Erin’s Story: A Tongue Tie with a Happy Ending

IMG_1691This story was sent to me by an incredibly determined mom. Thank you, Erin B. for sharing with the world!

My daughter had been nursing exclusively until she was 4 months old. She was always colicky, hard to nurse, and would arch her back and scream during feedings. My nipples were constantly sore. She was diagnosed with acid reflux and put on medication, but it never really helped. We had to start her on solids early at 4 months because she always seemed hungry. Then, at 5 months, she flat out refused to nurse. This time, I knew it was more than just “reflux,” and decided to go digging.

I searched high and low and came across some information regarding tongue ties and lip ties.  I immediately made an appointment with our pediatrician to have our daughter checked. He told us that she did not have a tongue tie, and that her lip tie shouldn’t affect feeding, but I had a gut feeling about it and talked to other moms and eventually found Renee–an experienced lactation consultant. (IBCLC)  

Even though Renee practiced in another city, an hour away, I made an appointment and went to see her as she has experience in identifying ankyloglossia (tongue tie). It was a wonderful experience.  Finally someone listened to me!  She was able to identify my daughter’s lip and tongue ties, and help me figure out how to nurse her comfortably, without pain, while waiting to have her ties revised. Renee also contacted my OB and our daughter’s pediatrician to fill them in, and helped us find a wonderful body worker (Michael Hahn) to take our daughter to after her revisions.  (Note: Body work is often needed after the ties are revised to resolve any residual tightness in the jaw and other areas.)

We had both the tongue and lip ties clipped. We saw an immediate difference. A few days after the procedure we took our baby for a session of body work with Michael which helped our baby even more.  I can’t even begin to describe the difference in my baby since her ties were released, but the short of it is that she is a much more settled, content, happy baby who is gaining weight and growing much more efficiently. For the first time, I have seen her content to nurse and know what “milk drunk” looks like. Her reflux and spitting up have also vanished.

I am forever grateful to have found someone to listen to me and help me figure out how to continue to breastfeed my sweet girl. I will not hesitate to seek help again with any breastfeeding issues, and when we have our next baby, I am absolutely hiring Renee to come to the hospital!

Note from Renee: I refer most of my local clients to Dr. Chenelle Roberts for tongue and/or lip tie releases. If you’re not local to Seattle, that’s ok!  I can help you identify tongue tie with a virtual consultation and can locate a provider local to you for the release.

 

Bodywork for Baby (Guest Post by Michael Hahn)

Newborn loving his time with Michael!

I often recommend bodywork for the babies of my clients. As a lactation consultant, it is my job to look at the entire baby–not just the mouth–to get to the underlying cause of any breastfeeding challenges. When I see structural issues that may cause a problem for breastfeeding or overall function, I refer to someone I trust. Michael Hahn is one of those very special bodyworkers who I rely on to help me help my clients. Here is what he says about working with infants. Continue reading

Tongue Tie: More than “Just” a Breastfeeding Problem

 

Tongue-tied newborn

         Tongue-tied newborn

Let’s assume for a moment that breastfeeding is not important. That the oral development that breastfeeding provides is inconsequential. We will ignore, for just a moment, the fact that the act of breastfeeding helps develop the baby’s jaw, his facial muscles and properly shapes the palate to make room for his future teeth. We’ll ignore all of that so that I can give you a few other reasons to agree to have your baby’s frenulum clipped. Just in case the possibility of pain free, effective breastfeeding is not a good enough reason for you.

The reason I’m being just a bit sarcastic is because there are plenty of health care professionals out there who do not “believe in” freeing a tongue tied baby’s tongue “just” so he can breastfeed. “After all,” they say, “..you can just feed your baby pumped milk or formula from a bottle.” Continue reading

My Baby is Tongue Tied?

 

Type I tongue tie–tip of tongue “tied” to floor of mouth.

My lactation consultant told me my baby is tongue tied and she needs to get her frenulum clipped so she can breastfeed. What is a frenulum? Why does my baby need this procedure?

The frenulum is a (usually) thin, fibrous band of connective tissue that connects the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. The mere existence of a lingual (tongue) frenulum is not an indicator of a problem. The important thing is whether the frenulum restricts the movement of the tongue in a way that interferes with its normal functions.  If it does, your baby has a condition known as tongue tie or ankyloglossia. Continue reading

My Baby Has Reflux!

Baby with tight frenulum.  No tongue elevation present.“My pediatrician says my baby has reflux! She says there are medications to help. I really don’t want my baby to take medicine. He’s so little. But I also don’t want him to suffer and spit up so much. What should I do? Can you help me?”

Although the diagnosis of reflux seems ominous, keep in mind that all babies have reflux to some degree. The sphincter muscle that separates the stomach and the esophagus is loose and lets fluids go back and forth. That’s why it’s common for babies to spit up after a meal. If your baby seems uncomfortable, however, he may need some help.

I see many babies diagnosed with reflux in my practice. I have found that some simple changes in feeding posture or management can decrease symptoms substantially. Most of my clients do not need to medicate their babies. Continue reading