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traumatic tongue tie stretches

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hi,
I am a mom of 1 year old twins who recently underwent a frenotomy to correct a tongue and lip tie.  In order to ensure that the frenum does not reattach, I have to stretch the surgical area 4-5 times a day.  The process is traumatic- re-opening the wound sometimes causing bleeding.  The babies cry and scream and I feel like I am causing emotional damage.  When I stretch the tongue, the babies gag and gasp for air.

My question is, what can I do to avoid harming them emotionally.  I try to explain "mommy doesn't like doing the ouchie.  I have to do it so you can feel all better." and of course hold and burse them when I'm done. But, I still feel like in their mind, their mother is holding them down, hurting, and almost suffocating them.  I would be so grateful for any suggestions.

Carolyn

post #2 of 3

Hello Carolyn,

Thanks for posting about your experience with post-frenotomy stretches. I am an IBCLC in private practice and do support families through post-frenotomy oral motor work and stretches for optimal healing. In my experience the first day of the stretching is a bit hard on babies/mamas but after that most babies don't mind the mouth work. With older babies/toddlers such as your one year olds, it can be a bit more challenging to do the stretches but it sounds like you're coping with quite a struggle. How long ago was the frenotomy? I sometimes see a little bleeding with stretches within the first week post-op but not much longer after that. I am curious how the frenotomy sites are healing up and if there's a nice wide "diamond" shape healing area (it may have turned white or yellowish by now)? Do you see this clear diamond/triangle shape under the lip and tongue? Is there any angry red/inflammation near the sites? If all looks good you may consider trying to engage the babies in games, bringing toys close to their lips/face etc while you sneak a finger in to rub the incision sites. I have the families I work with make it game like if possible. Babies recovering from tongue tie often have a highly sensitive gag reflex and some oral aversions so consider "playing" games or tongue/lip peek-a-boo, etc to make touch to the mouth area more accepting to them. Or see if you can even sneak in while they are sleepy, etc. From experience, I know the stretches can help immensely but sometimes some creativity is needed to distract older babies from the task. Good luck!

post #3 of 3

I had to do the same stretches with DD when she was between 8 weeks and 4 months old.  She had two tongue tie revisions and had a lip tie that was clipped as well.  I was so worried that I was emotionally damaging her by causing her pain.  I used to cry and apologize to her while I did  the stretches, and eventually stopped as quickly as I got the OK - maybe after a week.  I would stick my tongue out at her and get her to try and stick it back out at me instead. 

 

She is 2 and a half now and doesn't seem to have any oral aversions.

 

When she is older, I'll probably tell her about the process and what happened.  I think on some level she will know, so it might help to know exactly what happened to her. 

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