They all have lip ties, of course. As we fly out this morning for Micah’s surgery I am thinking of these two sweet babes and others whose mama’s I have chatted with in the past few weeks. So many of you identified maxillary ties in your children after reading last weeks post . . . and sent me pics to prove it! Word is getting out, yet few lactation consultants, pediatricians or pediatric dentists know about it.
How is that possible? Are we all just jumping onto a fad diagnosis? I don’t think so. More mothers are breastfeeding today than the past few decades, so it makes sense that we are more likely to notice when something is “off” with a baby’s latch. Second, there is
research that shows when moms use cocaine there is a higher incidence of tongue tie in their babies. After Mellanie mentioned this research to me the other night, when I quote it to moms they get the weirdest look on their faces. ”I’ve never used cocaine!” some will quickly blurt out, to which I chuckle. I’m not accusing you of wild behavior, but this study brings up some interesting points too. If one researched chemical (cocaine) can cause this abnormality, what other chemicals- that no one has yet researched- might do the same? Furthermore, one of the most prescribed drugs in our society are stimulants to treat conditions like ADD and ADHD. Cocaine is a stimulant, and these prescribed stimulant drugs many times work on the same areas of the brain and cause some of the same side effects. Countless studies have shown that many drugs- and several different types- have been found in our water supply. Are we seeing increase in abnormalities due to all of this? In my opinion, possibly so.
If you suspect your child might be tied and are struggling with questions, I hope this info will clarify some things for you. And if you have a friend that is having trouble breastfeeding, please pass this info along!
A: Baby’s Symptoms (Micah had all of these except poor weight gain. We never tried a paci or bottle)
Mama’s Symptom (I had none of these except discomfort)
Complications of Tongue and Lip Ties
A: Here is an excellent pictorial guide with the information needed to make an informal diagnosis.
Q:My husband’s little brother was tongue-tied. They were told in the hospital that the operation was going to be a big deal – expensive, scary, I don’t know what all. But the family lives kind of in the boonies, and there’s a country doctor down the road, and they took the baby to him (for a second opinion?) and he said, “Oh yeah. That’s easy.” And snipped it right then and there. Gabe’s been fine ever since, and now that relieving anticlimax is a family story. Of course, I’m telling this vaguely and third-hand, so I’d love to get the details on how it went for you and Micah.
A: A frenulectomy is a relatively simple procedure for newborns because the nerve endings haven’t fully formed and they’re easy to hold still. Because he was older, Micah had to endure more discomfort, bled more and was more difficult to keep still (putting a five month old under anesthesia has risks and costs about $3-5K. Daniel had just changed jobs and wasn’t eligible for insurance yet. The surgery couldn’t wait, so we had to keep him awake and swaddled through the procedure).
Maxillary ties are more difficult.
They can’t be snipped because it will just create scar tissue that is thicker and tougher than the original tie. Scissors and scalpels cannot usually go deep enough into the tissue to correct the problem. However, a laser can be used, which has the side benefit of increased healing time and minimal scar tissue. Unfortunately, few doctors have laser instruments, which is we we are going to New York to have it done.
Dr. Kotlow, who is one of the most respected authorities on the subject, doesn’t advocate the “wait and see” approach. According to this article, he says “individuals who state most abnormal frenum attachments will resolve or go away by themselves are incorrect. The result is continued pain for moms and eventually infants giving up nursing. These frenum attachments may contribute to breastfeeding problems and should be evaluated for revision along with the lingual frenum revision for breastfeeding problems.”
[pullquote_right]Come hear board certified pediatric dentist Dr. Lawrence Kotlow speak on Saturday, May 14th from 9am-12pm in North Richland Hills. Tongue-ties and lip-ties will both be discussed and Dr. Kotlow will be giving informal consultations following the presentation, so bring your baby! Pre-Registration is required. Cal 817-428-9595 [/pullquote_right]If it were me, I would email Dr. Kotlow a pic of my child’s mouth. He’s agreed to do a phone consult for many concerned parents, and he can talk you through options. If surgery is necessary there are only a couple places I know of to get it done. One is Dr. Kotlow’s office in Albany, New York. The other is Dr. Cole’s in Fort Worth, Texas.
Why are we going all the way to New York when Dr. Cole is in our own backyard? Good question.
When we found Micah’s tongue tie we were told he’d have to be sedated to have it clipped. The surgery, when performed on babies, is quick and easy. But as babies get older and stronger, they can move at the wrong time and healthy tissue could be damaged in the process. Fortunately, Dr. Biavotti, a Dallas ear/nose/throat specialist, agreed to do procedure without general anesthesia (he did a fabulous job, btw!).
Dr. Cole is one of the most respected holistic dentists in the nation. However, because he only recently began doing the procedure we felt that the best scenario would be to put Micah under to ensure a good outcome. But due to the risks of anesthesia we opted to go to Dr. Kotlow, who has lots of experience with wriggly babies and can perform the procedure with only a local anesthetic. On the flipside, we feel Dr. Cole is the best person to correct Katie’s maxillary tie (which we just discovered and believe is part of the cause of her tooth problems).
