Tongue Tied and having major problems breastfeeding

Jessi - posted on 02/20/2010 ( 36 moms have responded )

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my 3 week old son is very badly tongue tied he stays hungry all of the time because he cant latch on properly, he also has developed colic because of the large amounts of air he is getting in. We have actually had to supplement with a bottle at night because he just cant get the milk flowing. During the day he stays on attached pretty much all day just to try and get full. My ped told me not to worry about him eating too much and to let him stay attached as much as he wants to as long as he isn't using me as a passy. he also has referred us to an ent and we will be seeing him this week. any advice on whether or not to get it clipped or stories from parents who have had it done!

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Alicia - posted on 02/23/2010

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yeah for the first 3 months my son ate ALL the time it was about every hour or tice an hour i promise i does get better though

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Melissa - posted on 07/22/2011

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i say get it clipped my son is tongue tied and he is 4, i had all the problems with breastfeeding, but i thought it was my fault untill i looked it up on the enternet. my son doesnt talk he will refuse to talk. and no doctor or dentist will deal with it "right now" they feel that doing it now will not solve anything. so i say get it clipped before you run it to a lot of problems later on.

Tara - posted on 03/15/2010

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I AGREE WITH MEGAN L. i had my tongue clipped a couple years ago and my son who was 5 at the time and we BOTH needed numbing shots, i needed 2 because i started to feel it being cut. wow at the bad advice. Im getting my 4 month olds clipped too next week because of his breastfeeding problem..WOW

Vicky - posted on 03/14/2010

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Hey Jessi... so... how'd it go at the doctor's for the clipping?? I hope you and your son are doing okay! I am praying things improve for y'all! Keep us posted!

Gretchen - posted on 02/26/2010

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My daughter was tongue tied. We had her tongue clipped at 6 weeks. It was so much better with nursing. I would recommend it. It was quick. My pediterican did it in his office and it took less than five minutes. My husband was tongue tied and he didn't get his tongue clipped unitl he had his wisdom teeth out in high school and it was like having surgery. He had to have lots of stitches on the bottom of his tongue and it was really painful. I researched it and found the sooner the better. She was able to nurse right after it was over. It didn't seem to affect her at all.

Gillian - posted on 02/26/2010

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U have a choice do it now or might still have to do it when baby is 3yrs and a 3yr is not fun. Id do it now a TT can cause speech problems and all.
I had my middle sons TT cut when he was 16 weeks and Im so glad I did, his latch got so much better!

Heidi - posted on 02/26/2010

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my daughter was tongue tied at birth.. we had her clipped within 2 days as our pead recommended it..as if it were done later they may need to be knocked out to have it done and there is a slight chance she'd have problems with speech as well. there have been no problems at all since she was clipped.

Jessi - posted on 02/25/2010

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well we saw the other lady today and she agreed with us that it needed to be clipped so we will go to the hospital monday and he will clip it. he is going to use the small amount of anesthesia so that he does not fight and also so that he can stitch it. this will reduce the chance of it growing back. we are going to be admitted into the hospital for 24 hrs just as a precaution. i will update monday and let everyone know how it went. keep us in your prayers. the lc also said that if we had not stayed on top of it like we have been that he would have already been in the hospital because this is the worst case that she has seen in a baby. he can't hardly move his tongue at all. she also said that without the stitches because he is so restricted that she believes that it would grow back. so if your the praying kind keep us in your prayers if your not than just your thoughts would be appreciated!

Vicky - posted on 02/25/2010

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My son was also badly tongue tied and had almost exactly the same problems you've described! I did a lot of research regarding what to do or not to do about it. I took him in to the ENT to get checked out. The dr said he could go ahead and clip it while we are there if I wanted. My husband and I decide to go ahead if they agreed so we did. The dr. told me that as soon as he clipped his tongue that he would leave the room and then I should immediately (or ASAP) to nurse him so as to help stop any bleeding quickly. There's something about the tongue pressure the baby uses while nursing plus the natural anti-biotic properties of breastmilk.

So, I held my son in a cradle hold (ready to nurse)... the assistant helped secure his head while the dr put the tongue depressor under his tongue and used tiny sterile curved tip scissors to snip just a bit then used his gloved finger to push back the opening under the tongue.

There was MINIMAL blood (less than a busted lip)! My son being distraught by this stranger... cried for a few seconds then as soon as the dr left the room he nursed and calmed VERY quickly!

That's IT! The whole thing took about 3 minutes.

My son has since had a good appetite and been satisfied nursing. He is now 11 months and although we are coming to the end of his nursing season (I'm done at 12 months!) he is a very happy and healthy boy with NO issues with his tongue. Actually he has started clucking his tongue so he can hear the cute little sounds it makes.

Please be encouraged that it does get better. I would do it again if I had to.

