As I said in my last post, I have gone back to work. I wish I could stay home instead and maybe someday that might happen. For now, though, I work. Fortunately I have the best possible situation for working outside the home. Little man gets to go to work with me. This means no need for pumping at work. I just breastfeed him when he gets hungry.
Going back to work is exhausting. Thankfully this hasn’t affected my milk supply. I am actually finally starting to even out. I don’t have the oversupply I had before and no longer need to pump before bed or in the morning. Not building my stash was a little scary at first, like pulling out the safety net. But I’ve gotten used to it and it feels so freeing not to have to think about pumping all the time. I have pumped occasionally but it is becoming much more rare.
Little man has some “nipple confusion” now. But he’s confused as to what a bottle is for not my breast. It’s like backwards nipple confusion which kinda makes me chuckle and cheer a little inside. It’s like giving my body a big stamp of approval. You are better than a bottle! *applause* Thank you. Thank you. *more applause* Oh, you don’t have to do that. *the crowd roars* Oh, sit down.
We have continued with the massages but can go a day or two without them now. I guess this means he is learning to use his muscles correctly so he doesn’t get the tightness he used to have.
We met with a speech therapist to make sure I am doing all I can for him even now. She gave me some exercises to do with his cheeks. He has some sensitivity and weakness on one side. This could be why he doesn’t always open his mouth all the way. He doesn’t like his cheek stretching out. I have noticed a slight improvement in his mouth movements since starting these exercises.
He has been sticking his tongue out a lot. I love it. So so much.
You’ve probably noticed I haven’t posted in awhile. I went back to work full time and I’ve been super busy. I’ll update soon on how we’ve been. Let me just say things have continued to improve.
This is what I’ve been up to this evening. Just sorted out 240 oz of milk to donate. I am so glad to be able to bless another mama and baby even with everything we have gone through.And I finally finished sorting out the rest of my milk to get a total count, 675 oz total for the first four months! Here are some more bags ready to be donated soon.
It is high time for an update. I’m sure you can gather from my last post that things haven’t been going so smooth lately. I basically spent World Breastfeeding Week struggling and in pain.
Little man’s latch had been awesome immediately following the lip tie revision and for several days after. Some time during the middle of last week things started taking a turn for the worst. He started by clenching his upper lip when I would try to do his stretching exercises. Then he started doing it while nursing. I could not flip his lip out. Then the clamping came back. And his whole mouth and jaw became very tight. Awful pain again. I’m back to sandwiching my breast and pulling on his chin.
During all of this we had two chiropractor visits and one craniosacral therapy. The chiropractor adjusted his neck which was tight. This gave mild relief for a few hours then back to pain and tightness. The craniosacral therapy made no noticeable difference. I’m back to that feeling of, I’m doing everything right and it’s still not working. Why isn’t it working?
My poor little man. I can feel him closing up, pulling himself inward. I know it is because I am doing the same while we nurse. The pain has me clenching my own jaw while he sucks. The struggle brings tears to my eyes again. He sees this. He knows this and it effects him. He is still overall a happy person, he always has been. But we are missing out on those joyful, fun, relaxing, loving, bonding moments we should be having. Instead they are replaced by that old familiar pain and struggle.
I want to give up yet I want to scream that it isn’t over. We’ve come too far. I’m not stopping now. More research, more questions. New answers. Yesterday we went back to craniosacral therapy. This time we add on massage. Afterwards he is more loose than I have ever seen him. His shoulders are down from his ears and his face is so relaxed. He finally latches again without the clamping. Relief. He starts to tighten up again ever so slightly by the end of the day and I give him a light face and shoulder massage while he nurses and he relaxes again.
It is flat out amazing and horrific all the pain and suffering a tongue tie and lip tie can cause. So many things connect to the mouth. I’m finally coming to the realization that this will be a longer trial than I thought even with the revisions. I’m finally understanding what the relearning process really means not just for him but for both of us. And most importantly I know that we can do it and that all of this is for him, to give him my best.
