At 7 months, Belle continued to be doing well. She was eating from her flattened spoon really consistently. She’s done fine with the Honey Bear but hasn’t advanced much, which happens to be mostly my fault. I typically was only getting a chance to work with her 5 times a week or so. Her tongue retraction was really good, but she kept having an open mouth posture a lot of the time. This might sound a little discouraging, but we don’t see it that way. Her Dad and I are still so proud of her and her progress, and we will keep moving along.

Moving right along with Belle’s therapy, we started on her Oral Placement Therapy (OPT). Before every feeding and therapy session, I wake up and tone the muscles around her mouth with touch. I start with a soft blanket and massage her jaws and play with her to get her relaxed and interested. She loves when I start massaging her with my fingers. Her laugh and smile are amazing to watch when she gets going. I work through a list of tools to help stimulate her muscles. I start with a toothette to massage the inside of her mouth on both sides, then go to my pinkie finger and do the same thing. I’m not sure which of those she likes better, but her smile tells me she is enjoying it.  Next, I move onto the TalkTools’ Finger Cuff and the Yellow Chewy Tube to get Belle to chomp on my finger. She does a great job chomping down on the tools on both sides of her mouth. My finger can tell you that. I’m so happy to see her getting the hang of her therapy and progressing like she is. I know we are making progress and have a ways to go, but it makes my heart melt just seeing her smile and laugh while we are working with her.

-Lanie Beetsma

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