Discovering And Correcting Lip Tie On A Toddler And An Infant

Discovering And Correcting Lip Tie On A Toddler And An Infant

When my son was born, I told the nurse at the hospital that I wanted to see a lactation consultant because he wasn’t latching correctly. She told me there wasn’t one available that day, assured me he was fine, and that I just needed to reposition him. Having just given birth and being very emotional, I was desperate to go home to my toddler whom I had never left for more than a few hours, so I believed this nurse.

But I knew something wasn’t right. Even though my son was gaining weight and pooping away, the pain of nursing was unbearable and I thought I was getting mastitis, but then the pain went away. At around 3 months, my La Leche leader noticed that it did not look like he was latching as far as he should be and asked that I have him checked for tongue tie. The pediatrician said he didn’t have it, and that because he was gaining weight, he was fine.

But mothers always know. Even if we don’t know what it is, we know when something is wrong.

It is becoming up to us to figure out what is going on with our babies. Nowadays, many people turn to Facebook to ask questions relating to health, as sometimes it’s easier asking total strangers. So when a mother on a babywearing group I’m a member of posted a photo of her 7 month old daughter and asked if she had lip tie, my heart started beating fast as I read through all the comments, and my head started saying “This is it.”

So I looked under his top lip, and sure enough, clear as day, there was his upper labial frenulum, starting from his lip and working all the way down to his gums, reaching where his two front teeth will eventually come through.

I tried to take a good photo, but 6 month old babies don’t like being held down, so here are three examples of what lip tie in a babies can look like
how-to-diagnose-tongue-and-lip-ties-2

 

So I put the kids to bed and researched like my life depended on it. It’s hereditary- does that mean I have it? Run to the mirror, yes, I do! This is why my mother was told she had no supply after a month, because no-one caught onto the fact that my lip was tied.

Some of the symptoms associated with a lip tie in babies are:
  • Difficulty latching correctly to breastfeed
  • Colic/gassiness/reflux from incorrect latch
  • Baby thrashing/pulling away from breast
  • Baby’s latch falling off nipple
  • More frequent night feedings
In mom, it could be
  • Very painful nursing
  • Cracked/sore nipples
  • Mastitis or plugged ducts
  • Loss of milk supply

It varies from baby to baby and woman to woman, so if you think something isn’t right, find out from other moms in your area who the best lactation consultant is, who knows how to spot tongue and lip tie. Tongue tie is discussed much more often than lip tie, and we need to change that!

Within 24 hours I went to see a lactation consultant at a free breastfeeding clinic and she confirmed that my son had lip tie. What a weight is lifted off your shoulders when you finally know what is wrong with your baby, despite doctors and nurses saying “he’s fine.” I booked an appointment with Dr James Jesse in Loma Linda, California. He is the very best of the best, a dentist who uses a laser, not a knife, to cauterize the labial frenulum away from the lip. People travel far and wide to get to Dr Jesse, and because the procedure is so fast, I managed to get an appointment the next day.

The doctor and his staff are absolutely wonderful, and he checked all of us and confirmed we all have lip tie except my husband. Dr Jesse said my son’s in particular was severe and when I asked about not losing my milk supply he confirmed that I was lucky I still had it. So we chose to have both children undergo a laser frenectomy. My 2.5 year old daughter went first, and here is what she looked like before:

Lip Tie

And here she was during the procedure. They turned the television on for her, gave her a shot to numb the area (I was TERRIFIED she would freak out, but not a word. Not even a flinch. The needle is the smallest apparently) then he lasered it within a few minutes, she hopped off, they gave her a sugar free popsicle and she was as happy as can be.

Lip Tie Procedure

My son’s was more difficult for me to watch. My husband had to lie in the dentist’s chair and hold his arms down while a very sweet nurse held his head. It is a very quick procedure, only a few minutes, but when your baby is crying (and note- he started crying before the doctor even touched him because he didn’t like being restrained) it feels like an eternity. As soon as it was over he immediately wanted to nurse. I didn’t notice a difference which didn’t surprise me as we caught it so late. The earlier lip tie and tongue tie are treated, the better your nursing relationship will be.

