Tongue-Tie Revelation! - Mothering Forums
Breastfeeding > Tongue-Tie Revelation!
HeatherSanders's Avatar HeatherSanders 01:24 PM 01-19-2003
So my son was born w/ tongue-tie. I recognized it immediately because my dd2 had been born with it as well. Hers was not near as drastic, but we did have it clipped when the doctor pointed it out to me at 6 months. It was a quick, simple and seemingly painless (for her, not for me) procedure. I nursed her directly afterwards and it was done - she never seemed to mind one way or the other.

Anyway, I have been suffering with cracked, bleeding and sore nipples with Kenny. Over a week ago I thought it might be thrush, because he DID have a yeast rash on his bum. I had read that ithrush doesn't always present itself in his mouth, but that painful breastfeeding, sore nipples and a yeast rash could be symptoms. So, we did the treatment and it did seem to help at first, but then it was only helping his bum and wasn't doing a thing to help my pain level in my nipples or the knots way high up in my breasts.

Last night after having to do lamaze breathing techniques just to make it through his breastfeeding (yes, I hurt that badly), I decided to see if there was any correlation with being tongue-tied and my sore nipples/breasts. Also, I noticed that Kenny's cluster feeding had changed to EVERY 45 minutes all day feeding. He was falling asleep at the breast, clicking on and off (very poor latch), gumming my nipples - yes, gumming! He didn't seem to be reaching the hind milk and my milk ducts were obviously clogged from him not 'pulling' it all down when feeding.

THANK YOU DR. SEARS! I found my answer through the question of another woman. Babies that are tongue-tied will not get a good latch - hence the clicking. They cannot wrap their tongue around the nipple enough to express the milk they need, so they will gum at the nipples and often grow tired and fall asleep during feeding, only to wake a bit later still hungry. They will be cranky because they are hungry. Sometimes they will show 'failure to thrive' as they aren't getting enough food if the mother isn't demand feeding. The mother will experience clogged ducts, pain while feeding, cracked,bleeding nipples - basically HE DESCRIBED MY BREASTFEEDING RELATIONSHIP with my son.

On the LLL site, I believe, I found an article that talked about how midwives used to keep a fingernail sharpened and after birth would just gently 'sweep' under baby's tongue to ensure they would not be tongue-tied and could begin the breastfeeding relationship with their mothers without problems.

I remembered the procedure when Meredith had her frenulum clipped. I checked out Kenny's - just a thin (paper thin) tissue holding his tongue down. When he cried the sides would look like flapping wings . . . it was kind of strange looking actually.

We have our 1 month check-up in a few days, but I knew that at the Army hospital we'd just get referred out to a 'specialist' and I would have to continue to breastfeed and experience this pain. I could not take it anymore. If the problem did not get remedied very soon I would have to stop bf'ing until it was fixed . . . it was unbearable!

So, I sterilized some surgical scissors. Waited until the next time Kenny wanted to nurse. Allowed him to start crying, had my husband gently hold his head secure and I very quickly clipped a tiny little portion of the frenulum. It did not bleed but a wee little drop and he started nursing FULLY - my nipples only slightly hurt. I could not believe the difference it made! He nursed 2 more times before bedtime and then woke up and nursed this morning. The frenulum isn't red and my nipples feel incredibly different. He's getting the hind milk and my milk ducts aren't knotted up anymore.

I know that some will say that I was radical and should not have done that, but oh, it hurt so much and I knew exactly what the doc had done for my daughter before - besides what have women done through the ages - and if a midwife could do it - why couldn't I? I'm not suggesting that everyone do this at home, but simply want you to know what a simple procedure it is and to check your child's tongue (or have a trusted ped./dr. check it) if you are having any of the symptom's I listed.

Aster's Avatar Aster 03:03 PM 01-19-2003
I think it's awesome that you trusted yourself enough to do that!! Glad everything worked out ok and hope that you dont have any more problems.
aquarius's Avatar aquarius 04:30 PM 01-19-2003
Having had two tongue tied babies myself I wish I would have had the nerve to just do it myself as you did. I waited until ds #1 was 6 months old to throw a fit about it. He was still nursing every 2 hours or so for at least 45 minutes at a time. It is a good thing that he was feeding on cue or he would have been failure to thrive. I had to take him to an ear and nose specialist and he put him under anistesia (sp) in order to clip it. Ds #2 my dr just used scissors like you did and everything was fine. It changed our nursing relationship immediately. I'm glad you got this done, without any problems, so you can have a better nursing relationship.