Also you may try pumping in between nursing or pump before he starts nursing so the flow is already there when he latches on... plus you can bottle the milk to feed him too. At three weeks you still have time to continue to establish your milk supply. drink a bottle/glass of water each time you nurse/pump

Mary Pat - posted on 02/25/2010

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Hi, I totally feel your pain, we had the same kinds of problems. My son is now almost 16 months old and we are just in the process of weaning. We saw a lactation consultant when he was about the same age as your son and she suggested that he have his frenulum clipped, i was a little nervous about it but she did it right then and there with a little surgical scissor, he cried for a few seconds and then he latched on like a champ to put pressure on the snip and there was no more bleeding. Nursing improved greatly for both of us and he was much less frustrated and after a few days of frequent nursing and pumping to beef up my milk supply he was much more satisfied and could go longer between feedings, we were eventually able stop supplementing and his colic also stopped as soon as the formula was illiminated, good luck.

Charmaine - posted on 02/25/2010

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get a nipple guard i had to get one and it works great... its like a fake nipple you put on and it pretty much is long and helps the baby latch and all that

[deleted account]

My son was tongue tied and chewed on my nipples rather than sucked. It was agony, and I let it get to the point of bleeding before realising something was wrong. We had his tongue tie clipped at 2 weeks. We felt awful and really didn't want to do it, because we thought it would hurt him, but it actually turned out to be no big deal at all. He didn't cry, and hardly bled at all, a few drops maybe but that's all. He was more bothered by the doctor putting his fingers in his mouth to examine him. Apparently there are no nerve endings there. But the pediatrician told me to nurse him straight away, so if there is any pain, nursing will alleviate it.

For me it made the all the difference between giving up breastfeeding and persevering. It did take about 2 weeks for my nipples to heal to the point of being able to nurse directly rather than pump and bottlefeed, but it was very much worth the effort.

It is your decision, of course, and I know it's frightening, but think of the alternative. If he's not getting enough milk or damaging your nipples so badly that you can't nurse anymore, you'll end up on formula.

Wendy - posted on 02/25/2010

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My son was very tongue tied at birth. He was in the NICU for 6 days. I didn't get a real chance to try to nurse him until we got home. He had a difficult time latching on. After I showed it to the pediatrician, she sent us to the Children's hospital to have it snipped. It took 2 seconds..really no big deal...he nursed right after in the exam room with little problems. Good Luck.

Momof1 - posted on 02/25/2010

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My son is also tongue tied, but it isn't too bad. He weighed 6 lbs 10 ozs at birth and was back up to that weight by his 1 week checkup, which it usually takes 2 weeks. We don't have any breastfeeding issues, but I was worried about whether to get it snipped now or to wait and see, because he could have speech problems. I googled the condition and mainly everything I read said that babies should get it done early, and there are usually no bad side effects besides bleeding. But I still wasn't sure what to do. So when we went for his 2 month check up, the doctor looked and she said that he sticks his tongue out quite far and can move it well, so we probably don't have to worry about getting it snipped. Of course I am still worried, because if it turns out he has speech problems, I don't want to have it done when he is old enough to remember, but I don't want to do it if it isn't necessary. But I would say if your baby is having trouble eating and not gaining weight well enough, then I would do it, because like I said earlier, most parents stated to do it when they are young. Hope that helps.

[deleted account]

The lac consultant caught my son's tongue tie the morning after he was born. Nursing was very uncomfortable for me and she said that having his tongue clipped would help. She gave me some papers to read about being tongue tied and explained that it could effect his speech and his ability to do things like kiss or eat an ice cream cone later in life. My pediatrican came in the next morning and clipped his tongue right next to my hospital bed. The doc was done with two small snips and there was maybe a drop of blood at most. My son cried for a few seconds and it was all over. I noticed an immediate change nursing my son.

Jennipher - posted on 02/25/2010

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My nephew needed that little under piece of his tongue clipped - it was an outpatient procedure with very little time spent in their peds office. that really helped him latch on. I don't blame your little guy crying...that's alot of air he's getting in...once that happens, he'll do just fine, but i would not suggest letting alot of time pass by as that will result in not being able to nurse....eventually he'll find that in the bottle, he'll get more milk by that suckle versus getting it from your boobies :) good luck and big hugs to you!

