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Monday, September 5, 2016

Julia's Newborn Lip & Tongue Tie Revision Journey

Howdy all! I have been wanting to post an update on Julia for sometime, and am grateful with this holiday weekend I finally found the time to sit down and write. Most of the time I talk about Noah's story, and the side effects of late tie revision. Fortunately for Julia, Noah's struggles have been an indirect gift to her. We knew immediately after her birth that we were not going to wait one day longer than we had to for revisions of her ties. I wasn't thrilled about the idea of putting my newborn through any kind of pain, but I also knew that I couldn't bear to see her suffer from all the things that Noah has had to as a child. For a full recap on her birth story, newborn revision, and the first few weeks post revision go to this blog article. 


Going back and reading that blog made me empathize with my frustrated postpartum self, but it also gave me amazing perspective. Look at this sweet baby girl... just look at her. 

The Bitter Sweet Reality: SO much has changed since she was 2 weeks old. The honest truth is that we made it longer with breast feeding than we ever did with Noah, but didn't make it to my dreamy goal of at minimum a year. Currently she is almost 9 months old and is exclusively formula fed, and I'm going to chronicle a few of the main events that happened that got us to this point. 

Silent Reflux What???: As mentioned in my previous blog, even post revision, Julia nursed for a VERY VERY VERY long time. Each session was 1-1.5 hours long...oh my goodness it was absolutely EXHAUSTING!! I could easily identify that Noah had reflux because he lived in a bib, and spit up everything all day every day, but I had absolutely no idea what was going on with her. I mentioned to a friend that we were having issues (she has a baby with ties as well) and she explained the silent reflux problem. Apparently even though the ties are released, the baby still does not know how to use their tongue properly right away, and a significant number of babies with ties also have high palates. These issues lead to reflux problems, which totally wear the baby out when they try to eat. When a baby has a tough time nursing due to reflux they have to choose between sucking or breathing, so when they get worn out they just choose to breathe... and then sleep. I was very hesitant to put her on a medication so young, but  we went to our Pedi who was willing to give it a try after doing an extensive elimination diet that showed no progress. According to one Pedi ENT, infant Prevacid works a million times better for reflux than all the other meds, so that's what we tried. Within 4 days her nursing sessions went from HOURS long to 30-45 minutes MAX. I was extremely encouraged and felt like this was the answer we were looking for. 

Mastitis Woes: I definitely enjoyed the months I nursed Julia a million times more than Noah however not all was easy breezy. I ended up with mild to moderate mastitis on 5 occasions and needed antibiotics from my OB 3 different times. Basically in the span of 3 months solid I was only off of antibiotics for a week or two and then was right back on them. At that point I felt... defeated. I was doing everything right, but her mouth and my body still could not figure it out. I tried every single latch technique out there, watched countless you-tube videos, saw a pedi chiropractor regularly, but still couldn't make the fairy tale dream of our nursing relationship come true. So I slowly started weaning after 6 months when she started solids, and as of today she is on formula and food. 

Acceptance: I have fully accepted that my breast feeding dreams with my kids were more of a night mare than a dream. However, I'm extremely grateful for being able to enjoy it more with Julia than I ever could with Noah. I treasure the time I had with her when it all 'worked', and now that she is eating food, I really have peace about the formula stuff. I hope if you're struggling with this decision that you give yourself GRACE, and permission to do what is best for your baby, you, and your family. And PLEASE above all things, do not give in to the mommy guilt. If you have had babies with severe ties you have experienced parenthood with newborns in a totally different way than other parents, and need to always give your self an extra heaping amount of grace. 

The GREAT NEWS! Ya'll beyond breast feeding, every other single thing with this little girl has been unbelievably easier than with Noah. Her transition to foods was seamless. She eats EVERYTHING!!!! We did a loose version of baby lead weaning, because she was very eager to eat, and eat REAL food! 

A few things I have noticed have been a million times easier for her than Noah were: 
- She obviously has full use of her tongue and moves food around in her mouth with ease
- She can clear food off of a spoon easier
- She can manipulate food with her hands easier 
- She never gags, stuffs, pockets, or spits food out
- She pretty much loves everything I put in front of her
- She is baby talking up a storm 
- All of her developmental milestones are unbelievably earlier (which I know is in part due to being a second child and a girl), however it just makes me so very happy to see her not struggle like he did. 
- She has absolutely zero fear of food, it's a beautiful beautiful thing

Take a look at her happy little self below. She doesn't take pacifiers so she chews on none other than veggies of course! Celery and carrots are her favorite... don't worry she can't get any chunks off yet. 

No Regrets: As previously stated, even though this journey did not end in my dream scenario, we are still a very happy and thriving family. I have learned SO MUCH through this tie process, and I honestly do not regret even for a moment having her ties fixed even though we had to transition to formula sooner than I had hoped. Life just seems easier for her on all fronts, and I believe in my heart it is because she is not dealing with the side effects of unrevised ties.  Above all things, I'm thankful the Lord has given me peace about every decision we have had to made for our precious baby girl, and that He has brought me closer to him in this journey, and made me rely on Him more.

If you have a kiddo that has severe ties and your life is tough right now my heart breaks for you, but know you are not alone. We can absolutely still raise healthy kiddos even WITH tie issues, and find  a way to educate as many people as possible in the process. 

Hope you all have an awesome 4 day work week!!!

Love & Blessings, 
The Veggie Momma