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Thread: Upper Lip Tie/ Labial Frenulum

  1. #1
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    Default Upper Lip Tie/ Labial Frenulum

    Hi Ladies... i'm starting a new thread, hoping that it will catch the right person's eye.

    Just yesterday I noticed that the frenulum behind my son's upper lip extends all the way to the bottom of his gums, so I'm assuming it's an upper lip tie. From the searches I've done, I've found mixed information on whether or not an upper lip tie affects nursing. Some sources say yes, though many say no. I'd really love to hear from women who have been through this. We've had nipple blanching, slow weight gain, slow/sleepy nursing habits.... Has anyone had any experience with upper lip tie? If so, did you have nursing issues? Did you have it clipped? If yes, did your nursing issues improve? Were you advised of any additional long term issues an upper lip tie can cause?

    We've had nursing issues from day one, literally, and I want to think this is what's been at the root of our issues, as it's correctable. However, (1) I don't want to get my hopes up that all will be well if we get it clipped and (2) my husband has stated that if improved nursing is the only potential benefit of getting it clipped, he doesn't want it done. He feels that I may have ulterior motives and want DS clipped for selfish reasons.

    I've attached a picture. From those of you who are familiar with upper lip tie, am I right thinking that this is an upper lip tie?

    nicholas.JPG

    Is there anything else you can tell me? Even a good resource would be helpful! Most of the info I found was on tongue tie... which has already been ruled out.

    Thank you
    Last edited by @llli*alilwest; December 31st, 2012 at 02:20 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Upper Lip Tie/ Labial Frenulum

    Thank you for your response. I typed a long response yesterday, and the session timed out :/. The ped confirmed lip tie, and gave us a referral for an ENT. I've read that lip tie almost always co-exist with PTT, so we'll see what the ENT says. I think he probably will have it, though.

    While this kind of sucks, I am relieved to find a possible cause for the ongoing weight gain issues. I'm relieved that I wasn't just imagining that there was something going on. I may be anxious and persistent, but now I feel a little less crazy.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Upper Lip Tie/ Labial Frenulum

    I have an appointment on the 9th to get my DS's lip and tongue looked at by an ENT. I wish I could go see Dr. Kotlow but I live halfway across the country. I have a lot of the same problems that you were talking about, so I'm hoping it'll help too! Good luck!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Upper Lip Tie/ Labial Frenulum

    My son has an upper lip tie that looks a lot like the picture you posted, only I think his is more prominent. We also had problems nursing at first (he is now almost 7 months), but it was more due to an anterior tongue tie, which was corrected/clipped at 1 week old. I had a pediatrician check the lip tie (referred by a lactation consultant) but he thought it looked too thick to clip. His IBLCL nurse also thought it would be best to leave it alone. Now, his latch is good and we don't have any of those early problems. I still get nipple blanching occassionally, but it is not painful. I also have creasing across the nipple, but the lactation consultant thinks this is due to his high palate, which we can't do anything about. His two front teeth are coming in, and it looks like there will be a big gap between them, but several people have suggested that once his other teeth come in the two will be pushed closer together--plus these are his baby teeth, which will fall out in a few years. If the permanent teeth have the same problem then braces will fix that (I had to have braces for a different problem and it wasn't that bad, so I'm not that concerned).

    How old is your LO? Could he be teething? My LO started "teething" at 2 months--excessive drooling, chewing on everything, fussing, and at about 3 months fussed at the breast for about 2 weeks until his two bottom teeth came in. If your LO is not teething, then perhaps something else is going on? I would be hesitant to clip the upper lip tie. For us, it hasn't really caused any problems. What has worked was trying to get a good latch, meaning getting a big mouthful of breast, and the way that happend for us was time--his mouth just needed to grow more so that he could get more breast in the mouth. Also, I kept adjusting him by pulling down the lower jaw (with mixed results; he really didn't want to be messed with while nursing). If your LO is not that old, I might wait and see if things improve on their own unless it's just too painful or if your Dr is really concerned with lack of weight gain.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Upper Lip Tie/ Labial Frenulum

    THank you for your responses. We saw the ENT on MOnday. He confirmed the upper lip tie, yet claims that lip ties aren't clipped until later in life, typically if and when the child needs orthodontic care caused by the lip tie. Now, i know that isn't the case. DS has become more efficient at nursing within the last few weeks, perhaps his mouth is bigger, or he's just better at compensating... but, either way, becaue of these recent developments, I'm not as concerned about it as I was. Thank you

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Upper Lip Tie/ Labial Frenulum

    ok. so i was totally wrong. weight gain tanked again. I don't think going to Albany to see Dr. Kotlow is an option for us right now, but I have the name of a dentist who does perform these procedures who lives a few hours north of us. i spoke to an IBCLC tonight, and she recommended i pump, feed DS that expressed milk, and then nurse immediately afterwards, as he obviously isn't transfering the milk efficiently. Per my pump output, she confirms that my supply is adequate. She's going to come over on Saturday to observe our latch and she has the name of a dentist that performs tie procedures who might live closer to me than the other dentist.

