But, here we are, at 4+ weeks, and she still hasn't achieved her birthweight. She gained a bit last week (hurray!), but didn't put any weight on at all this week. In a growing baby, this is not good at all!
I've done all that I can to get milk into her belly, aside from using a funnel (no, I wouldn't do that!), and we're treading water. Thankfully, even though the signs of a posterior tongue tie are subtle, we've been able to catch it. Warning signs include:
- A flat tongue. When she cries, her tongue doesn't/can't reach the roof of her mouth, and it stays pretty much completely horizontal. It can't curl up on the edges like a hot-dog bun, either. In essence, her tongue can't flex and grip the breast tissue effectively, so there just isn't as much milk flowing.
- Bevelled nipple shape. After a feed, the end of my nipple is shaped like a new tube of lipstick. My older children even noticed this one, but I had no idea it was a sign of problems!
- Bubbly spit/drool. When I read this elsewhere on the internet, I was dumbfounded. We had all noticed that she had bubbles in the corner of her mouth sometimes, but I just wrote it off as a baby drool thing. Nope - another possible warning sign.
- Losing weight/poor weight gain. This one is kind of obvious, because she just isn't getting enough milk to grow properly. I've been pumping and assisting her feeds by using breast compression techniques each time, but baby is usually better at getting the milk out than any other method. The poor dear just can't manage it with her tongue as it is.
There are other signs/symptoms, but they relate more to the fact that baby isn't taking in enough milk - frequent feeds, not enough dirty or wet nappies, and so on.
The funny thing is, that once I started with compressions during feeds, her poo-and-pee count went up. From the outside, she really seems fine. But now that I know there is a problem with her tongue, I've realised that her latch isn't the best at all. I can feel her tongue sort of losing its grip during a feed, and she often makes clicking noises during a feed, when she loses suction. She is trying terribly hard to get enough milk, but her tongue just isn't cooperating!
Just today I noticed that when I feed her at a certain angle, she manages to take in the milk much more easily. It seems like our reclining couch is the best place, with my feet up and my torso slightly leaning back. She is more on top of me rather than in front of me, and I guess her tongue doesn't slip and slide so much in that position.
Hopefully this challenge will pass quickly, however; we have an appointment tomorrow to get it officially assessed and hopefully snip the tight bit of skin to release the tongue. I am very excited about the prospect! I really look forward to watching those scales increase in numbers while her legs get chub rolls and my milk starts flowing faster. It isn't a magic cure; she will have to re-learn how to breastfeed essentially, since she's never used her muscles in that way before. But we'll get there!
I'm so relieved to have a cause for her struggles. The idea of a mystery ailment bothered me greatly, and made me worried for the future. Now, so long as everything goes well tomorrow, we can expect positive changes and turn things around for her.
As much as I love having a little baby and don't want her to grow up too fast, I really do want to grow bigger!