Breastfeeding with a Lip Tie in Newborn

breastfeeding and lip tie in newborn

Guest Post by Christina Lindgren

One of the top reasons moms stop breastfeeding is due to pain.

Breastfeeding a newborn isn’t always easy. In addition to recovering from giving birth and sleepless nights, learning to breastfeed can be painful. 

Despite some early discomfort while you and your baby are learning how to latch and breastfeed correctly, pain while breastfeeding is actually NOT normal.

Often times there is another underlying issue with the way your baby is latching. A lip tie in a newborn is a great example of that.

Today’s guest post in our series for National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, Christina shares how she powered through breastfeeding her daughter despite being diagnosed with a class 4 lip tie and why in the end she didn’t hesitate to correct her next baby’s lip tie.

Breastfeeding with a Lip Tie in Newborn

When I had my first baby, I fully intended on exclusively breastfeeding her. I knew that breastfeeding may not come naturally, but I didn’t fully realize that until I started trying to nurse her.

It was hard to get her to latch correctly, (she had a very shallow latch) and there was a lot of pain. I remember dreading when she would need to nurse again because my nipples constantly hurt.

It wasn’t until I saw a lactation specialist a few days after I had her, that I learned my daughter had a classification 4 lip tie, which is the most severe kind.

I remember dreading when she would need to nurse again because my nipples constantly hurt.

What is a Lip Tie?

If you’ve never heard of a lip tie, it’s where the frenulum connects from the inside of the top of the lip, to the gum and there are different degrees of severity. In her case, it connected all the way to the bottom of her top gum line.

Her lip tie was so thick and tight, that her upper lip couldn’t flange out. It always tucked under when she would nurse, which gave her a permanent shallow latch.

Because she had a shallow latch, my nipple wasn’t in the correct position inside her mouth, which was causing the damage and pain to my nipples.

The lactation specialist I saw, said I should get the lip tie released by a dentist who specialized in that area. However, I was hesitant for a few reasons.

I couldn’t picture taking my brand new baby and putting her through, (what I felt would be) a traumatic experience of releasing the lip tie.

Also, the insurance I had at the time, did not cover the expensive procedure.

I couldn’t picture taking my brand new baby and putting her through, (what I felt would be) a traumatic experience of releasing the lip tie.

Deciding Against Correcting the Lip Tie

When I asked the pediatrician about it, she said that her approach was if the baby didn’t “have” to have the lip tie corrected, she thought it was fine to just leave it be. (The way she phrased it made me feel like she didn’t think I should do it).

Because she had the pediatrician title, her opinion carried a lot of weight to me. I felt like she knew what was best for my baby.

So with those factors, I decided to not get her lip tie released. I thought I could power through it. And I did! I was able to exclusively breastfeed her, which I was extremely proud of!

I made it through the pain, the cracked nipples, and the milk blisters, because I got a prescription nipple cream that I constantly used, and I learned nursing positions that made it easier for her to latch.

Lip Ties Can Lead to Other Issues (Unknown to me at the time…)

As she got to be close to 6 months old, I read more about lip ties and realized they can cause other issues, (like a gap in her teeth, cavities, it could tear if she were to fall or had some kind of accident as a kid, and more). For those reasons, I decided to bite the bullet and get her lip tie released.

When the dentist saw her, he said it was the thickest lip tie he had seen and it took him a lot longer than usual to release it! He said he was amazed that I exclusively breastfed her all that time because it was so severe.

She recovered just fine from the lip tie release, and there was no more pain after that!

As she got to be close to 6 months old, I read more about lip ties and realized they can cause other issues…

The biggest takeaway for me was nursing didn’t have to be painful, and I shouldn’t have felt like I had to power through the pain. I shouldn’t have had to carry this prescription nipple cream to put on every time she nursed, in order to heal my nipples.

Also because I trusted the pediatrician’s opinions and felt like she would know more than me, when she essentially said to leave it be, that really made me feel like I shouldn’t get the lip tie release done.

This showed me that although pediatricians are knowledgeable about many things, they don’t know everything about breastfeeding and it’s okay to get other opinions.

I think the only reason our nursing relationship made it through that, was because I was so stubborn when it came to nursing. It was so important to me to exclusively nurse her, I didn’t even care what happened to my own body.

Choosing to Correct my Second Baby’s Lip Tie Immediately

Once I had my son, I had a much different attitude towards nursing and lip ties!

First I knew what a lip tie was and could identify immediately he had a severe lip tie. I also knew I was not going to nurse again for months without getting that taken care of. No way!!

It was so important to me to exclusively nurse her, I didn’t even care what happened to my own body.

I took care of his lip tie within the first couple of weeks, and I’m very grateful I got it done much more quickly! The nursing relationship was much different because I didn’t dread nursing him due to pain. It was so much smoother.

I’m sure, (like me) lots of new moms wouldn’t want to put their newborns through a procedure if it isn’t deemed necessary. However, I think moms need to be aware of the many issues that can arise if your baby has a lip tie. Some happen right away and some may not happen until later in life.

However, you’ll want to know what can happen due to a lip tie and also understand that pain while nursing doesn’t have to be your reality! Become well informed so you can make the best decision for you, your baby, and your breastfeeding journey.

For more information on Breastfeeding with a Lip Tie in a Newborn, Click Here!


About the Author

author breastfeeding and lip tie in newbornHi, I’m Christina! I’m the founder of Raising Biracial Babies. I help moms navigate through pregnancy, motherhood and working from home. You can read about pregnancy, breastfeeding, parenting toddlers, raising mixed kids, building an online business as a mom, and single motherhood. Come and check out Raising Biracial Babies to get lots of other awesome tips and freebies! You can also follow me on Pinterest | Raising Biracial Babies to see more of the awesome tips and advice I share!

 

 


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