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So, Tongue tie

Tongue tie – the words on every breastfeeding supporters lips
the buzz word people querying if it really matters and lip tie! woah…
In the Uk the general stand is that tongue can matter and lip tie rarely matters.

8 months old

Personally I feel very differently all my research over the past couple of years has led me to believe we are wrong lip ties matter and tongue goes FAR beyond breastfeeding.
My son Caelan is 23 months old born at home straight onto the breast –

At 6 weeks we had issues I was SO sore – more sore than I recalled feeding his brother – hang in there! was the advice ..
Maybe time to wean the toddler came more advice …
my tears that he was always hungry were met with more soothing that weaning the toddler would help.
I did give it serious thought but it broke my heart. – I wanted to tandem feed my “Big” boy was not ready to wean !

Tongue tie

4 months in I was tying a silk scarf to my breasts because anything so much as brushing against me was agony.
Rubbing coconut oil in every day stopped any cracking I was covered in bruises where he’d hold me SO tight bite marks littered me
little “Love bites” where he’d be sucking so hard – and my own teeth where at times I’d bite myself to get through a feed.
I called some helplines they were nice but the advice was mostly conflicting – and one hinting at formula really was amazing to hear……
Galactagogues ( milk enhancing herbs)  were offered up as a suggestion – maybe he wasn’t getting enough milk.
I tried the common ones oats, lactation cookies, alfafa , fenugreek , teas
by now the poor child was choking on my over supply I stank of rancid milk and he was still feeding every 20 minutes day and night
I was so distressed inside – often we’d take it in turns between my husband and myself to pace and rock him so the other could get a couple of hours sleep.
Things evened out a little and I hoped we’d turned some magical corner.
7 months old I was starting to feel a failure I just wanted a rest , some sleep some time without being touched by anyone!
Again I sought advice most of it was “Nice” but the term “this too will pass” was used far too often people were not hearing me – I felt like being a “pro” meant my concerns were just our family adjustment or that I’d get over it soon.
8 months old I was ready to supplement I dreaded every feed by the evening I’d usually be crying biting my lip but I’d look at this innocent face his loving eyes and wonder what the hell was wrong ?
I couldn’t bring myself to do it I knew the slippery slope of just one bottle …
Finally a chance conversation brought me to examine Tongue tie I looked and there sure as eggs is eggs – there was a tie sitting under his tongue
we had every symptom

  • sore nipples ( not everyone gets those)
  • Frequent feeding/over sucking
  • Lipstick shaped breasts
  • Mastitis
  • some babies are failure to thrive others gain a lot of weight – over the charts
  • fussy colicky poor sleeper

    Slipping off

So – I had my answer ! hooray…!
ah! Yes he had a tongue tie but at 9 months old it cannot be snipped by an LC ( lactation consultant )
“too wriggly” “too aware”
I was reassured it didn’t matter a great deal some grew and stretched! – this is NONSENSE
I now know but then I gritted my teeth and waited for that to happen. The pain like a hot needle going into my nipple or like a razor blade stroking me – I had to stop his feed mid way sometimes it was just to much.
While I was now used to it so things were easier it still took it’s toll I was exhausted, felt like I was burnt out.
A lactation consultant offered to see if we could get a referral to have it snipped under a general anaesthetic – the risks were not something I wanted to take for such a small procedure.
I began to research more and found all the things I had been told were myths.
Tongue ties are a problem as are lip ties – a baby cannot create a seal and get a good transfer of milk – hence the always hungry the biting the slipping off – they just cannot latch correctly. Often mums are told it looks fine …
Many babies have the tongue tie revised and mum notices little difference – because a lip tie is still present. The big myths are that babies cannot stick their tongue out at all or that if it doesn’t hurt it’s not there  – my oldest boy never hurt and both his lip and tongue ties are still there!

