Happy Mothers Breastfed Babies
Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: "Gumming" while nursing, not tongue-tied

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    7

    Default "Gumming" while nursing, not tongue-tied

    I have a 4 week old, and since birth LO has been "gumming" my nipples. He's just not getting his tongue over his lower gums when nursing. For the first few weeks I assumed the extreme pain was due to my nipples toughening up, but when I was in tears I decided to see a lactation consultant. She said I had an overactive let down and gave me a nipple shield and position tips to keep him from slowing down my milk flow with his gums. She also gave us some finger sucking exercises to get his tongue to move forward which we do before and after feedings (unless he gets hysterical).

    It's been a week, and LO isn't getting better. Even with the nipple shield I'm in pain. It's certainly not worse than skin-to-skin pain, but still really uncomfortable. I've researched tongue-tie in infants and he doesn't really have any of the symptoms. He's gaining the normal amount of weight and getting about 3 oz at each feeding. It seems he's learned to breastfeed with his gums instead of tongue. He's doing fine -- I'm not!

    Has anyone else experienced this and gotten past it? Will I ever be able to nurse comfortably and without a nipple shield?

    Thanks for taking the time.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    789

    Default Re: "Gumming" while nursing, not tongue-tied

    Hang in there baltimorejack. I had a lot of pain early on which was partially due to engorgment and then thrush but I think my son was also gumming or doing some other funky things with his tongue. It hurt SO BAD and I didn't believe my girlfriends who said bfing eventually doesn't hurt. For us it took about 9 weeks but now it's going so great! Hopefully for you it won't last as long (we didn't have exercises or anything like that to do), but if you can stick it out it is so worth it.

    Also, we used a nipple shield in those early weeks too and I hated it because I felt my son got addicted to it and would never nurse without it. It just wasn't the picture I had in my mind of our bfing relationship! However, around 4 weeks I was able to easily wean him off it. Don't worry about that part of it, that will happen when the time comes. The advice I received was to let him nurse for a minute or so to draw out the nipple then try to quickly remove the shield and latch him back on. If you think you want to stop using the shield, I would recommend trying this trick just one feeding a day and see what happens. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. The thing I didn't like with the shield is it made nursing in public (NIP) more difficult, but he's still getting your milk from your breast and that's the goal! No need to rush getting off the shield. I found it did help make the pain more manageable so I say use it if it helps! You will be able to get rid of it eventually.

    Good luck! Keep us posted.

    Anne- Mom to two active boys: Henry 10/06 and Jamie 4/09


    Looking for an LLL leader in your area? click:
    http://www.llli.org/webindex.html

    confused about abbreviations? check this out:
    http://forums.llli.org/showthread.php?t=807

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    1,987

    Default Re: "Gumming" while nursing, not tongue-tied

    My son was tongue tied and it hurt! We got his tongue clipped pretty late, so we had to help him figure out is tongue was free and he could use it. We spent a lot of time sticking our tongue out at him and eventually he began mimicking us and after that started sucking properly. I know you have a different situation, but it's worth a try! Also you might just have to stick with the exercises a little longer. Does he gum or suck on your finger?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: "Gumming" while nursing, not tongue-tied

    Quote Originally Posted by I-Man's Momma View Post
    My son was tongue tied and it hurt! We got his tongue clipped pretty late, so we had to help him figure out is tongue was free and he could use it. We spent a lot of time sticking our tongue out at him and eventually he began mimicking us and after that started sucking properly. I know you have a different situation, but it's worth a try! Also you might just have to stick with the exercises a little longer. Does he gum or suck on your finger?
    Thanks for the tip. Sometimes he does the exercises well with all tongue, sometimes he's all gums. Today he doesn't even want to suck fingers at all!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: "Gumming" while nursing, not tongue-tied

    I wanted to follow-up my original post with some notes on how we're doing now, in case anyone comes across this and is experiencing the same issues. My son is now 14 weeks old, and nursing has gotten under control.

    At 5 weeks old, we saw an ENT to have his tongue clipped. The procedure was worse for me than for him! They actually don't "clip" the frenulum, they use a laser and the procedure took about 5 seconds. I was able to nurse him right afterward. We wanted to take the issue of tongue-tie out of the equation, although he wasn't presenting as an obvious tongue-tied infant. That didn't seem to make nursing any better.

    When he was about 6 weeks old and my nipples were feeling like they were going to fall off, I decided to pump full-time and feed him from a bottle for a week straight to allow myself to heal. I drank Mother's Milk tea to keep my supply up. After that, I slowly introducted breastfeeding back in. It eventually became a routine for the next 3-4 weeks of breastfeeding during the day and pumping+bottlefeeding at night.

    Now I'm able to breastfeed 100% of the time. He's still flattening my nipples a bit, but it's not as bad as before. I wouldn't call breastfeeding comfortable, but it's tolerable and not as painful as before. I think my DS just has bad technique and is becoming better with time and age. I'm glad I stuck it out and didn't switch to formula. Breastfeeding is so much easier than bottlefeeding!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: "Gumming" while nursing, not tongue-tied

    I had the same problem with one of my twins at 4wks, she was stopping the milk flow from OALD by gumming me. One of my friends told me to push her face into the breast when she did it, so I started doing that and yelping dramatically at the same time. It actually worked after a week, thank god, she was making my nipples so sore!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •