How Tongue Tie Tried to Ruin Breastfeeding For Me

tongue tie (1)

When I was pregnant, everyone asked me if I was planning on breastfeeding. Sure, I thought I’d give it a try. But if it didn’t work out, I was ok with throwing in the towel, too. Friends had warned me that it was difficult and to give it a good shot. But really, how hard could it really be? Women have been doing it for centuries!

Naturally, I was surprised when we got home with our sweet baby only to realize that we sucked at it. She wouldn’t latch, I cried as much as she cried. It was hard. SO. HARD. 

Don’t introduce the bottle, she’ll have nipple confusion.

Just keep trying, she’ll get the hang of it.

Try a nipple shield (What the heck is a nipple shield, and why would I want some sort of armor on my boob, I thought). 

But for some strange reason, I just wasn’t ready to give in. I felt it. The mom guilt. So I kept trying. Hand expressing into a spoon and syringe feeding a hysterical baby, when I couldn’t get it together myself. Did you read that? HAND EXPRESSING! Misery. Plain misery. Oh, and not sexy. It’s a good thing my husband loves me.

But after many prayers, encouragement and coaching from friends, we stuck with it. And by golly… we had the hang of it!  We were doing it!  I was a breastfeeding momma!

But something still wasn’t right. She was still fussy, pulling away, and making a clicking noise when she nursed. What was wrong?!

So I turned, once again, to ole trusty Sir Google. And what I found was something I had never even heard of: tongue and lip tie. Ever tried to check the mouth of a colicky baby? …nearly impossible. But once I was able to get a look, sure enough, I suspected a tongue and lip tie.

Lip Tie

Again, mom guilt. Am I crazy? Am I a hypochondriac?

I did some more research to find out what I could do. I made an appointment with a very reputable doctor in Oklahoma City. I didn’t tell anyone except for my husband that I was taking her in, because what if I was wrong? What if this was just the baby we were blessed with, and I needed to leave it alone?

We went and saw Dr. Coleman who was AMAZING. She listened to me through my tears, she took a quick look in Kinley’s mouth and then… validation. She had a tongue tie and an upper lip tie.

Then… the hardest part of all… the revision.

Kinley TT

This is Kinley just before having her TT and ULT lasered. If you think this is sad, you should’ve seen me hysterically crying.

Dr. Coleman was able to do the revision right then and there by laser procedure. She walked me through exactly what would happen, and how it would likely be difficult for me. And boy was it! I cried more than she did. It took about 5 minutes and I was able to nurse Kinley right then and there immediately after the procedure.

I took Kinley home that day still unsure whether or not I made the right decision. She didn’t eat anything for 24 hours, and wouldn’t nurse for more than two whole days. She cried the saddest cry I have ever heard, and there it was… more mom guilt. Did I make the right decision? Why did I put my baby though all of this just so I could breastfeed? Why didn’t I just give in?

But then she did it. She nursed. And nursed some more. And never stopped. She continued to gain weight and our breastfeeding relationship continued.

I’d be lying if I said a piece of me still doesn’t feel guilty. But I wouldn’t never known if I didn’t do something about it.

For moms that are going through their own journey with breastfeeding struggles, my advice would be to do what you think is best and makes you happy, but to give it a good shot. I wanted to give up. A million times a day I wanted to give up. But I am so happy I didn’t. Breastfeeding was something I never thought would be an emotional attachment for me, but something I will never forget.

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5 Responses to How Tongue Tie Tried to Ruin Breastfeeding For Me

  1. Amber Satterfield September 19, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

    Sometimes, tongue tie revisions are necessary whether you breastfeed or not so you still would have done the right thing. I gave up because I didn’t know what was going on and gave formula with my second son and never had him diagnosed until he was 5 that he has a tongue tie. It was so tied that he had some obvious speech impediments from it. We ended up having to put him to sleep and have a full on operation which was much scarier and more painful for him since he was so much older. He also still has speech impediments that we are working on and having to reteach him how to say words properly. Talk about guilt. I only wish I had known when he was a baby. When our 3rd son was born, I asked for them to check immediately and had his tongue and lip revised at 8 days old and it was SO much better than what my 5 year old went through. Don’t feel guilty, you did the right thing momma!

  2. KT September 24, 2015 at 6:46 pm #

    My son was tongue tied. The nurses in the hospital told us he was but said it should not be a problem and they’ll clip it later if it cause a speech problem. The doctor told us the same thing. However a friend of mine was the one who told me to just get it done, she has three who all where. Nursing was hurting so bad it made my feet curl. But as soon as we had it clipped it change everything, it was never painful again. He was only 8days old. It is something to look into if you are having problems.

  3. Christi September 24, 2015 at 9:09 pm #

    My daughter had a lip tie. I tried so hard to breast feed. All I ended up with was a screaming, red faced, starving baby. She couldn’t feed enough. She couldn’t get enough. At first I thought it was me. I hurt SO bad, just the thought of breast feeding made me cry but I was determined to do it. Through the pain, through the exhaustion, I was going to do it. The consultant came in after hours of a screaming baby. I tried to feed her but she just kept screaming, nothing could calm her down. Sure enough. Lip tie. My nipples were bruised and bleeding and it hadn’t even been 12 hours yet.

    They gave me a nipple shield. It helped moderately but she could not get what she needed and it didn’t help at all. It was not easy, holding a baby that was screaming and knowing that you could not help her. You could give her nothing more than what you had. So we did make that hard decision.

    We went with formula.

    I don’t regret it. I pumped and gave her as much breast milk as I could but we did formula too. I don’t regret a second of it. Because after she got a bottle, she was calm, she was happy, she snuggled up on my chest and she fell asleep. It was worth the change for me.

    I applaud you for being able to go the distance I could not. We got the judgement from the nurses, from family, and a few friends. But, we did what we felt was best. She still got breast milk. Not straight from the source but she got the good stuff supplemented.

    At a month old (as quickly as we could) she saw an ENT and her upper lip was released. She instantly began eating more which was so nice because she struggled before and got tired trying to eat. Hers was extremely tight. It was not a fun procedure. They swore she wouldn’t feel anything but I know that scream.. and I know she felt everything, and it killed me every second. We were told as tight as hers was it would inhibit her speech later, so I don’t regret it. It’s a little known problem with infants. I had a tongue tie myself that wasn’t discovered until I was 15 years old. My mom just thought I mumbled. When they did the release it hurt a lot but I’m better for it too.

    Good job, Mom!

  4. Aubrey April 27, 2016 at 4:50 am #

    Hi Lindsay!

    Thank you so much pleasuring this. I live in the OKC area and suspect that my daughter may be lip-tied. The pediatrician didn’t have anyone to suggest in terms of who to treat her for it. Would you mind sharing Dr. Coleman’s first name?

    Thank you so much!

    Aubrey

  5. Becky August 4, 2016 at 7:35 am #

    With my fourth, breastfeeding just didn’t seem right. Baby also couldn’t keep suction on the breast or any style of pacifier. I began to suspect something was off. She was also super gassy and couldn’t sleep well on her back due to some reflux. I also googled and found lip and tongue tie. It seems to be “the thing” in my circle so I was embarrassed to approach the doctor. Finally at two months I found a pediatric dentist that does the laser procedure and it was Life. Changing. My little one could actually latch! No more excess gas, painful nipples, etc. I’m so glad I listened to my gut. We are still breastfeeding and she just turned 22mos.

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