Breastfeeding and Tongue Ties

120608_BurtFamily_1143With my first two babies, I breezed through nursing with only a few minor issues that had to do more with me learning than the actual nursing act. But my third was different. By my third, I thought I had most baby stuff figured out. I mean, I’d been through it twice before and, yeah, there were differences but those were only minor variations of normal. I felt confident that I could add baby number three to our lives with only the normal bumps.

My third child and my second daughter, Maeve, was born at home and was everything you could hope for – healthy baby, safe delivery, and good bonding right away. I was still nursing her older sister, my second born and first daughter, Quinn, who was about two years old at the time. They both settled in to a tandem nursing relationship with ease.

Maeve seemed to not stay latched as long and didn’t seem to be as strong at nursing as either of my first two did. But, I brushed it off as just not remembering what a newborn nursing felt like. After all, I had a toddler that I was comparing her to. She gained fine and I didn’t have any damage or pain during nursing that would have indicated a concern.

By about two months old, she would latch on but my nipple would slide right out of her mouth unless I held it in place. This concerned me if we were going to do full-term nursing and baby led weaning as I had with my first two.

My first point of contact was an IBCLC who was also a long time friend of my family (she had been present at my own birth some 30 years ago!). She was the first one to really talk about the possibility of a tongue tie. She felt that there was enough concern to refer me to a pediatrician who was the leader in this field and in our area.

She did indeed have a posterior tongue tie and the pediatrician felt that it warranted correction. Posterior tongue ties can be tricky, as they are more difficult to see and the symptoms can vary quite a bit. It is also not an instant fix if correction is done, many times.

We had the procedure done and also followed up with my IBCLC to work on suck exercises to help her regain her suck and her latch. It took a good month for me to see an improvement, but at just over two years old, our nursing relationship is still going strong.

Don’t be afraid to seek help and have baby evaluated. Many times your local La Leche League is a great resource to start with in looking for recommendations and options. And, with the new insurance regulations, insurance often covers visits to IBCLCs; so check your plan if you are in need!

TaiLeah Madill is mama to three and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. She is passionate about volunteering with her local babywearing group and helping other families enjoy the benefits of wearing their little ones. 

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