I’m desperately trying to climb out of this awful pit with my son on my back. I’m doing it for him. It’d be so much easier to wander down here in the dark if it was just my pain. But we bear it together. And I see that light up there and I want it. Not for me, for him. He deserves it. He deserves the world and everything good in it. So I keep climbing. It is not easy. It is painful. It is humbling. I make it up a few feet only to fall back down, dangling a few inches from the bottom. There are times when I wonder if it is worth it. Then I look at him. I look at him. Why am I even questioning? And I climb on. It is so worth it. I would do anything for him. Anything. I search for answers. I find something that should help. I seek it out. I fight for it. I come up empty handed. I feel defeated. I cry. I sob. It shouldn’t be this hard. I wallow in the sadness for just a moment, just long enough to feel it fully. Then I write. I pour out the sadness. I release it out far away from me. It is not me. I am strong even in my weakness. I will make it higher. Higher. Higher. I will climb on. I will feel the pain. But those big beautiful eyes that stare deep into my soul tell me it is worth it. They thank me with every step I take. They do not have words but they grab ahold of me and beg me not to stop. So I climb on.
The Big Latch On was yesterday. The total count of women breastfeeding simultaneously at latch on events worldwide was 14,536. This blows their previous record of 8,862 out of the water!
Here we are at our local event.
There were even plenty of siblings and dads there in support!
This is my favorite shot from the event.
It was so nice to see so many moms and breastfeeding supporters in one place and meeting moms I had only previously talked to on Facebook. We even made the local news. So fun! I’m already looking forward to next year.
Happy World Breastfeeding Week!
Photo by Rouse Photography
This year’s emphasis is on breastfeeding support. Support is so important. There have been so many who have supported us along the way. It saddens me that support is unavailable or hard to find all around the world. Hopefully my blog and my story can help women. Please leave comments or contact me on the Facebook page if there is any way I can help you. That’s what I write for!
Don’t forget the Big Latch On this weekend!
It has been one week since little man’s lip tie revision. I’m still amazed at the difference it has made for nursing. The hardest thing right now is making sure we are doing the stretches. After a lip or tongue tie revision most doctors will recommend stretching the site for one to two weeks to promote healing and discourage reattachment. For a lip tie this consists of holding the edge of his lip and flipping his lip up toward his nose. Or if grabbing on is hard, I just slide my finger under his lip and push up gently. Massaging the site is also said to be useful. Little man didn’t mind at first but I think he’s getting tired of it. I always tell him what I’m about to do so I don’t shock him by just sticking my finger in his mouth. I try to make a game out of it so he associates it as something good and not something that just has to be done to him. He gets lots of kisses while we do stretches and kisses are his favorite thing.
Here are some links to other great blog posts about lip and tongue tie revision after care:
Little man had his three month pictures taken yesterday. I loved that this picture of him sticking out his tongue was the first one I saw.
Photo by Rouse Photography
We also got some great breastfeeding shots like this one.
Photo by Rouse Photography
After the lip tie revision breastfeeding has been so much better. There is very little clamping down where there had been clamping at every feeding before. With the clamping down gone I noticed pinching on the right side. Very painful pinching at times. I explained this to the chiropractor today. After examining little man, he noticed that he didn’t have full range of movement in his neck. After a few clicks with his instrument he moved his head fully back and forth. It was pretty amazing how easily that worked. He has to go back twice next week to keep his neck from tensing back up. Nursing after yielded no pinching! If you are having problems with one breast and not the other, I highly recommend chiropractic care. Baby could be off kilter. I recommend it anyway as we go every other week for maintenance. I’m just amazed at the difference such an quick easy adjustment can make. It makes me think of the people who don’t go to the chiropractor that would just keep suffering through that pinching or even worse quit breastfeeding. And poor little man not being able to move his head all the way. We will hopefully be getting cranial sacral therapy next week.
