My baby has a Lip Tie?
There is SO MUCH information to process once you become a new mom. For me, the first 3 months were simply about surviving and trying to figure out how to keep my baby alive and sort of happy.
There are so many "right ways" to do things, and so many "wrong ways" (other people will GLADLY invade your boundaries and tell you so).
But you've read the books! Your relatives have told you how they did it back in the day! Your experienced mom-friends have shared their feedback with great pride! And every night-nurse, newborn care specialist, or nanny you've talked to has pushed his/her different "method" of doing things!
And now you're confused AF! Of course you are!
So... One of the things that was really confusing for me was why Santiago couldn't get it together with his breastfeeding or bottle feeding. He just wasn't able to get his full supply of milk and even with the small amount of milk he was taking in, it was taking him a whopping hour and twenty minutes to get it down. Who has time for that? And he was upset about it! Duh! And other moms would be like, "woah - that's a long time," and I'd roll my eyes because, "don't judge my baby!" But inside, I knew something was up.
Santiago was also fussy AF. I couldn't get his burps out and he was noticeably uncomfortable. He was crying a LOT and I had a very difficult time soothing him. I thought- Well, I must have a colicky baby. He must have reflux. I must be one of the unlucky ones.
Well one day, our night nurse cautiously suggested that Santiago had a tongue tie. And I was annoyed. Because I had already been to the doctor. Our primary pediatrician had already done a mouth check. He checked and he told me everything looked good - I had a perfect baby! lol.
Nevertheless, I asked for a follow up appointment. We went, and it was decided again that there was no tongue tie, but we were encouraged to see a specialist. So we did. We went to the "mouth specialist."
After a 5 minute appointment with her in which she mainly looked at her clipboard, did not look me in the eyes to address me, asked her nurse what my name was (instead of asking me), and took a rapid glance underneath Santiago's tongue, it was yet again determined that Santiago did not have a tongue tie. So we went home... frustrated once again.
And still, Santiago would not latch. My frustration continued to increase. So we began to fiddle around (with clean fingers, of course!) in Santiago's mouth, and came to notice that he had something that more closely resembled a lip tie. WHY HADN'T OUR DOCTOR OR THE SPECIALIST CHECKED THIS? After my incessant complaining and insisting that something was up... WHY had no one thought to check the lips?
Whatever the reason, I am here to encourage you mamas out there... If you just KNOW something is up with your baby, PRESS THE ISSUE. Be relentless. Go back for a follow up. Advocate for your child. You are his/her voice. Ask the doctor to check again. And again. And again. Until you can find out what's going on with your baby.
Finally, we made an appointment with a pediatric dentist, who concluded almost immediately that Santiago had a lip tie. It turns out that his own child had suffered from the complications associated with a lip tie. When he began his practice, this doctor (whom we love!) found that there were so few resources and such little knowledge surrounding the issue of lip/tongue ties, that he became committed to doing this research himself. He explained the potential course of action to us, and it seemed like a no-brainer. We chose to have Santiago's lip tie surgery done that very day in his office.
Santiago's lip was swollen for several days, and it took two weeks for Santiago's lip tie to heal completely. During those two weeks, we had to do daily "exercises," which involved massaging his lip tie wound. Which he hated. Because, hi... we were sticking our fingers in his scab and that doesn't seem like fun for anyone. But by doing this, we were ensuring that the wound would not "close up" to what it was before.
We noticed an immediate improvement with his suction and ability to consume formula from the bottle. His feeds went from taking an hour and twenty minutes, down to one hour. Baby steps, right?! Now, our little dude LOVES meal time, and with practice, he has "retrained" his mouth, and takes his 7 ounce bottle down in 25 minutes... Just in time for us switch things up for him again and introduce solids :) Oh What Fun!
Click here to learn about "THE SIGNS" and "THE BASICS" of lip ties/tongue ties.