To help parents understand a bit more about how tongue and lip ties can affect breastfeeding, over the next few weeks we will be featuring stories from moms whose babies experienced these challenges. We would like to extend a HUGE thank you to the brave mamas who submitted their stories for our blog! We know you went through a ton of challenges and we are so appreciative that you were willing to share your stories! If you have a story you would like to share on our blog, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about tongue and lip ties and how they can affect breastfeeding, please see our article:Does Your Baby Have a Tongue or Lip Tie?
Written by Nina Jacobs
Aubrielle was born on August 3rd, 2013 at 36 weeks due to my preeclampsia. She was 5lbs 13 ounces of tiny beautiful joy. I knew from the moment I found out I was pregnant that I wanted to breastfeed (my goal being for a year). I had no idea then, that it would be such a wonderful, beautiful, bonding, humongous part of my life. We were in the hospital for 5 days because of Aubrielle being considered a "late premie" and all of the meds I had to come off of to make sure I didn't have a seizure. Aubrielle was immediately diagnosed with a severe tongue tie by the pediatrician and two lactation specialists. We made an appointment to have her tongue tie snipped at 4 days old with ENT. In the mean time, she was latching, and eating as best as her little mouth could while we supplemented with pumped milk and feeding her through a tube and syringe.
When we arrived at her appointment, the ENT doctor asked us if she was latching. She was with a nipple shield. He said that she was so small and fragile and because she was able to latch, he would not perform the operation on his daughter if it was him. So, we went home. We spent the first month figuring everything out. We didn't keep to any schedule and just took cues from her. Aubrielle would eat for 40-70 minutes and ask to eat again 2-45 minutes later....all day and all night. I didn't know any difference and just was rolling with it.
At her one month check up, she wasn't gaining THAT much weight. She was still under 5% (the same that she was born at). We chose not to supplement and to reschedule the tongue tie procedure because the pediatrician was outraged that she didn't get her tongue tie snipped and that she was feeding so frequently. She would still fall asleep every time she ate and by the time she woke up she would be starving again. By the time we called to reschedule her procedure, they couldn't see us until she was 9 weeks old. Around her 6 week growth spurt, I came to the doctors office crying. It seemed like she was literally eating every second that she was awake. They still couldn't see us until 9 weeks. We pushed through and never supplemented.
At her two month check up she was still in the 5% for weight. We finally had the procedure done. It was awful... more blood and tears than I expected and I could tell that she was in pain every time she began to eat for 5 days after the procedure, even with the tylenol we were giving her. But, oh.my.gosh. The difference in her eating, her behavior, and my supply was NIGHT AND DAY. Instead of eating for 70 minutes she would eat for 20. She didn't fall asleep every time and was clearly satisfied after each feeding. It was the hardest, best thing we did. I wish we would have pushed for it at 4 days old. For three days after the surgery we had to "sweep" in between her tongue and bottom of her mouth, and for the first two days it would start to bleed a little, but nursing always stopped the bleeding. In fact, in the doctor's office, that is how they had us stop the bleeding.
We still used the nipple shield until she was 5 months old, which is when she took it off, threw it on the ground herself, and kept eating. Now at 6 months plus, she is a happy, healthy, thriving, nursing baby who went from the 4th percentile at her two month check up (a week before her surgery) to the 30th percentile at her 4 month check up. She has tripled her birthweight at 6 months and only eats every 2-3 hours during the day, and only wakes up once at night to eat.