Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Short Version of How Breastfeeding Improved

This post is long overdue.  For those of you who supported me in the early days of my breastfeeding difficulties, I wanted to share that in September when Calvin was 6 months old, we saw a new lactation consultant who LOOKED IN HIS MOUTH and said, oh yeah, "this isn't you -- he has a lip tie." That explained EVERYTHING.  Lip ties and tongue ties are related to problems in the baby (difficulty latching, failing to establish a good suction and therefore gets a lot of air, causing acid reflux and other indigestion -- eventually leads to malformations in jaw that can narrow the jaw, leading to dental and orthodontic issues) AND problems in the mother (sore breasts, mastitis, under or over supply issues).  Lip ties and tongue ties, I am discovering, are highly undiagnosed.  We had it corrected with a laser, and within two weeks ALL those symptoms in both me and Calvin were GONE, and breastfeeding become so much easier.  So did pumping.  It was like a miracle.  Within three weeks he preferred breast over the bottle.  Who saw that one coming?  Certainly not me.  I feel so fortunate.

Knowledge about Tongue and Lip Tie passed out of the realm of common medical knowledge in the early 30's when formula was considered better than breastmilk and women were encouraged not to breastfeed.  I have scholarly articles from well-respected medical journals if anyone is interested in the research, but for those of you out there who either are having problems breastfeeding, had problems breastfeeding and are curious about a possible cause, or are pregnant and would like some information about something that could affect your infant feeding (whether you plan to bottle- or breast-feed), please check out this link.

How to Diagnose Tongue and Lip Tie

Just to be clear to everyone, I didn't post this hoping to villainize my friends who have opted for formula. I have posted it as a general PSA. The fact is that I have a lip tie, too (it can be heritable) and I still have all the acid reflux, dental, and orthodontic problems that are the later-in-life possible consequences of untreated ties. I would love it if someone had caught it when I was a baby.