The first things I heard when E arrived into the world…
“Congratulations, it’s definitely a girl”
“Gosh, hasn’t she got big feet!”
“Oh she’s got a definite tongue tie there…”
The first one made me smile, the second one made me laugh, and I wasn’t sure what to think of the third…
We’d been told about tongue tie in our antenatal classes so I wasn’t completely oblivious to what it was, but I wasn’t really sure how it would affect E.
I knew it was pretty harmless but that it could potentially have an effect on feeding and we soon found out how much.
Not meant to be
If you’ve read any of my earlier posts while I was pregnant you’ll know how keen I was on breastfeeding. Shortly after E was born, I put her to the breast (with help from the midwife) and she seemed to take to it straight away – I was so pleased. However, once we moved onto the ward and attempted further feeding, it was clear that there was going to be a problem. The midwives were a tremendous support, helping E to latch on, but where they were expecting her to feed for 15-20 mins she would drop off after only a few minutes. No matter which position we tried she just wouldn’t take to it for very long. The closeness I felt when feeding was lovely but I was conscious that she just wasn’t getting enough.
I breastfed for a total of 24 hours but unfortunately we decided that the tongue tie was affecting her latch just too much so we took the decision to try E on bottles. This wasn’t instantly successful either, it took us another 24 hours to get anywhere near a decent amount of milk down her, but at least she was taking in something.
The good thing was that her nappies were changing so we knew she was actually getting some nutrition, however feeding times were slow and difficult. All the other babies on the ward seemed to be taking to the breast or bottle really easily and were being discharged in a matter of hours after birth whereas I was still here 48 hrs on.
As much as I wanted to get home and settle down with my new little family, looking back I’m glad that I stayed in hospital for as long as I did. With the problems that we had with feeding, I couldn’t have asked for any more support. They were there through day and night – there were times that I felt I had them at my bedside constantly!! When we finally did get home, I felt lost without them!
A waiting game
Unfortunately, in regards to the tongue tie, E’s birth came just at the wrong time. If the problem had been sorted within the first couple of days, I truly believe that I would still have had a good chance at breastfeeding but as it was we would have to wait for another few weeks. The lactation consultant that deals with tongue tie cases had just gone on holiday for two weeks and apparently shes was the only one in the whole county that could help! I of course had the choice of expressing breastmilk but with E feeding only every 1-2 hrs, and expressing between those times, there was simply no time to enjoy being a new mum and taking pleasure in my lovely new daughter!
If I’d only had to do it for a few days, it might have been different but by the time we finally got our appointment with the consultant, E was almost 4 weeks old.
The right decision
Taking the decision to solely feed E with formula was simply the right way to go, but it was a really hard one for me to make and there were tears a plenty. For days I chastised myself for not trying hard enough and the crying was almost like I was grieving for something. I suppose I’d thought about it for so long while I was pregnant that it took me a while to come to terms with not being able to do it, but seeing E thrive once she started taking to the bottles gave me a huge sense of relief that we had made the right decision.
It’s about her, not me. Although the benefits of bottle feeding, including daddy being able to help out have obviously been great for me too!
All’s well that ends well
When we eventually got to see the consultant (just last week), I told her about trying with breastfeeding in the early days but she took one look at the tongue tie, and said “you’d have had no chance with that”. With that one sentence all the issue of self-loathing that I’d had weeks earlier instantly dissolved.
E had her tongue tie snipped – and despite a few tears (from me, not her), all is now well. E has a wonderful free moving tongue and has delighted in sticking it out at mummy and daddy at every occasion! It might be a rude gesture but to us it’s perfect as it’s a sign that she’s happier than ever!