How to Nurse a MouseTrap: Overcoming Nipple Trauma

Soon after Adeline’s birth, she began rooting, seeking to nurse. How exciting! Two babies in a row that actually want to nurse immediately after birth! (Loretta was taken from me shortly after birth because she was “too cold” and put under a warmer. Eh, What can you expect at a hospital birth? So even if she was searching, I was given the opportunity to take advantage of it. Ruby I don’t recall having any interest at all).

Adeline latched on first try, in the side lying position. She suckled strong and hard. Yay!

Until about 6 hours later. Of her nursing off and on every hour or so. Strong and hard. And I had bruising, peeling, sore, red nipples. Seriously, when she latched on, it was like a mousetrap. (At least I think it was like a mouse trap. It’s what I image a mousetrap feeling like.)

The next time she cried, I took the time to examine her tongue. (I had noticed a pretty significant lip tie immediately after birth). But her tongue looked good! A frenulum was present. But it’s not so much what the tongue looks like, as much as it is about mobility and function. Mobility seemed good! She could stick her tongue out pretty far. She could also lift her tongue straight up in the air without any cupping!

A cupping tongue is a sign of a posterior tongue tie. The frenulum is restrictive at the base of the tongue and therefore does not allow the tongue to lift properly. The anterior (front) of the tongue can lift well, but the back of the tongue cannot. This causes the tongue to create a cupping motion when lifted. Josiah had this.

I was completely perplexed about whether Adeline had a tongue tie. With her having such a difficult birth, she was very tense. Her left side was very painful. She would cry when we picked her up. Perhaps it’s tension that is causing the nipple trauma. I canceled the frenectomy and decided to go with some chiropractic care and body work first. But this whole situation really unsettled me.

I turned to my trusted resources, Jennifer Tow. I sent her videos and pictures of Adeline. No doubt, there was much tension and pain from birth. She explained to me some massage technics to help loosen her up until we could get to a trained professional. It helped immensely. It’s amazing how much power we have as mothers to help our children. We just need someone to show us the way!

But there was a tongue tie involved also. It was explained to me that although she can lift her tongue very high and without cupping, she  does so only by “tenting” the floor of the mouth. This is where the restriction is. As the tongue lifts up, the restriction is revealed by the floor of the mouth pulling up like a tent.

I called Dr Myer’s office back the morning of the appointment I had canceled the day before. The fit us in. Thankfully, I had still gathered all my remedies just in case. I show up to the office with my remedies in hand and my game face on. Let’s do this!

Immediately after the revision I nursed her. And it was marvelous. No mousetrap! Boom! Amazing! Jennifer Tow, one of the World’s leading IBCLCs, if not the top IBCLC in the world, was right! Amazing how that happens! Hire a top of the line professional and they actually do know what they are talking about! Worth every penny! Every penny!!!!

I have spent the last week and half giving remedies, doing exercises and stretches, and nursing. And it’s wonderful! It’s a little scary to do the exercises. But Jennifer had a brilliant suggestion to help with that anxiety: start doing them BEFORE the procedure! That way you are confident in them, baby is used to them, and you can get through it easier. What a big difference!

The most recent exercises I got from Jennifer before Adeline’s birth involved much more than just keeping a wound open. It included suck training, fascia releases, and palate desensitization. Because of all of this, I began the exercises on her hours after her birth in hopes it would help loosen the tension in her mouth. Glad I did.  It really paid off.

Two days ago I had a follow up appointment with Dr Myers. No reattachment. Wound is healing wide open! I do the exercises prior to nursing, each session. During the day and at night. Anytime she nurses, she gets a dose of remedies and then her exercises prior. And it’s working!

If you are experiencing nipple trauma from nursing and would like information on remedies and exercises to use after a frenectomy, you can contact Jennifer Tow for a professional consultation. It is worth every penny to get the right information, a good release, and proper healing afterwards. You can hire her as your IBCLC by sending an email to iparentLLC@aol.com.

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