5 Signs of a Tongue Tie and Our Story
Updated: Oct 23, 2022
How It Started
I spent the two days in the hospital not only blissed out, but in complete pain every time my baby tried to latch, which he wasn’t doing well. The lactation consultant that saw me for both days never even watched me nurse him and, true story, talked only about herself and her daughter who nursed their babies. I wish I would have spoken up more in those moments, but I thought I was perhaps just “out of practice” with breastfeeding since I hadn’t done it in about two years. I left with a brand new pump but with a baby who was barely getting milk.
Over the next few days he gained weight slowly, but every time I brought up the extreme pain I was feeling when nursing, the fact that my nipples were bleeding, the blisters on my baby’s lips, the fact that I was literally round the clock nursing…it was brushed off as “normal”. I even asked my pediatrician about a tongue tie and she looked under his tongue and told me there was no way since she didn’t see anything. He was gaining weight reasonably well (thanks, 24/7 feeds) so she saw no concern. His mucousy green poops? “That’s just the way he is”.
I dreaded feeding my baby because the pain was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, even with two unmedicated births, and there was no relief. He and I were both so frustrated. I saw two more lactation consultants who worked with me on positioning. That would semi-work while I was in the office, but when we were home in our own environment it would be the same pain and frustration. We were finally recommended a chiropractor in the area due to my son’s right sided preference and tightness, and from there we were connected to an airway centric dentist and an incredible lactation consultant who was trained in tethered oral tissues, or TOTs. With such a wonderful team to collaborate with, we were able to determine that there was a posterior tie which was greatly impacting function. When he was about 8 weeks old we had a release. In the meantime I was triple feeding (nursing, pumping, feeding a bottle) just to keep up. It was truly one of the most difficult times in my life, but I had hope from these wonderful providers.
5 Symptoms of a Tongue Tie
Painful Latch/baby munching rather than sucking
Lipstick shaped nipples
Clicking/popping sounds when nursing
There are so many more, including poor weight gain (or perhaps baby was gaining weight but fell off their growth curve and your milk supply “dried up” - which means baby wasn’t latching well and able to pull out enough milk so the supply met the demand), feeling like you’re feeding your baby around the clock or baby falls asleep quickly while nursing. Some of these symptoms can be associated with other issues, so it’s important to have a professional that has additional training in TOTs to assess the function of the tongue.
Why Early Assessment is Key
Making sure a tongue tie is released if it is impacting function early is best. Babies grow into children who may have selective eating or food preferences due to function of the tongue or oral musculature, I’ve worked with adults who have TMJD or constant headaches that haven’t been helped by the traditional routes have relief after therapy and sometimes a tongue tie release, or even just nasal breathing! Tongue ties are certainly not the only things that can impact airway, but it can be a piece to the puzzle and the earlier we can see the whole picture the better to help with proper tongue rest posture on the roof of the mouth and nasal breathing. Apnea is never normal, especially in babies, and we want to make sure we’re looking at all of the possible symptoms to prevent this from happening.
If you’re local to Ripple Speech Services LLC in Lehigh or Berks counties in PA we'd love to help! You can visit our Contact page and either give us a call or fill out the form. We can spend a little time chatting concerns/symptoms and set up an evaluation if warranted. Don’t settle and trust your gut!