I read this article and shared it on my facebook wall. As a SAHM (stay at home mum) sharing medical articles my Aunt can scroll past while searching for the next angel-based-meme is how I pass the time between cleaning toddler debris and ‘Help, I’m pinned down!’ naps.
As my latest share, I felt it only appropriate it be the subject of my first blog post.
Neither I nor my children have a tongue tie. Not surprising, as different research suggests that it’s only somewhere between 4-10% of the population who has one. And yet, tongue tie contributes massively to breastfeeding difficulties (some estimate a quarter of chronic breastfeeding problems are due to ties), and also speech impediments and eating problems. As a-person-before-kids, I had never even heard of them. As a peer supporter, I hear of them on a weekly basis; specifically, on the local health service’s reluctance to do anything about them. If mum can somehow convince her healthcare providers to agree to having a frenulotomy (a tongue and tie separation surgery), the procedure is performed with appointments given often weeks and months into the future – compounding breastfeeding problems for baby (often in great pain from gulping air, and having health problems associated with poor weight gain), and horribly painful breasts for mum, which almost always leads to breastfeeding cessation.
Many experience health professionals whom are indifferent to their wish to carry on breastfeeding; many parents I have spoken to were outright told “why not just switch to formula?” This comment often given by health visitors concerned about the lack of weight gain. This does nothing more than make the mother feel horribly guilty – for is there no greater gauge for ‘good mothering’ than a baby’s weight gain? And often, the tongue tie prevents efficient formula feeding too, so the big switch is for nothing.
Why the reluctance?
Here: http://www.oralanswers.com/what-a-frenectomy-is-and-why-your-child-might-need-one/ a dentist explains that cutting ties on the lip can cause scar tissue that permanently leave a gap between the front adult teeth, which can’t be fixed with braces, and that leaving the tie until the adult teeth have come in makes fixing a gap easier.
I can’t really consolidate the two camps of ‘poor weight gain from bad latch to nipple and/or bottles, colic, nipple damage, cessation of breastfeeding, poor weaning, speech problems’ etc. VS might have a gap in the front teeth as a teen.
Also (if you are a parent you will have seen on many forums) that if left too late, having the tie cut doesn’t solve the problem-the baby has the habit of the shallow latch, and it takes weeks for a new successful latch to commence.
I can however understand a parent’s reluctance to have a surgery, however minor. In no way should a frenulotomy be mandatory – tongue ties do not always cause problems, the cut can hurt, and the tie can heal and return if not managed well and parent’s aren’t supported in the management.
Nice Guidelines suggest the tongue tie be done as early as possible if causing problems. The Baby Friendly initiative: has slightly different suggestions, but along the same lines. Tongue tie separations are good, and do impact positively on successful breastfeeding.
As a non-initiative writing person, I cannot speak for the world as a whole, I can only speak for the parents I hear from every week.
I do believe that the services to provide a frenulotomy should be ON THE POSTNATAL WARD, and easily accessible in the community, and that the identification of all types of tissue tie in the mouth should be taught well, and training maintained, so that the staff on the ward can identify ties better, and more importantly, inform PARENTS better about their options. And that if the mother wants a frenulotomy done, that that wish should be granted-it affects the mother’s health too, after all. Breast tissue damage is no small thing, and the benefits of breastfeeding for the mother (reduced risk of cancer for instance) are many and important.
Until then, It’s down to wonderful people like this person in my local area: http://www.tonguetiepractitionerinkent.com/ to charge very reasonably for it.
GET THEM DONE.
If you want.
Also, as you have valiantly made it to the end of my blog, please read the original post. It is quite excellent.