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Breastfeeding a tongue tied baby

 |  Parenting

Oliver turned 17 weeks yesterday – 4 months old. He had his tongue tie officially diagnosed and snipped a month today.

Immediately after the snip, there was a big improvement. Then it got worse, much worse. Then it started to improve again.

It still hurts (anything from minor discomfort to more uncomfortable pinching/rubbing) during around 50% of feeds. He still struggles to stay latched. He refuses to be fed in the cradle hold which makes feeding in public a pain in the butt. It also means I’m sat hunched over, which is agony on my back. Recently, he will only feed from the right hand side in the rugby hold (under my right arm) which makes the latch even more shallow unless I hold him and my breast very still.

I believe that his tongue tie has at least partially re-healed and that his lip tie contributes to the slipping off the boob.

But… we’re still going. He is still exclusively breastfed. His latch has improved, albeit not as much as I hoped it would. He is less gaggy, and using the tongue exercises we were given I can see he is able to take my finger further into his mouth; he’s getting better at pulling in with his tongue instead of pushing out. I am hoping this means we will see further improvements to the latch as time goes on and he adjusts to take more breast into the mouth (which allows the nipple to reach the soft palette which ensures pain free feeding).

I’m concerned that, unless the gagging/tongue thrust improves, he will have issues when we introduce solids at ~6 months, but that is 9 weeks off so things could be hugely different by then. I’m also concerned that my “choice” of feeding position is placing a lot of strain on my back, but I just don’t know where to go with this… placing him in the cradle position causes him to arch his back away, twist his head either deep into my arm or in the opposite direction. Some people recommend cranial osteopathy for post-TT division to resolve issues like this but I’m struggling to find any evidence that this is genuinely effective (I’m not a “woo”/homeopathy/alternative medicine sort of person).

It’s a good job I’m stubborn, though.

Jem Turner jem@jemjabella.co.uk +44(0)7521056376

10 comments so far

  1. Anne said:

    My daughter Ari is nearly 10 mos and still mostly nurses in football (rugby) hold. It does make things kind of awkward in public, but I think we are getting to the point (slowly) where she’ll be ok with cradle.

    She has an upper lip tie and I’m pretty sure she has a high palate…and three teeth now lol

    • Jem said:

      It’s very common for lip tie babies to have tongue tie as well; based on what you’ve said before I wouldn’t be surprised if Ari has a tongue tie too.

  2. Susan Jones said:

    I had a tongue tie which was snipped at birth, I’m 66 now and that was the practice then. When my daughter was born 36yrs ago it wasn’t the practice to snip tongue ties, although I think she needed it. I asked about it and the doctor said ” Oh we don’t do that now” Luckily she fed well without difficulty and speaks ok too. From your comments I see it is becoming practice again and not a bad thing.

    • Jem said:

      There’s a genetic link so it would be unsurprising if your daughter has a tongue tie, and if she has/had children they may be tongue tied too. Good to hear that she was unaffected either way. :)

  3. MrsB said:

    I’ve exclusively breastfed 2 tongue tied babies for 6 months and then along with food another 5 months. I realise there are degrees of the “tiedness” but for me the key was the way I got them to latch on – first flip the nipple up with your finger, place their lower lip below the bottom line of your nipple and only then release the nipple into their mouth. I hope that makes sense :) I’ll find a diagram if it doesn’t :) it takes many goes every time for a couple of months but then is smooth sailing.

  4. Lea said:

    My son also had a tongue tie they snipped soon after birth. Breastfeeding was a nightmare. He didn’t have any trouble with solid foods, but he is now 3 1/2 and has a lisp… I really hope we will manage to reduce it as much as possible.

  5. mumblies said:

    I think Ollie may well be a candidate for cranial osteopathy. All babies react well to gentle massage and if this could also help with his sleeping and feeding then I would most certainly give it a go.

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