much! I only wish the information and resources were more readily available.