Lip Tie Update

It has been one week since little man’s lip tie revision. I’m still amazed at the difference it has made for nursing. The hardest thing right now is making sure we are doing the stretches. After a lip or tongue tie revision most doctors will recommend stretching the site for one to two weeks to promote healing and discourage reattachment. For a lip tie this consists of holding the edge of his lip and flipping his lip up toward his nose. Or if grabbing on is hard, I just slide my finger under his lip and push up gently. Massaging the site is also said to be useful. Little man didn’t mind at first but I think he’s getting tired of it. I always tell him what I’m about to do so I don’t shock him by just sticking my finger in his mouth. I try to make a game out of it so he associates it as something good and not something that just has to be done to him. He gets lots of kisses while we do stretches and kisses are his favorite thing.

Here are some links to other great blog posts about lip and tongue tie revision after care:

http://jayesimpson.blogspot.com/2012/10/tongue-tie-gentleness-and-compassion.html

http://jayesimpson.blogspot.com/2012/10/tongue-tie-gentleness-and-compassion_12.html

http://nurturedchild.ca/index.php/breastfeeding/challenges/what-to-expect-after-tongue-tie-and-lip-tie-release/

Little man had his three month pictures taken yesterday. I loved that this picture of him sticking out his tongue was the first one I saw.

Photo by Rouse Photography

Photo by Rouse Photography

We also got some great breastfeeding shots like this one.

Photo by Rouse Photography

Photo by Rouse Photography

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Chiropractor

After the lip tie revision breastfeeding has been so much better. There is very little clamping down where there had been clamping at every feeding before. With the clamping down gone I noticed pinching on the right side. Very painful pinching at times. I explained this to the chiropractor today. After examining little man, he noticed that he didn’t have full range of movement in his neck. After a few clicks with his instrument he moved his head fully back and forth. It was pretty amazing how easily that worked. He has to go back twice next week to keep his neck from tensing back up. Nursing after yielded no pinching! If you are having problems with one breast and not the other, I highly recommend chiropractic care. Baby could be off kilter. I recommend it anyway as we go every other week for maintenance. I’m just amazed at the difference such an quick easy adjustment can make. It makes me think of the people who don’t go to the chiropractor that would just keep suffering through that pinching or even worse quit breastfeeding. And poor little man not being able to move his head all the way. We will hopefully be getting cranial sacral therapy next week.

Lip Tie Part Two

We are on our way home from Illinois as I type this. Dr. Margolis was amazing. He is caring and calming to be around and very informative. The experience as a whole was great.

We arrived early and went to find his office while we waited. One of the assistants saw us outside the door. She came out and welcomed us in and let us know he could see us early.

While I was filling out the paperwork Dr. Margolis introduced himself and asked about his history for why we were there and he remembered the email we had sent as soon as I started telling him about little man’s ties. He went back to the procedure room to make sure everything was ready while I finished the paperwork.

He brought little man and I back to the room and had me sit with him on my lap. He examined his mouth and confirmed the class IV lip tie. He also checked his tongue tie revision and said that it looked great. He explained how the procedure would go and how to care for him afterwards.

He introduced me to both of his assistants who have both been working for him for more than 25 years. Little man laid on my chest with his head on my shoulder facing up. We both wore glasses to protect our eyes from the laser. I held his hands while one assistant held his head and the other suctioned liquids. The procedure took about three minutes. Little man cried a lot but I think it was more from being held down than from pain. He hates having his arms held. He stopped crying as soon as it was done and he could move again.

Dr. Margolis explained that some mothers feel relief right away when nursing and others take a few weeks. He was surprised I was still nursing with the tie he had and said most mothers quit because of the pain. He told me to email him pictures at two weeks so we don’t have to drive back just for him to take a look. Then they gave us a room for me to nurse in.

Amazing. Honestly. Night and day difference. He is able to suck in my entire areola. Before he could barely get in half. The pressure from his top gum is now faint and on the edge of my areola instead of extreme and on the base of my nipple. He didn’t clamp down like he usually does. The pressure was so much lighter all around. I was wondering if he was actually sucking at first because it felt so different. Before he sucked so hard I could feel it clear into my armpits. Now it feels soooo good. I knew it would be better. I didn’t know it would be this much better.

