I mentioned in a previous post that our son has a tongue & lip tie. This has made EBF (exclusively breastfeeding), among other things, rather tough.
Many people are uneducated in what these ties are and involve (as I was myself) and simply compare their difficulty breastfeeding to it. Its not the same. Yes, breastfeeding can be trying regardless of this circumstance, but throwing in ties makes it a whole new ballgame, medically speaking.
Its not to say you cant have success breastfeeding with the ties, in fact, I have had plenty of people share their success stories with me. Some didnt even have a problem at all. Others the complete opposite. I believe Isaac and I fall somewhere in the middle.
We found out in the hospital that he had a tongue tie. He was having trouble latching and I asked to speak with an LC. The LC came in and observed us breastfeeding, or at that time, trying to breastfeed. After noting that my nipples were “normal” she offered us the shield, and we accepted. This helped him latch on better but he still had a myriad of other symptoms as listed above (gas, spit up, etc.).
My mind went back to the pregnancy classes we took at the hospital. Suddenly I remembered babies who have trouble latching could have something called a tongue, or lip tie. I immediately asked to speak with the hospital LC again and have her take a look at him for this. She did, and lo and behold, he ended up having both. I will admit, at first, I was so upset. I even cried (chalk it up to the hormones). Then I realized how blessed we are that this is just a minor issue. It is not a major birth defect that cannot be fixed.
The past few weeks subsequent to coming home from the hospital we did a combination of pumping, breastfeeding, and formula. The spit up was so bad from the formula that I put in a call to my pediatrician. He would choke and gasp for air and I had to stop him after every few sips. Broke my heart! What broke it even more was that he did not spit up like that when he nursed, but the times we could were few and far between due to the ties.
Our ped suggested we try out a special formula for spit up, and when he drinks what is pumped, add in rice cereal. The new formula also included rice cereal. What a world of a difference these changes have made in terms of him spitting up! I consider this a win for sure.
But the biggest win of all came this past week. I tried to get baby boy to latch without the shield as I usually do. I dont know what changed, other than his age, but he took the breast without it. Since that day, he has been breastfeeding almost exclusively without it. This is a big change-going from only 2x per day on the breast to about 6 times. And I didnt even have to pump once yesterday, which Im not complaining about. Lol.
We have an appointment to see a doctor who handles tongue and lip ties next week. From what I understand, she clips it with scissors right in the office with just a topical numbing agent. She is the only doctor in the area that will cut them before he is 6 months. I guess there are many who will do it after that time. Has anyone else out there heard of docs waiting until 6 months? If so, why? It seems most of the people I have talked to had it taken care of early on, like within the first few weeks or so, so I was surprised when I heard all of these doctors wanting to wait until he is older.
In the meantime, we will continue to work on breastfeeding. My first goal is to eliminate pumping if I can. This is a personal decision, please dont take offense if you pump. I really dislike it, and I dont have a real reason to do it. I am home with our son everyday and will be for the foreseeable future.
My next goal would be to be EBF if possible, its free and that formula isnt cheap. However, for the time being, I have no issue giving him formula a few times a day. It keeps both me and him sane as we work through his ties. Not to mention, I enjoy letting others,especially hubby, feed our baby. *I should note that I am in no way one of those gung-ho moms who has the mindset that breastfeed babies are the best. I believe being fed is the best.
Finally, I want to do what is right for our son in terms of the ties. I have read (and heard personal accounts) about people with ties having speech problems down the road. This concerns me. I can handle the routine we have now with feeding, but I cant handle knowing he could encounter trouble down the road and I did nothing about it. Also, waiting to fix the problem may bring more stress, as I have seen after a child turns one they must undergo general anesthesia at a hospital (instead of just a numbing gel in an docs office) to fix the ties.
Please feel free to share your stories with tongue and/or lip ties, whether you chose to clip them or not, what age your child was when you did it, the procedure itself, and what has happened as a result. Thank you!