- bites (repeatedly, and I have the teeth marks to show it)
- spits it out
- basically does everything EXCEPT suck on it. Doesn't matter if it's a finger, a paci, an empty syringe, whatever.
I saw the IBCLC again today (I first saw her the day of DS's lip tie and tongue tie revision), just prior to my baby's 6-month appointment (where he's gained a whopping 1 lb 3 oz since two months ago and is now 13 lb 3 oz on their scale), and she watched me latch him and saw how he tries to push back, and said that he needs to get his tongue stronger so he has a better deep latch. He has a suck-suck-suck-suck-suck pattern and rarely swallows unless I'm in the middle of a letdown. She wants me to get him to do a sucking exercise several times a a day for a couple of minutes each time, and if he's not interested at the time I try, to just try again in a few minutes, but with the way he is, I don't think he'll ever be interested and I'll be trying again "in a few minutes" all day long. If I press down on his tongue to try to trigger him to suck that way, he'll just bite me or act like I'm gagging him (even though my finger's nowhere near the back of his throat). She also wants me to get him to mimic me sticking my tongue out, so I tried that, and he only does that a little bit, but it's off to the side a bit and she said he needs to stick it out in the center. If I tickle his bottom lip with my finger, he'll sometimes stick his tongue out, and then if I tickle the tip of his tongue, he'll sometimes stick it out a little farther, but again, that's just sticking it out, and he still needs to strengthen it by sucking, too. But he won't.
I feel like such a helpless, hopeless failure with breastfeeding, like I've been doing it wrong for almost five cumulative years. I keep going back to the "suck-suck-swallow" pattern that they're supposed to have, and I'm trying to remember if my other babies did that, but I don't think they did. All my babies were skinny. It's like they knew how to get enough to survive (mostly due to my OALD), but not to get fat and happy and milk-drunk and fall asleep nursing and sigh from utter contentment.