Get FREE access to my newsletter, exclusive coupon codes, and links to Mommypotamus recommended products for your health and home!

How We Lost Our Communal Wisdom About Breastfeeding

Affiliate Disclosure | in Motherhood | by | with 73 Comments

Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.

~ Dr. Benjamin Spock

I don’t know about you, but I think this quote is a tad more compelling than a 1950’s era Similac Ash tray touting the disease preventing capabilities of formula. But maybe you had to be there.

Indeed, if you were you’d know that the Golden Age considered breastfeeding a vulgar act for those poor “disadvantaged people.” Something that mothers told their daughters is “just not done, dear” . . . or worse, something that could be harmful!

“[Mothers] should be told that the child will not be deprived, that in fact, artificial feeding is better for the infant . . . Considering the hazards [of breastfeeding], it might be well that no mother nursed her child.”

~ Dr. Rheingold, The Fear of Being a Woman (1964)

Given the fact that hospital policies routinely insisted on long separations between mother and baby at night – a practice which decreases milk supply – it probably doesn’t surprise you that breastfeeding rates in 1956 were around twenty percent. (source)

Yeah, me neither. 

This is not meant to criticize or lay blame. The women of the 50s, 60s and 70s were mislead to on so many fronts. In fact, OUR “experts” now say THEIR “experts” triggered the obesity epidemic by advising women that it was perfectly safe to smoke during pregnancy, perfectly healthy to try to “keep one’s figure” while growing a child in one’s belly, and nutritionally superior to formula feed. (source) I’d say there’s probably more to it than that, but it sure didn’t help!

You Know Who Else It Didn’t Help? YOU.

And your sister. And your best friend. Plus anyone else you know and love who might get all gooey-eyed and make babies someday. This affected all of us, but not in the way you might think. I’m not talking about the general societal horror of breastfeeding (though there is that), I’m talking about tangible suffering: Guilt over “not making enough milk,” frustration with our “high needs” and/or colicky children, adrenal burnout and more.

In many cases the reason for these conditions could be easily corrected, but isn’t. Why? Because in just one generation we lost our communal wisdom about how to breastfeed and what to do when problems arise.

“What problems?” some say. “Women were made to breastfeed!”

Lately there have been some conversations in which the Weston A. Price Foundation was accused of being “anti-breastfeeding.” While it’s true that they passionately advocate their homemade formula over industrial versions (which often contain hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, and even traces of a chemical found in rocket fuel) – most people don’t seem to find this to be problematic. The sensitivity seems to lie in what is perceived as a bias against our faith in ourselves and our bodies. My hope in writing this series it to affirm that:

  • Throughout history, there have ALWAYS been women who were unable to breastfeed. Under those circumstances other mothers (wet nurses) stepped in and literally saved lives.
  • Many women today have breastfeeding difficulties that could be resolved by recovering one simple piece of wisdom. We should do everything we can to bring awareness to this fact and support mamas that desperately want to breastfeed.

My Story

Micah was nearly five months old when I washed all his new clothes – tags and hangers still on. Sounds like normal “life with a newborn” stuff, eh? Burned dinners and forgotten laundry and all that.

I thought so until the night I nearly let his little frame crash to the floor during a bleary-eyed 4am feeding. The next morning I sent out an email for help, and a couple days later Mellanie of For Babies Sake knocked on my door. Three seconds into his exam she announced the problem.

“He’s definitely tongue-tied.”

He’s definitely what!?!? I had already nursed a child for three years by this point, so I hope you’ll excuse my disbelief in realizing that I hadn’t noticed my son’s tongue was tied to the floor of his mouth. She was right, though, and somewhere inside I knew it. Unlike most babies, Micah woke more often to nurse as he grew older – by five months it was every 1-2 hours around the clock. His tongue-tie prevented him from fully draining my breast at a feeding, so as his nutritional needs grew he compensated by nursing more often. (He turned out to be lip-tied, too, which made the problem even worse)

Why Am I Telling You This?

Your story is most likely very different, but if you have ever had problems with low-milk supply, colic, reflux or painful nursing, read on. What our great-grandmothers knew – and what I discovered the hard way – is that tongue and lip ties are common and every child should be checked at birth.

If you’re how we lost the wisdom of our great-grandmothers, it’s simple. Synthetic nipples are easier than breasts for tongue-tied babies to manage, so with the rise of bottle-feeding tongue-tie issues virtually disappeared. Now that breastfeeding is back, we need to reinfuse our culture with awareness about these condition to prevent doctors and parents from miscategorizing common tie-related complications (such as the ones below) under other diagnoses.

