So, you have a baby with tongue tie? Or you suspect you might have a tongue tied (or lip tied) baby?
Oh, mama, you are who I want to encourage today. Nurturing a newborn is hard enough without the added difficulty of mothering a baby with tongue tie.
Below you will find a letter of encouragement for new moms and then our tongue/lip tie story.
I overcame the challenges of breastfeeding a baby with tongue tie – I want you to know that I believe you can do the same!
Dear Mom of a Tongue Tied Baby,
You are doing the best you can for your baby right now.
I know it’s a lot of work to feed a baby with tongue tie. I know everything feels confusing and overwhelming right now.
Your nipples hurt. Your breasts are engorged. But, mostly, your heart hurts for your baby that is struggling to nurse.
I’m here to tell you that this isn’t your fault and that you are doing everything you can for your baby. All of your efforts are not in vain! There is a light at the end of this nipple-mangling journey.
You will figure this out. Your baby will learn to breastfeed and/or take a bottle successfully in due time.
Don’t throw in the towel on your dream to breastfeed. Give this time and do everything you can to make it work.
THEN, when you feel good and ready and have tried your best, formula feed that baby of yours and be proud of yourself for making the best decision for you and your baby.
You are a fearless mama bear that will do whatever it takes to take care of your family. Do what is best for you. And, do what is best for your baby. Ultimately, do what is best for your family. Listen to your instincts, you will know what is best.
Mom of a tongue tied baby, I know you might be scared to take your baby to get their tongue tie revision. And, I won’t lie to you, it is horrible seeing your baby in distress during the frenectomy surgery – even if it does last less than a minute.
While it was unsettling to watch my baby go through the laser surgery, it was worth it so that she didn’t have pain or challenges eating afterward.
And can I just say that you’re amazing?
Feeding a newborn is rough. It takes everything you have and then some. It’s draining physically, mentally and emotionally.
But, feeding a baby with tongue tie or lip tie? Absolutely brutal. I’m not saying that to discourage you but to say that you’re a freakin’ rockstar!
You’ve gone total beast mode to feed that sweet baby of yours and you deserve recognition!
New mom with a baby with tongue tie, I’m proud of you.
P.S. You’re doing a great job as a mother! I know that because I just know that you’re doing everything you can for your baby and loving the squish right off of that cutie.
Our Tongue Tied Baby – Our Story
Breastfeeding Challenges from Day 1
Being someone who is passionate about natural birth, holistic pregnancy and natural living in general – I was so excited to breastfeed. I had expected that my baby would nurse right away while we enjoyed skin to skin for at least the first hour after birth.
Well, it didn’t go that way. My baby didn’t want to breastfeed. “She’s probably just tired. She’ll nurse later.” is what my nurse said.
“Later” came and went and my baby still wasn’t eager to breastfeed.
I felt so awkward trying to contort my body to hold her properly and help her latch. I had no clue what I was doing and neither did she!
Each time she would try to nurse it just wasn’t working. I asked every nurse and any lactation consultant that came around for help.
But, here’s the problem.
Each nurse and lactation consultant told me something different. Next thing I knew, I was pumping in the hospital, breastfeeding with a nipple shield, and syringe feeding my newborn.
They told me that my baby had a tongue tie that would need to get clipped at the pediatrician’s office just a few hours before we left the hospital.
So, at just three days old, my baby had her tongue tie clipped at the pediatrician’s office. To my surprise, it didn’t really bleed and she didn’t seem to be bothered by it. She nursed right after and there was some relief but things still just weren’t right. (Which was because her tongue tie was too severe for a simple clip and she had an undiagnosed lip tie)
The early newborn days were a struggle for us!
We had to triple feed until my daughter finally ended up getting a laser tongue tie surgery (frenectomy). Triple feeding is when you breastfeed, then pump, then syringe/bottle/spoon feed as much milk as your baby will take.
You breastfeed to continue to encourage baby to nurse, then you pump to receive the proper sucking stimulation that your baby isn’t giving and to empty the breast, then you fill your baby’s belly up with milk that he/she couldn’t get effectively.
We had many lactation appointments and I ended up with mastitis around 1.5 weeks postpartum because I had an oversupply and skipped pumping overnight for 1 night. (don’t do that!)
