Tongue tie UK – new organisation raising awareness of tongue & lip tie

On Twitter I came across a new group aiming to educate & raise awareness about a matter close to my heart – tongue tie. Please follow, like, add, etc & make sure every mum & baby gets the help they need.

From their site:

“Tongue-tie UK was created by parents of babies with tongue-tie, to help other parents get access to information and support about tongue-ties and lip-ties in babies and children. We work with a range of healthcare professionals, breastfeeding experts and other support groups, in order to build our knowledge base, and in order to best serve the needs of those that we support.”

Tongue Tie UK Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tonguetieuk

Tongue Tie UK website: http://www.tonguetieuk.org

Tongue Tie UK on Twitter: @tonguetiesuk

Sorely tempted to abandon breastfeeding?

I’ve had two people – including the health visitor – say that most people in my position would have given up breastfeeding by now.

I’ve had cracked & bloody nipples, a baby with tongue tie and then resulting nipple tissue bacterial infection, for which I’m on my third course of antibiotics. I’d upload a photo of my nipples but it would make you feel pretty uncomfortable, at their worst they looked truly awful – pusy yellow & red angry-looking tissue surrounding each nipple. And of course the pain! To start with it was pain from a poor latch, then an agonising letdown pain, toe-curling, teeth-gritting, for the first 3-4 weeks, and then the pain from the nipple infection, of baby’s pneumatic suck on raw tissue.

The truth is not that I’m brave, or determined, particularly – it’s that I’ve been too lazy & too proud to give up. Too lazy to buy all the equipment needed to pump/for formula, and to sterilise it all each time, and too proud to admit to the women closest to me – all of whom had breastfeeding problems of their own, but battled through it – that I couldn’t do it. Well I suppose that took determination of a kind, just not for the best reasons!

I have discovered that I can put up with much more pain than I ever imagined. When I was trying to get the latch right and I’d get nipple pain from a bad latch-on technique, I’d rather put up with the pain than try detach baby & start again. I quickly learnt that aside from my partner understandably getting frustrated with me, putting up with pain this time round because I’m too lazy or scared of the stress of trying to get a good latch, means more pain next time, from sore, damaged nipples. And it increases exponentially.

At nearly 6 weeks however it is getting much better. The nips are nearly healed, okay so one has decided to go back to being flat but we can deal with that. The antibiotics have made me constipated, which gave me a bleeding bum, and apparently the specific type, flucloxacillin, is notorious for causing thrush, so I’m being careful. Baby has got much better at latching on too. I am still dealing with profuse milk production so I need to wear breast pads all the time & cover my clothes & baby with muslin when feeding, but that isn’t too bad. I can’t wait for the day when breastfeeding is totally pain-free & effortless – hopefully very soon!

Have you been tempted to give up? Or perhaps you did? Do you regret it, or was it a relief? Let me know in the comments.

Does my baby have tongue tie?

Tongue tie is becoming more & more recognised, but only 5 or so years ago it wasn’t even really recognised. We were lucky that we are aware of it due to baby having 2 cousins with it, but not everyone knows about it, and NHS services regarding treating it is patchy.

Tongue tie resources:

NHS
Kellymom
Babycentre
BBC

The tongue tie clipping procedure is painless (unlike your nipples if you’re baby has tongue tie!) so you have nothing to lose by asking your midwife, health visitor or GP if you suspect it.

Let me know your thoughts on this, or your experiences.

Tongue tie and hope

After we got home I struggled on, complaining, for a few days. My partner was sympathetic & supportive, but I thought something must be wrong, I didn’t know why, and I think he initially thought maybe I was making excuses. He convinced me to call my sister-in-law which I was too embarrassed to do to begin with, but made a huge difference. We wondered if the problem could be a tongue tie – her baby had it too. Also she told me breastfeeding can be agony to begin with, but it gets better – music to my ears, as I thought I was a total failure.   She lives in Ireland and had had a dreadful time getting her baby diagnosed with tongue tie. Her nipples were mangled but no one knew why, she went to the doctor but was told she just must have a poor latch. After her & her husband did some serious Googling they discovered tongue tie – where the frenulum, the small piece of skin that tethers your tongue to the base of your mouth, is too tight. It’s not always a problem but it can limit the amount baby can stick their tongue out, and therefore how effectively they can feed. It’s not really known if it affects speech in later life but it’s a painless quick snip so in the UK it’s straightforward. In Ireland no one knew what it was, and the poor family had to drive halfway across the country to see a specialist, after enduring 8 weeks of pain. A ridiculous ordeal, and not one I think I could have got through personally. On baby’s day 3, when the midwife came we raised the query of tongue tie, and she said she’d already spotted the possibility. We were booked in to see the midwife who specialised in breastfeeding at the hospital the next day. I had a desperate & painful night, part using nipple shields in an attempt to let my horrifically cracked, bloody & agonising nipples recover, but was worried she wasn’t getting enough milk & it was making her cough, tried with & without.We got baby back to hospital, screaming in her car seat & me hobbling with pain from stitches from my episiotomy. The specialist breastfeeding midwife was called Ingrid & was charming – articulate, intelligent, knowledge & not patronising. She said yes, baby has a posterior tongue tie – altho she can stich know her tongue out below her bottom lip (which not all tongue tied babies can) it’s clearly making a difference to breastfeeding & as we don’t know if it will make a difference to baby’s speech development, it’s recommended that it’s cut. She explained thoroughly what she was going to do – swaddle baby to keep her arms from flailing around, then use sharp, round-nosed scissors to snip the tie. There may or may not be any bleeding, there won’t be any pain (a grown woman investigating this had her own tie cut with no anaesthetic, and stated it didn’t hurt) and maybe some blood. It would heal quickly, as mouth injuries do, and feeding her immediately after would help. Baby wasn’t happy about the procedure, understandably. Her mouth seemed to bleed quite a bit, and when I tried to feed her using the cradle hold (the only position I’d tried so far), I was in agony.

Ingrid instead got me up on the bed in the ‘laid back’ position – reclining comfortably – then put baby on me and let her find her own way to my breast.  This is also known as ‘biological nurturing’. It’s quite amazing, it’s the way new mothers are encouraged to feed their newborns immediately after they’re born – it’s amazing that something so tiny has this built-in reflex to find mother’s breast. Well, like all mammals I suppose. It was founded by a British midwife called Suzanne Colson in 2008 whilst researching for her PhD. She concluded that there are 20 inborn neonatal reflexes that help babies to breastfeed, and concluded that human babies feed best on their stomachs. It’s great for calming baby, regulating their breathing & heart rate, and for getting a good deep latch. Plus Ingrid could tell from baby’s loud slurping noises that I had a very fast flow, and baby feeding against gravity helps with that. It’s a fairly newly recommended position but I’ve since found it invaluable. I found it a great deal more comfortable, and it really helped with my painful let down reflex. I nearly cried at the midwife. Baby seemed very happy too – it was a revelation! Anyone else had a baby with tongue tie? What was your experience? And how did you find breastfeeding afterwards?