After we brought my daughter Grace home from the hospital, the adrenaline high of having such an empowering and exciting birth started to wear off and sleep deprivation started to set in. I noticed that breastfeeding was becoming more and more painful with each feeding. I nursed my son Owen for 19 months and while we definitely had our share of issues in the beginning, it was NOTHING compared to what I was experiencing with Grace. I chalked it up to my nipples just “toughening up” once again. But the pain became so excruciating that tears would stream down my face in agony while I would muster all the strength I had not to scream and scare my precious nursling from latching on. I knew SOMETHING wasn’t right! It should NEVER be THAT painful!
It wasn’t until Grace was 10 days old and I was on Facebook one evening that I saw a picture my friend posted of her daughter’s mouth that changed things. Her daughter had a dental gap and she wondered why. I knew immediately the reason was because of the upper lip tie I noticed. The only reason I knew anything about this topic was because I’ve had several friends who had issues breastfeeding their babies due to lip/tongue tie. I began to go online and find resources for her to reference and then…IT HIT ME…like a TON OF BRICKS!! Hello!? I jumped out of my seat and rushed over to Grace and pulled up her upper lip and BAM!!! There it was!! Clear as day!! FINALLY an explanation for the pain!!
I immediately started reaching out to my mommy friends who had experience with this and was referred to Dr. Frank J. Sierra, DMD, PA – Pediatric Dentistry a pediatric dentist in Florida who specializes in LASER revision of lip and tongue tie. I sent him a frantic email that Sunday night explaining our nursing issues. I was shocked that he IMMEDIATELY responded to my email and made us an appointment to get in the very next day. He understood the urgency of the situation and could read the desperation in my words.
After meeting with Dr. Sierra the next day, he confirmed that she did indeed have a lip tie. We discovered that Grace had a class 4 upper lip tie, which is the most severe type. This is where the tie extends down into the hard palate where the 2 top teeth will eventually be. Not only that, but when he lifted up her tongue, he showed us that she had a posterior tongue tie as well. No wonder why things were so painful!! Thankfully, due to LASER technology, no anesthesia is necessary for revision. The procedure took less than 5 minutes and Grace slept soundly through it all. She is healing wonderfully and is learning to re-use her lip and tongue properly. Her latch has improved DRAMATICALLY!
I realize that so many people aren’t even aware of this condition and either continue to suffer or quit breastfeeding altogether because of the pain. Had I not been privy to this through my friend’s experiences, who knows where we’d be today!?
Why am I telling you all of this? I wanted to share our story to hopefully help other moms out there that have experienced the side effects of these conditions, which have been improperly diagnosed or overlooked altogether. Besides pain while nursing, some of the symptoms associated with lip/tongue tie in mothers are: loss of milk supply, cracked/sore nipples, mastitis, and clogged ducts. In babies it can cause colic, gas, reflux, and weight loss/slow weight gain due to not being able to effectively transfer milk. If left untreated it can cause a dental gap, speech and dental issues, as well as a host of other health problems.
While every case isn’t as severe as ours was and doesn’t always require revision, it is my hope that one day it will be standard practice for pediatricians and lactation consultants to properly check for these ties in the hospital before discharge. It could potentially save many moms and babies a lot of pain and frustration as well as other issues in the future.
Thanks for letting me share XOXO!
Brooke is a joyful follower of Jesus Christ and a proud SAHM to animated Owen (2 years), precious new daughter Grace (8 weeks), and four-legged son Doxy. She met her adorable husband Chavis when they were in the 7th grade and they have been married 3 ½ years. Between dirty diapers, breastfeeding around the clock, and the never-ending pile of laundry, Brooke has also managed to build a successful Beachbody business consisting of dozens of coaches who are helping end the trend of obesity and change the lives of others. When she is not working on her own personal development and physical transformation, she also finds great joy in babywearing, cooking healthy family friendly meals, and shopping alone at Target. *All photos in this post are courtesy of Anaellisse Photography (Tampa, Florida).