  • Low milk supply (depending on the severity of the tie a baby may not be able to stimulate milk production through vigorous nursing)
  • Painful nursing
  • Early weaning because child gets frustrated at the breast
  • Tooth Decay – Improper tongue mobility may prevent babies from clearing milk from their mouth, causing decay (especially on the top front teeth)
  • Colic, gassiness (inability to maintain suction at the breast means baby swallows a lot of extra air)
  • Reflux
  • Sleep apnea
  • Abnormal sleep patterns (waking often to feed because they are unable to fully drain the breast and therefore always hungry)
  • Speech difficulties
  • Gap between teeth/jaw issues – tight tissues can prevent normal development

Am I saying that every instance of one of these diagnoses is tongue-tie related. Definitely not. There are legitimate circumstances in which something else is the cause, but ties are easy to check for so why not rule them out?

Think Your Baby May Have a Tongue or Lip Tied?

Breastfeeding is the best diagnostic tool for assessing lip and tongue ties. If something doesn’t feel right to you, chances are it isn’t. Here’s what to look for:

Baby’s Symptoms

(Micah had all of these except poor weight gain. We never tried a paci or bottle)

  • Difficulty latching on or falls off the breast easily
  • Gumming our chewing the nipple while nursing
  • Unable to hold a paci or bottle
  • Gassy
  • Poor weight gain
  • Excessive drooling
  • Baby is not able to fully drain breast

Mama’s Symptoms

(I had none of these except discomfort)

  • Creased/flat/blanched nipple after feedings
  • Cracked/blistered/bleeding nipples
  • Discomfort while nursing
  • Plugged ducts
  • Thrush/mastitis

If the majority of these symptoms apply to you and/or your baby, chances are very likely that your little one is tongue or lip tied.  If only a few apply there could still be an issue. Want to know for sure? Tomorrow I’ll show you how to make an at-home diagnosis, get a consult with the leading expert in the U.S. for FREE, and seek out treatment options.

You never know who might be struggling privately with one of these issues – why not help get the word out and share this post?

Read Part 2: A Step-By-Step Guid To Identifying Tongue & Lip Ties

Photo credits:  Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division: Gottscho-Schleisner Collection (Library of Congress), [reproduction number, LC-G613-T-57610 ] Photographer: Gottscho-Schleisner, Inc., photographer. Make It Old, Subactive Photo
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

73 Responses to How We Lost Our Communal Wisdom About Breastfeeding

  1. Courtney Kafka via FB says:

    I never had serious trouble nursing, but my middle daughter has quite a gap between her teeth, and when I just checked I am fairly sure she was lip-tied! I guess we’ll take it up with the orthodontist in a few years…

  2. Ty-Megan Gross via FB says:

    I had discomfort nursing my first, but it wasn’t until my second was born with some serious birth defects along with a very bad lip tie that I realized my first was lip tied too. We had our second’s clipped but she doesn’t nurse (aspirated til 4 months, still tube fed at 8 months). Eventually I’d like to get our 2 yo’s fixed but I’m scared she’ll quite nursing and I need her to keep up my supply as I pump for her sister. If my first’s had been as bad as my second’s, there is no way she would have been able to nurse. We would have definitely “failed”. I have since met lots of moms that “failed” at breastfeeding that with a quick check in their babies’ mouths, a lip tie was very evident.

  3. Jenny says:

    I am glad to see this post. I think its important to share as much as we can on breastfeeding wisdom. I am now beyond the breastfeeding years but still encourage women to do so and to help when problems arise. I have to share that my mother having children in the late 50’s and late 60’s did not breastfeed. She listened to her doctors and believe them. However, my Grandmother (her mother) tried hard to encourage my mother to nurse. She was very upset that my mom didn’t. My grandmother was also a wet nurse for family members for whatever reason couldn’t nurse and she also was a midwife in the 20’s and 30’s when women were still having babies at home. I have to say though my mother was so encouraging when both my sister and I started having children and we wanted to breastfeed. She was so pleased by this and bought my sister The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. She wished she listened to her mother and nursed all of us.

