Baby’s First Speech Therapy Appointment

infant speech therapy

infant speech therapy

I have been anxiously awaiting this appointment more than anything.

Not that I wasn’t happy with chiropractor, because I definitely was, but I felt like I would probably get some definite answers as to why she wasn’t taking the bottle and how long it might be until she actually took the bottle.

The speech therapist was great.

We talked about anything and everything involving Jolee for about 30 minutes before she really did anything. She asked about home life, why we were referred to see her, how had she been nursing, how was pregnancy, how was delivery…all of the types of questions that the chiropractor had previously asked. I was certainly okay with going over all of them again.

She made it a point to tell me that everyone thinks the issue is with the mouth when it comes to feeding, but it really involves the whole body.

She then asked if she could hold her. She immediately said her diaphragm was super tight and she wanted it to release. I honestly have no idea what that means and I still have no idea. She said when it released they would kind of catch their breath. It never released like she wanted it to, so she moved on.

She then turned her over to her stomach and laid her on her lap.

Jolee’s legs were straight out and she said that wasn’t normal.

She said at this stage in her life, they should still be trying to curl up in a fetal position. While in her lap, Jolee started breathing a little heavy and the speech therapist told me to listen. She told me that Jolee was struggling in the tummy time position because her muscles were underdeveloped. It wasn’t anything terrible, just something to work on.

The speech therapist (ST) moved along to her hips. She said her hips were extremely tight as well. The ST tried to work on them for a minute, but Jolee wasn’t having it. She was just trying to do a gentle massage. Jolee just fussed the whole time.

The ST turned her over and told me she was going to feel around in her mouth. As confirmed by the lactation consultant and the chiropractor, she has significant oral dysfunction. She has a very poor suck, her cheeks are tied (tight), her top lip is tied (tight), she keeps her tongue retracted and bunched up, her palate was extremely high.

Also, she observed that basically her whole body was tight; hips, neck, back. She also has a slight head tilt.

Now, onto feeding.

The ST wanted to see me nurse her first. I offered my left breast and she immediately observed she does not open her mouth at all, and she has a super shallow latch.

The ST was amazed that I didn’t have any nipple trauma. I had previously told her about my experience with Raelynn, bloody and cracked nipples for three months.

She told me that Raelynn probably killed all the feeling in my nipples.

Thank you, Raelynn.

I asked her why I have been able to breastfeed successfully, but she won’t take a bottle? If I had offered the bottle and only the bottle, would she have taken it?

Her response was similar to the lactation consultants. Basically, my boobs are doing all of the work. While I was nursing her, milk was pooling in the sides of mouth and dribbling down her face. The ST told me to imagine turning on a water hose. That’s what my boobs were doing. Just giving her the milk with very little effort. In this moment, when we give her bottle, she has to work too hard to get milk. The ST told me if we had started on a bottle and stayed on the bottle, she would have eventually adapted.

While feeding her, the ST asked if she could feel under her chin. She was feeling to see where her tongue was. She said it was even more bunched up than it previously was.

She isn’t using her tongue at all to feed. She is only using her lips.

This makes sense, because when you give her a bottle, she has no idea what to do with her tongue. She just moves it around from side to side and tries to put the nipple of the bottle out.

Jolee finished feeding on the left side and she was getting sleepy. The ST asked if she could take her and try to give her bottle.

Lord Jesus, yes, please take her and work your magic.

She pulled out a yoga ball and sat on it and got Jolee into a sleepy state. She used a Dr. Brown’s bottle, with a preemie nipple, and a special valve that only allowed milk in the nipple if there was some type of compression on the nipple.

Since Jolee was in a sleepy state, she allowed the bottle in her mouth. Her being in this sleepy state was key, in my opinion. After 30 minutes of bouncing on the yoga ball and holding the bottle in her mouth, the ST said she had made a couple of active sucks and swallows, but she eventually just fell into a deep sleep.

While she was sleeping, I asked the therapist how long would it be before Jolee took the bottle? I told her I understood that every baby is different and I understood she couldn’t give me an exact time frame.

She said on average it takes 2-5 visits for the baby to take the bottle. I was happy with that, but I still felt like I was running out of time.

We were there for about 2 hours total.

After 2 hours, she had an official diagnosis; Dysphagia, oral phase and feeding difficulties. Essentially, this meant, she has a moderate feeding disorder secondary to oral motor dysfunction.

Most importantly, with this diagnosis, all issues were fixable.

The ST sent over a report with a list of things I can do at home with her, the majority of which I was already doing, and some we have not even covered yet. Also within the report, she set goals to achieve.

I am so happy with this appointment. I am hoping s he catches onto everything quick and we are able to get her to take the bottle sooner rather than later.