Thursday, April 24, 2014

Lip/Tongue Tied and Nursing

I had a EUREKA moment yesterday almost five years to late.  A friend of my sister and mine had a baby two weeks ago.  Yesterday she took him in to see if he was tongue tied.  He was and they immediately sent her to a pediatric dentist to have his lip and tongue frenum (the skin that connects the lip to the gums and the little piece that connects the tongue to the bottom of your mouth) snipped.  It made me think about my own lip frenum which I had to have snipped when I was a teen before they put the braces on to close the gap between my fromt teeth and my niece's that got ripped last year when she fell and hit her face.  I was sitting next to Peach on the couch and I asked her if I could look in her mouth.  Sure enough she has a class four just like me.  Then last night our friend posted this A Step-By-Step Guide to Diagnosing Tongue/Lip ties.  I was up at one thanks to call and the fact that I find it nearly impossible to sleep when my husband is not in the bed next to me.  I clicked on the link, read through it and had my moment.

You see five years ago when I had my darling baby Peach my milk didn't come in fully for two weeks.  It was horrible.  Here I was having my third kid, I'd easily breast fed two previous children and I figured this one would be cake, but for two weeks my milk just was not there.  I took her in to the lactation office ever day.  They'd watch me nurse.  They'd weigh her and her diapers.  They made a million and one suggestions.  We tried everything.  During this time we had to supplement her with a bottle because we learned our lesson with Captain E.  Better not to starve your child if you can.  I'd nurse her first and then offer her a bottle which she almost always took.  Finally after two weeks the supply was in and I put all the bottles away but even though we'd spent so much time with the consultants her latch always felt wrong.  Always.  There was not a time in the next 21 months or so of her nursing that wasn't painful and that after she finished my nipples didn't ache.  Twenty-one months they hurt!  But for 21 months I persevered on.  I think it was due to the fact that I'm partially a hippy wearing, breast feeding, midwife loving, hippie following girl and partially because breastfeeding was so hard for us to get to I never wanted to take a second for granted.  That being said I always recognized something had to be lousy about her latch because of the persistent pain of the whole thing.  Since the lactation consultants didn't have a way for me to change it though I just continued on the best I could.  Those two years you could find me rubbing or icing my boobs a lot. 

I realize now after reading the guide that her bad latch, the time it took for my milk to come in, and the almost two years of pain may very well have been the fault of that super low strong frenum I passed on to her.  Genetics at it's not best here people.  Wish I would have known to check that five years ago.  I would have had it clipped then rather than having to have it done some time in the next ten years by her orthodontist.


  1. Fascinating! Benjamin was tongue-tied and no one ever noticed, which still kind of amazes me. He had a terrible time learning to nurse. After he got the hang of it he was a clicker. My mom was the one to notice his tongue—it went all heart-shaped when he would cry.

    His labial frenulum was also rather tied—but he took care of that.

    Now that I think about it, Rachel might've been a little tied down, too. Though she also took care of her frenulum on her own. ;)

    All of my kids developed a lip callus (and I think my siblings and I all had one, too because my my mom always called it our "egg tooth") so I'm not entirely convinced that's always a sign of being lip-tied since only Benjamin clearly was (though perhaps it's also a sign of poor latch in general).

    Anyway, that was a fun post to read. Glad I'm not trying to nurse a tongue-tied baby anymore. We're still nursing, but no longer tongue-tied and WANTING TO WEAN!!! Any suggestions there?

    The wanting-to-wean is completely one-sided (mine).

    1. To wean Josie, you and I ran off to Grassy Lake for a couple of days, leaving her at home...she survived, and then I could say "No more milk! Too bad!" Not sure that would work for you, oh ye of substantial milk supply...

  2. Yes, we check babies to see if their fingers and toes are all there, and all the visible body parts, but we do not think to check in their mouths! This should be on the list of things to check, right?



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