At 20 months he was not babbling or speaking at all I tried not to
worry maybe his big brother speaks enough for him maybe he’s just quiet but my heart knew this tongue was going beyond my breasts – All he could say was “ck” he’d point and sign things there were no mental delays I could say pass me the red one please and he’d fetch a red one.
We knew something HAD to be done this couldn’t go on.
We were in talks about leaving the country to have the procedure done by laser.
This seemed our only viable option.
Jennifer tow Jennifer’s Blog who has been instrumental in raising awareness and helping parents got in touch with me and explained some UK dentists had been to train under Larry Kotlow Larry Kotlow
BIG NEWS! they would be lasering lip and tongue ties!!
I wept with joy ! those few weeks waiting were SO long ! At times it felt like it was never going to happen.
the big day was set 9th June 2012
The lead up was interesting I was terribly nervous – so I asked a friend to come with us
that morning a 6 am start – Caelan’s first train ride a very lovely journey I felt a little bit of a traitor – we had prepared him by explaining that a dentist would look in his mouth  and shine a light in and it would feel like the sun was on his tongue.
Homoeopathic medicines from our family homoeopath Fiona Dilston RhoM eased my nerves.
We got there to a beautiful practice that was very warm , open and welcoming 6 days on :
He is a happy little soldier and SO much has changed I am still reeling!
the journey home he had a sleep on the train and was later sitting next to me eating potatoes on our way home shouting at sheep and animals we passed slept all that night woke up to shout LOOK!
That day “bird” “duck” from our book
another night of sleep
Eating without gagging
breastfeeding without a hint of pain 3 weeks ago I resolved 2 years was a great life start and was coming to terms with possible weaning now I feel content that self weaning will be on the cards it’s pleasurable !
He has said at least 20 new words this week – today was plop!

The exercises have gone well he does fight them but gently holding him and knowing what a difference it’s making keeps up resolve.
I’d do it again in a heart beat and I’m so glad it’s open to others now.


18 Responses to “So, Tongue tie”

  • Elizabeth says:

    Great info thanks

  • Cleópatra says:

    cheers my friend, great job for you and your work.!

  • Mars Lord says:

    Thank you so much Sarah. I’ll share your story with as many as I can, so that hopefully more mothers will get help for their babies earlier. So glad you’ve finally gotten to pain free feeding and that his speech is coming on leaps and bounds.

    Mars xx

  • And please can you leave details of the laser division on my website to add to my list of resources, Sarah!?

  • Barbara says:

    Very great post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wanted to mention that I have truly enjoyed reading WTG!

  • Lisa Clark says:

    My LO had his tongue tie snipped at just under 8 weeks old. By that time he’d done crazy amounts of damage to my nipples and I was sooooo close to giving up. The immediate difference it made was unbelievable. But I’ve recently noticed that he has quite a hefty lip tie and am concerned about the effects it might have on his speech. He’s now 13m and I’d be really interested to get any contact details or info you have on laser lip tie ‘snipping’ in the UK. Any chance you could send me something to have a read of? TIA

    • admin says:

      Hiya – my hat is off to you pumping broke my heart I think that mums who pump are truly AMAZING!
      his name is John Roberts in Huddersfield
      Lovely LOVELY guy there’s a link within the article
      and teher is more on using laser on Larry Kotlow’s site.
      very safe very quick and less chance of regrowth.
      8 days in with all the exercises the sites look great and healing nicely.

  • Jeanette says:

    I’m so glad you finally got an answer and some help. My son had a tongue and lip tie and high palatte, he had surgery under GA at 14 weeks, but sadly still never got the hang of nursing. I’ve been pumping for him now for 23 months.
    I get so frustrated with those who think tongue and lip ties are the new fashionable trend in bfing problems.
    Great news that Dr Kotlow is now training people in the UK, it was him and his great website that pointed me in the right direction with my son.

  • Dionira says:

    i was very pleased to find this site. i wanted to thank you for this great read!!

  • Liz Evans says:

    Gosh, you went through a lot, good on you for persevering :-)

    Can I ask how you found out about the UK dentists trained by Dr Kotlow? My 6 week old son had his tongue tie snipped twice but no improvement, and I want a second opinion. We live in London.

    • HI there
      I am part of a tongue tie support group and Jennifer Tow has been instrumental in getting those in teh UK some better help and support
      there is a dentist from London in training right now I will get some more details for you
      the next date for Huddersfield is 7th July – be quick though spaces are filling up fast!

  • Liz Evans says:

    Thanks for your quick reply Sarah :-) Is Jennifer the best person to contact? And what is in Huddersfield, is that where you had your child’s tongue tie snipped? I’m not sure we could travel that far, so details of the London dentist would be appreciated. Thanks :-)

    • I’d get in touch with Jennifer and see what’s in the pipeline I know the London dentist will be training soon but how long he’ll take to get started I’m not sure of
      We went to Huddersfield – it was a 4 hour round train ride which we treated as a fun old journey :)

  • Corrin says:

    this was very interesting.

  • Michelle says:

    , it is nice to see that someone really understands.

  • Adeci says:

    thanks for the info, very useful and it helps us a lot.

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