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Thread: Frenectomy Story

  1. #1

    Default Frenectomy Story

    Our second son was born earlier this month. We birthed at home. Our baby astounded us. Happy, sleeping well, eating well.. The opposite of what our first son was like. But my wife was having issues feeding - the baby was eating well, but my wife's nipples were in pain. Our lactation consultant worked with her for a session and my wife thought that it was helpful. But it was still painful. The next time the LC came over, she told my wife that the baby had a 3rd or 4th degree tongue tie and that it should be clipped.

    Even though our baby was perfectly healthy and happy and was eating well... it was time for surgery. Well, I do not believe in elective surgery on anyone. Any surgery is risky. Every surgery comes with potential bad outcomes. Our LC was adamant however. And she somehow convinced my wife that it was the right thing to do.

    On day 8 of my son's life, he was circumcised. He did not cry. He was barely fussy that day. On day 10, he had his frenectomy.

    He shrieked as I had never heard him shriek. He was in agony. Inconsolable. He was unable to breastfeed that day. Cried himself to exhaustion. It was one of the worst days of my life.

    Had he been in distress prior to the procedure, or if it was 1st degree or 2nd degree - or even visible to me... I would have understood.

    There is more to this story of course. The dynamics of what led us to do this are complicated. Had I known of the LC's conduct prior, it may never have happened.

    Frenectomy is often necessary. But in this particular case, it was not. Now we must wait and see how things turn out... and hope that there are no complications.
    Last edited by @llli*sprbaby; November 16th, 2012 at 09:28 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    277

    Default Re: Frenectomy Story

    Circumcision is also elective surgery! I'm sorry but what point are you trying to make with this story?
    Married to my High School sweetheart 5-15-04

    SAHM to:
    born 6/1/10 tongue and lip ties nursed 13 months with sore nipples and mutually agreed it was time to quit!
    born all natural 1/27/12 nursed for 16 months and lost interest
    1/1/14

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Ontario
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    618

    Default Re: Frenectomy Story

    I was just about to ask the same question. And even if your son wasn't in distress, the fact that your wife was having pain is significant and clearly a factor in the decision to have it done. It is not uncommon for infants who have frenectomies to initially refuse the breast...it may take a day or two to get him back on, during which time expressed milk can be fed using a finger, cup, dropper, etc. Best of luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    277

    Default Re: Frenectomy Story

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*carm3 View Post
    And even if your son wasn't in distress, the fact that your wife was having pain is significant and clearly a factor in the decision to have it done.
    Married to my High School sweetheart 5-15-04

    SAHM to:
    born 6/1/10 tongue and lip ties nursed 13 months with sore nipples and mutually agreed it was time to quit!
    born all natural 1/27/12 nursed for 16 months and lost interest
    1/1/14

  5. #5

    Default Re: Frenectomy Story

    Yes, circumcision is elective. That was a very difficult decision for us.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,291

    Default Re: Frenectomy Story

    How awful, it sounds like the day your baby had the frenectomy was extremely distressing for every one. A baby's distress crying can be physically and emotionally painful for both mom and dad.

    As I am sure you did research, you would know this is not the typical experience with tt release. However, there are so many variables-age of baby, degree of the problem, method of frenectomy etc. (If baby was tied to a board, that alone can cause shrieking that would terrify any parent. I am speaking from personal experience with a different procedure.)

    But what is happening now? Is your baby exclusively nursing now? Does it still hurt mom to nurse? There is lots of breastfeeding experience on these boards. Is there anything we can help you or your wife with?

    I don't know where you live, but in the USA, lactation consultants cannot diagnose or treat for tongue tie, unless they are also doctors. They can suspect it of course, and mention their suspicions to the parents, and refer to a doctor or dentist who can diagnose and treat.

    If you have a complaint with your LC, and she is an IBCLC, I believe you can file a complaint with the Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners. This is their website: http://iblce.org/ If you have a problem with how the doctor or dentist did the procedure, or that the procedure was done at all, then I suspect there must be some avenue for reporting your concerns.