Susan - posted on 02/24/2010

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(My little one was not tongue tied but) I had trouble starting breastfeeding and for the first 6 months or so (until I developed confidence and realised I could do without) I used nipple protectors. They are a flexible 'plastic' (silicone?) shape which fits over your nipple and I don't feel they are a barrier between you and your baby as you will still be nursing when you use them and they could serve two purposes for you - they can ease chapping etc and they may be easier for your little one to get his tongue around. I am completely new to this circle of moms and your message just caught my eye. I hope I read your post properly and good luck with how you go on with it all, for you and your little one. I am sure you will both be fine. Oh and don't worry about the fact that you are giving him a bottle at night. If it has to be, it has to be. My little one had to have a bottle every night from about 5 months (I should have actually started it earlier) but I breastfed at all other times for a long time after that. As for the nipple protectors, they can affect (reduce) your milk supply and you should discuss them with your doctor before using them but I see it as 'every little helps'. A bottle at night, a nipple protector on hand if necessary. I preferred the Philips Avent ones but the first one I used was a teat cut from a feeding bottle by a nurse who could see I was getting so upset. Like I say. Good luck.

Jennifer - posted on 02/24/2010

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Its called a frenectomy and my 20 week old just had it done a couple of days ago by an oral surgeon. The procedure take about 2 minutes and is very simple. They just give them a shot of novacaine and then cut it with a scalpel. I was able to hold Eamon the whole time, it bled for about 10 minutes and he cried for 15 or 20, but then was perfectly fine! He nursed as soon as he stopped crying and hasn't had any problems since! He had such a strong latch on for the first 3 months that I didn't even realize he was tongue tied. I suggest going to an oral surgeon to have it done, then you can hold them and its not made into a huge ordeal like the hospital would make it!

Lauren - posted on 02/24/2010

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The ENT we went to uses anesthesia as a last resort and told us it was only necessary in cases of severe tongue tie or past a certain point in the child's development. I got to see all the tools he was going to use to perform the clipping and all he had was one tool to hold the mouth in position and a pair of special scissors to perform the actual clipping. He is the one who explained that there is not pain because that part of the tongue does not have nerve endings, so you can believe what you want to believe, but I prefer to believe the trained professional that I spoke with. Every person is entitled to believe what they want to, and in your case, it sounds like it was more complicated than what my son would have had done. No cauterizing was necessary here so maybe that would be the difference. In any event, the baby is going to let you know if they are in pain,just like an adult would, so unless they exhibit signs of pain, I don't see why Motrin is necessary, but again, thats just mine and my ENT's opinion.

[deleted account]

think what you want, I have had human physiology. my daughter was severely tongue tied, she couldn't move her tongue out of her mouth. Children's Hospital put her under for two minutes and cauterize the incision and gave her baby Motrin. What's the Motrin for if they don't feel pain. I am not the type of person who pushes drugs for me or my kids, I believe in letting the body heal itself the way God intended. The hospital said she would be sore and one dose would take the edge off.

Lauren - posted on 02/24/2010

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there are no nerve endings in the area they clip for the tongue tie so pain relief is not neccessary. my son had a slight tongue tie and we when i was finally able to find a doctor to give us a referral to the ent, he suggested waiting and seeing because he could see where the tongue had already stretched itself on its own. however, he was willing to clip it then and there and said it was a very simple and painless procedure. its only when the baby gets older that it can get more complicated and require more than just a simple clip with special scissors. i also had to supplement with formula because he was a slow gainer and the pediatrician felt that even though there was some weight gain, it was not enough and he was way below where he should have been for his age. we are now formula free, but with the help of solids. supplementing just causes supply issues for you. i would reccommend taking fenugreek or even fiber capsules to help build your supply, as having a very ample supply will be key in feeding a tongue tied baby. good luck!

[deleted account]

Seriously, if one more person says that it isn't painful I am going to scream. Have you not ever bit your tongue or check, IT HURTS. Babies are no different, they have the same nerve endings has adults do. WE ARE ALL HUMAN. Age makes no difference.

Kirsty - posted on 02/23/2010

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definitely get it clipped. it takes to seconds to do and no pain, just make sure you go to a doc who does it all the time, u shouldnt have a prob

Emma-Leigh - posted on 02/23/2010

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Oh, I forgot to say that both my boys were severely tongue tied; it's best to feed them as soon as possible after as the breast milk acts as pain relief and encourages the wound to heal.

Emma-Leigh - posted on 02/23/2010

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Hi, I've had 2 tongue tied babies and I had both of them snipped much to the relief of both my nipples and my babies! I fed the first bub til he was 11m and the second is still going strong. There are minimal risks but for me the benefits far outweigh them. Good luck.

[deleted account]

it really will make a big difference, its scary I know, i'v been there, to hand your baby over to be operated on, but after we had it done she could nurse so much better and i think she was happier. my baby's was clipped and then cauterized instead of stitches, we had no problem with bleeding or infection and didn't have to be on antibiotics.

