We are Tongue Tie Survivors!! In this house, that is certainly something to celebrate.
After our revision procedure (performed by the amazing Dr. Lawrence Kotlow in Albany, NY) we were told that because of Lucas’s age and need for extensive CST/OT thing may get worse before they got better. I hoped and prayed that wouldn’t be the case. Unfortunately, it was.
Lucas’s procedure was done on a Thursday afternoon. By Monday morning things were worse than before. My child was screaming at the breast. We were still using the nipple shield. My supply was tanking. Lucas was dropping weight faster. We went to our local hospital’s Breastfeeding Support Group. The LC told us Lucas had a “weak suck” and was going to have to learn that all over again – at 12 weeks old. To say I was a total mess would be a huge understatement. I just wanted to feed my child!
My LC, the amazing Mary from Milky Cheeks was at my house the next evening. We worked on Lucas’s latch (which she said still looked good), we did some sucking exercises using our fingers, and she promised me using the nipple shield wasn’t the end of the world. Most importantly, she encouraged me. I will be forever grateful for her kind words and encouragement that evening. She may not realize it, but what she said kept me going.
We had our first therapy appointment that morning as well. Lucas’s Frontal Fontanelle was mis-shappen. Partially the cause and effect of our feeding issues and partially (or at least the doctor thinks) because of his “unique” delivery. **Note to self: must blog about my birth story, which involves my son delivering himself with no one there to catch him AFTER a nurse tried to “push him back in”!** We were scheduled for three or four therapy visits weekly. This momma was stressed just thinking about it!
The next morning (so the Wednesday after our Thursday revision) Lucas got up extra early. I decided to try and nurse him in bed. I put on the nipple shield and he wouldn’t latch. I tried several times and then finally, out of frustration, took that silly piece of silicon off and tried to latch my son again. IT WORKED! My son was nursing, without a shield and I wasn’t in excruciating pain! I began to cry! I sat there, in my bed, at 4:30 in the morning with my husband still sleep and cried tears of joy!
As the day went on, each time I fed my son it got easier and easier. By the next morning I can honestly say that things were 100% better! I was still taking supplements to boost my supply but even that was coming back and then some! Therapy was hard; Lucas cried every time I gave him to the doctor but I could tell that it was working! By the next week he wasn’t crying at therapy and we had the breastfeeding relationship I had always hoped for!
A few weeks later I was weighing Lucas for his 4 month chalkboard photo and started crying (again! I’m still blaming the hormones!!). In one month’s time my son gained 2.5lbs! I was beyond excited. I also got hit by the Mommy Guilt Mac Truck when I realized my son had been so hungry in those first few months. I still live with that guilt and some days it gets the best of me. But then I remember everything I did, and am still doing, for my son and I give myself a pat on the back for trusting my instincts all those months ago.
Speaking of the Mommy Guilt – we need to have a conversation about that soon because I know it’s plagued me and as a MommyNation we need to stop! But I’ll get off of my soapbox now and finish this story that has taken over a week to tell!
Lucas is still seeing the therapist once a month, just to make sure the exercises we’re doing are still needed and working! I also still freakout at the slightest hint of pain when he latches or the first sign of a plugged milk duct but, as of August 15th, I am proud to say that my son has been exclusively breastfed for 6 months with no signs of stopping! We are so blessed to have had people in our lives that were able to help us correct what could have been an even bigger issue.
And that’s the real problem – lack of education regarding tongue and lip ties in the medical community and the “solution” of just giving your child a bottle. I am of the school of thought that “breast is best” but I never have and never would say that there is anything wrong with bottles and formula! Every family has to do what is right in their situation. My anger (yes anger!) comes in when all of these roadblocks exist in helping a family create a feeding situation that they want. If a family wants to breastfeed and they are having these issues they shouldn’t have to fly from North Carolina to New York to get they help they need and want. They also shouldn’t have to wait until their child is 12 weeks old, not gaining weight and being threatened with a Failure to Thrive diagnosis to get answers! I know that Lucas was a special case with a very difficult to diagnosis (and correct) tie. And I respect that a lot of doctors will not preform that revision on a small child but my thinking is if they had more education and experience, they would. My goal in this four part, very long (kudos if you’re STILL reading!) post was to shed some light on a topic that a lot of mothers aren’t even aware could be an issue and to let them know that help does exist and success stories are out there.
And now, because I don’t want to scare you away with my crazy rant, here is six months of super cuteness for you to enjoy! I promise this blog will be a fun place and one to share and laugh and learn – not just listen to me rant about one thing or another! Anyway – back to the cuteness!
So now that I’ve shared our tongue tie story I’d love to hear yours! Post in the comments below. Did you escape the curse of the tongue tie? Just share a super cute story about you or your little one then!