Tongue Tied – An Update

A little under a month ago I wrote about C having her posterior tongue tie released in the hope of improving her feeding and slow weight gain. And I figure it’s about time I gave an update!

Week 1 post snip was disappointing – zero weight gain despite lots and lots of angsty feeding from C. She had managed to pick up another cold so was snotty and sniffly, and we just had to hope that was the cause of no weight gain.

A week later and we were proved right with a chunky 4.5ozs weight gain – her best weekly weight gain since birth. And just to prove it wasn’t a fluke she’s gone on to put on increasing amounts of weight in the next two consecutive weeks, making it a total 19.5ozs weight gain over 3 weeks.

I’m loathe to bring up those cursed centile charts (imagine how we’d feel if they started giving average weight charts for adults based solely on age?!), but this weight gain means she’s been following a lovely curve on the chart, sitting neatly on the 50th centile.

Some will read that last sentence and think ’50th centile? What was she worried about?’, but given C was off the top of the chart at birth, that was still a pretty hefty drop for her. I’m grateful however that I didn’t have to worry about her dropping off the bottom of the chart, as many others do.

Beyond her weight gain, I can see that C has much improved mobility in her tongue, and for the first time recently I’ve started to see her reaching her tongue forward as she latches on – a really good sign that her feeding technique has improved. She’s also started to learn to roll from her front to her back, and started grabbing for toys on her play gym. So it’s been a pretty busy few weeks for her development wise.

I’d love to say she’s now a perfect feeder, but we still have plenty of angsty, screamy feeds, and she still manages to sick up most days (mostly aiming at her daddy it seems). But as long as I remember to stick to my dairy free diet it’s minimal and certainly nothing to worry about.

Given C’s tongue tie was quite minor and a number of health professionals told me it wouldn’t be affecting her feeding I’m astounded at the difference it’s made, and am really pleased we went ahead.

I’m also, however, astounded at the number of people I’ve met on this journey who have had delays in the diagnosis and/or treatment of their baby’s tongue tie, with some being forced to wait months for an NHS referral to come through, for what is a quick and simple procedure. Within that number are several who’ve felt bullied into giving formula top ups or giving up breastfeeding altogether as a result of delays to tongue tie diagnosis or treatment.

If anyone reading this is in that position then my advice would be to find an IBCLC certified lactation consultant who can advise on tongue tie and whether it is affecting feeding, then stand your ground, read all the evidence and push for the support and treatment you need.

And if you have access to private medical insurance eg through your or your partner’s work then do add baby to it as soon as possible – if I was facing a £250 bill for releasing C’s tongue tie I’m pretty sure I’d have had second thoughts and would probably still be stressing about weight gain.

Last but not least, NCT are campaigning for better identification and treatment of tongue tie and on their website have a template letter to send to your MP.

I’ve sent mine off today. Whether or not you’ve been affected by tongue tie as well, I’d urge you to do the same.

Play dates

I had so many plans before I started maternity leave. So many things I was going to do, so many jobs I was going to get sorted even before baby arrived – my to do list was spread across 5 separate to do lists, split by theme and pinned to the fridge door.

And with baby here my social life was going to be booming! I still have a memo saved with a list of all the local baby groups organised by time and day, which I spent probably hours researching and now simply gaze at wistfully whilst I’m pinned to the sofa feeding C.

Because perhaps predictably, I’m not doing very well.

In terms of the to do list, we still haven’t even started the biggest job, decorating our spare room, which is currently adorned with a multitude of abandoned paint test squares on the wall. As our prime dumping ground in the house it probably makes the world’s least child proof place to change a nappy, and is therefore the place we obviously choose to do this. We’ve been here 6 months now, so at this rate we’ll be forced into painting when we move out, just to cover up the patchwork tester wall and get our deposit back.

And so far I’ve made it to the grand total of two playgroups and one breastfeeding support group. Which wasn’t really much of a ‘group’ as I was the only person there and had to spend an hour making small talk with the health visitor given I’d handily planned to get there for when C needed feeding.

The truth is, just getting everyone up, dressed, fed and either entertained or out is a challenge! And having been used to working in a fairly high pressure environment, with meetings, conference calls and to do lists coming out of my ears, that’s kind of hard to adjust to. I frequently find myself wondering quite how I managed to fit a full day’s work in between family and home.

A week or so ago someone posted a link to this blog post, which was a bit of an epiphany for me, if by ‘epiphany’ you can mean the dawning realisation that all the things I’d thought I was going to do were probably never going to happen.

Blimey, that sounds a bit depressing, doesn’t it?

So we’ve had a bit of a change of tack this week and both C and I seem to be benefitting from it. Rather than running around checking Sure Start timetables and worrying about whether anyone else was going to rock up, we’ve been on two of what I guess you could describe as baby’s first play dates.

We ‘did lunch’ with a group of people I ‘met’ online whilst pregnant and who’ve proved to be a fantastic support network already. And as a bonus got to bring home the biggest slice of chocolate cake I’ve ever seen (yes, I finished it all, and felt suitably sick afterwards).

And we went for tea and cake at the home of a friend I met through our NCT antenatal class, enjoying a sunny afternoon stroll through the golf course to get there.

Yeah, the cake thing does seem like a bit of a theme, doesn’t it?

And this week C has started to reward us with her first ‘social’ smiles. They’re a bit elusive (and apparently impossible to catch on camera), and it takes a bit of warming up – testing out the muscles either side before she launches into a full fledged smile. But they’re definitely there.

And as lame as it sounds, when she does manage a smile, it doesn’t matter whether or not we’ve made it out of our PJs, much less the house.

I’m not going to use the cliche that it ‘makes it all worthwhile’, but it certainly makes it all seem ok.