Tag: toddler

Our first black eye… or not?

Many people have seen this movie…

So you understand that my child could climb well before he could walk. Heck, he’s still pretty wobbly with walking, but he scales EVERYTHING in the house. A few Fridays ago he was scaling yet another household item and toppled before I reached him. Insert big bloody scrape and a bruise setting in immediately. Oh, and lots of tears between the two of us. I was heartbroken, sure I was the worst mother in the world. We cleaned him up, calmed him (and me) down and I set about treating his eye. I rubbed my “bruise buster” on his eye, as well as some colloidal silver (my newest love!). The bruise dissipated within two days, so then we just kept up with the colloidal silver. One week later, I think it speaks for itself!

Ouch! How we treated our first black eye | found at http://www.oliverandtara.com

 

The very next week O started coming down with a cold. I gave him the “cold buster” and 5ml of colloidal silver to drink 2x a day for three days. Praise the Lord, the cold disappeared before becoming a full blown amount of yuck!

Yep, colloidal silver is here to stay in our house! I would love to hear about any of your “must-haves” in the all-natural medicine cabinet!

❤ Tara

All Tied Up: Lip Tied & Tongue Tied

Never doubt that “mommy sense”. Fight for what you feel is “wrong” or “off”. Do not let other’s belittle your concerns. You know your baby better than anyone else. I should have fought before, but I’m fighting now. And we’re going to win this curve ball after Liam has “surgery” next week in California..

Back Story

From the day Liam was born I thought something was off about his oral anatomy (and I know a bit about that, being an SLP and all). I asked the lactation consultant in the hospital and was told “it just looks different because he doesn’t have teeth and is so small…” How I wish I had been wrong, or that I’d fought more back then. Recently a few things were really itching that thought in the back of my mind:

  • People kept saying “oh those are the cutest two little teeth! You’ll get more soon” and similar phrases. Except… he has six teeth. Four on top that no one ever seemed to notice.
  • He doesn’t “pucker” his lips very well. I’ll post again this week with a video showing how he “kisses”.
  • When he drinks water, it is through a straw. But he more “pinches” it between his lips than puckers.  Also, it ALL falls out of his mouth if he takes the straw out.
  • When we try to feed him by bottle he always collapses the nipple between his lips.
  • [warning: may be TMI] When he nurses he doesn’t take the whole nipple into his mouth. He stays near the tip – I was constantly told this was just because he had a small mouth
  • He nurses for VERY short stints. A few minutes and then takes a break.

What sealed the deal was his top two front teeth growing in significantly recently. They came in with a big gap. When I was looking closer at the gap I realized it – his lip is attached through his top two teeth and onto his palate! I called Oliver from the airport (I was flying home) and told him “Liam is lip tied…. bad.”

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Facts

What followed was extensive research on my part. The biggest impact for me was realizing the following:

  • Lip ties are very common and mostly genetic
    (go ahead, run to the mirror. We all did…)
  • Most lip ties come with a tongue tie
  • There are two types of lip ties …
    • Frenulum Labii Superioris (inside the upper lip) – this is Liam’s
    • Frenulum Labii Inferioris (inside the lower lip).
  • It causes significant problems in breastfeeding – doesn’t stimulate milk production, damages nipples, bad latch, poor weight gain/failure to thrive, etc.
  • It is EXTREMELY common, but hardly diagnosed!

“Ties” are rated on a scale of “classes”. For lips ties, a class 1 is “normal” and a class “4” is the most severe. For tongues the scale goes the opposite direction. I know Liam has at least a class 3, but possible class 4, lip tie. You can see some great images here:

There are so many myths and “old school” mindsets out there that impact intervention on lip ties:

  • Many doctors/lactation consultants believe medical intervention isn’t needed, thinking children will “grow out of it”.
  • Many professionals will not treat infants/toddlers/etc.
  • Some suggest “waiting to see if it impacts speech, then intervening”

Ug! As an SLP I can say with assurance – NEVER wait to see if something “impacts speech”. By that time you are looking at extensive intervention to correct something rather than being “ahead of the game”. And the more research I did, the more I realized intervention was not only important, but necessary. And fast.