Jessi - posted on 02/23/2010

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we went to see the ent today and he said that he would clip it but he wanted us to see a lact consult who is also an ent just to make sure that is our only problem.so we are waiting for the phone call from her to let us know when our appt is. Also the ent is planning on giving levi a small amount of anesthesia through a gas mask just to put him to sleep for about 2 minutes so that he can put in a couple of stitches which will reduce the chance of it growing back as he gets older. so we found out some information but are still kind of clueless as to what will actually happen. our ped thinks that it needs done and so does the ent we saw today so as long as the next lady agrees we are definately going to get it clipped. i think after your 3rd opinion it is time to do something. so i guess we will wait and see what happens.

Sandra - posted on 02/23/2010

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My daughter has a borderline tongue-tie, I really wish it had been diagnosed and clipped in the hospital. I recommend clipping because I had trouble Bfeeding and had to supplement when I didn't want to.By the time she was diagnosed by a paeditrician, no ENT would clip.She had similar issues to what you are having, and actually lost weight from 3-6 weeks of age. I recommend seeing a Lactation Consultant immediately, I wished I had earlier. Good luck feel free to add me to your Circle for more help.

Jane - posted on 02/23/2010

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I think if the ent says it should be done and you're comfortable with it, get it done. If you are still unsure, ask to get a second opinion. I had some issues with pain feeding my son in the beginning, and the LC I saw said he had a tongue tie and I should get it snipped. I wasn't comfortable with the idea at first, but when the pain still hadn't gone away at 6 weeks, I got a second opinion from my Dr. and she disagreed with the LC. I also asked a cousin who is a Dr. and she agreed with my family Dr. She said as he grows and his mouth gets bigger, his latch would improve. She was right, I waited it out and by 8 weeks I could nurse without pain.
Your situation sounds a little different, but I think if you're unsure at all, ask another doctor, and another if necessary until you are sure about the decision to do what's right for your son. Good luck!

[deleted account]

i would definitely get some sort of pain relief when having it done. baby have a heightened sense of pain and the flood of stress hormones from the pain can alter their brain chemistry. would you want part of your body clipped without some sort of pain relief, I don't think so. so why would you ever submit your baby to that. babies are human too, research has show that babies just don't forget, pain is pain. have it fix but for goodness sakes, lets be humane about it.

Jessica - posted on 02/23/2010

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My baby had her tongue tie clipped at about 3-4 weeks, and it was fine. Make sure U have someone with you to support u if u get sensitive (I had to!!) it takes about a second, baby cries for less than a min, i didnt see any blood and she has fed perfectly since then! it just ended up looking like a little ulcer under her tongue.. it is a good idea, and things will improve. baby forgets within minutes, i promise! good luck!

Jessi - posted on 02/22/2010

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it seems to be a problem expecially before we started supplementing he went from monday of one week to friday of the next without even gaining an ounce. we see the ent tomorrow so wish us luck. and yes it hurts like heck when he is nursing because he cant get my nipple into his mouth! i had actually made an appt with a lact consult for this thursday before we found the tie. we are still going to keep the appt but hopefully with much better success. theres a part of me that hopes that the ent will do it tomorrow and get it over with while the other hopes that i have some time to get used to the idea!

Jennifer - posted on 02/21/2010

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definately get it clipped. it really is a minor procedure (see one here in the video section: drjacknewman.com). Not only will it improve his feeding but it will eliminate the risk of speech problems later.

though none of my kids were toung-tied, 2 of my best friend's were and many of the moms I work with as a breastfeeding councellor have babies who are toungue tied. it really does make a big difference.

[deleted account]

my daughter was so severely tongue tied that she had to have surgery but her suction was so strong that we didn't realize she was tongue tied until she was three months old. I just had to make sure that I really shoved my nipple in her mouth so that she was latched on the right way. This became harder as she got older because her mouth got bigger and my nipple didn't so it was harder for her to get her tongue around my nipple and nurse the right way. She nursed right after we had it done and kept going until she was 22 months old. try pumping a bit before latching him on so that they milk is already started for him, then you won't have to supplement. I was not excited about the surgery for her, handing her over to the anesthesiologist was one of the hardest things I had to do, but it was worth it. We had a wonderful BF relationship.

[deleted account]

Does it hurt when he's latched? My daughter was slightly tongue tied, but we saw an ENT and he said it wasn't bad enough to need clipped. If the ENT thinks it should be done I would do it. I didn't like the idea either and we ended up not needing it, but my lactation consultant said she's seen them done and it's over so quick. She said the baby even breastfed right after and the latch was perfect and mom and baby were so happy. Just ask the ENT all of your questions and he/she should be able to help you decide if it's needed.

Jessie - posted on 02/20/2010

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breastfead babies eat all the time. sometimes i feel like thats all i do is feed the baby. your baby is only 3 weeks give him a little time he will latch on and get what he needs. i really dont know about the tongue tie but i have heard it is better to get it clipped.

hope i helped you.

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