Identifying and Solving the Problem of a Lip-Tie and Tongue-Tie

In March I had my third son, Michael. With my first two children, Julian, six, and Joshua, five, I also breastfed. I breastfed my oldest for one week and my five year old for thirteen months. Breastfeeding has been different for each child. Particularly with Michael. 

Breastfeeding Michael has been the most challenging. I wanted to continue breastfeeding him and I wasn’t going to let those challenges stop us from bonding, at least, not without giving it my all. I was told years ago that if breastfeeding hurts then there may be something wrong with the baby’s latch because it’s not supposed to hurt. I’m still not sure if this is fact or opinion, but remembering those words helped me figure out what was going on with Michael. 

He slept through most of the day he was born but second day came and it seemed like he was just crying non-stop. His latch hurt my breast a lot. It hurt so bad that needed to put ointment on them to sooth them. I figured that he wasn’t finding the right position, so, I decided to ask to speak with a lactation consultant to see if I could get help with finding a position that would work for both Michael and I. Fortunately, we succeeded and went home. In the weeks that passed I noticed no improvement. Michael was gassy, uncomfortable, in pain, and he wasn’t giving me poppy diapers. I was very concerned and decided to make an appointment with his doctor.

Michael and I went to his pediatric appointment and consulted with her about my concerns. Her response was, “All these symptoms are normal. His digestive system hasn’t matured yet, so give it time to develop.” My mama instincts told me otherwise. 

I decided to consult with another lactation consultant through Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The lactation consultant there observed our feeding session. Soon enough, she was able to pinpoint our problem. She identified Michael as being tongue-tied and lip-tied

Unfortunately, I had no idea what any of that meant because I had never heard of such a thing in my life. The lactation consultant explained to me that Michael’s frenulum under his upper lip was tight, which is what lip-tie meant, and being tongue-tied meant his tongue was anchored to the floor of his mouth. Apparently, that is where the root of the problem was. She explained that being lip and tongue-tied was the reason he was so gassy and in pain all the time. These two problems affected the way he breastfed and didn’t allow him to feed properly. She continued by telling me that there was a procedure that could be done to resolve the situation. The procedure consisted of using a laser to sever Michael’s attached skin. 

We went home and I did more research on the issue. I found a bunch of Facebook groups on breastfeeding, as well as groups on tongue-tied and lip-tied children. I’m thankful to these groups because without them I would have been completely lost. These groups offered so much support and I was able to find reviews given by people who had the procedure performed on their child by the very same specialist.

In the end, my boyfriend and I decided to go ahead and have the procedure in hopes that it would relieve at least some discomfort and because I read that being tongue and lip tied can cause speech problems in the future. I must say that I am beyond grateful to have caught this early on because now Michael and I can continue bonding through breastfeeding. I noticed a huge change and he is now a happier and calmer baby.

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