Tongue Tied and Breastfeeding Difficulties

A couple asks PSP members about their baby with short frenulum/breastfeeding difficulty - and here is the advice they received.

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The parents write:

"Our 17 day old daughter is having great difficulty with breastfeeding, to the point that she has given up through frustration. It has been suggested to us by lactation consultants that she has an operation to snip part of her tongue to give it more flexibility and that this might/ should help her. Our midwives and paediatrician agree that this might help also.

But (obviously) we're a little reluctant for our 17 day old to have surgery unless we're pretty sure that it will help. So we're wondering if anyone has had this operation for the baby and if it made a difference with their breastfeeding.

Thanks

Bob and Betty (parents of XX)"

 

REPLIES:

 

"I've heard a lot about this from the experts and also from people who have had it done. It is almost painless. Maybe one drop of blood. People who have it done say how much easier it made life and how much less pain for mother's nipples and baby's frustration and feeding. Is Judy your LC? Trust her. Don't forget that this will help your child's speech clarity later and save you both frustration on that account, as well. Good luck. You'll be pleased with the result.

(la Leche League leader)."

 

"I'm a little late in responding to this post, but wanted to say that we had this procedure done on our twins when they were about 3 weeks old. Baby 1 & Baby2 were born with pretty "severe" tongue-tie (tongue attached at bottom tooth gumline). It made breastfeeding an absolutely horrific experience. Following the procedure, which really was extremely quick and with minimal blood, their breastfeeding improved enormously, and was far less painful for me. While it is in effect surgery, it was an in-office procedure that takes seconds at this very young age. They each breastfed within seconds of the "clip" and were fine later that day."

 

"I just wanted to echo the below post from T. My guys were born with pretty severe tongue-tie as well, with the attachment being at the gum. Breastfeeding was incredibly difficult and painful to boot. We saw a lactation consultant (Freda) who recommended having their frenulums "liced". While our Ped was against it, the entire BFing experience was so difficult that we took Freda's advice and saw her referral, Dr. Goldsmith, when the boys were about 3 weeks old. As T wrote, the procedure was over in seconds and their discomfort was over in minutes. Dr. Goldsmith is wonderful, and breastfeeding absolutely improved after the procedure. I would not have made a different decision (except perhaps to have the procedure done sooner)."

 

"Our son was tongue-tied as well and breastfeeding for the first 3 months was extremely difficult for him and painful for me. (Also, my supply was not great in the beginning). I had clogged ducts every other day for a while as a result. He wasn't able to suck properly because his frenullum (that stretchy stuff under the tongue) was attached to the lower gum, rather than back in the palette of the mouth as it should be. We saw Jan Wenk (lactation consult) at 9 weeks, (from Heather Kelly Assoc) who recommended that we have the frenullum clipped. She also gave us jaw massage techniques and finger feeding routines to try as well as nettles tea for me to increase my supply. Our pediatrician wasn't too keen on the idea of clipping it and asked us to wait a bit and see if it didn't correct itself. It didn't. So the ped then made us see their lactation consultant (and pay another fee) who gave the same suggestions as the other. She also gave us the name of an ear, nose, throat specialist that is affiliated with our ped. who then gave us a referral to have the frenullum clipped. (You can't have the procedure done without the referral from the pediatrican). Anyway, we finally got the thing clipped at 3 months. It was a 5 second procedure and he cried for 5 minutes and then was fine. The specialist (Ari Goldsmith on Atlantic Ave.) told us that it could have caused speech problems as well as major gum and dental problems later on because of its attachment to the gum. It totally made sense to us. We thought he was excellent btw. The breastfeeding immediately improved and we're still going strong at 9 months. Hope this helps."

 

"When my son was about 2 weeks old we were having some nursing issues. The lactation consultant we went to said that he was "a little bit" tongue tied (among a list of things) and gave us some exercises to do before he nursed. It seemed to help -- after a week we could see his tongue extending more while he nursed."