tongue tie, and lip tie, and buccal ties, OH MY!

The first thing I noticed beyond my baby's beauty was her VERY apparent tongue tie. I have to admit, I was worried, but it was my fifth time nursing a baby, so I felt confident we could do it. Our pediatrician and the lactation consultant at the hospitals opinion was, it was "stretchy" so hopefully we wouldn't have much trouble, and I wish that were the tale I had to tell.

By the time my milk came in, I was incredibly engorged, and now realize the very plugged ducts were from her utter inability to remove milk effectively from my breasts. I was so uncomfortable, I thought I might have double mastitis, I was that engorged. But, we plugged along nursing very, very frequently, several times an hour around the clock. She was gaining so our doctor saw no reason for revision. I was suffering from major over supply, my breasts tend to make lots of milk in the early weeks anyway, but with her frequency of nursing I had too much! And neither of us we're getting any rest.

I had my LC friend come and visit and she recommended having it clipped to see what type of improvement we would have. I knew she also had a lip tie, but was unconvinced this was causing us problems. So, at four weeks we drove up north and had the anterior tongue tie clipped, for those of you not sure, that is the thin piece of skin under the tongue. I instantly felt a difference in her nursing, it felt less like she was just clamping down to get milk out. I was really hoping this was it!

We nursed along, and after a few days, she was back to her clamp, clamp, clamping until she got the letdown of milk then basically chugging on the fast flow. I was so disappointed. I didn't want to have to go through another revision, but I was ready to quit! I was getting absolutely no rest, and it was VERY hard to keep nursing when it hurt every time. I was having Raynaud's phenomenon on my nipples and that HURTS! Guys, I had been a LLL Leader for almost 9 years and I wanted to quit nursing this baby altogether. My mental health was also suffering, lack of sleep is a big trigger for me post-partum. If you've ever had postpartum depression or anxiety you know what I'm talking about. I was feeling very overwhelmed, and baby's have to eat! We tried a nipple shield, a nursing supplemented, and pumping with little success. Something had to change. Then I had a quick conversation with another friend who is also a lactation consultant and she mentioned "buccal ties." I'd heard of lip and tongue ties, but buccal ties were a new one. She was taking care of her brand new baby, but gave me a quick way to check and when we got home, I checked the sides of her upper mouth and sure enough she had tight bands on both sides. I cried, no wonder she couldn't create any suction. No wonder her tongue couldn't possibly remove milk in any sort of predictable pattern. I had to find a pediatric dentist and quick!

My sister had been through laser revision with Dorothy, so I had a dentist in mind. It just so happened that he is now retired. What was I going to do? I'm pretty sure I cried some more. I cried a lot the first few months, and so did Mercy. We were both frustrated and overwhelmed.  I found a group on Facebook called Illinois Tongue Tie Support and joined. I posted my plight and got a few responses, one by a former LLL Leader who I happen to know. She recommended Dr. Micah Roberts in Peoria. Three hours away? Would we even survive the drive down? I wasn't sure.

Scott had a vacation coming up, so we made a weekend of it, and went to her appointment. We also got to visit our dear friends who we really don't see often enough.

So at just under three months old we went for her second tongue tie revision, and revision of her lip and buccal ties. She had a Grade 4 lip and posterior tongue tie, and I can't remember the grade of the buccal tie. The procedure is very quick, I'd say less than three minutes. She screamed throughout it, mostly because they swaddled her tightly and had lots of  fingers in her mouth. The stretches afterwards are the worst part of the whole thing. I didn't notice a huge change at first, but by two weeks post revision it felt like I was nursing a whole new baby!

Moral of this story. Breastfeeding shouldn't hurt. Listen to your mama instinct, if it doesn't feel right see a lactation consultant. And finally, laser revision isn't as scary as it sounds and it might save your breastfeeding relationship. The end.


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