We all know what a tongue twister is but do you know what a tongue tie is? If you don’t know don’t feel bad. I didn’t either until Little M came along. Now we are fighting the same problem, albeit to a lesser degree, with Pirate M.
Little M was breastfed. There came a point where the pain should have been going away. It wasn’t it was getting worse. There was also a time when he would projectile vomit. I’m talking across the queen size mattress projectile. He also would have milk dripping out his nose while he was nursing. I had to keep a burp cloth under his head because so much milk would leak out of his mouth that it would completely soak my sleeve, arm, leg, a spot on whatever I was sitting on.
Finding out what was wrong was a FIGHT. I had never had to fight for my baby so hard until Little M. He was a tad slower in weight gain than they liked but they were kept appeased by him at least gaining weight. That wasn’t enough for me though. The pain was bad. We pushed hard enough to get a swallow study. We had never really tried to give Little M a bottle before the swallow study and, in my eyes, the swallow study was a failure except for one thing. It showed that he couldn’t efficiently, read at all, suck from a bottle.
It took 5 lactation consultants, 2 speech therapists, 2 doctors, 1 dentist, and 1 ENT specialist to figure out what was wrong with Little M. He had a tongue tie. Not just any tongue tie. He had a posterior tongue tie. It didn’t give his tongue the classic tongue tie shape but it still restricted movement. I had even had a doctor look me in the eye and tell me that everything was normal and to stop acting like a first-time mom. We knew something was wrong the whole time. Pain with nursing for 6 months was not normal. Nor should LittleM have been having a hard time eating from a spoon like he was. The ENT agreed to do the revision but only under general anesthesia. We hated the idea but didn’t see waiting any longer doing LittleM any favors. We also didn’t know that there was a doctor in town who would do it in office.
LittleM and I were up early the day of the surgery since he was the first patient to go into the OR. The entire process to a bit but I was allowed to stay with him from door to door. He woke up and nursed right away. My little guy was a champ through the whole ordeal.
PirateM has not had the signs or symptoms of a posterior tongue tie to the degree that LittleM did. We have also had the added difficulty of PirateM being diagnosed with with a mild form of Torticollis. Two months after being assured by the pediatrician that he is not tongue tied, here we are having to get his tongue revised. After my pain nursing increased we decided to go ahead with the revision despite not everyone agreeing that he had a tie that as affecting nursing. I need some sort of relief and this is the only proactive step we can make right now.
Earlier this week we all bundled up and headed into the doctors office. This time around we were lucky enough to be able to have the procedure done in office by the boys pediatrician. I felt like the worse mother ever. I took BigM into the hallway to try and help distract him and keep him from getting upset. PirateM was in so much pain afterwards that I was regretting the decision. I managed to calm him down enough to get home but then at home we were fighting the uphill battle of pain, sleep and hunger. A little bit of Tylenol and lots of cuddles and rocking later he was back to his happy little self.
Tongue ties are a very real thing. Posterior tongue ties are real as well. They do affect the baby’s ability to nurse and can be a problem even if baby is gaining weight. The tie does NOT have to be done under general anesthesia. Best thing to do if you need help is to get in contact with a medical professional who knows about tongue ties, posterior tongue ties and how to revise them. It may take some work but it will be worth it in the end.