Breastfeeding, the Second Time Around!

My second son was born at 40+3 and got off to a rough start. He was in a posterior position and ended up being born ear and cheek first. He was stuck with the cord wrapped around his neck, had shoulder dystocia, meconium aspiration, and was hypoxic. They took him to the bedside cart and worked on him right away, trying to get him to cry…meanwhile my husband, my mom and I were crying, anticipating hearing his cry. His APGAR was a 1 when he first came out, was a 5 five minutes later, and then was a 9 five minutes after that. Afterwards, I was FINALLY able to have skin to skin with him. He was so shocked he wouldn’t latch/nurse during the golden hour.

My first son nursed until just shy of his 4th birthday, weaning when I was 8-10 weeks gestation with the second pregnancy. Being an experienced breastfeeding mother, I told myself “I’ve got this!” and started working on his latch and positioning. But no matter what I did, I could not get him to open wide and gape his mouth to get a deep latch. The clicking, gas, and reflux was awful! I didn’t have any pain luckily, but I think it was partially due to having nursed my first son for so long.
He had his anterior tongue tie (webbed portion) clipped in the hospital, and we saw short term relief from that. Based on what I learned working through major tongue tie issues with my first son, I immediately took my second son to a preferred provider over an hour away for his posterior tongue tie laser revision at one week old. I also started on bodywork for his tight mouth and body; he had weekly Occupational (OT) and Pyysical Therap (PT) with some CranioSacral Therapy (CST) and chiropractic care added in periodically.

We saw a tie savvy IBCLC locally due to his insufficient transfer of milk, and it was concluded that he had a weak suck, weak tongue, and weak jaw. She recommended I start pumping and supplementing some expressed breastmilk after nursing sessions. We were hopeful this would help satiate him and help strengthen his muscles. He was also diagnosed as having torticollis and was enrolled in early steps/intervention as he was behind in fine and gross motor skills as early as 6 weeks old.
We had another laser tie revision at the pediatric dentist at 10 weeks old. We continued weekly OT and PT until I went back to work at 13 weeks. Expressing my milk at work was possibly the main reason I was able to maintain my supply, especially with his muscle weakness and insufficient transfer of milk. My son reverse cycled at daycare, so luckily I made more than he took at daycare. I saw my tie savvy IBCLC again and she recommended doing SNS with my pumped milk. This was hard for me emotionally as I never had to supplement with my pumped milk with my first son. Luckily, I only had to do it short term and he started getting stronger and transferring better. We continued OT and PT until he started crawling around 5 months and saw OT a few more sessions as we started solids.

But everything fell into place shortly after he started crawling around 6 months. His reflux started getting better shortly after he started sitting up. We are nursing strong at 14 months with exclusive breastmilk, and I’m still pumping at work. This little guy loves food and is way more of an eater than my first son was. We are back into OT for feeding and speech therapy, but I feel like we can power through!

~Stormy

Stormy is the proud mom of two sons, and an accredited Breastfeeding USA Counselor with the North Central Florida Chapter.