On day 10, I decided to forgo the IBCLC and directly assess tongue-tie. Calling Dentistry 4 Kids at opening, we were immediately scheduled for an appointment that morning. I asked a friend to babysit my 2 year old, and my oldest came with me. I packed a 3 oz. bottle of newly pumped breastmilk for the next feed.
The dental office was a 4 year old boy's dream come true - disney movies, climbing structure, blocks and trucks galore. For our appointment, we sat in a comfortable office on a large sofa, surrounded by even more toys. Hudson and I received full attention, empathy and assessment for his sure fire tongue-tie AND lip-tie. After I received a detailed explanation of the release procedure, care and expected results, Hudson was gently carried out. The nurse and pediatric dentist returned with a slightly teary eyed baby tightly latched on to his pacifier. They handed him to me and advised that I try to nurse him. Dimming the lights, we were left to face our fears and watch Toy Story. THE BOY FED and I had no discomfort. I tossed the bottle of milk we brought.
The next 24 hours were very difficult. Hudson was fussing like he had before, but I was told he would have soreness from the procedure. Since his weight was up, I decided to not offer a bottle. His fussing went from 45 minutes, to about 15 minutes, to about 5 minutes before each feed. This meant I was exhausted and managing three fussing children with high demands. However, nothing could extinguish the joy and gratitude I felt. Feedings improved and normalized and we returned for our next two follow-up appointments with good reports. Today, I have no discomfort and Hudson is our heaviest 4 month old boy yet.
I had the pediatric dentist also look at my two older sons to look for lip and tongue ties. After talking with him about the pain I had experienced in feeding them as babies, I was sure the issue had run in our family. It had.
It absolutely takes a village to breastfeed but I would never have known that going into motherhood. I assumed that I would naturally and instinctively master the art of or at least work to get there with the help of internet research. Unfortunately nature, instinct, and internet research failed to help me and my first two tongue tied babies. I cannot tell you how many tears were shed in pain and then finally in resolve over this issue. If I could turn back time, I would have pressed the hospital staff to have a professional asses my newborn's tongue and lip ties. Moving forward, I'm motivated to help other mother's consider the issue and proactively share to whoever will listen.
At our third and final follow-up appointment with the pediatric dentist, I was asked to share my story. They recorded a video to be presented to a dental gathering in Chicago. I was definitely nervous and not entirely comfortable discussing the details of feeding logistics but thrilled to be a part of getting the word out. I feel incredibly lucky to be where I am today.
If you're a mom with feeding issues that may be linked to tongue or lip ties, I strongly recommend bypassing all the little check points and going straight to the professional who performs release procedures OR starting with a lactation consultant who has a history of identifying and successfully treating mothers and infants with this issue. The moment your case is dismissed by someone who's trusted, but not trained, it will become more difficult to pursue further and you won't see the value in the cost of treatment. Health insurance needs to 'cover' (based on your plan) the procedure as medically necessary since it's a feeding issue.