Interventions

When battling a “lip tie”, the individual needs a “frenectomy”. In layman terms, you need to cut the frenulum that attached the lip to the gums or the tongue to the floor of the mouth. This is primarily done one of two ways:

  • Cut with a scalpel then stitched (Z-plasty surgery)
  • Cut and simultaneously cauterized via laser

Stitches and a toddler sounded like a nightmare. And the healing for that was extensive and much slower than a laser. Research into the laser procedure gave us a general “picture” of how the appointment would go:

  • They would put local anesthesia into the frenulum being cut
  • After giving it a few minutes to kick in, they cut the frenulum
  • The procedure lasts approximately 6 minutes start to finish

This seemed like the best decision to us. The hardest part will be having to restrain Liam while they cut. So, now that we had decided we were going to allow someone with a laser into our child’s mouth, we needed to find out who does this procedure…

Specialists

I first assumed it would be a medical doctor or ENT who would specialize in this. But it is actually cosmetic dentistry! We searched and found the names of the leading specialists. If someone was going to be in my child’s mouth (an SPL’s kid!) with a LASER, they had better know what they are doing! We found one of the leading specialists (and researchers!) in the nation is Dr. Kotlow in Albany, New York. And his very first suggestion, if you can’t go to him, is Dr. James Jesse in Loma Linda, California. We did find some dentists who do the laser in our area, but we prayed about it and only really felt peace about going to California.  So I called his office, stated immediately that I was an SLP with a child with a class 3/suspected class 4 lip tie and probable tongue tie. They had an opening the following week.

What Can I Do?

Honestly, go check your little one. Talk to your friends about checking their little ones! Do you know someone struggling to latch/breastfeed? Or someone who is ready to give up due to pain/cracked nipples/etc? Share this post! Get them help – help that friend rid themselves of “mommy guilt” and raise awareness that this is common and FIXABLE! Be the answer someone else needs to much and keep more kids off the SLPs caseload by giving them a great start to their breastfeeding AND speech development!

Our Plan

We fly out Wednesday night to LA where we will meet up with my mom (she is flying in from San Jose). We then pick up our rental car and drive to our hotel in Loma Linda. Thursday as 2pm PST we have our appointment with Dr. James Jesse to correct Liam’s “ties”. We are cleared to fly home the very next day, but instead chose to stay until Saturday afternoon and give Liam some “chill time”.

Over the next week or so I will post what we packed for our trip, what helped with the surgery/recovery process and a less “informative” and much more “personal” peek into what we are all thinking and feeling through this process. Keeping it real!

❤ Tara

Some great blogs and websites:

Activities: Clips!

With a Masters degree in Speech-Language Pathology and many years of experience in the special education system, I’m quite keen on exposing Pip to a multitude of activities. I work hard to vary the modalities he is using in the activities I am providing. We love to do a lot of fine motor activities together, despite how anxious it makes others. Everyone is sure he will choke on the tools I give him! But trust me, I keep him supervised until I know he can be safe. And once he know how to be safe with them, he gains so much confidence with the activities!

What are fine motor skills?

Fine motor skill is the coordination of small muscle movements which occur in body parts such as the fingers, usually in coordination with the eyes. – Wikipedia

What are some important movements?

There are so many! Pinching, threading, pulling, scribbles… there are so many different fine motor movements. If you google it you can find a variety of lists. Some will make you feel like you’ve done something right, others may make you feel like you’re failing your child. Try to find a middle ground *smile*

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A simple activity to help your toddler develop their fine motor skills! And you can buy the materials at the dollar store! | found on http://www.oliverandtara.com #moms #parenting #activities

This simple activity can provide fun and some fine motor exercise for your little one! We play this game everywhere now, as I can always have the supplies in my purse.

What You’ll Need:

  • Rubber coated metal clips (I get them at the dollar store!)

How to Play

  • Always start each “level” by barely attaching the clips to the edge of something. You aren’t trying to “stump” your toddler right out of the gate! First you want to establish that they know how to get the clip off at each level.
  • Begin with something hard and sturdy where the pulling motion is towards themselves or down (not up). The edge of a toy crate can work, or a counter/table. Show your toddler how much FUN it can be to pull them off! (Find that inner child!) The rubber coating should protect your items, as well as make it easier to slip off. Increase the difficulty along with your toddler’s progress. You can even try clipping them so that they would need to pull “up” once they have the hang of it!
  • Attach the clips to a stuffed toy or blanket. Show your toddler how to hold the item with one hand, and pull the clip off with the other! This is great for core strength, stability and lateral motion – along with that grasping motion!
  • Attach the clips to your toddler’s clothes! We have a lot of fun with this one! I’ll put a clip on the feet of his PJs, up the legs, in his stomach region and even on the arm of his shirt. He has to coordinate all of his limbs to reach the clip and then pull against it! Be sure your little one is somewhere “soft” when you start this one. They often pull so hard they topple themselves backwards! When Pip has to wait somewhere in his car seat or stroller I’ll pull out this activity for a few minutes of cheap entertainment!

More dollar store activities to come! Stay tuned!

❤ Tara