Tongue Tie And Newborns

by Dusk

First I want to say that I desperately wanted to nurse my daughter. I had nursed my son for about 7 months and he started to bite really bad and I had thrush twice and it was just so difficult. And I gave up! So, when I got pregnant with my daughter I knew that I wanted to nurse her for at least a year!

DuskI remember waking up from my c section (which didn’t go as planned either, I had to be completely sedated and missed the whole birth). I remember waking up and my husband standing there with my beautiful baby girl and the first thing I did was try to nurse her. She refused to latch. I was still very groggy from the medication and really not fully awake. So, the nurses kept saying ‘Oh Give it time, its probably the medication let it wear off and I’m sure she will latch…’ Well after about 12 hours I started to get worried. I knew that If she didn’t nurse soon my milk might not come in… So, I tried for hours to get her to latch, she would try so hard to latch but it was like my nipple wasn’t long enough.. And then she would get really upset and cry and cry, then I would cry… I was so upset.

I kept trying – I didn’t want to give up. I was still on the pain medication pump, so I still wasn’t fully with it.. But I knew that I wanted this more than anything! Just the other night my hubby and I where talking about this. He said he remembers me being so upset because she wouldn’t latch. And all I was doing was crying. And he tried to help me.. He went and got the nurses and called the lactation consultant and told them that something was wrong.

Finally after about the first day I said, if she isn’t going to latch I want to pump, so I would know that she got the colostrum. The GOOD stuff!! The LIQUID gold! The nurses said we will bring you a pump, but you won’t be able to pump very much. The colostrum doesn’t come in in ounces it is just a few drops here and there… SO, I said well, lets pump a few drops here and there then….. Well, to everyone’s surprise I got almost 5 ounces of liquid gold. The nurses could not believe it!! I then insisted that they bring me a bottle for my daughter to eat since it had been just about a day since she had eaten. She had trouble sucking on the bottle even.

She would gag. And then cry. And then suck, then cry…

It was so frustrating! You would think at this point the nurses and the lactation consultant would have figured it out… No one ever said anything about her having a problem with her tongue.. So, I kept pumping. And I kept trying to get her to latch. I pumped every other hour. Every day … Day and night… Because I knew if I didn’t my milk would dry up and I did not want that! So, we go home.

After about 2 weeks of pumping I make an appointment with the lactation consultant. The baby was gaining weight, I was pumping about 4 ounces every other hour and had a bunch of milk stored up. So, I was pretty happy with my supply at this point, but I wasn’t happy that I wasn’t nursing.. I wanted to have that bond. I wanted to feel her tummy on my tummy. I wanted to fall asleep with her nursing. I knew I was doing the best thing possible for her….. But, It wasn’t emotionally what I thought it was going to be…. So, I make the appointment and go in and see her. She sits me up in a chair with a boppy and tells me to try to get her to latch. SO, I did. She wanted to see my position and the way she tried to latch. According to the LC everything was great. I had good positioning, and we just couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t latch for more than a couple of seconds.. And then when she did latch it hurt sooooo bad! So she gave me a finger feeder.. Which I have to admit now that I look back that must have been one of the weirdest things I’ve ever done. But I was going to do whatever it took!! I tried the finger feeder.. And all it did was frustrate her. I was getting so upset at this point. I was so tired from having to wake up every other hour and pump and then feed her.. It was getting very hard.

So, at the babies 6 week check up I asked the pediatrician if there could be something wrong with her mouth? And she said well has anyone ever looked at her tongue? And I said. No, not that I know of , why? She said well some babies are tongue tied. Their frenulum is to short and they cant extend their tongue out the full way therefore they cant latch.. And it was like a light went off! I said that has to be it! So, she looked at her tongue and said… well that’s the problem. She is tongue tied. She said it isn’t very bad, but I had a few choices. I could try to train her to eat with her tongue that way, which I think I had tried to do for 6 weeks, or I could have her tongue clipped.

