Tongue Tied

Turns out, I was right. In short: Claire had a pretty obvious tongue tie, which was 70% restricted & affecting her feeding.

Her checkup with the paediatrician was fairly boring - which was a good thing! Even after telling him about my breastfeeding concerns, he brushed off the idea of a tongue/lip tie, and barely even looked inside her mouth. I thought he might take me seriously when he weighed her & she was showing fairly slow growth on the charts.
She was 4.1kg at birth, 3.8kg on hospital discharge, and at 7-weeks old, she weighed in at 4.8kg. That means, she's gained an average of 100g a week (a 700g difference) which is under what they'd like her to be at. She's gone from being on the 97th percentile at birth, to under the 50th percentile now. It's not that average is bad; it's just that the drop has been consistent every week. 
Despite this, and despite me sharing that the pain from post-breastfeeding was bad enough to consider giving up, the paediatrician told me to 'just persevere until she hits six months, as that's a good age to aim for while feeding.' 
Are you kidding me? I left that appointment fuming. To disregard our breastfeeding troubles like that, to a Mum who has done this before and KNOWS something isn't right... well, it wasn't a great feeling.
That same afternoon, I rang a qualified Lactation Consultant who specialised in feeding issues and ties, and got an appointment for the following week. That was on Monday.
We had a lengthy consultation, and she spent a lot of time watching Claire feed, and performing an oral examination to see what was going on inside of her mouth. She commended us on feeding and gaining as she had been, and declared that Claire was working the hardest she could to feed well - but despite all of our efforts getting her latch as deep as possible, it was still too shallow to be fully effective.
Claire had a tongue tie that was fairly restricted. She could poke her tongue down, but couldn't reach it up or sideways. She wasn't forming an adequate seal at the base of the breast while feeding, and she was constantly running out of energy because of all the reattaching she had to do to keep up with the feed. She's also got an extremely high palate - likely not helped by the tongue tie - meaning she was never able to draw my nipple as far back as it needed to be.
The LC showed me a few tips to help us continue as we were, with Claire opening her mouth as far as she could to feed; but she also gave me the option to get information about the frenectomy procedure too, so that I could make a decision as to what to do next. I decided to go ahead with that option, and we had it done that same day.
The procedure itself was over with quickly, but not particularly pleasant. We opted to go the scissor route, and so it was fast - but bloody. Claire was a real champion; I was a mess! She fed straight after it was done, and fell asleep not long after that - leaving me covered in breastmilk mixed with blood. (I forgot how much mouth wounds bleed!)
It's been four full days since her tongue tie was revised, and she's definitely feeding better. Her mouth is open, her latch is wider, and she's coming on/off the breast a lot less. It's too early to say whether it's been a lifesaver for myself, but it'll take time to perfect everything - the trick will be whether we can encourage her to change her habits and become more efficient, which should in turn help with the overuse of my nipples that has been leading to vasospasms. We will see! 
All in all, it's been a good learning experience - and it's shown that I need to trust my mama-bear instincts more. :)

Update: I forgot to mention- they observed her upper lip too, and while she has quite a thick frenulum, it is not impacting her feeding and is very flexible, so that was declared completely normal & did not require revising.


4 Comments • Labels: ,  

4 comments:

Jess said...

Wow, that's terrible about your pediatrician brushing you off. Do you like the doc generally? If not, do you have the option of switching?

Anonymous said...

I would definitely be considering a new pediatrician. One who does not take my concerns seriously is not one I want overseeing my children! Good for you for pushing through/finding someone else... -Polly

doahleigh said...

I have to say that I LOVE coming here and reading about your BABY! After such a challenging road to get here, it never gets old to see BABY! pop up in your posts.

I'm so glad you followed your instinct and didn't simply accept your pediatricians advice. Unfortunately too many mothers would have. It's frustrating that he was dismissive, and that his to try to hang on till 6 months when the last 7 weeks had been so difficult. Clearly he has never breastfed!

Good job mama, and good job Claire!

Cassie Dash said...

I'm so glad you sought help, despite the pediatrician's disregard for your concerns. There is nothing better than a mama's intuition! Really praying this is just the thing you both need and you will see major improvements soon! xo





All content (C) Breathe Gently 2006-2015
Blog Design by Splendid Sparrow