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Thread: Suck training--any help from LLL leaders?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Default Suck training--any help from LLL leaders?

    DS is 3 months and had an undetected type 3 tongue tie that we just had clipped. I can see that the tongue has much more range of motion, but he is still nursing totally wrong--clamping with his jaw and retracting his tongue. My LC does not know much about this...can anyone give me advice on exercises to do to retrain his suck?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    South Carolina
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    Default Re: Suck training--any help from LLL leaders?

    My ds had posterior tongue tie, it was clipped about 3 weeks ago, and he still retracts his tongue. My ds didn't really figure out he had full range of motion until I started massaging his tongue with my finger. Before I nurse I try stroking his tongue from the base to the tip to get him to extend it but he hates having my finger in his mouth. Does your lo use a pacifier? If he does you can have a pacifier tug-of-war with him (gently) to get him to bring his tongue forward, try this before he nurses and before he's too hungry. Also, because his tongue was clipped when he was older it may take a couple of weeks before you notice it getting better. My ds was 5 1/2 months when he had his and unfortunately I haven't noticed a difference...but we're still trying .
    Married to Jesse 06-12-04
    SAHM to Isaac 11-05-07


  3. #3

    Default Re: Suck training--any help from LLL leaders?

    Suck training is probably something you should see a speech therapist about.
    Jen
    "Mothers are designed to be available to their babies--to help them make the transition into this big, wide world. To teach them to trust, and love, and feel good about being alive."
    --Elizabeth N. Baldwin, Esq., So I Nursed Him Every 45 Minutes

    Click here to find your local LLL Group
    How to tell if your breastfed baby is getting enough milk!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    3,900

    Default Re: Suck training--any help from LLL leaders?

    A Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) could teach you and your baby specialized exercises that fit your baby's unique situation. Please be aware that most SLPs do require a referral from a physician.

    An experienced IBCLC would also be able to evaluate your baby's suck as well as demonstrate exercises for your baby. I would recommend calling around to several IBCLCs in your area and inquire about services offered, as well as knowledge and experience as it relates to suck training post frenectomy.

    As for exercises we could suggest, below is an exercise described in The Breastfeeding Answer Book (2003) pg. 92 I will paraphrase for easier comprehension.
    Before putting baby to the breast:
    *Put gentle pressure on the middle third of his tongue by inserting a clean finger pad side down so that baby's tongue cups your finger. Note: Please assure that your fingernail is well trimmed beforehand.
    *While baby is sucking on finger, use your other hand's index finger to put gentle pressure under the bony point of the baby's jaw. This will stabilize baby's tongue.
    *Do this for less than a minute before putting baby to the breast.
    *If this the exercise alone isn't helping, try the above while dripping milk into baby's mouth. This will encourage him to bring his tongue down and forward while sucking and swallowing.

    Note that if your baby becomes upset during this exercise, or you're not seeing any improvement after a few days trying it, it's important to get help from someone who has experience in sucking problems.

    Please let us know how it goes and do come back with any questions you have. We are limited as to how we can help online, since we cannot see what is happening when your baby nurses. However, we can continue to offer you information, suggestions, and (most of all) support.

    Have you called your nearest LLL Leader? She might be able to print information from her resources that you could have on hand for reference, and for sharing with your baby's health care provider. You can locate a Leader near you by using the "find local support" drop down menu in the brown band near the top of this screen.

    Best wishes and please keep us updated!

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    South Carolina
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    Default Re: Suck training--any help from LLL leaders?

    An IBCLC suggested the exercise above to me when my LO was 3 months old. I couldn't get him to suck on my finger even with EBM. This of course was before he had his tongue clipped.

    I've been in contact with Cathy WG who suggested the tongue massage as well as the pacifier tug-of-war...I've never given my lo a pacifier so we haven't tried that.

    Cathy also suggested to make it a game when stroking his tongue - lots of smiling, laughing, funny noises. Recently, she also mentioned negative resistance exercises. Basically pressing gently on your breast to pull it a tiny bit so your lo needs to use more negative pressure when nursing.

    I definitely recommend finding an IBCLC in your area who has experience in this area. One I met with wasn't able to offer me any advice other than what I already knew. I've left messages with 2 other IBCLC's in my area but they haven't been in contact with me yet
    Married to Jesse 06-12-04
    SAHM to Isaac 11-05-07


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    18,063

    Default Re: Suck training--any help from LLL leaders?

    you might try Karen Gromada
    she works with lots of premies. Send her a pm shes around the
    Breastfeeding Multiples board.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    38

    Default Re: Suck training--any help from LLL leaders?

    Suck training is probably something you should see a speech therapist about.
    Yup. Our daughter was in the NICU for the first two weeks of her life and I was not able to bf her. They called it "Teaching to root" since she would not even give us feeding cues. We put my milk on a bink and did use it to work on her latch. I found out later that the person working with her tongue positioning (along with the bink-play) was a speech therapist. I was told by another nurse she would probably not take to bf but I still offered it, hoping to teach her that the breast is better than the bottle for her. The therapist said she would if I were willing to tease her tongue if she got caught up. Once she got home and I offered it, I found she remembered everything she was taught and she was a perfect nurser.
    Last edited by Novismom; May 10th, 2008 at 08:47 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    8

    Default Re: Suck training--any help from LLL leaders?

    Thank you. I am in touch with my local LLL, but they have not had a mom with posterior TT before. My LC also does not seem to know how to retrain his suck. We saw a GREAT OT in the NICU who knew a lot, but she does not see outpatients as a rule...it was a one-time favor for my LC, I think. I have asked around and no one seems to know of anyone to see. There is a lot of ignorance on this subject.

    We do paci tug-of-war and I do a very gentle version of it with my nipple. I had not read the jaw stabilizing idea before, so will try that. He is doing better but still does not stick his tongue out very far at all.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    6,959

    Default Re: Suck training--any help from LLL leaders?

    check here for an ibclc in your area http://www.ilca.org/

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