The thought of having her tongue clipped really scared me
.. I said “Is that surgery?” She said no. Its very simple. Done in the office and it takes 5 seconds. So, I went home and talked with my hubby… We both knew that was what we wanted to do. The next thing was to find a doc to do it! After about a week of trying to find an ENT that would do it I found one. But had to wait two weeks for an opening… I still remember walking in to the building. I was so scared for my baby.. I was so afraid he was going to cut her tongue… So scared that I was going to freak out!! But, I knew in my heart that this was the right thing to do.. She could have speech problems in her future.. She may not be able to kiss right.. There were so many things that I thought would be positive from this that I knew I wanted it done!!

When he came in he looked and he said “this will take a total of 5 seconds. Swaddle the baby and hold her close..” At this point I tried to hand the baby to my hubby as I was so scared and I was almost in tears. The doctor told me to hold her. She knows you. She knows your smell.. SO, I did. In tears. He explained that she may bleed a little bit, and she may cry, but it is such a small cut that I just need to put her to my breast as soon as he cuts it, he explained that breast milk is the best thing for the bleeding… So, I prepared myself. He took his fingers and put them under her tongue and took tiny scissors and cut it really quick…

My baby didn’t cry. She didn’t bleed. I put her to my breast… I am telling you. It was INSTANT. There was no pain, she latched like a pro.. I couldn’t believe it. I cried. And cried.

And said that if I would have known this whole time that this was the problem I would have done this along time ago. I could not believe that it fixed it that fast… It just all seemed so simple. I was so happy, I hugged the doctor about 100 times…

So, from that moment on. I got rid of the bottles. I got to nurse my baby all day all night. I got to feel her skin on my skin. I got to sleep with my nursing baby!! What an AMAZING feeling.. Just typing this brings tears to my eyes, I remember feeling so hopeless. Thinking I would never be a regular nursing mom…

But, I’m here to tell you that if its something that you really want to do, stick to it! Don’t give up! Be persistent!

dumped off of camera card 2009 1297So here I am. My daughter turned 2 September 20th. And we are still nursing.. A LOT! At least 10 times a day. And I see no end in sight.. And I am going to let her self wean. We fought so hard to get here.. Why stop now!!!!

Dusk is a proud momma to Jabe 3.5 years & Gracelyn 1.8 years and still nursing….

Did your baby have tongue tie? How did you find out about it? Please leave a comment and share your store with our readers!

13 comments to Tongue Tie And Newborns

  • What a great story. You are so patient and just plain awesome to keep pumping like that and not give up! I’m so glad this has a happy ending!
    .-= Cindy´s last blog Giveaway =-.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Judy Masucci, Lisa Smith. Lisa Smith said: Tongue Tie And Newborns : Mommy News and Views Blog: by Dusk. First I want to say that I desperately wanted to .. […]

  • I loved reading your story. It is great to hear about others that went through something similar to what I did and that also persevered.

    My son was tongue tied. He had his tongue tie clipped at 2 days old and again at 7.5 weeks old. He latched on for the first time after that second tongue tie clipping (I had been pumping and trying to get him to latch up to then) and then it took us another 7.5 weeks of working on his latch until I was able to nurse relatively pain free and put the pump aside. He ended up self-weaning when he was 2.5 years old (when I was 7.5 months pregnant).

    Here is our story:
    .-= Annie @ PhD in Parenting´s last blog ..Are people who don’t get the H1N1 vaccine idiots? =-.

  • Great story, and great job there mama! I’m really surprised the it was the pediatrician that caught it and not the LC – it seems to often be just the opposite, judging by a lot of stories I’ve heard.

    Yes, tongue tie was a huge part of our story. Lily had a posterior tie that went undiagnosed for 5 weeks. There are several grades of tongue tie, and posterior can be the hardest to identify. It was missed by my midwives, the first LC, our pediatrician, and even a chiropractor/craniosacral therapist who specialized in infant and child care. It was finally identified by our 2nd truly wonderful LC, who continued to work with us for 4 more tireless months, and it was officially diagnosed and then clipped by the esteemed Elizabeth Coryllos, a pediatric surgeon who has published quite a bit on tongue tie and breastfeeding.

