The last time I posted about my baby daughter’s tongue-tie, she was 2 1/2 months old. She is now nearly 7 1/2 months old and I wanted to give an update.
We never had her frenulum clipped (frenotomy) and instead, I chose to nurse through any discomfort or peculiar behaviors. Here were some of those peculiarities and where they stand now:
- Shallow latch – Not an issue anymore. Her mouth has grown (along with the rest of her!) and her latch is comfortable for me.
- Clicking – Also not an issue anymore. I believe the clicking stopped when she turned about 6 months old.
- Sore nipples (pain level 1-3 out of 10) – I rarely have sore nipples now. The only time they get sore is when she sprouts teeth. She got her two bottom front teeth when she was about 4 months old; now she’s working on her two top teeth. Her latch changes as she gets a new tooth; but this is not because of the tongue-tie. The latch usually feels different when the new teeth come in, tongue-tie or no.
- Stuffy nose/sneezing – She doesn’t get stuffy anymore, but she does occasionally still sneeze after a nursing session. My lactation consultant (LC) said that this is because she “micro-aspirates” the milk as she feeds, due to the tongue-tie.
- Tucking of the chin – Not an issue.
- Jerking of the head – Not an issue.
- Refusing to nurse side-lying with right breast – Not an issue.
Other items to note:
- Squirmy while nursing – Ever since about 6 months, S has taken a liking to squirming during nursing. I usually have her in a cradle hold and she loves to push on the couch or bed with her feet, which makes nursing very uncomfortable, as it results in tugging of the nipple. I have to constantly coax her to relax and say “gentle with mama’s milkies.” I have no idea why she does this. I am guessing that a lactation consultant would say that this is her way of stimulating the letdown more quickly, perhaps compensating for a less-than-optimal suck.
- Upper lip tie – I still often have to flip out her upper lip after she latches on. She sometimes curls her upper lip in due to her (class III) upper lip tie. After I flip it, it remains out and does not curl back in.
- Side-lying – We can now nurse on both sides while lying down. And I don’t even have to move her from side to side! I can simply lean over and she can nurse from the top boob. Hallelujah! This is a good thing. Now I don’t have to sit up in bed to nurse her. That means more rest for both of us.
If you read my last post, you may be wondering what happened with the osteopathic manipulations and whether or not we continued with them, or if they “worked,” i.e., treated her above tongue-tie symptoms. Well, after three visits, I chose to discontinue treatment. I really was not comfortable with S’s
crying screaming during these appointments. Actually, that’s a whopper of an understatement. After these visits, S wasn’t the only one in tears, my son T and I were, too. It was awful. I am not saying that all osteopathic manipulation is bad. It just wasn’t for us.
(I admit, I do sometimes wonder if perhaps I did my daughter a disservice by ceasing these treatments. According to our DO, many little patients do loudly and fervently protest the manipulations in the beginning but after their symptoms show improvement, their crying decreases and some even come to look forward to and enjoy the treatments. I wasn’t willing to stick it out to see if S would be one of those babies. Her crying rocked me to my core and I had to listen to my instinct and get her out of there!)
Anyway. That’s where we are with nursing now. I stand by my decision to NOT clip her tongue-tie.
Oh sure, there are the potential future problems to worry about, such as refusal of solid foods (not a problem for S), easy gag reflex, dental problems, speech problems, etc. But we’re not there yet. And even if these problems are commonly associated with tongue-tie, I’m not convinced that they will be problems for my daughter. I just don’t buy the whole “get it clipped now or else you’ll face problems X, Y, and Z down the line” argument. My philosophy is, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Yes, we had problems early on. It was painful in the beginning, but my pain subsided and she gained weight like a champ and is still at the top of the charts in terms of weight and height. Some LC’s would say that it’s all due to my “oversupply” of milk, like it’s an anomaly that I have lots of milk. The way I see it, my body knows exactly what my baby needs, and provides it. Her anatomy and my anatomy are working in harmony together, the way nature intended, and I thank my lucky stars that everything is working out as it should, without unneccessary medical intervention.
But let’s be absolutely, crystal clear–I am NOT saying that all tongue-ties do not require a frenotomy. Egads, no! On the contrary, there are many, many instances when a frenotomy is the ONLY solution: When the baby is not gaining weight well and/or when mom is in pain or sustains nipple damage. Countless babies, moms, and breastfeeding relationships have been saved thanks to properly diagnosed and treated tongue-ties.
I’m just saying that there are gray areas, too. Our situation was one of those gray areas. My daughter gained weight amazingly well, and my nipple pain was minimal (not counting the excruciating pain during the first few weeks as we perfected the latch), yet she had an obvious posterior type 3 tongue tie that any seasoned LC would recommend for frenotomy. It was a difficult decision for me. For weeks and weeks, I’d obsess over whether or not to have her clipped to avoid future problems, like decreased milk supply. It was agonizing. Only now am I 99% sure that we will have a happy and long nursing relationship, until S decides to self-wean. (What’s up with that 1%? Well, that’s just me being paranoid. You know what they say, nothing’s 100% certain except for death and taxes.)