As more lactation consultants, pediatricians and pediatric dentist become aware of this problem the options will increase, but these are what I know of right now.
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The thing about birth stories is that they are a lot like the babies they come with. No matter how many there are I never get tired of them. Each little face draws me in . . . just as each story does.
I read your stories. Every single one you send me. I know which one of you:
Call me a birth junkie, but I love these stories. After I posted Micah’ birth story, many of you contacted me to share your experiences and offered to help me process through mine. Whether it was a planned induction, hospital birth or water birth it seems we ALL need to talk about it. One of you wrote:
I’m so glad I didn’t bore you to tears with my novel! I think I still feel the NEED to tell my story because I so badly wanted a natural birth and didn’t get it. I keep re-living the experience, like I have to remind myself that it [the lifesaving c-section] REALLY WAS necessary
So let’s talk! Next month (July 14th) I’ll be hosting a Birth Story Bash where you can link up your birth story or photos with the Mommypotamus community. Birth photogs please also link up your slideshows! It’s going to be a great opportunity to get to know each other better and learn more about the multi-faceted birth experience. If you have a story to tell but haven’t written it yet GET STARTED!!! To participate just post your story on your blog and visit next week to post the link here. If you don’t have a blog email me and we’ll work out a way to get your story published.
I hope this goes without saying, but graphic descriptions, photos and video are WELCOME! This is BIRTH! Are you excited yet???Read More »
Wondering how you’re going to continue with GAPS on summer vacation? I have a few suggestions. First, go somewhere warm. Preferably an oceanside town. Then as you unpack your suitcase gently hum to yourself the little ditty that goes:
One, two, three four
Tell the people what she wore
It was an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny
Yellow polka dot bikini
That she wore for the first time today
Think of it as a mantra of sorts as you pull out the peanut butter jars, bags of beef jerky and crispy nut crackers that are snugly tucked where your clothes were supposed to go. If you can’t make it to the beach try to come up with another song and maybe wear a raincoat over your swimsuit.
I’m kidding. About the raincoat of course. The swimsuit thing is totally serious.
Now, if you’re wondering what foods to bring along with you in lieu of non-essentials like, ahem, pants, I have some ideas for you below. Healthy meats will be hardest to come by, so they take top priority in my suitcase. Next on the list for me are crackers because they add weight to meals and go great with my #3 priority, nut butters! Fresh produce is pretty easy to find anywhere so I left it off the list, but if you’re traveling by car throw some in!
Beef Jerky – This recipe from GNOWFLINS is fabulous and very inexpensive to make. We’ve been taking it on road trips for years!
Canned Salmon – I love Vital Choice because the salmon is wild and sustainably caught AND it comes in BPA-free packaging
Canned Tuna, preferably from Vital Choice – Sorry to be such a name dropper, but I really like this company! “Because predatory fish such as tuna accumulate mercury over time [Vital Choice only buys] smaller Albacore tuna (14 lbs. or less) for optimal purity.” Cooked only once to preserve abundant omega-3’s, Vital Choice is also rich in Vitamin D and sustainably caught.
Sesame & Sunflower Seed Crackers – My favorite grain-free cracker recipe so far.
Matzoh Crackers – Haven’t tried this recipe yet, but I think it would go fabulous with some honey and fruit flavored yogurt cheese. Or if you’re traveling, maybe some salmon and dill.
Basic Cracker or Pizza Crust – Oh my! I thought our pizza days were over but then I found a GAPS friendly cracker/crispy crust recipe!
Crispy Nut Crackers -Which also make great croutons, I hear
Red Crackers – “These crackers taste similar to cheese crackers, although they don’t have any cheese in them. They are delicious by themselves, topped with cheese, or even as a base for a sandwich with meat, cheese, and mayo. Probably my favorite way to eat them is with a smear of strained yogurt cheese and a couple slices of cucumber on top.” Yes, please!
Nut Butters – Peanut, almond, cashew, etc.
Larabars – Homemade or storebought
Crispy Nuts – Instructions here
Dried Fruits and Fruit Leathers – Dried kiwis taste like Sour Patch Kids and I LOVE them! You can also try banana, mango, apple, pear, and pineapple
Coconut Milk – To add to smoothies (see below). Native Forest is BPA-free
A Jamba Juice. They have a few all-fruit smoothies that are okay.
A Whole Foods, Traders Joes or Farmer’s Market
Oh, And Make Sure to Bring Along Your Probiotics!
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Awhile back I dreamed of starting a photography service called Mamarazzi, but of course the web domain was already taken. I blame my business failure on that.
Well, that and the fact that I don’t really know how to use my camera.
My inability to lay on the ground and shoot while enormously pregnant may have had something to do with it, too. But I think it would have been a fitting name because well, um, let me just show you:
If you like these I have 420 more you might want to see. Then again, probably not.