    That’s about as far as I can go in summing it up; the entire rather insane saga is here:

    Thanks for bringing attention to this! I really hope information about this becomes much more commonly available. I think it may underlie the premature severing of a lot of breastfeeding relationships, much to the mystified frustration of the mothers.

  • Courtney

    I love this story and I want to add ours. My son was born just the way I imagined with my midwife in the hospital with no pain meds all natural and no tearing. His cord was wrapped 3 times, but his apgar scores were higher then most babies (what the nurse said) whose cords aren’t wrapped so no concerns. I immediately put him to breast after the midwife quickly unwrapped the cord and let it sit and pulse while he tried to latch. It hurt, but I had been told it often did at first and then he let go and started crying. They figured it was some trauma from the cord and he would be fine in a little bit. I just kept trying to latch him on all night and he would nurse for a few minutes and then quit and cry for a little. I was still in pain, but that was “normal” I kept being told. The LC came in the next morning and was extremely rude and when she couldn’t get him to latch well she stormed out and said she had others who needed her and she would be back. She never came back and I was actually glad. The night nurse showed me how to side lie with him and that seemed to help a little, but not much. He would nurse longer that way, but the pain was still there. Then on our last day at the hospital it was a different ped on call (our doc doesn’t have rights at the hospital I delivered in). This ped came in as they were getting ready to discharge us and said he was tongue tied and that was why he wouldn’t latch. Okay so what do we do. He told us about getting his tongue clipped and compared it to circumcision pain and DH had a bit of an issue with that. We did not circumcise our child per DH’s insistince (DH is though) and he didn’t like a procedure that was compared to that. Well the doc said he didn’t do the clipping, but gave us the name of an ENT in town who did and told us to call him when we got home and to keep trying to nurse since he hadn’t lost as much weight as normal newborns he must be getting something from me. Well after doing some research online after getting home DH agreed to have it done, but the ENT couldn’t get us in for 6 weeks!!! For 6 weeks I was in complete and total pain while nursing and could only nurse while side lying with my son. I would cry the whole time and DH would rub my back to try to calm me. The clipping was simple. The doc had me hold in all swaddled (he was asleep when we started) and the nurse held his head. They told me to be ready to nurse as soon as they were done so I was. The put a little metal thing in to hold his tongue up so he could look at it and then clipped real quick. Little guy cried as soon as he put the metal thing in to evaluate his tongue and immediately quit as soon as I put him to breast and was right back asleep. The doc then talked with us and told us my son was one of the worst he had seen and he couldn’t believe I had actually been nursing him at all. I guess both son and I were determined to nurse!! It took me 2 more weeks with an LC to teach him how to latch properly and another 3-4 weeks to heal and not be in pain while nursing, but when he quit at 18 months because I was pregnant I was soooo glad I stuck through the pain. My second the first thing I asked the ped and checked myself was if she was tongue tied, but she was not at all. I later found out that my husband and 2 of his 3 siblings had been tongue tied at birth too and it can be hereditary so I will make sure when I become a grandma I am looking in those babes mouths!!

  • Hi Courtney, Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your story. I am so impressed and amazed that you were able to make it through all of that. I wish there was a way to educated Drs about tongue tie so that more mothers don’t have to go through what you and Dusk went through. And when your ENT heard tongue-tie and breastfeeding, he should have squeezed you in the next day and not made you wait 6 weeks! How horrible! Do you know how many mothers would have given up having to wait that long! WOW – thank you so much for sharing your story — Judy

  • Our son was tongue tied as well. We went through the same struggles breastfeeding. Painful nipples, and my milk never fully came in because I didn’t know to pump to supplement his feedings. The lac consultant didn’t really see anything wrong with it, but our doula said it might be tongue tie, so we made our appt when he was 4 weeks and at 6 weeks had his tongue clipped. It is heart-wrenching, but so worth it for the increased feeding!
    .-= simone´s last blog ..K.O. =-.

