When I had my third baby back in 2016, he was born unexpectedly at 34 weeks. He spent over a month in hospital with breathing and feeding issues. He was tube-fed and then later EBM (exclusive breastmilk) bottle-fed. I agreed to that because it would get him home sooner. I had already breastfed my older girls both to 3 years each. I was experienced!
So when Dane came home I started weaning him onto the breast. I was having a very difficult time. He didn't know what to do so I found a breastfeeding page on Facebook and asked for help. From the minute I started that post there were comments such as, "Oh, look how little his lips are, it must be a tongue tie." "Fussing at the breast? Yep, he's got to be tied." "He has reflux? Oh yes, he's tongue tied." I had never heard of this tongue tie thing before. My two eldest were born in '05 and '08. It was a 7 year gap!
I hung in there, persevering and working to keep our breastfeeding relationship. I did skin to skin, left him in charge and he eventually latched. It only took three days after that for the nipple damage to set in so I went back for more advice. Once again, I was flooded with responses that he had a tongue tie.
The women online gave me a list of symptoms and he met them all. They then gave me a list of providers in my area. So of course, what did I think I had to do next?! My freezer stash was gone, it was too painful to nurse at the breast, and I had no support besides these so-called gentle breastfeeding mothers. I made the appointment to take my baby to a professional for tongue tie diagnosis.
Of course, the professional I went to diagnosed him with lip, tongue, and cheek ties. As we sat in the waiting room, waiting for our turn, all I could hear was this ungodly scream from another baby. Everything inside me was telling me to get the hell out of there. But I didn't. They wrapped him and splayed him on my partner so my partner could bear hug him to restrain him. I asked for my baby to be numbed but they assured me he wouldn't feel a thing.
|Dane fell asleep right after the partial surgery.|
I still don't know why I didn't listen to my gut but I am glad he only endured the beginning of it, on his lip. There was no way in hell he should've endured the whole thing, nor was I doing those stretches on his tongue that they prescribe afterwards.
The thing is, despite our rough start, I stayed determined to breastfeed him until he was 13 months old. At that point, I fell pregnant and my milk dried up. His issues were never tie related despite what I was pressured into feeling and doing. Fast forward to my next child. I posted online, "Does this look like thrush? I have one very sore nipple." The immediate flood of responses included, "No, those are blisters, a sign of being tongue tied...get that sorted quickly" And I easily had 20 mothers agreeing that it was a tongue tie. This time, I went to the doctor, received some drops for yeast, and treated it successfully."