Wishing you the best.

Quirky's Avatar Quirky 04:41 PM 01-19-2003
Good for you, Heather, both for figuring it out and for having the gumption to do something to help the situation! I hope both you and little Kenny start enjoying nursing more!
aquarius's Avatar aquarius 05:05 PM 01-19-2003
OOOPPs double post my little one hit the back button.
mtn. mama's Avatar mtn. mama 05:21 PM 01-19-2003
You may seem radical to those who don't like to think for themselves. Obviously you and your dh are competent and informed. What would you have done if it were an earlier day and age? Probably the same. I think that people today wouldn't clip their own toenails if doctors told them it was something only a *specialist* with schooling can do.

Blessings of beautiful breastfeeding moments to you and baby!
HeatherSanders's Avatar HeatherSanders 07:35 PM 01-19-2003
Originally posted by aquarius
I had to take him to an ear and nose specialist and he put him under anistesia (sp) in order to clip it. Ds #2 my dr just used scissors like you did and everything was fine. It changed our nursing relationship immediately. Sarah
Yes, this is what we did with dd2. At that time I thought that it was going to be a major undertaking and would be painful for her. She didn't go under anesthesia, but it was an hour long saga of deadening the tongue area, etc. . . ridiculous . . . even Dr. Sears says it is virtually painless.

What is funny is that we are STILL paying for that procedure and my daughter is 3 years old! It cost well over $500.00 for a short clip. WHATEVER!

The Army would have paid for the specialist this time, but I really felt that it wasn't the major procedure it was being made out to be.

I agree with mtn mama . . . people would go to a specialist to have their toenails clipped if told it was potentially dangerous to do it themselves. I am glad I am not considered radical here - as it stands my friends here think that I am injuring my child b/c I'm not vaxing and decided my child did not need to go to the first week appt. with the doctor. I keep being asked, "What if something is wrong with him and you don't see the symptoms?" I keep answering - "Then the doctor, who doesn't know my son, wouldn't SEE them either."

I just get from all of them.
lilyka's Avatar lilyka 05:55 PM 01-20-2003
It cost $475 for Lily with no anastesia. what a rip. Why does it take a sergon anyway. It is about as complicated and risky as clipping tonails. Ava is short but not like lily's. i am temptes to cutr it myself. She seemed t obe nursing fine at first but it is starting to hurt worse with each feeding and now she can't stay latched on. there isn't a Dr. around who would call it bad enough to clip (she can get it out to her lower lip but her toung e is definitely hear shaped and does the flapping hting when she crys). I should just do it myself.
HeatherSanders's Avatar HeatherSanders 06:18 PM 01-20-2003
So here's the update. My nipples are no longer sore only two days later. Kenny has spread his feedings out to every 2 to 2 1/2 hours now . . . and he nurses a good long while WITHOUT clicking off and on!!! His 'gassy' issues have seemingly been resolved - with the good latch, he doesn't seem to be swallowing air. And you can't even tell I did anything under his tongue . . . looks like it has always been that way.

I feel more than relieved - I feel grateful. Grateful that I trusted myself to make an informed decision for my son and my breastfeeding relationship and then act on it (even though, I will admit, it made me a bit nervous).
HeatherSanders's Avatar HeatherSanders 06:25 PM 01-20-2003
Originally posted by lilyka
She seemed to be nursing fine at first but it is starting to hurt worse with each feeding and now she can't stay latched on. There isn't a Dr. around who would call it bad enough to clip (she can get it out to her lower lip but her tongue is definitely heart shaped and does the flapping thing when she cries). I should just do it myself.
Although I would never tell another mom to DO or NOT DO something with their own child, I will say that if you speak with your doctor about it and he/she refuses to clip it . . . I definitely would consider either seeing another doctor or getting it done somehow. It can really affect the bf'ing relationship - and though you can train your child to latch on correctly in most cases . . . if there is tongue-tie involved, it can be very difficult to impossible depending on the severity.

My husband has training as an Army Medic, so when we did it here, he made sure everything was sterile, that Kenny's head was secure so that nothing would be cut except for the frenulum, etc. . . he even made me 'talk through' how I would clip, how far, at what angle, and made sure I nursed immediately following the clipping. What's funny was that HE HIMSELF could not do it. He told me that doing something to a stranger is completely different from one's own son. That is so very true, but my breasts hurt bad enough to FIND a way and his feeding habits were developing unhealthily.

I can just see someone 'turning us in' to CPS or something for performing 'surgical' procedures on our child at home. WHATEVER!