    Breastfeeding needs to occur for the normal health of a child. Even if baby is getting enough milk, if mom is in irresolvable pain, that will almost certainly bring an early end to breastfeeding. So if tongue tie is suspected of interfering with breastfeeding, it is thus most likely good health practice to treat it. If it is not interfering, that is of course different. And sometimes, and this can be very frustrating-it is simply not knowable exactly where the problem lies. As far as frenectomy being elective, if anatomy was interfering with normal breastfeeding, it was not elective, in the sense that not having it done would adversely affect your child’s health.

    Does tongue tie ever get treated unnecessarily? I am sure that happens. But most breastfeeding professionals and tongue tie specialists would probably agree that the reverse is far more often the case. Of course, sometimes treating tongue tie does not solve or completely solve the breastfeeding issues either.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Keepin' it weird
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    109

    Default Re: Frenectomy Story

    If your wife was suffering pain while nursing, then the frenectomy was necessary. I can tell you, as the mother of a child who had a 3rd-4th degree tongue tie that was NOT clipped until age two, that having that procedure done now was the right thing to do. It is MUCH harder on the child the older they are, and that tongue tie can lead to dental problems and speech delays. My son had to have his four upper incisors capped at 17 months of age because he could not lick the food off them. He is speech delayed because he could not move the back half of his tongue. The pain your baby felt was undoubtedly real and no doubt very hard for you to experience, but you did the right thing. The shrieking of a baby in pain is hard to deal with, but the shrieking of a toddler is much, much worse.

    Please make sure you do the stretching exercises to keep the tongue from forming too much scar tissue -- scar tissue could cause the tongue to be just as tight as before.
    Breastfeeding, babywearing, sci-fi loving, total geek of a mom!

    Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind. — Dr. Seuss

  8. #8

    Default Re: Frenectomy Story

    It has been a few days now. Our once very happy and content baby cries at every feeding now. And cries when he is not feeding. That was just not part of this baby's personality previously.

    My wife's pain is as bad as it was. Except now she is pumping to supplement - something the LC told her she shouldn't do prior to the procedure, since the baby was feeding perfectly well. But now we have a baby in distress in addition to a mother in distress...

    I am certain that our LC would have cut my other son as well, had she been given the chance. My wife had as bad an experience breastfeeding him. She used LC's and support groups and persevered. Eventually it got better and she bfed for 2.5 years. Our older son is perfectly healthy and happy.

    Might the procedure do something positive for our baby? I would say it's unlikely. His feeding has been significantly harmed, at least in the short term. His emotional state has been seriously disrupted. Hopefully we have not done any permanent damage to him. We probably will never know that conclusively... Hopefully we never know that conclusively.

    Bottom line for us is that we took a perfectly healthy baby that was feeding well and performed a procedure on him that was unnecessary for him. He has been harmed. My wife has also been harmed.

    I'm sure this procedure helps many people... when it is called for.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    618

    Default Re: Frenectomy Story

    It sounds like this really has been quite the ordeal for your family. It really sucks that it's turned out this way.

    I can tell you that personally, breastfeeding after my DD's frenectomy was not instantly painless. It took about a week or so before I noticed any improvement, and I do still have some pain, possibly due to thrush...still trying to figure it out! Have you considered that as a possibility in terms of your wife's pain?

    As for your son's crying, is there any sign of an infection at the incision site? Look for redness, swelling, and a fever. Have you contacted the doc or dentist who performed the procedure? They may be able to help.

    Good luck, and tell your wife to hang in there!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    1,710

    Default Re: Frenectomy Story

    I can only imagine how upsetting this must be for you. And I totally understand where you are coming from with respect to unnecessary medical procedures. But it's not clear what you are hoping to accomplish posting here. Are you looking for support and advice about where to go from here? We can definitely offer it. Are you trying to warn us about frenectomies? There are a lot of moms who have been helped by them here, so maybe what you want to say is that we should be careful not to jump to that as an answer before trying other things since there are risks? Do you think the LC you were working with was negligent in some way? If so, I really encourage you to follow LLLMeg's advice and report it.

    One thing that's not clear: How does your wife feel about the situation? Does she still feel like she did the right thing or does she agree with you that she has been "harmed"? If your wife and baby are having so much trouble with pain and nursing difficulties, what they need most from you is your unqualified support. What's done is done. Find another LC or a LLL leader in your area that you can trust, and get their help to get feeding back on track. Hopefully the previous posters are right and it will just take a few more days before things get better. Hang in there...

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