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Boob talk: an update on our breastfeeding situation

Posted Jan 31 2014 7:08am

In case you missed it, and want to read about it, I recently wrote about our struggles with breastfeeding.

I foolishly thought that breastfeeding would be easy.

I am an idiot.

I finally found a lactation consultant that would come to my house and help me figure out why we were having such a difficult {painful} time with breastfeeding.

I was really really nervous about the meeting. I was nervous to have a stranger in my home, nervous for a stranger to be poking at my baby, nervous that she would tell me there is nothing wrong and that BF is just going to hurt; or that I’m doing it all wrong and that I’m an idiot.

I was just really nervous about meeting with the LC.

NONE of those things happened. Amy was the nicest person ever – I was totally comfortable and she completely put all my fears to rest. She immediately started asking questions about my delivery, when my milk came in, and did Paisley start BF right away. After she got done asking questions it was time for her to examine Paisley’s mouth.

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She put on gloves and pried Paisley’s mouth open – in case you’ve never tried to open a newborns mouth..it’s not an easy task. She examined her lips, tongue, and the roof of her mouth. Almost immediately she found, what she thought, was the root of our problems. {and if you follow me on instagram, you’ve seen a million posts on this by now} but Paisley is lip-tied . (or was, because, SPOILER ALERT: we had it revised).

Run your tongue along your top gum, between your upper lip and teeth. Feel that piece of tissues that connects your lip to your gums? That is called the frenulum. In a normal person it’s a small piece of tissue that doesn’t go very far down your gums.

Paisley has a class IV lip tie, which means it goes all the way down to edge of her gums, and underneath into her hard palate. The chance that she would end up with a gap between her front teeth was very large. Lip ties can also lead to tooth decay, speech problems, gap between front teeth, and several other issues. There was also the chance that the lip-tie could rip during rough play when Paisley gets older…

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not the best picture, but she was not amused to have us pulling at her lip.

Amy told us we had two options: A. We could leave it as it is, which would most likely lead to other problems the older Paisley got, or B. we could have it revised, which would probably fix the breast feeding problems and would also help us to avoid some of the problems that would/could occur later in her life.

Lip-ties are genetic; after we met w/ Amy, I was telling my sister how the appointment went and she mentioned that my niece also has a lip-tie. Her dentist pointed it out to my sister this past summer when he recommended she get braces to fix the gap between her teeth.

She gave us the name of a pediatric dentist in Tampa and recommended that we do our own research to decide whether or not we wanted to get the lip-tie revised.

DSCN4030 I felt so much relief when Amy told us that the lip-tie would cause all the problems that we had been having. That sounds terrible, but we had struggled so much with breastfeeding, and I wanted to quit so many times – I had talked to a lot of people, and read a lot of articles, blog posts, whatever and they all made me feel like I was just doing something terribly wrong. I felt relief that I wasn’t doing anything wrong.. I was upset that there was something “wrong” with my baby.

One thing that I don’t quite understand, is why Pediatricians don’t check for this. If breastfeeding is what’s best for baby, why wouldn’t the baby be checked for any possible things that could cause breastfeeding complications?

When I asked Amy why our pediatrician, or anyone in the hospital didn’t check for this defect – She responded that most Physicians are not trained in breast feeding. They get a short breastfeeding class, much like we could have attended had I chosen to – They aren’t trained in any great depth about it. She also stated that ENTs (Ear, Nose & Throat) Physicians are really the only Physicians that are trained at any length about breast feeding and the anatomical defects that could affect it – but you probably wouldn’t think to go to an ENT when you are having difficulties breastfeeding. I know I wouldn’t.

Another thing that I found interesting was the overall lack of knowledge on lip-ties. I googled my heart out in regards to breast feeding, and I never came across any information regarding lip-ties. Oh, sure, if I google lip-ties, there is some information there, but it’s no where to be found if you’re not looking specifically for it.

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I did some of my own research, but it did not take much to convince me that we should have the lip-tie revised.

Breastfeeding is really important to me, so if this would help our relationship, and also save her some agony down the road, then why wouldn’t we have it revised?

Based on my own research there were a few ways that the lip-tie can be revised. It can be cut, which requires general anesthesia and stitches, or it can be revised with a laser; which is a super short procedures, requires no anesthesia, no bleeding, and almost no chance of infection.

The pediatric dentist that was recommended does the laser procedure, but if we had decided to go the other route, we could have seen an ENT. Obviously I don’t want to put my kid through more trauma than necessary so we chose the laser revision.

We met with Dr. Sierra, who was so so nice, and made me feel completely comfortable about the whole thing. He examined Paisley and agreed that she would definitely benefit from having her lip-tie revised. He also said that she had a slight tongue tie, but that it was really pliable and he didn’t see any need to revise it.

The procedure it self is very short; Dr. Sierra was able to examine her & do the procedure in the same day; he had already seen pictures of her lip-tie, and the exam was pretty much just a confirmation that, “yes, she does need it revised.”

Chris stayed in the room while they did the procedure; I had planned on staying, but I wimped out and ended up waiting in the waiting room. I would say it was probably less than 5 minutes from the time I left the waiting room until the time they came and got me. Right after the procedure they put us in a private little room so we could nurse right away. I was really surprised at how well she handled the procedure; She really wasn’t even crying when they handed her to me.

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Dr. Sierra warned us that Paisley’s lip would be sore for a few days and that she might not want to eat. I am happy to say that she had handled it like a champion. She never acts like her lip is bothering her, she does get a little bit fussy after we stretch it out, but I think that is to be expected.

Yes, we have to stretch her lip. I feel so bad. The stretch is basically what you see in the picture to the left. We pull her lip up and then rub the bottom side of her lip & her gum. The purpose of that is to keep the scar tissues from building up; which would essentially defeat the purpose of the revision.

Paisley must have her Daddy’s pain tolerance level; she never acted like her lip was even bothering her. The Dr. warned us that she might have a decrease in feedings because she would be sore.. Nope. She handled the whole thing like a champion. Thank goodness, I was really worried we were headed for some rough days.

— I can’t remember what day I started writing this post, but I’m sure it’s been at least a week. I’m going to stop here, because I have even more updates to write about, but this is ridiculously long as it is.

Next update will be about my foot…ugh.

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