    • Heather says:

      Ah, love your heritage as the granddaughter of a wet nurse! And I totally admire your mom for changing her mind – this is a really personal thing for woman and that takes a lot of courage <3

  4. Jennifer Ashe via FB says:

    My second son was tongue tied and my sister actually recognized it in the hospital and we had it checked out and they confirmed his condition. The interesting thing was they wanted to just wait and see if he had problems feeding before they would do anything about it. He fed fine, but I still wanted them to fix the condition early because my sister had hers done at 15 and it was a MAJOR procedure.. but I read if it was done by 2 months then it is considered very minor. My pediatrician wouldn’t recommend him for it.. her words, “let’s see if he develops a speech problem first.. then if does we can have it taken care of..” What?? Well I wasn’t going to wait for a speech problem so I became rather pesty and was able to get his clipped. It took less then 5 minutes and it didn’t bleed at all! So glad we did it.. Glad to say he is 25months old and still nursing :)

  5. Andrea Archibeque Mielcarek via FB says:

    Thank you for this. Sounds like we have had a similar experience nursing, except I have a low supply on top of it all and have to supplement all along for poor weight gain. My little guy is approaching 5 months old and is lip tied. We thought we had his tongue tie corrected by Dr. Biavati at 9 wks, but we are still having issues with breastfeeding. We originally debated having his lip and tongue corrected by lasers when the ties were diagnosed, but when we found little research to support the lip correction we opted against it. I am not sure it will make any difference in my supply if we have it done now, but now that he is getting teeth the nursing discomfort is growing. I am not ready to stop breastfeeding and he is not ready to quit either. I think I am now ready to follow my heart on this one, I just wish I would have done it sooner.

  6. Andrea Archibeque Mielcarek – Dr. B clipped my son’s tie at 5 months but it was insufficient and ended up causing scar tissue that made nursing HARDER. We went with the laser at 8 months and it made a huge difference. My son is still a bit wonky in his style – I credit it to habits he developed in the first 8 months – but I am convinced the laser saved our breastfeeding relationship. There is a doc in Keller that is using the laser if you want his contact info.

  7. Courtney Kafka – My first daughter was, too! It didn’t affect our breastfeeding relationship but did cause decay on her front teeth (which we reversed using WAPF principles).

  8. Peggy says:

    My grandmother told my mother that “only poor folk give t***y to their babies.” between the vulgarity and the class warfare, it’s no wonder I was the first nursing mother in my family in three generations. I tried not to nurse my first, after all the doctor told me it was a pain and put me on dry-up pills in the hospital, but son was allergic to everything BUT breast milk! I relactated when he was 3 months old and it was smooth sailing until baby #5. She had problems during delivery and suffered very minor brain damage which made nursing very challenging for us both. After months of bleeding, blistered nipples, I almost quit several times. I guess part of my persistence was my rebellious streak. Grandmother was HORRIFIED that we had more than our “allotted” two children and that I was so low class as to give any of them the breast.

    • Heather says:

      Wow, I”m speechless. That’s quite a story, and proof of how powerful marketers are. BUT – I really believe that our inner sense of what should be prevails in the long run. Thank you for sharing, Peggy. This is definitely one of the most memorable comments I’ve ever read.

  9. Ty-Megan Gross – I remember us talking a few months ago – so glad your daughter is still helping you keep up your supply. You are awesome, mama. <3 P.S. Nearly every email I get from a mom who is having trouble breastfeeding ends with a tie diagnosis. There are exceptions, of course, but it is SO COMMON and so easy to resolve. I am glad word is getting out about it.

  10. Jennifer Ashe – Wow, good for you! This stuff isn’t covered in medical school much anymore and most docs just don’t get it :(

  11. Andrea Archibeque Mielcarek via FB says:

    Thanks – I have that Dr.’s contact information.

  12. Rita Louise Miller via FB says:

    Andrea, big hugs lady. I know mommas who struggled with supply who nursed beyond a year. He gets full immunity wether he nurses once a day or is exclusive. You are doing the best you can, and that is success :-).

  13. Andrea Archibeque Mielcarek via FB says:

    Thanks, Rita Louise Miller!

  14. Melanie says:

    So happy to see this post! I’ve been struggling with WAPF seemingly pushing their formula when I would much rather see women get support for any problem/issues that arise. Yes, I believe there can be a place for the formula and in some cases it may be lifesaving but it should be the last resort and then only if a suitable human donor cannot be found through groups like Human Milk 4 Human Babies.

  15. Megan Bradshaw via FB says:

    Okay, Heather, we’re definitely (at minimum) lip tied over here. Sleep isn’t getting better and I’m exhausted. Who do I contact to get some wheels in motion?? I can’t do this for another year and I’m determined to nurse until he’s 2!

  16. Megan says:

    Wow, thank you! I just had my 2nd, but he’s my first to actually successfully breastfeed, and sometimes we have those symptoms listed above. No one’s checked his tongue or lip to see if he’s tied but I’m now very curious! He’s gaining weight and sleeping better at night though, so, who knows. Looking forward to next post!

  17. Monica says:

    Wow. thanks for sharing! … Isn’t it the truth that women just don’t seem to talk about the wo’s of breastfeeding/infants. Maybe we are starting to. Last week at church a me and a group of 5 other women were standing around chatting – admiring one woman’s new 2 month old – and we started to talk about our own struggles with becoming moms and learning to nurse, etc. And we all agreed, we never knew it could be hard, it was hard, and our mothers were no help! Ghaa!! Wish I had had the knowledge I have now back when I was holding my first baby – but I assure you, my 3 daughters will be properly informed (with all that I know anyway) & loved and helped. I already talk about nursing, etc. with them and they are 7, 4 and 2 :)) but anyway… Yes, many women may be going through what you did. For me it was a little different – with my first baby (back in 2004 when I didn’t know anything about healthy livin’ and real food and gut flora or anything) I ended up with struggles because in my first week postpartum I started back on hormonal birth control (AH!! my OB made a very convincing argument that I should do this) … well, right away, within 48hrs my new milk supply dropped very low & to top it off my new baby was a lazy, sleepy eater. And I didn’t know how to actually put her on there, so it hurt – a lot. And then the colic started. Pure H*ll. :'( I held on for 3 months, pumping every 2 hrs, feeding constantly, throwing back unearthly amounts of fenugreek and other herbs/teas. … but eventually my depression got so horrible (adrenal fatigue + poor diet + no sleep + hormone imbalances + minor gut dysbiosis + no people/support) that I threw in the towel and started popping Prozac. ohhhhh how I have changed since those days. I feel better at 29 then I ever did at 19. We need to talk about things like this as women. Our next baby nursed beautifully for 16 months (until I was 4 months pregnant with the 3rd when my milk was so low she lost interest). It was heaven, pure bliss. Night and Day! PS I love the Similac ashtray – horrible!!! :)

  18. Wow, great post! I’d never even heard of lip tie. My still nursing 14 month old daughter has a gap between her front teeth (So does my mom, I assumed genetics were in play) and when I tried to look at her lip it does seem to be attached but not severely (there was a lot of squirming involved so I’m not positive;-) Honestly we’ve never had any nursing issues (other than my overactive let down choking her a bit early on). No pain, no weight gain issues, no mastitis. After reading your post about your daughter’s teeth I may have to do some more research. Was your daughter’s less severely tied? Do you think diet alone could have prevented her tooth decay even with the lip tie? Love your blog! Thanks!

  19. Mellanie Gray Sheppard via FB says:

    I <3 you Heather! :-)

  20. Megan Bradshaw – When my kids go down for their nap today I’ll put together a post with everything you need to know to confirm the diagnosis plus treatment options and recommended doctors

  21. Megan Bradshaw via FB says:

    Just when I thought I couldn’t adore you any more than I already do… Thank you! :)

  22. Genevieve Faulkner – Katie’s tie was middle of the road in terms of severity. I never had any discomfort breastfeeding her but looking back she did wake up A LOT more than my son after his tie was corrected, so I think it was affecting things more than I realized. Regarding dental issues, I don’t think diet would necessarily have prevented the issues. She was pretty much exclusively breastfed when the decay occurred and I was eating a nutrient dense WAPF-style diet.

  23. I <3 YOU, Mellanie Gray Sheppard! I can't even describe how rediscovering this has changed my approach with new moms. Thank you for searching until you found an answer.

  24. so so wish I had known about this when my son came three years ago- BUT I am very very grateful I know about it now! It is the first thing I am going to get check out when baby number 3 arrives!

  25. Omg, this post couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. THANK YOU!!! <3

  26. Abbey Byrd I didn’t know you had your little girl. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

  27. Thank you! And thanks to this post I now know why she’s so gassy and nurses almost every hour lately and my supply is dropping like crazy /:… She’s lip-tied, I guess now I make an appointment to figure out a plan of action?

  28. Btw it was an amazing water birth at home! Labor started at around 2:3o am after my water broke and she was born at 7:35am. An experience I’ll always cherish and never forget.(:

  29. Sahn Lee says:

    Oh man. I want to check my little girl’s lip right now but she’s napping. Lol. I bf her hourly 24/7 lately and she’s 7 months. And i keep getting plugged ducts. Now I’ll just lie her next to her WAITING for her to wake.
    Thanks for this post. It is a shame that people don’t talk about it more. We had so many obstacles in the beginning that people are surprised I never gave up. But now people are impressed at how successfully my girl has gained weight just by bf. So many moms give up before getting proper support. If they only knew.

  30. How can I purchase a copy of nourished baby from you?(:

  31. Good to know. My little gal has always woken up a bit more that her peer counterparts. I looked more closely today and it’s definitely tied:-( I eat a mostly WAPF diet as does she so we’ll see how it goes. We currently don’t have any insurance and I don’t think we could afford the correction currently. I guess if nursing isn’t a problem then tooth decay may be the only issue? I know that the severity makes a difference and that speech and eating may be affected. Do you ever plan to have Katie’s corrected? (Maybe you have and i missed that part). Such good info, I really appreciate it.

  32. Margo says:

    We figured out our little one had a lip tie and tongue tie due to Cindy haggerton and mommypotamus. I had those bleeding cracked nipples, little one fell off breast easily, had reflux, and seemed to neve sleep longer than 2 hours at night. Had a doula (that I love and is super knowledgeable) come for a home visit to help tweak some things. Some things got better but the reflux and sleep pattern didn’t change. Dr prescribed reflux med, which we used only once because I wasn’t comfortable giving my infant daily medication for something I felt needed a different fix. Had her lip and tongue lasered at 10 months and literally within a day the reflux stopped. The sleeping pattern got better over time but I feel like she has some bad sleeping habits from having the tongue lip tie corrected so late. We need to be more open to sharing for the community of mothers!

  33. Jennifer says:

    I really think my 3 year old is lip tied. I was sore for weeks after he was born and my nipple looked out of shape. He now has trouble speaking. I distictly remember him bumping his mouth and SPLITTING that tie once when he was probably 1 or 2. But it grew back and Dr said it was fine. Is it too late to get him clipped or any benefit?
    I think my 7 month old is too. He nurses ALL THE TIME yet is not cubby and was super gassy at first and had hiccups daily the first months of his life. Can it be fixed at the Drs office? Thanks for this post!

  34. HI Abbey Byrd! It’s available at The PDF and Kindle versions are fully updated with the latest info on introducing solids, the ePUB and iBooks versions are still in process . . .

  35. Sahn Lee via FB says:

    I’m a little confused. How would a lip tie interfere so much with breastfeeding? My girl had her tongue tie snipped early on as well as a jaw adjustment. I get how the tongue movement and jaw movement is crucial, but I don’t really see how movement of the upper lip can make such a big difference. My girl definitely has the lip tie, and she does feed hourly round the clock, & I DO get rather frequent plugged ducts, but she’s gaining weight like a champ. Could this really be the problem? And at 7 months, is it worth it for me to fly out to NY to get a laser surgery done? Sounds very expensive altogether, hence my reticence to believe this is the problem. sigh…

  36. Sahn Lee via FB says:

    or I guess it’d be simpler to ask…. Wouldn’t a lactation consultant notice a poor latch with a lip tie? Wouldn’t it be visible externally? (as opposed to a tongue tie)

  37. TreaSon Holdings via FB says:

    Well now, that sure explains a lot! If only I had this info 3 1/2 yrs ago.

  38. Jenni schuessler says:

    Hi heather,
    As you know this issue is very near to my heart and a very current one for me personally.
    I know you are overrun with gratitude, but I just want to again thank you for your help with my Micah. He continues to nurse in a laboring way at times (old habits die hard) but I do believe the problem would be worse if we hadn’t had Dr. K. do the corrections. I did follow up with a lactation consultant, but I don’t think I had the level of expertise in my court like you did. Micah is now 6 1/2 months and though some days are harder and more challenging than others I am absolutely NOT giving up. I f you don’t mind me asking, what tactics did you use to break Micah of his bad habits? You had bee generous with your time, but any advice you can share would be much appreciated.
    Thank you again for helping me and for this post

    • Heather says:

      I wish I would have worked more to help reshape his nursing patterns after we saw Dr. K. But truth be told the improvement was so significant I didn’t bother with the last 10% that wasn’t perfect. So . . . he still has habits. They have lessened over time but now the acrobatic shenanigans are in full force – it’s a trade off. :) I highly recommend you call Mellanie Sheppard at For Babies Sake ( if you’d like to make changes. She’s the LC that diagnosed Micah and she knows a lot about how ties affect the bf’ing relationship.

