Hello everyone! Today I want to expose the beast that is the lip and tongue tie.
Within a few days of having my first child I was crying through feeds and writhing in pain. Breastfeeding my baby was not only painful but emotionally exhausting. “Why won’t she just stay on for more than a few minutes? Why won’t she nurse on both sides? Why is my nipple chaffed and… bleeding? Why isn’t this as “natural” as I had envisioned?????”
I started calling girlfriends for advice only to find out that most of them had not been able to breastfeed (for whatever reason). Determined, I toughed it out. Slathered liquid lanolin (seriously this stuff will bring your boobies back from the dead) on my sore, sad nipples and carried on. With lots of focus on her latch, a short period of time with a nipple shield, and nursing her on demand, we then proceeded to have the lovely nursing relationship I had envisioned.
She was exclusively breastfed until 6/7 months when she began fighting at the breast and went on multiple nursing strikes. After a week of my husband coming home to both me and the baby crying he said “Enough!!! This is not healthy for either of you.” Pumping was producing hardly anything and I began to panic. I called my midwife sobbing for advice. She gave me all the good stuff: skin to skin, nurse-in (get in bed, stay in bed and do nothing but nurse), hydration, supplements, etc., but it did not help and I was heartbroken (I later found out I was pregnant). I briefly had her on organic formula but after reading about the benefits of raw goat’s milk (click HERE to watch our Raw Milk 101 video), I switched over to that and it has since become a staple in our home.
After all of that, I was determined that nothing was going to prematurely end my breastfeeding relationship with my second child. So when ALL the same issues arose again with her, I decided it was time to sound the alarm. I was not going to sit idly by and feel helpless this time. I called La Leche League, spoke to as many people as I could who had been able to work through breastfeeding difficulties, joined online support groups, changed my diet, and luckily ran across a Facebook article one day and diagnosed the problem myself – both my children had Upper Lip & Tongue Ties!
This affected both of their abilities to latch, causing them to take in air, which led to gas and reflux, which led to “colic.” Because of their inability to latch properly, they we not emptying the breast and also causing abrasions on my nipples which manifested into multiple rounds of mastitis and thrush. Yeah….not fun. I showed my pediatrician, who immediately dismissed it and its relationship to nursing, and I soon found out that not many medical professionals are knowledgeable about the subject. I knew I was going to have do do my own research and be my family’s own advocate. After much research, my 4-month-old had her upper lip tie revised (a procedure called a frenectomy) and my eldest will be having hers revised shortly. Also, something you should know about me; I am a paranoid, helicopter, worry wart of a mama-bear. So doing anything invasive to my children requires A LOT of research and gut instinct on my end. I gave birth at home for goodness sake! I did not take this procedure lightly, but I knew for us it was necessary. Many debate about whether to clip vs laser the frenulum… We used the clipping method (which provided instant and highly beneficial short term aid), but 10 months later I noticed my daughter’s ULT had reattached! We have since decided to go back for longer lasting results with a laser due to its ability to go deeper into the tissue.
Lip and tongue ties affect more than breastfeeding: they can cause slow weight gain, create speech issues, forge large gaps between the front teeth, cause tooth decay (food and drinks “pool” around teeth) and gut issues, limit mobility, and can be very painful when brushing ones upper teeth. Let me tell you, it was a HUGE relief to get to the bottom of our problems and I experienced night and day results with my daughter! I am still nursing my 12-month-old and am so happy to have fought so hard and won the battle.
But as much as I am on top of the mountain waving my big skin-colored booby flag of victory, I am also painfully aware that not everyone has made it to the top with me. I too have experienced the guilt, pain, and heartbreak of having to go to plan B and the self-imposed shame of using bottles in public. But there is hope and there is help. Whatever your problem is, there are professionals who will work with you and you can do it! It just takes determination… and Google, thank God for Google.
My daughter’s upper lip tie before and after her frenectomy
Click HERE for an AMAZING article about WHY to get ULT/TT revised.
Here is a great Facebook support group filled with information regarding ULT/TT & healthcare provider options: (https://www.facebook.com/groups/tonguetiebabies/)
Some other examples from the internet: