Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tools That Have Helped

I thought that I would add a link to the tools and techniques (on the left) that Joy and I used early on with John and helped us through many difficulties. I didn't intend to write a new post on this but noticed that some of the links were not clearly written and I wanted to be able to have this information out there in case you would like to use them. I wish that Joy and I had had this information readily available to us so here it is.

hazelbaker fingerfeeder

The first is the Hazelbaker FingerFeeder. I linked this to a picture of the label. This was used early on when John was having trouble latching on to the breast. Joy has nursed each of our children and it was never a question about whether or not to nurse John. But when we were faced with his inability to suck, we knew that we had to act quickly. The name of the game here is to get nourishment into him/her. Even though we felt the urgency to get nourishment to him with whatever method we could, we still didn't give up on the nursing. And that is where the tongue exercises began.

I'm not sure where these tongue exercises came from or if they are formally taught but they helped us tremendously by teaching John tongue placement while he sucked. This method requires you to use your pinkie finger upside down (nail down) and insert it into his/her mouth. Place the pad of your finger up at the roof of the mouth and in the middle. He will begin to wrap his tongue around your finger and you will feel him latch on. Joy and I would let John suck at the finger for about five minutes. Be patient, it will not happen quickly. We would do this every feeding time prior to putting him to the breast. As time John got more efficient at performing this exercise, we would still begin with our finger in his mouth as normal, but we would begin to slowly pull the finger out of his mouth in order to train him to elongate his tongue. Within a month of being disciplined at doing this, we noticed that John didn't require as much of this to be done before putting him to the breast. John is now 3 months and takes the breast and the bottle without difficulty.

Next is the Jungle Play matby Fisher Price. Let me preface this section by saying that John had no heart issues at birth, therefore we were able to start working with him early and with no precautions. If you have question about whether or not your child is healthy enough for this activity, please check with your Pediatrician or other medical professional before beginning vigorous activity. This was given to us as a shower gift. It is made by Fisher Price and there are pictures of it in the picture gallery. The name brand of model is not important here. There important thing is to provide your baby with stimulation and what we found was that the more the better. The play mat that John uses has music, blinking lights, a mirror and hanging rattles. You can set the music to play continuously or to start when he kicks or hits something on the gym. This has proven to be a fun toy and we use it every day.

baby massage

Finally, there is baby massage. We began this on day one at the hospital whether it was in his sleep or with him awake. We would strip him down to his diaper and lay him on his back and just caress and massage every part of his body beginning with his face and working down. We didn't use any oils and really didn't use any formal method of doing this. We just made sure that we covered all or as many as we could of his muscles. We also didn't use deep pressure but didn't use light touch either.

I hope this is helpful. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments.


Angela said...

I need to do more baby massage with Benjamin. I have a friend who has two DS boys (one is natural, the other is adopted) and she *swears* by massage.

We thankfully have had no nursing issues, but are now having a hard time getting him to stop thrusting his tongue out when we try to feed him baby food. That will take some time.

Benjamin loves his mat, too! I need to put a couple of pillows around it b/c sometimes he rolls and rolls clear off the mat onto the hardwood floor. One day he bumped his head on the bookshelf, which is like three feet away! Silly baby... ;)

Lisa said...

Your little guy is only a couple weeks younger than my little guy :) Thanks for the comment on my blog. I look forward to following your journey.

Becca said...

I love that you posted this--I think it will be very, very helpful for lots of folks out there with newborns. Were these things that someone had told you about, or something you discovered on your own? Samantha did okay with sucking as a baby, but took forever to transition to solids due to an overwhelming stubbornness about chewing. There's so much to be learned from all of these little "quirks" our kids have!

JaybirdNWA said...

Together with my therapy background and Joy's background as a Pediatrician, we just started doing this on our own.

Brandie said...

I'm a huge fan of infant massage. I did this every day for Goldie for at least the first year and then as often as we could fit it in. I think it has definitely helped her muscle tone. It also kept her "regular".