  39. Joy Elise via FB says:

    My son was born almost 8 months ago… I FOUGHT with everything I had to BF him….I cried, I searched the internet, I prayed, I talked to friends, lactation consultants and finally gave up and have been EP’ing since 4 1/2 months… your article popped up in my feed this am and I clicked on it thinking it would tell me that I needed to pump more and eat this and eat that blah blah blah… MY SON IS LIP TIED!!!! and NOONE caught it!!! (%&#(&#$(&%(%$ is all I have to say right now… the guilt I felt was killing me… I am sure when I wake up tomorrow I will be relieved beyond words that it wasn’t about me as a mother or my milk supply… thank you thank you thank you! <3

  40. Sahn Lee – The effect of lip ties on breastfeeding are not widely understood by lactation consultants. Dr. Kotlow has published numberous paper demonstrating the connection between lip ties and the inability to latch properly (because the lip can’t flange out), but awareness is still pretty minimal. I am publishing the contact info for Dr. Kotlow tomorrow. He does FREE consults via email and can answer any questions you have. Does that help?

  41. Joy Elise – You are exactly the kind of mama I wrote this for. Bravo for EP’ing for 3 1/2 months . . . and hugs, too! <3

  42. Joy Elise via FB says:

    Thanks Mama-P…. my husband is not so keen on me continuing the EP….I spend hours a day pumping, cleaning, and feeding…. but the fierceness of my devotion to this has caused us both to tread lightly and just keep doing it….his health is paramount to me… I just miss the connection so much…

  43. Alison says:

    I wish my daughter was awake, I would go look at her lip right now. I have an almost two year old that wakes all.night to nurse. She has had many of the symptoms on the list you have and I’ve tried everything (medically that I can think of) to help her sleep at night. Earthing sheets, GAPS diet, and funny necklaces not withstanding. Oh, and I’ve had mastitis 5 times……could it be this simple? I will take my daughter up to New York in a heartbeat if it is….That would make all the comments about me getting mastitis because I’m stressed out, or she needs to be taught how to sleep so much more vindicating to my innate sense that something has always been wrong. Then again, I could just be a hypochondriac! Thanks so so so much for the post, can we fast forward to tomorrow so I can read your post today?! :)

  44. Sahn Lee – Lip ties are not commonly understood by most LC’s, but they can cause significant latch problems because they do not allow the upper lip to flange for proper grasp/suction. Does that help?

  45. Heather, I just want to thank you for your article on tongue tied. When I first signed up for your blog about a year ago there were some things relevant to me and some not so, for instance your issue with your little one being tongue tied, however I was interested to read about it and learned much.

    Fast forward to the year 2012 the beginning of March … in the delivery room for my surprise baby I hear the words “he’s tongue tied.” Well, since I had read your articles on this I was not confused and I knew to follow up and not let it slip past. So he has had it clipped, and I will watch to make sure it does not grow back, but by clipping it, it made bf easier for him and me.

    So, once again Thank you for the great information provided in this article and many others.

  46. Ashley Phillips Housley via FB says:

    Wow- just read this and figured out my 12 mo old has a lip tie! We had a really hard time breastfeeding at first and his two front teeth grew in with a giant gap. Our pediatrician mentioned that the dentist would want to cut the skin by the time he was two if he hadn’t fallen and busted it himself before then, but there was no mention that it could have affected his breastfeeding. We’re still successfully breastfeeding, but for a long time his latch wasn’t right and it was very painful. Even now there are grooves in my nipple from his teeth even though he’s not biting me.

  47. That is mostly because ‘men’ ran health care – now women are becoming their own ‘healthcare’ queens!

  48. Lori Langone says:

    I have a huge amount of respect for EVERY MOM who manages to feed any amount of breast milk to her baby, no matter how she makes it happen. As an older mom (I gave birth to a 7 lb 4 oz baby boy at age 42 after a very healthy, full-term pregnancy) who experienced a nightmarish hospital birth that resulted in a C-section delivery after many hours of laboring and a very serious medication reaction that nearly killed me and a negligent hospital staff that did nothing to try to help me breastfeed my baby until four days after his birth, I fully understand the difficulties of establishing a milk supply during those early weeks and months of recovery and sleep-deprivation. My husband bought a breast pump for me five days after our son was born so I could start pumping every two hours round-the-clock when we were finally released from the hospital and arrived at home. Due to the hospital nurses bottle feeding my baby formula (which was not my wish) and his huge appetite, he quickly became frustrated with the slower flow of milk from my breasts, so I had to resort to using that pump for five and a half months after which time I was no longer able to maintain my supply. I am grateful that I was eventually able to work up to a peak production of 24 ozs of breast milk per day so that I could pass on my natural immunities to him for almost the first half-year of his life, even though his appetite was larger than what I could produce and I had to supplement with organic formula. I know for a fact that breastfeeding and pumping can be hugely challenging. Unless you have personally experienced it, you have no idea now difficult and physically exhausting it can be. No one ever talks about how to manage pumping for half-hour time blocks, during which time it’s difficult to hold or care for your baby, then spending another half hour feeding him/her and washing/sterilizing all the pumping gear and bottles, being constantly hungry and thirsty, and then trying to sleep for a while before having to wake up and start the process all over again. I know for a fact that I did some sleepwalking during the first three months, especially during the first five weeks when I was dopey from the pain medication that was necessary to keep me functional while my abdomen healed from the surgery. I hated knowing that vicodin and ibuprofen were passing to my baby through my milk, but he didn’t tolerate formula well and I was acutely aware of the health benefits of breastmilk, so I just did the best that I could for him and introduced probiotics and cod liver oil into his diet as early as I could, and I gave him lots of epsom salt bath to help his body detoxify. Today he is a very healthy and vivacious 15-month old, so I think I did okay.

  49. You are so awesome for sticking it out, Ashley Phillips Housley! My dd had a lip tie and although it wasn’t uncomfortable to nurse her she needed to nurse often to get enough milk. This got her into the habit of waking every two hours or so – a practice she continued until she was two!!! So glad I found out about this with my son before we did THAT again!

  50. That pictures makes me laugh every time I see it.

  51. Thank-you thank-you thank-you for writing this! I believe both my sons are tied, first one I had all kinds of problems with, he would round the clock every hour or every two hours for probably the first entire year and then some, I always thought I have oversupply because he would spit up a lot and I could spray across the room! but in the beginning he had poor latch and caused bleeding nipples, that got better fast, but I got a plugged duct from engorgement and that led to a breast abscess I had to have surgically drained. I stuck with it though! well… he’s 3.5 and still nursing.. but now I’m trying to make things better for my 5 wk old’s reflux by doing an elimination diet and so far its not working, yea its only been a few days, but I thought I’d see a reduction of something by now! But then I read your blog post… looked at his top lip and things all started making sense! I am going to get this solved ASAP!!!!!!!! Looks like it may have been his latch, and I’m feeling really dumb for not seeing it sooner.

  52. Sarah Trease via FB says:

    Went through hell for over a year. Searched & searched for help, now I know it was lip tie! Wow.

  53. Janelle Hoxie – Please let me know if you are able to find someone to do the tie revision and how it helps! Have you contacted Dr. Kotlow to see if he can refer you to someone?

  54. Sarah Trease – I felt exactly the same way! It wasn’t too bad with my daughter, but I have very few memories of the first two years of her life because of how the frequent feedings early on hardwired her to wake every two hours. With my son, though, it was very, very hard – so glad we both eventually found an answer (and that we can tell other mamas so they don’t have to struggle like we did!)

  55. Becca says:

    My mother, who was only born in 58, tried to convince me that nursing was disgusting and absolutely every time he would spit up a little, she would insist it was because of nursing, that his stomach couldnt and he needed formula. Thankfully, I ignored her and nursed anyway….

  56. […] food is our immediate source of energy. We thought we were smarter than our bodies when there was a campaign against breastfeeding and there are those who still advocate for formula (want to know more about breastfeeding and the […]

  57. Simona says:

    Heather, thank you so much for posting this! I had a feeling that my ds had this. At 10 months old he was diagnosed with a mild cp so I attribute the breastfeeding issues to that (your story was almost identical to mine and we’re still doing every couple hours around the clock at 14 months old. During the day he eats more so it’s a bit less). He started developing problems with his right top front tooth. I started him on fclo but because of his many problems which added many supplements, he just started to completely refuse. He still doesn’t eat well so I have to pick my battles. My question… He definitely has a lip tie, I can see that clearly. But probably because of his increased sensitivity due to cp, the many supplements I’ve forced down him he just absolutely refuses to let my fingers come anywhere near his mouth so I can’t snap a pic or even see if he is tongue tied. I know about where the frenulum is and thought it was fairly normal but after reading your blog think it is not. But it would have been easier when he was a baby, now that he’s almost 15 months and so resistent I don’t know how I would even do the exercises. How did your daughter do without the procedure. I see you reversed her tooth decay by doing WAP. What about her speech any issues? (I realize that every case is different, just looking for some input. I’m pretty sure there isn’t a laser clinic here and really want to avoid another procedure with him but also want to do what’s best for him) Thanks!

  58. […] you know why our mothers shouldn’t have listened to theirs? If so, please pass along this guide for diagnosing a commonly missed cause of breastfeeding […]

  59. […] Is there a tongue tie or latch issue?  Mommypotomus has some great posts on this subject. […]

  60. Tara says:

    Torticolis, We did not know until she was three years old and her speech delay was diagnosed, includes a tong protrusion that slowly developed by 3 y.o. also. But looking back, she could not nurse for more than 30 seconds at a time. The nipple shield got it up to maybe 60 seconds, but she was so exhausted she past out every time. The Lactation nurse seemed more concern about getting though patients then helping to figure out why she didn’t stayed latched. She dropped one pound though I feed her every three hours on the dot. The final diagnosis is that the muscle in the neck are tight, and the muscles around the mouth are very very weak, most likely from birth.

  61. Amanda says:

    THANK YOU for sharing your experience, advice, and information. I came across this post after struggling through 9 months of breastfeeding with terrible recurring plugged ducts. We had my daughter’s tongue tie corrected at 2 days old, but we didn’t know anything about lip ties. After searching the internet for months I came across your post two days ago. That night we called and made an appointment for the next day (yesterday). My daughter had her consultation and surgery yesterday. It went well. She had a class 4 lip tie. She is already nursing better. I am hopeful it will help her in the future and now. I can’t thank you enough.

  62. […] What do I want to do? Check for a tongue / lip tie, of course!  They can be such a source of so. much. misery. for nursing mamas and their sweet babes, including me. […]

  63. cindy says:

    thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.
    I have just spotted my 3-mo-old daughters and seriously think that my older boys have the same problem. My oldest has speech problems and that could be part of it.

  64. Leah Marcus says:

    Heather, this post is absolutely changing my life. My son will be 6 weeks old tomorrow, and after trying everything under the son to get him to nurse, he became frustrated enough with it that we decided the other day that I will exclusively pump for him.
    Then I found this.
    I think he has a pretty severe lip tie, and I’m hopeful that correcting it could really give us a chance at nursing (although I’ve had to get to a point where I’m okay if it never happens, as much as I’ve always dreamed of extended nursing).
    I live in Ann Arbor MI, and just found this specialist who uses lasers and wasn’t in your list, so I wanted to let you know! Here’s the info I got from the internet:

    “Annette Skowronski, DDS, FAGD, PC
    Shelby Township, MI 48315
    Dr. Annette, a practicing family dentist of 27 years, has been trained for over 10 years in the laser revision of infant and adult lip and tongue tie revisions. She understands the problems associated with breastfeeding experienced by both mother and infant when lip and or tongue restrictions exist and its impact on future oral/dental development.”

  65. Observer says:

    My friend had an innovative approach that may help some of the issues – She realized that she didn’t have alot of breastmilk and was concerned that her daughter might nurse a long time but not get much milk (I have never heard of lip or tongue ties before reading this blog today, so likely others of our friends have had that issue unknowingly). Her solution: She expressed her milk with a double breastpump on a regular schedule, then gave the milk to the baby in a bottle on demand so she could see how much the baby was drinking and then supplement as needed. May help some others?

  66. […] really insightful read so click on over to read part one which talks about the basics of why it is so darn difficult to successfully establish a breastfeeding relationship. Then check out part 2 if you are concerned about your baby possibly having a tongue tie. The […]

  67. Jenn says:

    Just wanted to say thank you for writing this. I came across your blog when I was researching reflux for my 3 month old. Nothing was working and I just knew that something else was going on. We had his lip and tongue ties lasered. It’s only been a couple of weeks but breastfeeding has improved dramatically. If it wasn’t for you, I would still be wondering what was wrong with my baby. Thank you again!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

« »