Baby’s first birthday is tough on mom…but fun for everyone else! We celebrated Alice turning 1 with some beautiful cakes, fun presents and a walk down memory lane. Also, a recap of our experience with having a tongue tie, getting it revised and the subsequent (year long) breastfeeding success!
Alice’s birth was a whirlwind of unanticipated events and my second scariest birth of them all. (You can read the whole story here) In the weeks afterwards, she continued to mix things up for me by being a troublesome feeder and one of my fussiest babies ever. I realized that I never shared the full story of our breastfeeding woes (and tongue tie revision) on the blog so read on for that!
But we love her despite all the drama, and her current position as the happy, pint-sized crawler exploring allll the dirty crevices of our house wins over hearts on the daily.
Alice is a mover and shaker these days; her crawling is top notch and she gets around fast! She also pulls herself up and cruises along furniture all over the place. We’ve tried getting her to walk here and there but her crawling is too good – she’s not yet interested in learning a new (wobblier) skill.
She currently has 6 teeth and uses that big toothy grin to greet anyone who says “hi” or offers her a smile. Despite her earlier crankiness in life, I’m now often asked, “Is that baby ever NOT happy?” We’re loving it!
Alice also eats allll the food lately and more than just about every other sibling under 8. I’m still breastfeeding her regularly but since I can’t ever lose all the baby weight until I’m totally done, we’re slowly starting the weaning process. She’s been sick a lot lately though, and I’m a sucker for a sad baby pulling at my shirt so the weaning isn’t going very well. 🙂 I’m actually considering baby led-weaning after I learnt about it here. It sounds great!
Tongue Tie Story
I remember being super exhausted in the hospital after having her: I’d lost some blood, was sleeping in an uncomfortable hospital bed and Alice was SO fussy. I’d nurse and nurse her and she’d fall asleep on the breast, but then as soon as I pulled her off and put her in the bassinet, she’d wake back up and cry again. My breasts were pretty sore during those first few days but I just attributed it to her nursing nonstop.
I barely got a few hours sleep those nights. I remember pacing the hospital room in the wee hours, trying to get her to stop crying and thinking, “Oh great, this baby’s gonna be a cranky one!”
The nurse asked if I wanted to see a lactation consultant before we left but, since this wasn’t my first rodeo (ha!) I declined and assumed it’d get better in a few days.
Well, Alice was born early Tuesday morning and by Friday I was DYING! She was still pretty fussy (although considerably happier once my milk came in on day 3) but my breasts were so sore I could hardly stand it. I knew something was wrong but couldn’t figure out what.
Her latched looked good to me but I had to find a solution and fast! On Saturday, a friend connected me with a brand new lactation consultant who lived in my neighborhood and was sweet enough to make a house call.
She took a look at Alice and her latch and decided that it was probably a tongue tie issue. I survived the next few days by pumping on my sorest side and swearing a lot while she nursed on the other side. Early the next week I went to an amazing lactation office here in the Phoenix area (AZ Breastfeeding Center) where they confirmed the tie and sent me off to a great pediatrician who specializes in laser tongue tie revision.
If you’re not familiar with a tongue tie, it means that baby’s frenulum (that thin piece of tissue between the bottom of the tongue and the mouth) is preventing the tongue from having a full range of motion. Sometimes the frenulum is thick, sometimes thin, sometimes connected towards the front of the tongue and sometimes not, but the key to a tied tongue is that it keeps your baby from sucking properly.
This results in poor milk flow for baby (i.e. a hungry baby or one that has trouble gaining weight) and often major nipple pain for mom. It can also cause speech or feeding problems for older babies and toddlers.
Usually I take my time to research and pray about medical procedures for myself and my kids, but I was in so much pain, I pretty much barged into the peds office begging for it!
They scheduled us within the next few days (I actually drove an hour away to the farthest office from me because they had the soonest opening!) and when we showed up, we filled out paperwork and got the rundown from the nurse. She explained that the doctor would use a cold laser to slice through a portion of the frenulum. The laser would simultaneously cautarize the wound so there’d be very little (if any) bleeding.
The doctor and nurse brought in a bassinet, put Alice in it and wheeled her out of the room. I felt kind of terrible for not being with her while they did the procedure, but I also didn’t really want to see it done! She was gone for about 5 minutes, and then they brought her back in. She was kind of heaving like she’d been crying hard, but I popped her on the boob and she settled right down.
I noticed immediately that she was nursing better and honest-to-goodness, the pain was completely gone in about 2 days! It was amazing how one little snip made such a major difference both to the amount of milk she was getting and also my pain level. She also began sleeping for much longer periods and falling off the breast as if she was full after feeding, instead of nursing nonstop.
All in all, the procedure was a great experience and she healed perfectly (there were actually some stretching exercises we had to do to her tongue afterwards that were so strange!). I’m very grateful that we figured it out so early on, instead of suffering for weeks, or even giving up on breastfeeding.
We love our little Ali J.!