Our tongue tie story, part 2.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Lanie's tongue and lip tie revision, done on April 9 by Dr. Draper in Apex, NC, was a wonderful experience from start to finish. The staff did an excellent job making me feel comfortable with the procedure and preparing me for what to expect in the days and weeks ahead. For the procedure itself, I opted to be out of the room. It lasted less than 5 minutes, and afterwards, I was led back to Lanie to nurse her. She had been screaming, more from being swaddled and having her head held still than from the laser, which has a natural analgesic effect. But immediately, she latched on for the most comfortable, most quiet nursing session we had ever had. I had nursed her just before the procedure and you could've heard the loud "clicking" noise from 50 feet away. Afterwards, all I could hear was her swallowing milk. The sense of relief brought tears to my eyes. I knew we had done the right thing.

The rest of the day was no walk in the park. Lanie cried incessantly, despite infant Tylenol, breastmilk ice chips (which she hated), a lot of skin-to-skin contact (which she loved), and constant nursing. We faithfully stretched her lip and tongue to make sure that the frenulums did not reattach, and used Hyland's teething gel each time. Still, if she accidentally bumped her lip with her fist in those first few days, it would send her screaming again. She seemed very sensitive, very much in pain, and was difficult to soothe.

Finally (finally!), about three and a half weeks after the surgery, everything seems to be completely healed. Her latch has continued to improve, and while there has still been some clicking, I've seen a vast improvement overall. I had noticed my milk supply beginning to dip just before the surgery, but now it's back where it needs to be.

Most miraculously, she has just started sleeping through the night. I can't even tell you what a victory this feels like! After nearly 4 months of waking up every 3 hours, the first night she slept for a 9-hour stretch felt like a fluke. I didn't want to tell too many people in case it was a one-time occurrence. But the following night, she slept for 11 hours. The night after that, 12 hours. We've now had 5 nights in a row that she has slept at least 9-hour stretches, so I'd say we're onto something. Apparently, the tension in her tongue led to tension in her jaw and neck and back that was painful and kept waking her up. With the healing in her mouth along with regular chiropractic visits, she has begun to sleep. This alone is nothing short of life-changing.

We spent the last two weeks in Nashville with my parents and they were able to see firsthand that she has transformed into a different baby. She no longer has hours-long crying spells, is no longer hard to soothe, no longer abhors her swing. Instead, she chats and smiles up a storm. She self-soothes and is able to fall asleep on her own, in her own crib. It feels miraculous.

I feel so grateful for the revision and I hope this has been a helpful post for those of you who may be considering it or needing a little hope amidst the process. From our experience, it is worth it and things do get better.


  1. Whitney, I'm SO excited to hear that Lanie's procedure helped her! I used to work in dentistry as a Registered Dental Assistant and we came across ankyloglossia every so often in patients that always had it in the anterior. The details of Lanie with it in the posterior portion of the tongue was the first I've heard of it. You must be so happy and relieved you're finally getting into a great rhythm with her! Hooray for sleep - for the both of you! ��

  2. I'm so, so happy for you and the little miss that the revision helped so well! Yay for good sleep! :)

  3. What a wonderful post to read - and what a relief for all of you. God bless you!

  4. I'm so glad everything worked out! I am considering this for my 10-week old. Did they have to use general anesthesia or was it just a topical solution to numb the area?

    1. Actually, neither. It sounds so painful, but because breastfeeding is the main reason they do these procedures, they really want the baby to be able to breastfeed as soon after the procedure as possible. The dentist who did the revision for us actually did the laser revision for two of his children, too, and opted for no anesthetic or numbing. A local anesthetic (like a numbing gel or even a numbing shot) is definitely an option, but the baby wouldn't be able to nurse for several hours after that. Also, the laser itself has a numbing effect so when Lanie was fussing after the procedure, it was more because she just hated being held down. Some babies don't even cry!

    2. Oh wow! Ok, well I'm so glad you told me that. I didn't think about him not being able to nurse directly after. I have been so torn on whether or not I should take him in. He has a very short tongue, with the heart shape at the end. He makes the clicking noise--not super loud but it's there. He also falls off the breast, especially at the beginning of a feeding. I know he's getting enough milk but I feel like this would probably make nursing easier on him, and hopefully I wouldn't hurt as much. It's pain I can deal with I guess but I would really like it to be something I looked forward to, instead of wondering how much it may hurt this time. I'm so torn about it!

    3. It's such a hard decision. It does sound like he has a tongue tie! I don't know if you've done much research yet, but I learned that there can be long term implications if it's not dealt with such as dental issues and speech impediments. Also, I will say, the breastfeeding got SO much better for us! So that alone was worth it. Feel free to email me if you have other questions! whitney@elmstreetlife.com

    4. Heather Lou, the tie doesn't just effect your comfort level, it also effects the way the baby digests food, forms words, etc.... Some kids improve on their own, some not. I did a course on tongue tie, and the instructor, a lactation consultant, didn't know SHE had a tongue tie until a year before the seminar (2011??). So she had one done on herself and was *thrilled* with the experience! The pain was minimal and it really improved her digestion! She never knew. Crazy. She was happy to experience the procedure she has recommended for so many babies.

      This is long, but wanted to share!

      Whitney, your story brings tears to my eyes!!! I've been a breastfeeding counselor for years, and this success story just touches my heart! :)



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