Friday, February 12, 2016

Our tongue tie tale~

Today I'm going to talk about our journey with Aoife's tongue tie and her seperation~ 

Aoife's tongue tie was diagnosed during her newborn check at 2 days old. I'd never heard of tongue ties before but they're meant to be quite common and vary in severity.

A tongue tie is where the piece of skin underneath the tongue is short and tight meaning a baby is not able to move their tongue like they should be able to. This causes problems with baby's feeding and can also lead to a speech impediment when they start talking.

We had to be refered to another hospital for Aoife's tongue tie, in which there was around a two week waiting list, which was made longer due to the fact that she was born in late december. 

I had my heart set on breastfeeding and at the beginning I thought it was going well, until I noticed that Aoife would very seldom be able to latch. We then went through a couple of very sleepless nights at the hospital as Aoife wasn't able to feed very well and was getting very hungry. 

I spoke with breastfeeding support workers but nothing seemed to improve. We had to make the decision to use bottles instead because it was clear that Aoife wasn't getting enough through breast feeding. As well as that I ended up with very very sore nipples and it started to hurt whilst trying to breastfeed. 

When we returned home I started to notice a few more symptoms that came with the tongue tie. Apart from the difficulty latching, even to the bottles at times, Aoife was very very gassy but would not wind easily, she dribbled a lot of her milk out as well as choking at times and she made these clicking noises when she was having her bottle. Another thing we also noticed is that she couldn't use a dummy either.

It took us a little longer to get into the tongue tie clinic, where she had to be assessed first, before they decided if they should seperate it or not. What also got in our way was Aoife also having a heart murmur, and the hospital she was born at not supplying the correct paperwork saying she could have a seperation. We ended up having to go back a second time which added an extra two weeks onto the wait. 

The seperation itself is so simple. It's just a cut to the skin underneath the tongue with a pair of blunt ended scissors to release it. No anasthetic or pain relief is used as there are no nerves in that piece of skin. 

The midwives who ran the clinic were lovely. They took a lot of time explaining the procedure to me and showed me pictures of what the healing process would look like and the kind of things to look out for in the weeks afterwards. I was a huge bag of nerves and I was shaking a little. 

When they assessed Aoife's tongue tie it was deemed that it was a 100% tie, meaning her tongue was literally stuck in place which is why her latch was so bad and why she had all the symptoms she did. 

I was asked to prepare a bottle to give to Aoife straight after she had the tie cut. So I prepared the bottle as the midwives prepared to do the seperation. I was hoping that being distracted would help me to be less upset when they performed the seperation but she cried after the first cut which made me cry as well. Looking back I actually cried more than she did. She had the bottle straight after the seperation and then went straight to sleep, and had very minimal bleeding, so it obviously didn't affect her that much.
Aoife in the evening after her seperation. She was able to use a dummy right after the seperation. The midwives advised to use a dummy to compress the cut if it started bleeding at all.

It took her a couple of days for her to get used to being able to use her tongue, but we saw an instant improvement in her latch and her dribbling. Luckily we didn't have any problems with much more bleeding at home and no infections.

It's been a few weeks now and the improvement is wonderful. She's not as gassy as she was, and the dribbling is so much less and she's gaining weight really really well. The cut has also healed completely and I see her sticking her tongue out often, something she couldn't do before. I noticed as well that her cry has become infinetly louder since having the seperation.

There's always a chance it could reattach but so far everything looks really good.

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