After the Laser Tongue Tie Surgery (frenectomy)
Our baby had a laser frenectomy when she was 2 weeks old and started nursing without a nipple shield or any other assistance at 2.5 weeks old. (so 3-4 days later)
Side Note: It is absolutely unfathomable to me that it was only 2.5 weeks that my baby couldn’t nurse. It felt like years. But – things do feel a little different when you’re dead tired and someone is literally mangling your nipples every hour or so.
We did the mouth exercises and stretches religiously for 6 weeks but still ended up with slight reattachment. The last lactation consultant that we saw told us that the reattachment was very minimal and wouldn’t interfere with breastfeeding, eating or speech.
We went on to breastfeed for 13 months. (I lost my milk supply after I got pregnant with our second baby otherwise I would’ve gone a bit longer.)
“Giving Up” on Breastfeeding – Why I Wanted to Stop
I wanted to give up in the 2.5 weeks that my baby wasn’t breastfeeding effectively. MANY times. More times than I could count.
I would cry (from the pain and overall overwhelm) and dream of giving her a bottle while sitting there propped up with a million pillows, burp rags, and pumping equipment while my baby pinched my nipple in her way-too-tight tongue tied mouth.
I thought of all the reasons it made sense to stop breastfeeding. It sounded glorious to stop having pain from breastfeeding every hour.
But, then I would remember my ultimate goal of breastfeeding for a year. I just knew how much I wanted to do this.
Praise God that I stuck with it and, by His grace, was able to breastfeed my first baby for 13 months. Thankfully, I continued breastfeeding even though it was absolutely brutal in the beginning.
If it is best for you, your baby, or your family to bottle feed your baby (whether pumped breastmilk or formula), you do it! Feed that sweet baby in whatever way works for you. FED IS BEST. f-e-d. Period. You have not failed if you chose not to breastfeed. Your baby is not broken if you chose not to breastfeed. There is nothing wrong with choosing another way to feed your baby when breastfeeding just flat out isn’t working. Give it your best shot and then, guess what? If you want to stop, then DO IT. You have full permission from a full-out crunchy organic, breastfeeding enthusiast, natural birth lady to feed your baby how you want to feed your baby with NO shame, NO guilt, and NO regrets.
FAQ’s About Tongue Tie in Babies
How to Tell if Baby is Tongue Tied?
I will include some of the more obvious indicators but please go over to Mama Natural’s blog to read more about how to tell if baby is tongue tied!
- Breastfeeding mothers may have cracked, bleeding or mishappen nipples, have frequent infections and/or mastitis, or experience intense pain during breastfeeding.
- Tongue tied babies may: Pinch the nipple in their mouth or clamp down while breastfeeding, pull off the breast or bottle crying or tugging, make a clicking sound while nursing, or have trouble lifting the tongue.
How Common is Tongue Tie in Babies?
Roughly 4-11% of babies will be born with a tongue tie, but it is very commonly misdiagnosed so that number could be higher than we think.
Our Pediatrician Says My Baby Doesn’t Have a Tongue Tie, Should I Ask A Lactation Consultant or Dentist?
Yes! Some doctors and pediatricians are not trained at diagnosing tongue (or lip) tie or, at least, knowing the severity of a tongue tie. Find an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant near you to get help!
Tongue and Lip Ties often accompany one another so make sure you check for lip tie as well.
How Much Does Tongue Tie Surgery Cost?
We paid $600 for our baby’s frenectomy (laser tongue/lip tie surgery) at a local dentistry. Our lactation consultant (LC) gave us a list of recommended dentists that perform a frenectomy, ask your LC for local recommendations.
The national average for tongue tie laser revision is $750.
*For those local to PA, we went to Po Dentristry and were amazed by Dr. Po. She was caring, helpful and highly qualified. Prices and costs will vary – call Po Dentistry for a consultation.
Resources for Moms with a Tongue Tied Baby
- HOW TO EXAMINE A BABY FOR TONGUE-TIE OR LIP-TIE by Dr. Ghaheri
- Tell Me About Tongue Ties! by Breastfeeding USA
- NHS’s article, Tongue Tie
- Tongue and Lip Ties by La Leche League International
- Tongue Tie: How to Check Your Baby (and How to Fix It) by Mama Natural
- Lip Tie: How to Check Your Baby (And How to Fix it) by Mama Natural
Mom of a baby with tongue tie, this will be over soon. You will get past this phase of your and your baby’s journey. You’re doing the best you can right now and for that, you deserve all the “you’re rocking this motherhood thing” you can get.
You can do this! I am rooting for you.