New mom Jenna Miller took baby Skyler for speech therapy at OMC to help her learn techniques and exercises to improve her ability to eat.
Two-month-old Skyler enjoys cuddling close to her mother. Jenna Miller, and is always happy to nurse or take a bottle of breast milk when it’s time to eat. That wasn’t the case when Skyler was just a few days old, when Jenna noticed she was having trouble latching, and was choking and gagging on her milk. Frustrated and a little frightened, Jenna called Olathe Medical Center’s (OMC) lactation line and spoke to a certified lactation consultant, who encouraged Jenna to bring Skyler to the free breastfeeding support group at the hospital that afternoon.
The lactation consultant examined Skyler and noticed she had tongue-tie and lip-tie, two common congenital conditions caused when the soft tissues that attach the tongue to the floor of
the mouth and the lips to the gums are too tight. This restricts the baby’s ability to suck efficiently. OMC Speech Language Therapist Gena Rossow, CCC-SCP, also examined Skyler that afternoon. She recommended Jenna take her to a dentist, who could make a small cut in the tight soft tissue to release the tongue and lips.
“I’m so glad I met Gena that day,” said Jenna. “She also suggested that speech therapy could help me learn techniques and exercises that would help improve Skyler’s ability to eat. I took her upon it, and we had our first therapy appointment the next day.”
“Skyler had a hard time coordinating her sucking, swallowing and breathing and was not able to use her tongue appropriately while eating,” said Gena. “Throughout her course of therapy, we were able to adjust her position and give her mom some strategies to help Skyler’s ability to eat without choking or gagging. Skyler responded extremely well to treatment, making fast progress to independent and safe feeding.”
A few weeks later, Skyler was able to nurse exclusively for the first time.
“That was an incredible feeling,” Jenna said. “My experience as a new mom with my first child would be completely different if I hadn’t met Gena. She gave me hope, and she helped me to bond with my daughter.”
Now that they’ve graduated from therapy, Jenna continues to join the weekly breastfeeding support group.
“I would encourage all new moms to use their resources and reach out for help,” Jenna said. “I know this could have gone completely different. Without the breastfeeding support group, I would have never known that speech therapy was an option for us. I’m grateful for their help.”