Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Tongue-Tie Success Story


by Amy Castor, Guest Blogger

I loved nursing my first son, Jaxon, but we had to overcome almost every  obstacle in the book, it seemed. So when I was preparing for my second child, I made sure I had the right bras, had my Motherlove Nipple Cream, had my new pump and wasn't afraid to use it in spite of what my mom said. Moreover, I was bound and determined to teach this little girl to latch on to my somewhat flat nipples from the get go and not use a nipple shield. My son had eventually learned, so I was more confident and knew what to expect, or so I thought. 

Clarissa was born naturally at Crestwood Medical Center. My husband caught her and put her on my bare chest right away. I didn't let them take her off of me for a good while, and tried to get her to nurse for a bit with very mild success. She weighed 8 lb. 5 oz. Therefore, when she slept a lot and only nursed for a minute or two most times at the hospital, I wasn't too worried. Jaxon had been the same way. I also had some great nurses, and the lactation consultants are fabulous, so I picked up some new tricks. 

Then we went home. My milk came in, and I could tell she wasn't latching on well; it seemed that her tongue wasn't going all the way over her bottom gums. After a few days, nursing on the left side was especially painful, and I had scabs! So we went to A Nurturing Moment to get some more gel pads. Glenni was so great; she sat down with us right away and used her finger to feel Clarissa's suck. She looked at her tongue and declared fairly confidently she had a somewhat viscous, type 3 frenulum, which basically meant - no wonder my nipple was tore up! She was slightly tongue tied! Who knew? I hadn't heard of such a thing until recently, and it seemed this was a very common problem. Glenni was like my fairy Godmother, and bibbity-bobbity-boo, she called Dr. Hagood, scheduled my appointment, called Clarissa's pediatrician, and we went in the next business day to see if Dr. Hagood would clip her tongue.

I waited for the doctor, wondering if I was a bad mom to be inflicting what I thought would be so much pain on my baby. When he came in, he was so kind; he talked to me for a minute, looked at my little girl and said he could do it. We went to the "operating room" and a sweet nurse, who had recently had a baby, held Clarissa. Dr. Hagood poked his fingers in her mouth, which made her cry the most, rubbed some novacaine under her tongue, gave it a second to kick in, took the scissors, lifted her tongue, and snip! I think the lifting of her tongue bothered her worse than the snip. He used one tiny piece of gauze to stop the bleeding, and after a few seconds, they handed her to me so she could nurse again to soothe her. She wasn't too interested, and her tongue was numb, so she didn't latch on well, but she calmed down instantly just being at my breast. It was far less traumatic than I thought it would be! She wasn't bleeding and I didn't have to do anything different for her to heal.

So at the next feeding, she latched right on to my left side, which had healed as I was pumping the left and nursing from the right. There was no pain! I said, "Oh, this is what nursing is supposed to feel like!" I was so happy! We did a little bit of suck training, like Glenni showed me, and now Clarissa is nursing like a little champ! I am pain-free, and nursing is a breeze! It makes me wonder if my son had been slightly tongue-tied too. It was seldom this comfortable with him, and I nursed him 13 months!
I am hoping for even more months to nurse my daughter, and I'm so thankful for Glenni and Dr. Hagood and his staff! It's amazing the huge difference such a small adjustment can make!

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