Several people have asked me recently how nursing is going and I realized I hadn't updated here about this. After Esther was born I shared some of my struggles - tongue tie, sore cracked bleeding nipples, extremely painful nursing sessions, mastitis, using a nipple shield, and wanting to give up. Continuing on with nursing during those first weeks was sooo hard. After sharing here that Esther had her tongue tie clipped and was using the shield, I didn't have much to update.
Using the nipple shield was frustrating because I didn't know how else to try and help her and I hated that we still weren't nursing right. Having her tongue tie clipped had made our sessions less painful and the shield was helping me start to heal. Esther struggled to nurse without the shield though and wasn't used to the milk flowing right into her mouth (the shield slowed the milk flow for her). Even with the shield she would make a clicking noise and loose the suction constantly, not using her tongue properly. I tried some tongue exercises with her, letting her suck on my finger for a minute and then pressing down on her tongue and slowly pulling my finger from her mouth. We tried without the shield from time to time, but it just didn't work.
I'm not really sure what happened other than tincture of time. Esther's little mouth grew bigger and she was able to latch on better. Eventually I decided we were ready and just committed myself to not using the shield for a whole day. She was struggling and not relaxing while she nursed, but we kept trying and made it all night and the next day without the shield. At one point she was fussy and I decided to put the shield back on, but she didn't like it. I didn't quite know what to do then! I had a baby who didn't want to nurse with the shield or without it. She ended up nursing without the shield.
An interesting note is that just before she finally weaned from the shield, we took her to a chiropractor/ kinesiologist. He adjusted her back and neck, to the point that she could visibly turn her head much better than before. Within a couple of days after her adjustment she also stopped projectile vomiting. She had been spitting up - a HUGE spit up at least once or twice a day allll over the place. I would have to change my clothes, her clothes, and wipe up the floor, the couch, and anything else in sight every time. She completely stopped. I think that the adjustment also may have helped our progress toward getting rid of the shield.
Just before she turned three months old, we were finally shield free. Its been a couple of weeks now and Esther nurses perfectly - well, except that she likes to turn her head to see what her sisters are doing while still trying to nurse. She also likes to smile at me while nursing and plays games with me, latching on for a second and then smiling. I love it. I love that we stuck it out. I told Ross that I needed a prize, this is such a huge hard difficult thing that I accomplished. I am definitely proud of myself and my prize is sleeping on the couch beside me while I type this. She is a sweet little baby, very content and easy going. She smiles easily and is great at snuggling. I love you baby Esther.