Tongue Tied

Right around the 3 week mark with Lawson, I had my first visit at the Breast Feeding Centre. We are so lucky to have one! The lactation consultant thought Lawson was tongue tied at the back. I was still having a lot of pain nursing and the lactation consultant thought that a tongue tie could account for my pain and for all the smacking Lawson was doing while nursing. I felt very fortunate to get in to see an ear, throat, and nose doctor the next day. (This was a few days before my abscess ruptured.) After introducing himself and a resident, the doctor went on about the fact that lactation consultants were right 99% of the time and told me that there was controversy surrounding snipping tongue ties. I had no idea there was controversy, but he assured me that getting done was to Lawson's benefit, not only for nursing, but for when she got older. Once his speech was done he took an 8 second look in her mouth and declared the lactation consult wrong. Lawson was the 1% that was not tongue tied. The doctor told me Lawson just had a short tongue. I left with mixed feelings. I was happy Lawson didn't need to have to have the procedure (particularly a controversial one that I hadn't done any reading on), but nursing was painful and I had been hopeful that fixing a tongue tie might fix our problems.

Flash ahead 6 weeks. I am starting to feel "normal" again with my abscess healed, but nursing isn't going any better. I turned to the internet and searched "short tongue".  Interestingly enough, there weren't any hits that actually talked about a short tongue. Instead, every single article talked about being tongue tied. I began to read the list of symptoms for being tongue tied and I was actually shocked to see that we had every symptom on it (heart shaped tongue, clicking noises, mastitis, thrush, pain, lipstick shaped nipple, etc.). I instantly called and made another appointment at the Breast Feeding Centre.

When I got in the next Wednesday, I saw a different consultant. She listened and then had a look at Lawson's mouth. She also thought she had a posterior tongue tie. This type of tongue tie doesn't have the thin membrane that you can visual see (what you typically think of as tongue tie). She gave me a couple of options. The first was to see another ear, throat, and nose doctor in Saskatoon. I had thought  ahead at Lawson's 2 month baby well appointment a couple days earlier to get a referral, so this was in the works. The other option was to call a dental office in Regina to get in to see one of the two doctors there who use laser to cut the tie (there are no other dentists in the province that do this).

The minute I got home from the appointment, I called Regina. I wanted to get this tongue tie dealt with. Luck finally seemed to come my way. The dentist was able to see Lawson the next day. I booked the appointment and headed to the computer to do some reading on tongue ties and on snipping vs laser. In the end, I decided that laser would be best if I was going to do it. . . Not to mention that it could be dealt with in one day rather than a week at the ear, throat and nose doctor's.

Hugh and I enjoyed a leisurely trip to Regina the next day. Lawson slept and the boys were at booked in at day care. The dentist assessed Lawson and immediately said she had a posterior tie. I asked the dentist if she did many of these. Much of what I read said that the tool was irrelevant - it was more important the experience of the person using it. The dentist told me she had 5 tongue ties the day before and her entire day was booked with them. I felt at ease. We were definitely with someone with experience.

We weren't allowed to be in the room when she performed the procedure. Hugh and I were in the waiting room for about 2 minutes and by the time we got back to Lawson she wasn't even crying. This isn't to say it didn't hurt! I'm sure it did. 

For the next two weeks I had to massage around her tongue and over the wound to keep it from reattaching and to help it to heal nicely. Lawson hated every minute of it. In fact, there were a couple times when my dad was around that I think he wanted to throttle me for doing it to her!
This isn't the clearest picture, but you can see the large triangle at the top is on her tongue and the small one underneath is on the bottom of her mouth. Tissue in her mouth heals white! Did you know that not treating a tongue tie can lead to speech and eating problems, as well as sleep apnea? I didn't! And doctors will only snip the tissue in babies, so even if you aren't breastfeeding it is something to think about. 
As for breastfeeding. It hasn't really changed :-(. I am super upset at the first specialist we saw. I keep wondering if we would have gotten the tongue tie fixed at 3 weeks instead of 9 weeks if it would have made a difference. At some point I am going to write a strongly worded letter to that doctor. He didn't even assess her properly for a tongue tie. He is obviously not up to date on the current practices. I have since seen a lactation consultant again. There is little that they can do at this point. She has referred Lawson to a speech pathologist who will  hopefully be able to give us some exercises to do with her to improve her latch and suck. I am remaining hopeful. Things have gotten less painful, so in the very least it isn't as hard to battle these days!

Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. This post was very interesting. Both my kids were tongue toed and they were snipped in the delivery room and I never looked back. I did not realize it was controversial and I never even googled it. She doc said to so it so I did. I had never even heard of it before! I hope that this solves your issues. Good luck!

  2. I'm glad you stuck to your guns and got it dealt with! I will keep my fingers crossed that breastfeeding starts to improve for you as Lawson heals


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