Breastfeeding is hard. There are so many things that can make it harder. I wanted to give up. It was extremely painful- more painful than I’d expected. Everyone kept telling me to keep going because it was so worth it. But after five weeks of painful feedings, I knew something wasn’t right. I was getting desperate for relief and started doing some research.
That’s when I found an infographic on Pinterest and the light bulb came on. My baby had a lip tie.
A lip tie is when the fleshy tissue connecting the lip to the gum (frenulum) comes down over the gum, restricting proper lip movement.
My little one showed all the signs and symptoms of a lip tie.
Digestive problems (burping, gas, reflux)
Falling asleep while nursing
Poor latch (lips would not flange out over the breast)
Milk bister on lip
Falling off the breast
Clicking noises while eating
Because of her poor latch, my baby had to work extremely hard to get milk. Which meant she sucked the life out of me. I suspect her forceful sucking was the main cause of my pain.
She was hungry and I was hurting. I wanted the lip tie gone.
After talking with my pediatrician, I decided to go to a pediatric dentist for the lip tie surgery, called a Frenectomy.
There are four classifications of lip ties, Type 4 being the most severe. My girl had a Class 3 Lip Tie (ouch!)
The procedure was done with a laser the size of a ball point pen. From start to finish it took five minutes. First, the doctor gave baby a shot to numb the area. After she was numb, he used the laser to remove the excess tissue. I nursed her right away to ease the pain and calm her. She settled down within a few minutes and fell asleep on the drive home. The doctor prescribed lip and mouth stretches to keep the tissue from growing back. In some cases, the tissue can grow back a little or all the way. But at our two week check-up everything looked great!
Breastfeeding became easier and less painful and after one week, I noticed a big difference. She was finally getting her belly full, sleeping better and was a much happier baby. Now I nurse with ease and am so thankful I stuck with breastfeeding!
If you’re a breastfeeding mom who needs help, check out these local resources.
Originally published July 2016.