It’s about to get real here folks but if you don’t care about breastfeeding just stop reading and come back for the next post.
Three months in and we are still breastfeeding exclusively. I’ve been off dairy for about 6 weeks now. It seemed to help with decreasing her spitting up after a couple weeks. However she has still been having abnormal looking diapers. I said its gonna get real, so I will spell it out….orange, mucousy diarrhea everyday! So we took a diaper in to be tested for a food intolerance and it was positive for microscopic blood. It is an easy test that the pediatrician can do. The presence of blood means that there is something in my milk that IJ can’t break down and is causing irritation in her intestines. This is most commonly the milk and/or soy protein. Since the blood is present despite dairy being out of our systems by now means that the next step is to cut out soy, unless we want to switch to a special formula. Today was my first soy free day. My breastfeeding goal is at least 6 months so I’m not ready to give up yet.
We went through our pantry items to find soy and/or dairy in beef broth, bread crumbs, my beloved Australian style licorice, a box of cake mix, crackers, breads, graham crackers, canned soups, etc. My mayo is also off limits as well as the expensive tub of dairy free margarine I just purchased–both things are made with soybean oil. I will have to work hard to make sure that I’m still eating nutritiously. I also have to find new prenatals with no soy.
I’ve also become concerned about a possible lip tie and tongue tie affecting breastfeeding. For a month or so now I’ve been struggling with recurring painful knots on my left side (either from swelling or plugged ducts, not sure exactly). They rarely go away. It just goes from hurting more to hurting less. IJ also gets frustrated and starts kicking and bucking after the initial letdown. I try to help her by massaging to move the milk down faster but for whatever reason this will often cause her to stop sucking. I liken this to the people who stop walking when they step onto a moving walkway, like at the airport. I can hand express and see that I still have milk but I can only watch her struggle so long before transferring her to the other side. Even on the right, my better producer and even faster letdown, she gets frustrated after a while. So when it gets bad I have to apply heat, then massage (ouch!) while pumping. And it takes forever to do. It would be a lot easier if IJ could fully drain my breasts herself. Given these issues plus noticing that my nipples are coming out angled like a new tube of lipstick despite the latch appearing okay and her still requiring half hour nursing sessions and lots of coaxing to stay awake got me to wondering about a tongue tie.
Our pediatrician looked in her mouth while we were there to get a diaper tested and she said that the tongue looked tight and she recommended seeing an ENT for evaluation. I also talked to a lactation consultant on the phone and she recommended a different nursing support group because she said that the person who runs it had a lot of experience with TT/LT. We went to the group last night and learned a lot. Two LCs looked in her mouth. As one walked up while the other stretched open IJ’s top lip, she said “Well that’s quite a lip tie.” I learned that is one of the first things they look for because the two almost always go hand in hand. They also looked to see how she can move her tongue in every direction. When moving laterally her tongue angled toward each side rather than remaining flat. She was able to stick her tongue out just enough to touch her bottom lip with her mouth open but could not stick it out past her lips with her mouth open. Those things are associated with tongue ties. The LCs also pressed on either side of the frenulum and said in their opinion IJ does have a posterior tie, though they don’t have the qualifications to actually make diagnoses. They recommended this dentist who has received special training on LT/TT, who was also recommended by several moms in my facebook mom group.
So it seems like she most likely has this and now it’s just as matter of determining the severity and whether it would benefit her to correct it. It can have long term effects on speech articulation and eating solids and even kissing. But doing the procedure will mean relearning how to nurse, doing daily stretches which may hurt, and hoping it doesn’t heal itself closed again. We have an appointment with the dentist in a week and a half so we will have to see. In the meantime, I feel proud of IJ and me for sticking it out so far through latch issues, jaundice, reflux, food sensitivities/restrictions, overactive letdown, and probably lip and tongue ties. We are so lucky our baby is still gaining and growing well!