Snip of the Tongue
With my second mini, labour was swift. Ten minutes into the delivery room and my number two was born, most likely along with a number two…. But we don’t speak about that! This time around I had a firm plan of action. I wanted to breastfeed my baby straight away and immediate skin to skin for as long as possible. He fed well. Obviously we were both a bit unsure. It was like learning to drive a car; mirror signal, manoeuvre; every touch of the pedal thought through meticulously. But we all know that you only become a natural driver after you pass your test and get on the open road.
I was heavily dosed on morphine after my trip to theatre post-delivery; this meant that whilst feeding was uncomfortable, it wasn’t painful. We were moved to a ward and my husband could finally get back in to see us. He has limited experience of babies, beyond his own. I hadn’t seen him reading any baby books and I assumed his feeding knowledge was basic to say the least. So you can imagine my surprise when he said “look, he has a tongue tie”. Well blow me down. He was pointing at our babies tiny heart shaped, spooning tongue. He was right.
Both my boys made their appearance at weekends, great for parking, not so great for allied health care professional input. We therefore missed out once again on our lactation experts but we had two midwives check for TT. Both of whom said there was no tongue tie. At the paediatric assessment, they agreed they could feel a posterior TT and an urgent referral was made.
Ten days later and we were back in hospital at the TT clinic. I naively thought we would have a consultation, where the TT would be confirmed and we would be given literature to read before deciding on a course of action. To some extent this is what happened, expect all of that happened in about 90 seconds. I signed a form and my boy was taken to a table, where he had his TT snipped. Like a scene from buffy the vampire slayer, blood was pouring out his mouth; a mere shriek and it was over. You are encouraged to feed immediately to stem the bleeding. Because I got milk everywhere, all the time anyway, this was just a tad more inconvenient as now I was staining everything pink. Top Tip: Don't wear white!
My tongue tie experience was as brief as the snip of the tongue itself. I can’t be sure whether it helped with our feeding as breastfeeding for me was incredibly painful due to severe milk let down and over supply. This ebbed but was still present at six months. The few days after the TT was cut, I convinced myself that it had eased the pain a little. But looking back the only thing I know for sure is; I would have done anything to have been able to breastfeed this baby after being unable to breastfeed my first, who most likely had an undiagnosed TT.
I’m going to tell you a secret. I failed my driving test three times… four times is a charm for me. I passed my breastfeeding test second time around, thank goodness as I don’t have four in me! Trying to feed a baby with TT is possible but its like trying to drive with your foot on the brake, why make things even harder. It’s already a fucking nightmare. Let’s try and ease the situation in any way we can.