  • I don’t know why, but I totally teared up while reading your post. So many women would have given up so easily, but you didn’t. Way to go!! Thanks for sharing your story.
    .-= Amanda @ The Mom Crowd´s last blog ..Abiding Monday: Unchanging =-.

  • Lisa

    My middle son was tongue-tied. I had a UC, so didn’t deal with anyone else. I just knew we were having major issues nursing, so much that I was using a nipple shield. I looked up pictures & thought he might be tongue-tied. I looked it up more, trying to find someone who would know where to take him to get it clipped.

    Emailed a dr a few hours away who gave me some names locally, then emailed me back to say she’d be visiting her daughter in my city, she could check my baby. She’s actually a GP who attends births. She clips tongue ties for every baby she delivers who has one because she knows it can make a huge difference for nursing.

    She took a look & said he had a really bad tie, less than 10% movement. She showed her daughter (dental assistant), then swaddled my son. He freaked & promptly got his arms out, so she redid it & laid him on the table.

    He was screaming about being swaddled, she was poking around his mouth, then handed him back to nurse. It was so fast & easy I didn’t even realize she was done already. He had a tiny bit of bleeding, so I nursed him until it stopped.

    It took awhile to wean off the shield since he was already over 6 weeks when we had it done, but eventually we did & there weren’t any other problems nursing. Plus, he really liked being able to move his tongue.

  • Thank you so much for sharing your story! I truly think tongue tie is far more common than people think. I had my doctor actually tell me he doesn’t really “believe” in it. REALLY???? I guess in a bottle society it isn’t usually an issue, but if you want to breast feed, it sure is!! I think the breastfeeding community needs to continue putting stories like this out there, demand this issue be seen as important to the health of a baby. Make it routine to check if there is any pain at all!!!

    I have shared my story on other posts about tongue-tie on this site, but I will do so again.

    My son was also tongue-tied but was not diagnosed until I discovered it through research when he was 14 months old! (btw we had his tongue snipped at 25 months old due to speech delays!)

    My milk was delayed, we used a nipple shield for 5 MONTHS!, he became jaundiced, he battled nursing strikes, we had so many problems. Thank god for good support and that my milk did come in. I was thankfully able to breastfeed my son until he was 2.5! I also work and pumped until he was 14 months old. I just wanted to share this because tongue tie can be so difficult to work through and I want moms to know that sometimes it can be done, and to become your own advocate to give you and your baby the best chance possible!

    Thank you so much for sharing this story!!
    .-= Crystal´s last blog ..A mother’s ability to heal =-.

  • […] CAN Continue To Exclusively Breastfeed!, by Wendy Armbruster Bell, Snugabell Mom & Baby Gear Tongue Tie and Newborns, by Dusk Stress-free Nursing In Public, by Elisa Minsk Hartstein, Milk Nursingwear Mom’s Most […]

  • amanda

    Hi there~ after reading about others experiences with tongue tied babies, I’d like to post my own and see if anyone can please help me. My son is almost 4 months old and we just had his tongue tie clipped last week after a L.C. determined that was causing his refusal to bf. (I’ve been soley bf him, but he only will latch on while sleepy or at night).

    I’ve tried a bottle but he refuses it, too. Also tried cutting different foods out of my diet..different nursing positions… basically anything I could think of. I need help!

    I thought he would love nursing after the tt was fixed, but he still refuses to latch during the day. This results is pain for mama (started pumping/storing) and a miserable baby boy. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  • Hi Amanda, I’m so sorry that you are still having nursing difficulties even after your baby has had his tongue clipped. Have you tried pumping and giving him the milk in a cup instead of a bottle? Many babies don’t like bottles, but will take milk from a cup. I would also recommend having your LC come by again and see if there is something else that will help him to nurse – perhaps his suck reflex isn’t being properly stimulated. I will also post info about your question and see if I can get other mamas with experience with tongue-tie to come give some advice as well. — Judy

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