Failure to Thrive: My Tongue Tied Baby

My daughter, Isabella Rose, was born on 12/21/2017 at 37 weeks from an induction due to my health. She was 7 lbs exactly. I said I wanted to breastfeed from the start, so after a lengthy 5 day labor we put her to my breast when she was born. She didn’t want to latch, they said probably from my epidural and she had all the fluids I did. We kept trying in the hospital and she would sometimes get it and then other times not. They would have me try to latch, supplement donor milk and then pump. I was shown all the techniques and holds. We went home with her weighing 6 lbs 5 oz and they weren’t concerned. I diligently worked at and thought at 3 days when my milk came in that she had it. She seemed to latch, and I noticed her swallowing and then she’d fall asleep. I thought it was great as I was able to start making a stash and everything on top of her nursing. At her first dr appt the week of Christmas she weighed 6 lbs 2 oz, and the pediatrician told me that was normal and that she should start gaining once she got the hang of nursing.

Over the next 3 weeks my husband and I were exhausted. She seemed to cry all the time and want to nurse every hour, and because I saw swallowing motions and her falling asleep I thought she was just cluster feeding. Sometimes for me to nap, he’d give her a bottle of my milk and she seemed to struggle to drink it, leaking constantly out of her mouth. She never seemed satisfied and to me she wasn’t getting plump. I constantly watched her diaper count and she was meeting it so I kept on. She continued her every hour nursing pattern and struggled to latch; sometimes we would work for 30 minutes to latch, she’d eat for 20-30 min and fall asleep. Then I’d pump and she’d wake up and we’d go again.

We were getting ready for her 3 week appointment and she just seemed so small and extra wrinkly, but I didn’t know that wasn’t normal as I’m a new mom. They weighed her and she was 5 lbs 7 oz. she had lost 22% of her birthweight. I instantly started crying as the doctor told me that from now on after every feeding to offer her an ounce of formula and she wanted to see her the next day for a weight check along with some of my milk because either my milk was the issue or she had some kind of absorption problem.

I was in tears as I called a lactation consultant recommended to me on facebook. She told me to offer my pumped milk and she’d be over in the morning before the appointment. I also went and bought a baby scale. I did what she advised and the next morning she watched her feed and checked her mouth. While she couldn’t diagnose it, she suggested Bella had ties and that her sucks were super weak and she wasn’t transferring anything from me. She said any longer and Bella might have lost the will to suck; she was falling asleep due exhaustion not being full. Overnight she gained almost 7 ounces. She told me it wasn’t my milk but had to be her ties. Bella actually would move her restricted tongue in a backwards motion to get just enough milk to stay hydrated. She told me when I would give her a bottle I needed to make sure it went over her tongue so she could swallow.

She recommended a pediatric dentist and suggested we go as soon as we could, and to keep feeding her 1-2 oz after nursing and to keep pumping.

We went to the pediatrician and she was extremely happy and wasn’t very educated in ties but was glad we found a solution.

She started sleeping more as she was eating; my poor baby was starving to death and I didn’t know. I felt horrible.

I called Dr Preetha Thomas’s office of Enclave Dental and due to the severity of her weight loss they got her in a week later. She diagnosed her with a class two lip tie and a class three tongue tie; looked in my mouth and saw mine too. She told me they are hereditary. We had the laser revision done that day and she latched and ate perfectly in the office. I did her stretches religiously and fed her as much as she wanted. I continued to supplement after and she gained almost 2 lbs in 2 weeks! She won’t ever be a chunky baby, but now she is healthy, on the curve and is no longer Failure to Thrive at 5 months. She doesn’t leak milk out of her mouth when she drinks from a bottle, no longer clicks or spits up and she’s gaining well! I’m sooo thankful to our lactation consultant and our pediatric dentist; they saved Bella’s life.

 
3 weeks old failure to thrive

3 weeks old failure to thrive

2 weeks post tongue tie revision

2 weeks post tongue tie revision

Thriving at 5 months

Thriving at 5 months

 
Melanie Henstrom