October 28, 2005

Talk about Feeling Tongue-Tied...

I think every woman in this country has had some sort of issue about food - including me.

Well, my on-going problem right now has to do with food, but it's Nathan's food. He was born with ankyloglossia, which is also known as being tongue-tied. The piece of skin that connected his tongue to the floor of his mouth was shorter than usual; it meant he couldn't extend his tongue past his lower gumline.

I started nursing immediately, but his tongue couldn't work properly for a good latch. Fortunately they caught the problem and performed a frenotomy - they snipped the tissue that was holding back his tongue. He's fine now.

Unfortunately for me, his being tongue-tied did a real number on my nipples. It was excruciatingly painful to nurse at the beginning, and because I didn't know what I was doing and how to help it (and help fix Nathan's latch), the pain continued.

When I came home, I was in tears each time before starting nursing, bracing myself for unbelievable pain on sensitive tissue. I've supplemented with formula and by pumping ever since; I can still get in one regular nursing session a day, but Nathan's not nearly as efficient at the breast as he is with a bottle nipple... He uses his jaw a lot more than he needs to, effectively chewing the nipple rather than just sucking it. My skin can't handle more than several sessions in a row with him before it's too painful to continue.

I expected having to work at getting an effective latch, but I didn't expect this much of a struggle. It was helpful just today to read that most moms of tongue-tied babies either pump or give up on nursing - but then I realized that they meant moms of babies who stayed tongue-tied.

This was the capper for me: there is some inherited aspect to being tongue-tied. If I remember correctly, my husband was tongue-tied at birth. The other study finding, though, is that baby being tongue-tied might be linked to the mom using cocaine while pregnant.

Good grief... As if I would have snorted white powder up my nose and increased the number of unpleasant sensations I experienced during my first trimester.