Help recognizing tongue or lip tie in your baby

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When my second child was born a little over    five months ago, she latched on immediately and very well.  I was thrilled.  With my first daughter it had been a rocky start with oversupply and a very fast let down.  The ease with which my second daughter took to nursing was a huge relief.

Until we reached about 9 days old.
Suddenly, she started making a clicking noise with every nursing session, and I couldn’t for the life of me, get her top lip flipped out to get her mouth in that perfect flange position. Combined with her 2 week checkup at the midwives showing a slightly slow gain, and it was obvious there was a problem. I had no idea what was going on, as I thought I knew what a tongue tie looked like and she didn’t have the classic “forked tongue” sign.
For the next two weeks my daughter and I continued to nurse, constantly,  while we navigated doctor’s appointments and lactation consultant appointments, finally ending up at an ENT. By the time we got there I was relieved to have found an answer and finally be DOING something about the issues we were having. It turns out that my daughter had both a tongue tie, and an upper lip tie.  The tongue was making it difficult for her to nurse effectively, and causing the clicking and the lip was causing me pain and her inability flip that top lip out.
What struck me most about this journey was how few people know about both of these issues.  Our family doctor was willing to acknowledge the upper lip issue, but unwilling to do anything about it unless it continued to be a problem. He missed the tongue tie completely. Finally finding a Lactation Consultant who was educated and who worked with an ENT who was also educated made a huge difference for our nursing relationship.
I was thrilled to see that the LC (Melissa Cole, IBCLC) and ENT (Dr. Bobak Ghaheri) that I worked with have written a fabulous article on the basics of tongue and lip ties and how to recognize them. I’m glad that such a concise article exists to help new moms recognize what might be happening early on in the nursing relationship. I hope that an article of this caliber helps new moms recognize when something might be going on that needs attention.

3 thoughts on “Help recognizing tongue or lip tie in your baby”

  1. Thank you for a link to that wonderful article! My son had a posterior tongue tie so he also didn’t have that classic heart-shaped tongue. Although he latched on immediately and all of the nurses at the hospital and lactation consultants said the latch looked good nursing was extremely painful for me.
    At week 2 my husband and I took him to 2 different ENTs, one of whom said he was not tongue-tied and the other who said his tongue tie was “mild.” After another 2 or 3 weeks I took him back to the 2nd ENT after things just weren’t getting better. This time she said “oh look at that, he is tongue-tied!” Which made me cry and also made me so angry that she couldn’t have recognized it before.
    Long-story short, his tongue-tie was resolved and nursing stopped being painful! I had no idea how comfortable nursing could be. 🙂

  2. I wanted to add that my daughter had the same issue – posterior tongue tie and lip tie. I was told by several people in the hospital that she looked great and one even said “She’s obviously not tongue-tied because her tongue is at the roof of her mouth.” I finally went to see the LC after my 6 week checkup because I knew the clicking and colic weren’t normal. She had both clipped and we are re-learning how to breastfeed together but I can already see improvement.

  3. I have never heard of this, and I’m wondering if this is why my son and I are having such trouble with breastfeeding! Thanks for sharing!

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