Our Experience with Pediatric Dentistry: Getting Ties Released

Thursday morning my heart broke a little bit. I’m just going to start with that. Seeing my little baby girl in that dentist chair, crying, made me feel like I wanted to grab her and run out of there as fast as possible (it also made me feel like a pretty crappy mom, I’m not going to lie).

It was a hard decision to do the procedure. We’ve been fighting with breastfeeding for over two weeks now. It wasn’t something I just up and decided to do.

If you’re considering getting your baby’s mouth looked at for ties and want to hear another mama’s experience, I’m here to share.

All Wrapped up And Ready for the Dentist

I’ve blogged about our journey a little before. If you want to read those posts, you can check them out by clicking:

They Warned Me it Would Be Hard

A Day in My Norah-Loving Life

Quick Recap

If you don’t want to read through all of that, I’ll go ahead and give a quick summary of what’s been going on.

When she was just a little less than a week old, I took her into see the lactation consultant because I was having some pain. Also, she wasn’t pooping. Initially, I thought these issues were separate. Turns out, they probably weren’t (although it’s not completely confirmed one way or the other).

Well, after some work with the lactation consultant, we realized that 1. my supply had dropped to almost nothing and 2. Norah had lost weight.

This is when I started to feel like a complete failure. But, with the encouragement of the LC and my hubby and family, I soldiered on and started a time-consuming schedule of feeding Norah (with a finger tube) followed by pumping for 15-20 minutes.

Well, update on all of that: my supply is up! I went from getting less than an ounce each time I pumped to now I’m getting between 3-5! In addition, Norah put on a ton of weight.

So, two weeks after starting this whole struggle, we’re ready to start putting her on the boobs again. Before doing that, though, we needed to address the initial problem that brought me to the LC in the first place- pain while she nursed. This coupled with the fact that she was an inefficient eater led us to conclude that she probably had ties (tongue and/or lip).

Enter the Pediatric Dentist

Taking my three-week-old baby to the dentist was something I never imagined having to do. She doesn’t even have teeth! But, when the day came, I was so ready I barely slept at all the night before.

The dentist did a quick exam and confirmed that she has ties- one in her upper lip and a small one under her tongue. He then proceeded to explain a couple things to me. Things I had never heard before.

He said that problems breastfeeding can be a result of one, two, or three things. They are:

  • Ties and/or buckles
  • Tension in the Fascia
  • Poor Technique

I had heard of ties and I knew about proper technique, but the Fascia thing was completely new to me! It’s basically talking about the way baby (or anyone, really) carries tension in their body. He explained that since she had been nursing with the ties, her body was used to tensing up to feed.

So, instead of releasing both ties, he decided to only release the one on the top. The tongue was so slight, he said that after taking her to a massage therapist to address the fascia, it shouldn’t be an issue.

We agreed to the plan of action, and he began releasing the tie. This is where my heart began to break. My poor baby…

Break My Heart…

The dentist said it didn’t hurt. She cried a lot, though! Recovery seems to be going well. She doesn’t seem to have any side effects or anything at all.

Impact on Breastfeeding

I can honestly say that I noticed a difference almost instantly! She’s actually feeding from me! Before, she would eat for 20-30 minutes, act full, but wake up screaming less than an hour later ready to eat again. This was our constant routine. And now that I know she wasn’t actually getting enough food, it makes complete sense.

Now, though, she eats from me for about 25 minutes, falls off naturally, and then is content for 2.5-3 hours! We still have to go back to the pediatrician to see how it’s going to impact her weight. And I’m not going to lie, I’m nervous about if it’s actually going to work or not. But, for the time being, I’m going to celebrate this little victory.

What We’re Doing Moving Forward

I am a little skeptical of the massage thing, I’m not going to lie. But, I am still having pain when she feeds. And we’ve come this far, fought so hard, and dedicated so much time, that I’m going to do what the expert thinks is best.

So, we have an appointment for a CarnioSacral Fascial Release (I think that’s what it’s called?) with a massage therapist. We’re going to see how that goes, and if necessary, we are going to go back to the dentist to have him look at her tongue again.

We’re definitely not done with this journey just yet. But, we’re getting closer. We’re making progress, and that’s what I have to hold onto.

UPDATE: To see how everything has played out going forward, check out my blog post update by clicking here:

Finally Breastfeeding!

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6 thoughts on “Our Experience with Pediatric Dentistry: Getting Ties Released

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