Oh, and just in case you missed my Facebook update last night, I almost scraped a chocolate glazed donut off the pavement last night and ate it. But I didn’t, so enjoy an extra chocolate bunny for me.
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A few months before he died, my dad found a little handprint in one of his favorite books. Scrawled next to it were the words “Heather–3 Yrs Old.” What he must have felt I don’t presume to know. But as I measure the distance between the moment I pressed my hand on that page and his death shortly before my twelfth birthday, the thing that stands out to me is that it felt like a flash in the pan.
Even when connections are not cut short, our little ones do not stay little for long, do they!?!!? Let’s enjoy them!Read More »
We have a secret in our culture . . . and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong.
Laura Stavoe Harm
To the doctor that says “Your baby is getting too big and your hips are too small. We need to induce” I say FAT SQUISHES. To the mama that has been laboring for 18 hours and is under pressure to have a cesarean, I pray someone is there to whisper “Don’t let your body be on their clock.” And when a mother is told she doesn’t have “enough milk,” I hope a friend will share how she built up her supply.
What most mamas need is for someone to have a little faith in them. Or permission to have faith in themselves. Probably both. Fortunately, women everywhere are speaking out against the idea that every birth needs to play out like an ER episode. Moms, midwives and lactation consultants encouraging us to trust our bodies once again. But amidst these attempts there are people caught in the middle.
Or who have labored to the point of exhaustion and really do need an emergency c-section, or – like a friend of mine – who pumped like crazy when her infant couldn’t latch and was willing to beg, borrow or steal to get additional breastmilk donations.
Mamas who are no less strong, or committed, or loving because things didn’t go according to plan and who did not “make up” an excuse not to have a natural birth, breastfeed, et cetera. More and more I am noticing bruised hearts that hang back around their crunchy friends because of their “failures,” when what they need is love and acceptance.
But right now I am in month eight of an ongoing struggle to breastfeed my son (he is exclusively breastfed, but never wants to eat, and sometimes it hurts so bad I hold my breath and count.) In addition to the tongue tie he had corrected at five months, we recently discovered he also has a Class IV Maxillary Tie. The membrane between his upper lip and gum is like a tight rubber band that prevents him from being able to latch properly (It’s more common that most people think!). It could also affect his speech and dental development, so we’re taking him to New York next week to have it surgically revised.
I waterbirthed two babies. I’ve breastfed for 38 months straight. I fully embrace the notion that my body is capable and wise, yet this experience has made me much more aware that there are other stories, too . . . women who did not feel empowered by their birth, or whose milk supply dried up, or who wish they could make a different choice. Mothers who saved their babies lives by allowing an emergency c-section but don’t talk about it because their crunchy friends will assume it was really “unnecessary.”
In spreading the word that our bodies are strong and wise, how can we also help women walk the difficult road from crushing disappointment to saying “I didn’t get the pregnancy I wanted, and I certainly didn’t get the birth I wanted, but I got the children I dreamed of.”
If you’re wondering where I got that quote, it came from Maureen, who weaves the beautiful story of her journey, saying”
“I prayed and bargained and hoped against hope that we would make it to 38 weeks. I kept up the visualization, but after every subsequent visit to the labor and delivery floor, every new plunge of the needle, every time I hooked myself up to the home contraction monitor, I grieved for what I was losing. I knew I would not have a peaceful drug free birth. I had lost the pregnancy I wanted, but I still had my babies, and for that I was grateful with every fiber of my being. I clung so hard to that fact that I didn’t allow myself to feel much else.
You can read the rest of her story here.
I guess what I’m saying is that all moms face disappointment. Usually we help each other grieve and move on. But sometimes, in our effort overcome the mountain of “cant’s” thrown out by the medical community and media regarding birth and breastfeeding, we accidentally create an environment that is unfriendly to moms struggling with disappointments in these areas. That’s why lately I’ve been asking myself how we can celebrate the strength and wisdom of our bodies while also validating those who have walked a more difficult road.
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I’ve been wanting to make yogurt cheese for years. But to do that, I’d have to make yogurt. And to do THAT, I’d have to know how. The last time someone mentioned yogurt to me, there were thermometers involved, and honestly it just seemed too complicated to add to the three-ring circus I call kitchen prep.
Then came GAPS. Goodbye cheese (for now). Goodbye butter (Hello ghee. I’m glad you’re here but it’s not the same). Goodbye kefir (see you soon). What did that leave me with? Yogurt. You bet I learned to make it!
The funny part is it’s so quick and easy to make, yet I feel this sense of domestic joy bubble up within every time I pull a warm jar of creamy goodness out of my dehydrator . . . like I’ve really accomplished something! Did I mention it’s easy? Barely even qualifies as a recipe, I’d say, but I’ve added lots of pictures for those of you that like complicated recipes. For the rest of you here’s the nutshell version: Pour. Mix. Leave in a warm area.
A Few Notes About Using Raw Milk:
For the Cooler Method, check out this post from Cara at Health Home & Happiness. Since you’re using raw milk simply ignore the heating instructions and move to the next step.
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