    DS is 5mo old. Quick history... He was born, naturally, at 10lb 11oz (I am woman, hear me roar!!! ) and got down to 9lb 13oz at day 4. He stayed down there for about a week despite very regular nursing and following all of the advice given on this forum. After a few weeks of relatively NO weight gain, I started supplementing. By month 2, he was 14lb 5oz, and on about 4-6oz of supplement per day. I stopped giving him the supplement, and he weighed 16lb even at his 4mo appt. We saw the ENT on Jan 7th, and he advised that he didn't think the lip tie affected breast feeding at all. Well, we have all the textbook symptoms. Slow weight gain, sleepy nursing, long and very frequent nursing sessions, blanched nipples and a diagnosed tight upper frenulum. So. I don't know. At this point, I just want it to work. I'm glad my supply hasn't tanked too bad considering he never really empties me. I'm lucky that his frequent, or shall I say constant, nursing coupled with my dedicated pumping routine has maintained my supply. he is teething, however all of these symptoms have been present literally since day one. I don't have any other options. Just a pair of crossed fingers.

    thanks for all your support and help.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Upper Lip Tie/ Labial Frenulum

    I just want it to work. I'm glad my supply hasn't tanked too bad considering he never really empties me. I'm lucky that his frequent, or shall I say constant, nursing coupled with my dedicated pumping routine has maintained my supply.
    I call that making your own luck. Allowing baby to nurse frequently and your hard work with the pumping almost certainly allowed milk production to be OK despite having to supplement and your baby's poor transfer issues.

    I am sure this has been a very frustrating run and I really hope the lip tie is the issue and can be corrected. But I also think-it has been working- Despite an uphill battle, here you are, still nursing your child five months along. That is a huge accomplishment.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Upper Lip Tie/ Labial Frenulum

    My SIL had a hard time with her DD -she had a tight upper frenulum as well. She found that the best way to get a good latch was to basically stick the tip of her thumb in the baby's mouth and flip up her upper lip as she withdrew her thumb. I with @meg...you're doing an awesome job!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Upper Lip Tie/ Labial Frenulum

    I have a 9mo who was having poor weight gain. Actually we were to the point of weight loss, muscle mass loss, milestone regressions, and increasing lethargy, nursing more then 35 times a day. Childrens hospital didn't/wouldn't believe a lip tie could cause those kind of problems, that the frequent nursing was behavioral and everything else was from limited solids, they were ready to inpatient her and put in a feeding tube. We had the lip tie cut and used some donor milk for a week while i rebuilt my dwindling supply. She gained 6oz in a week and a half. She has regained all her milestones except speech in that week but will begin working with Early Intervention next week for it. She does have a PTT but Dr Kaplan (stoughton Ma) didn't feel it was tight enought to be causing the problems we were seeing. Childrens still won't and doesn't believe there was a correlation but how could there not be!!!
    I would try to find a dr that uses a laser they tend to be a better option.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Upper Lip Tie/ Labial Frenulum

    I have tried manually flanging (is that even a word?) his upper lip and pulling his jaw down, but neither have helped the milk transfer. When I try to flip his upper lip out nothing really happend . It won't flip out. A little bit of the top lip will fold out , if that even makes sense, but it doesn't flange like its supposed to.

    Melindab, thank you for sharing. That's great to hear. Part of my fear is that he's too old and his dysfunctional latch is too engrained to change. I'll have to cross that bridge when I get there, though I certainly feel more optimistic. Did he gain the 6oz after eating the donor milk or after resuming nursing with you?

    Lllmeg sent me an article from a peer reviewed scholarly journal all on lip ties and correcting them. It's too bad that so many people in the medical community aren't up to speed on this. Our ped and ENT both told us that the lip tie wouldn't cause bf-ing issues. It's quite sad.
    Last edited by @llli*alilwest; January 18th, 2013 at 04:43 PM.

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