Breastfeeding Delilah has been an absolute nightmare. Since her birth, I’ve been attempting to breastfeed. So far, she’s not successfully breastfeed. She’s been getting pumped milk thru something called a supplemental nursing system or SNS for short. It looks like a bottle with a little tube attached to it. The tube is fed into her mouth while she sucks at my nipple. The idea is that she gets some milk from me and stimulates my nipple to make milk come in yet still gets supplemental milk or formula to ensure that she doesn’t lose weight. This method has worked extraordinarily well. She’s gained 1.5 lbs from her low weight of 6 lbs. Delilah’s been seen by her pediatrician and evaluated by 3 lactation consultants. The ped and the first 2 lactation consultants couldn’t find anything wrong and told me that it was just positioning and latch.
Then I went to a La Leche League meeting last Thursday. What an eye opener! I highly recommend that anyone who is pregnant or having trouble breastfeeding attend these monthly meetings. You’ll get support with breastfeeding, parenting, birthing, etc. Quite an impressive group of people and very knowledgeable. One of the group leaders has been volunteering for the organization since the before the birth of her first child 36 years ago. I received a lot of encouragement and the name of a very knowlegeable lactation consultant named Ann.
I met Ann on Monday and she spent 3 hours evaluating me and Delilah. It turns out that my positioning and Delilah’s latch was good. It was Delilah’s sucking that was off. And the cause was a condition called tongue tie or ANKYLOGLOSSIA. It’s a condition where the tongue’s movement is hindered by a tiny piece of membrane. There are varying degrees of tongue tie and it causes problems with breastfeeding. Other complications include speech problems and dental problems.
I called the pediatric ENT that she recommended the next day and made an appointment to clip the tongue tie. After discussing it with my hubby of course. We got an appointment for today and she had her upper and lower frenulum clipped this morning. It turns out that tongue tie is hereditary and my husband had his upper frenulum clipped as a child. He was never breastfeed so his mother didn’t know about it until he had dental problems. The procedure itself wasn’t so bad but I cried almost as much as Delilah did. The doctor numbed the areas with lidocaine and made the snips in the appropriate places. She cried only as long as she was restrained on the table. After my lactation consultant handed her to me, she stopped crying. Blood loss was minimal.
So… we tried breastfeeding. I still have to use all my tools like the nipple shield and the SNS. She has the compensatory behaviors that she used while she had the tongue tie and Ann gave us some exercises to do to strengthen her tongue and get her muscles moving like they are supposed to. We followup with her next week.
I’m hoping that this experience gets better really quick. Breastfeeding so far has been a monumental task requiring a nipple shield, SNS, multiple bottles, pumping every 2 hours to increase my milk supply. Ann had several principles for me to remember that I’m sure will help moms who are having breastfeeding problems. They are:
- Feed the baby
- Protect the milk supply: this means taking herbs to increase supply and more importantly pumping. You need to move milk to make milk.
- And consider resolving the underlying issue. In our case, the tongue tie.
If you are having BF problems or know of someone who is, tell them not to give up. Breast feeding is lost to our culture and has so many advantages. Help is available. Go to La Leche League meetings. Utilize lactation consultants. If you can’t hire one yourself, they are available at most hospitals. Lactation consults are offered to every mother. Take advantage.
Of course, no knitting has happened. BF has been all consuming. If anyone has any experiences with tongue tie or difficult breastfeeding, I’d love to hear your story.