We are on our way home from Illinois as I type this. Dr. Margolis was amazing. He is caring and calming to be around and very informative. The experience as a whole was great.
We arrived early and went to find his office while we waited. One of the assistants saw us outside the door. She came out and welcomed us in and let us know he could see us early.
While I was filling out the paperwork Dr. Margolis introduced himself and asked about his history for why we were there and he remembered the email we had sent as soon as I started telling him about little man’s ties. He went back to the procedure room to make sure everything was ready while I finished the paperwork.
He brought little man and I back to the room and had me sit with him on my lap. He examined his mouth and confirmed the class IV lip tie. He also checked his tongue tie revision and said that it looked great. He explained how the procedure would go and how to care for him afterwards.
He introduced me to both of his assistants who have both been working for him for more than 25 years. Little man laid on my chest with his head on my shoulder facing up. We both wore glasses to protect our eyes from the laser. I held his hands while one assistant held his head and the other suctioned liquids. The procedure took about three minutes. Little man cried a lot but I think it was more from being held down than from pain. He hates having his arms held. He stopped crying as soon as it was done and he could move again.
Dr. Margolis explained that some mothers feel relief right away when nursing and others take a few weeks. He was surprised I was still nursing with the tie he had and said most mothers quit because of the pain. He told me to email him pictures at two weeks so we don’t have to drive back just for him to take a look. Then they gave us a room for me to nurse in.
Amazing. Honestly. Night and day difference. He is able to suck in my entire areola. Before he could barely get in half. The pressure from his top gum is now faint and on the edge of my areola instead of extreme and on the base of my nipple. He didn’t clamp down like he usually does. The pressure was so much lighter all around. I was wondering if he was actually sucking at first because it felt so different. Before he sucked so hard I could feel it clear into my armpits. Now it feels soooo good. I knew it would be better. I didn’t know it would be this much better.
I will update with another post about his healing process and how his latch progresses in the coming weeks.
If you are considering having this procedure done, do not wait. And I highly recommend Dr. Margolis.
I am taking us back to the present for this post. Don’t worry, I will pick up where I left off in another post soon.
We will be going to see Dr. Margolis in Highland Park, IL next week to have a laser revision of little man’s lip tie. He will also be taking a look at his tongue tie to make sure all the tissue was removed when it was clipped. I emailed him three pictures of his lip tie and he replied immediately saying it is a class IV lip tie. This is a severe form! The ENT who did his tongue tie clipping said it didn’t look bad and I should just wait to see how it effects him. It’s amazing the difference when talking to an expert on lip and tongue ties.
The laser procedure should only take a few minutes and he will nurse immediately after to make sure he is able to get a good latch. I can’t believe that so much of the pain we’ve gone through could have been avoided if this had been caught earlier. I don’t understand why professionals who should know these things just don’t. Lactation consultants, nurses, OB/GYNs, midwives, pediatricians, ENTs. They should know how to identify lip and tongue ties. So many problems not just in breastfeeding but in other areas of development could be avoided if parents only knew.
And it doesn’t stop there. Some lactation consultants and nurses do notice these ties. But then they are shot down by doctors who say it’s not that bad or they don’t even see it at all. Since I’ve been researching and talking about ties I’ve heard so many stories about parents of infants who have had severe ties being dismissed.
There are more consequences to an untreated lip/tongue tie than just difficulties breastfeeding. http://bit.ly/untreatedties This link lists them. I don’t understand why medical professionals prefer to allow any of those things to happen to a person rather than just do a simple three minute procedure that can help them avoid all of those things.
This is not to say that there aren’t amazing professionals out there who diagnose and treat immediately. They are out there and I am extremely grateful to them. They make such a difference in the lives of many.
Here is a great informational pdf about ties from another expert: http://www.kiddsteeth.com/nursingbookaugfc2011.pdf