Suck Training Exercises and Stretches
Start with a nice circular massage of the jaw joints to loosen them up a bit. Then run your finger along the upper and lower jawline towards the front of the mouth on both sides
Gently roll the lower lip down and out, and then the upper lip up and out, to help them loosen up and practice flanging nice and open.
Try the little tapping and chin tug exercise in the video to help baby practice opening the mouth nice and wide, dropping the lower jaw. Beep - touch chin; Bop - touch nose; Boop - touch upper lip.
Rub the front outside edge of the gum, right in the middle, to initiate the reflex to stick out the tongue.
Rub the outside edge of both sides of the gums (one side at a time) to get baby to follow your finger with its tongue, practicing moving the tongue from side to side.
Let baby take your finger into its mouth to suck on. Play a tug of war and gently stroke of the midline of the tongue while he sucks on your finger. This will help baby improve his ability to roll and hold on with his tongue, and to help him to keep the back part of this tongue down while nursing.
Do a very gentle back and forth little massage on his palate.
If baby will let you, sneak a finger along the outside of the gums to the back of the gums (not to the point of making baby gag!) and let baby chew your finger at that point at the back of his jaw. This helps loosen those tight jaw joints and muscles and many babies really like it.
Turn baby so top of its head is facing you. Lift baby’s tongue with your two pointer fingers. Keep your fingers above where the clipping was done. Hold the tongue for only 10 seconds
Repeat exercises 4-5 times per day for 5 weeks. Regrowth can occur around 1-3 weeks.
Attend the Campbell River Breastfeeding Clinic for 1-2 weeks for reassessment. Tuesday or Friday 1-3pm
***Any exercises where you are gently and playfully helping baby to move his tongue around his mouth and gently massaging his muscles will help. These exercises can be done all in one go, or in little bursts throughout the day, and not in any particular order. Follow your baby’s lead! Many babies will tolerate just a few seconds of certain exercises in the beginning and will work up their tolerance and strength over time - a few days or a week can make a dramatic difference in how they respond to them. Keep trying, but don’t push him past what he is willing to work on with you!
Lots of skin to skin time, baths or showers together, time in the wrap, walks outside, and handing off between you and your partner will go a long way, and before you know it the first stage of healing will have passed and he will be feeling much better.