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Thread: Struggling with breastfeeding post tongue tie clip

  1. #1

    Default Struggling with breastfeeding post tongue tie clip

    About to give up breastfeeding but would really like to continue breastfeeding. My month old baby had her tongue tie clipped, and have only seen moderate improvement. It's been about two weeks since it was done. We are seeing a lactation consultant and a speech therapist who has given us exercises to get her to use and retrain her to use her whole tongue , instead of just the front part of her tongue (which is what is causing me significant nipple pain). I am mostly pumping and attempting breastfeeding at least once a day. My daughter has been choking on the bottle when we feed her (we are using a slow flow premie bottle). She even choked on my breast milk while I was breastfeeding her last night. She is still struggling at times to open her mouth wide enough to get a good latch at times. Sometimes breastfeeding is a breeze when I attempt, and other times it causes me significant pain still. Just wondering if there is anyone else out there that has gone through something similar and if I should try and stick it out for a couple more weeks or not. I am ready to give up if I don't see some fast improvement, but I would much prefer to breastfeed. It's mentally, and emotionally draining to keep on trying to do something that's not working well for me.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,504

    Default Re: Struggling with breastfeeding post tongue tie clip

    Hi kel123, welcome to the forum.

    While I have never personally dealt with a diagnosed tongue tie, I had severe nipple trauma and nursing pain with my first baby. It took almost two months and three or four appointments with two IBCLCs and using nipple shields (and pumping around the clock due to the shields) and many, many exhausted hours to get to the point my baby could latch without a long struggle and causing me pain and injury. I later came to believe he probably did have enough of a tongue tie to be harmful to nursing in those early weeks, but back then (14 years ago) tongue tie was rarely talked about even in lactation circles, and almost never treated in newborn infants.

    When there are latch issues, whether related to tongue tie or not, it can take time for them to resolve. In the meantime, it is important to pump in order to bring in/maintain normal milk production.

    There are reasons aside tongue tie that a baby might choke when fed, although a tongue tie might increase the problem. At the breast, milk can flow quite quickly and some babies have difficulty when this happens. There are many ways to help baby with this if you think that is part of the problem. When bottle feeding, baby should be positioned almost upright with the bottle held horizontally and gradually tipped up just enough so there is some milk in the nipple, with pauses taken where the bottle is tipped down so baby can control the flow more. This is called paced bottle feeding and is very important when a baby this age is getting bottles. Let me know if you would like more info. Any nipple, even a slow flow one, drips milk when held in a more "up and down" way as bottles are more typically given. If your baby is choking on the nipple itself, not the flow, then using a shorter nipple or using the above technique and allowing baby to take as much of the nipple into baby's mouth as baby wants, not more, may help. Or perhaps, some other method of supplementing would be helpful.

    For the nipple pain, are you seeing any improvement at all? Do you think you are healing from deep bruising or cracks or some open nipple injury or is healing not happening? Is your LC sure the pain is from a shallow latch and not another cause? Shallow latch is by far the most common cause of nipple pain but sometimes something else is going on as well, especially if there are any open wounds or cracks, bacterial infection of the wounds might be possible and at least one study shoed that oral abs helped resolve the pain (per the textbook Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple.) Another cause of nipple pain is thrush.

    Also, is pumping entirely comfortable? Be careful as pumps can cause injury as well.

    Sometimes breastfeeding is a breeze when I attempt, and other times it causes me significant pain still.
    In this case, I would suggest attempting to nurse more often. Babies learn to nurse by nursing and moms do to. If nursing is ever not painful and "a breeze" that suggests it could always be that way...(well, always not painful, but nothing is always a breeze.) There are so many ways to approach latch and positioning to help nursing be more comfortable. Are you utilizing everything the LC has suggested? Have you looked at other resources? Do you find written material or videos more helpful? Would you like more information? Let me know.

    If you would prefer to breastfeed, then imo it makes sense to keep trying as again, it does sometimes take many, many weeks to get breastfeeding on track. But once it is on track, life gets so much easier. In my experience with three kids, two with serious latch issues where I had injury and needed help from LCs etc., the first month or two of nursing a baby is the hardest part of parenting, but once past that, the next year or so of nursing is the easiest. Nursing a child can seem almost impossible in the early weeks when there are difficulties, and then once things normalize, you get to the point where nursing is not only second nature but a secret weapon and you wonder how in the world you would comfort and care for your baby without nursing. I know that sounds impossible but it really does work that way for many, many nursing moms and babies.

    You will know in your heart when you have had enough and it would be best to stop trying. You can always stop nursing at any point you choose. But if you stop nursing and especially if you also stop pumping then it can be very, very hard to start again down the road if you change your mind.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Struggling with breastfeeding post tongue tie clip

    Would love more info on paced bottle feeding. That is encouraging to hear that after a couple months you were able to breastfeed successfully. I will keep at it for now. Yes I am pumping around the clock (whenever baby eats I pump). LC taught me how to get baby to latch properly- so yes that was part of the problem was latch and other part of the problem was my daughter not using her whole tongue while breastfeeding. Tongue tie clip should help with that as well as all the exercises we are doing with her. Both LC and speech therapist say she is somewhat improving but using some of the back part of her tongue but its just frustrating at how slowly there is improvement. It's hard to tell if when I do have pain if it's caused by the existing trauma or if it's due to poor latch. My nipples where mostly healed at some point, now my left nipple hurts mostly every time I try to breastfeed her on that breast. However, when I say nursing is a breeze.....I mean .....doesn't seem to cause cracked nipples (on my rights breast) and mostly/significantly less/pain free breastfeeding (there always feels like there is some degree of small amt of pain)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,504

    Default Re: Struggling with breastfeeding post tongue tie clip

    Would love more info on paced bottle feeding.
    http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf and video with doll but excellent explanation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UH4T70OSzGs video with baby but not quite as good explanation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxpIzcitLc8

    I found with both my shallow latch babies, improvement to the point nursing was no longer painful came on one side a while before the other. If you are mostly hurting on just one side, here are a few troubleshooting ideas: 1) have baby nurse on the other side first 2) think about how positioning may be playing a role. 3) don't nurse on that side yet but nurse on the other. Also a good general latch strategy is to try to bring baby to the breast before they are hungry or getting frantic.

    However, when I say nursing is a breeze.....I mean .....doesn't seem to cause cracked nipples (on my rights breast) and mostly/significantly less/pain free breastfeeding (there always feels like there is some degree of small amt of pain)
    Ok, so, what you can expect if breastfeeding is going normally (and you are no longer injured or mostly healed) is for nursing to no longer hurt and for baby to be getting enough milk to be gaining normally exclusively breastfed with baby nursing at least 10-12 times a day. If those two things are in place, breastfeeding is normal which of course is different than saying it is easy or second nature, that comes later with practice and lots of it.

    If you are moving toward that place where nursing is no longer painful and baby is getting enough milk at the breast, then you are moving toward normalization of breastfeeding. So nursing hurting less is certainly improvement and indicates moving in the right direction. Progress may be frustratingly slow and there may be steps backward here and there, but the general momentum should be in the direction of no pain for mom and baby gets enough milk without bottles. If you are not moving towards that, then you may need more in person help or a different strategy.
    That is encouraging to hear that after a couple months you were able to breastfeed successfully. I will keep at it for now.
    And my experience is by no means unique. Recognizing that sometimes there are serious breastfeeding issues but with the right information and help, they can usually be identified and resolved is the whole reason first LLL and later, the profession of the lactation consultant, was created.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; July 8th, 2017 at 05:33 PM.

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