I will update with another post about his healing process and how his latch progresses in the coming weeks.

If you are considering having this procedure done, do not wait. And I highly recommend Dr. Margolis.

Lip Tie Part 1

I am taking us back to the present for this post. Don’t worry, I will pick up where I left off in another post soon.

We will be going to see Dr. Margolis in Highland Park, IL next week to have a laser revision of little man’s lip tie. He will also be taking a look at his tongue tie to make sure all the tissue was removed when it was clipped. I emailed him three pictures of his lip tie and he replied immediately saying it is a class IV lip tie. This is a severe form! The ENT who did his tongue tie clipping said it didn’t look bad and I should just wait to see how it effects him. It’s amazing the difference when talking to an expert on lip and tongue ties.

WP_20130718_009 (1)The laser procedure should only take a few minutes and he will nurse immediately after to make sure he is able to get a good latch. I can’t believe that so much of the pain we’ve gone through could have been avoided if this had been caught earlier. I don’t understand why professionals who should know these things just don’t. Lactation consultants, nurses, OB/GYNs, midwives, pediatricians, ENTs. They should know how to identify lip and tongue ties. So many problems not just in breastfeeding but in other areas of development could be avoided if parents only knew.

And it doesn’t stop there. Some lactation consultants and nurses do notice these ties. But then they are shot down by doctors who say it’s not that bad or they don’t even see it at all. Since I’ve been researching and talking about ties I’ve heard so many stories about parents of infants who have had severe ties being dismissed.

There are more consequences to an untreated lip/tongue tie than just difficulties breastfeeding. http://bit.ly/untreatedties This link lists them. I don’t understand why medical professionals prefer to allow any of those things to happen to a person rather than just do a simple three minute procedure that can help them avoid all of those things.

This is not to say that there aren’t amazing professionals out there who diagnose and treat immediately. They are out there and I am extremely grateful to them. They make such a difference in the lives of many.

Here is a great informational pdf about ties from another expert: http://www.kiddsteeth.com/nursingbookaugfc2011.pdf

Coming Home Take Two

I was mentally prepared to return home with little man. I knew I had everything I needed and the knowledge and support to help me through anything. But I was emotionally wounded. I was shaken to the core. I cried a lot. I was so worried I would do something to send him straight back to the NICU. With every day I have become more and more confident. Each day proves to me that I am capable.

WP_20130509_002The day we came home my mother also returned home. I valued her help more than anything but this was the moment when it felt like the three of us were our own little family. It was just hubs, little man and I. No more visitors. No more help. It was time for us to make it on our own.

The morning after we returned home little man and I had our second visit with Julie. I don’t remember much of this visit. I am actually struggling to recall what we talked about. I feel like so much has happened since then. We have come so far.

Little man was having almost exclusively bottles of my breast milk at this point. Our meeting with Julie was the first time since the NICU that I put him to my breast. He actually did quite well. I’m sure I cried. It gave me hope. There would be a day he would exclusively nurse again.WP_20130522_011I went home and nursed him as often as I could until it became too painful. Then I would offer him a bottle of pumped milk. I pumped and pumped until my nipples were able to take nursing again. Then I would nurse until it hurt. This was the cycle over and over.

I met with Julie again the next week. Each time we nursed, I checked his latch. I made sure his mouth was open as wide as possible. But it was still painful. Julie said his latch looked great. She could tell I had been working on it. Why does it hurt if he is latched correctly? Maybe my nipples were still healing. She gave me some tips to help with the pain. Coconut oil. Warm compresses. Cold tea bags. Rest. I went back to pumping more and nursing less to give my nipples longer breaks. The pain lessened. A little. Breastfeeding isn’t supposed to hurt. Right?

Since I know how this story “ends” I’ll give you a sneak peak. We are on day three of no bottles as I type this. Stay tuned to find out what has happened in between then and now.

All Night Long… All Night!

You have to sing that title Lionel Richie style to get the full effect.

No bottles last night! We have been doing bottles, one or two, at night to give my nipples a break. Last night little man slept with me after he fell asleep nursing. And when he stirred at 4 am instead of getting up and giving him a bottle I just popped a breast in and he nursed back to sleep. And guess what. My nipples didn’t fall off and I’m not experiencing toe curling pain! Oh it is the little things these days that I celebrate.