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.
Mom to Liam 9/06, spirit baby 3/09, and identical twins Mateo and Sebastian 10/11
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!
Mother to 3 free-spirited kids (9/02, 7/05, 7/08) Living, loving and laughing in Vancouver, WA
Lactation Consultant and Owner of Luna Lactation
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.