Both kids were absolutely fine throughout the day and sleeping at night, you wouldn’t have even known they’d had this done! Dr Jesse said I could give Children’s Tylenol, but I didn’t see a need. After care is very easy- you simply need to give the top lip three quick lifts every hour while they’re awake for a week to make sure it doesn’t grow back. We instantly noticed a difference in both kids’ smile. Here is what my daughter looked like about 9 hours after the procedure.

Lip Tie

Notice in the bottom photo you can slightly see the wound, which means when she smiles, instead of her top lip being pulled by her frenulum, she can now smile freely.

Several people have asked why I chose to have my toddler’s done, as she is no longer nursing. We chose to because lip ties can cause:

  • A gap in-between the two top teeth requiring braces
  • Cavities in the four top front teeth as food is unable to escape freely
  • Speech issues
  • Dental issues

Within 24 hours of me posting about this on my Facebook page, 5 children were spotted to have lip ties. This is something that commonly goes unnoticed, along with tongue tie. Both require someone who specializes in this area to diagnose them, not any pediatrician or lactation consultant can spot it. So please spread the word. You could be helping another mother like me who had no idea what was wrong, but knew something was not right.

Have you or your children got lip tie? Or tongue tie? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Read more about lip tie HERE

 

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Lashawnda Anderson
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Lashawnda Anderson

I just discovered my son has a lip tie today and it explains a lot! He’s almost 2 and I had trouble getting him to latch. I was also told that the lactation consultant wasn’t available. I feel robbed now of my breastfeeding experience. He only successfully latched once.

shamika mclaughlin
Guest

I think my almost 2yr old does…. I never breastfeed so I didn’t have any problems there, but she don’t speak well as of now and she has a really big gap in between teeth.

gwen
Guest
gwen

Is it possible that a 1 yr old toddler could suddenly have an upper lip tie?

Oma
Guest
Oma

My great nephew had this but it took awhile to convince anyone so he struggled to nurse, gain weight etc till fixed at several week of age. Now our two day old grandson diagnosed today; will be corrected. Greatful for his mom with “second baby instincts” and observant medical staff!

Eliza
Guest
Eliza

My son has this I could not breastfeed with him and now it makes sense why I just wish I knew this existed back then… appointment now booked at the doctors!

Angela oliver
Guest
Angela oliver

I nursed my first two kids for 2+ years but they both have lip ties. My concern now is their teeth and currently my 2yo has poor speech. My newborn who is 12 days old also has a lip tie but is nursing well like the other two but I’m considering getting all 3 kids done (5yo, 2yo and newborn) but I’m nervous!

Stefany Santos Colon
Guest
Stefany Santos Colon

My 2 year old has swollen gums and I took her to the doctor. He prescribed lidocaine to num the area so she doesnt feel pain. While I was applying the lidocaine I noticed that she has a severe lip tie that goes in between her two front teeth and attaches to the palad. I am freaking out since that is the most swollen part of her mouth and now I found out that she need to have that cut. Any recommendations?

R R
Guest
R R

Just shared this article with my cousin and it really made sense for her about what she and her baby have been through. Thanks for writing this! She’s calling her dentist tomorrow.

Cassie Richardson
Guest
Cassie Richardson

Hi!!! We’re considering having our daughter’s done (she’s 2 yrs now). I just discovered it, we didn’t have any problems with breastfeeding thankfully.

Can you tell me where you got your procedure done for her? A lot of ppl say the laser therapy isn’t common and we want to get some second opinions if our pediatric dentist doesn’t agree.

I am chiefly concerned with her speech and her smile as she gets older. Kids are cruel and I don’t want her to have to suffer.

Feel free to email me the info! I’d really appreciate it!

Andrea Lewis
Guest
Andrea Lewis

I am kicking myself now because I had the same issue with my now 5 year old and she has a gap so wide in her front teeth,that another tooth can fit in there:(
I did have the surgery performed on her when she was 6mos.old but I didn’t see the same results:(

New Grandma/Mom of 6
Guest
New Grandma/Mom of 6

My son is 11 years old. We had an amzing pediatrician who caught onto his tongue tie at 2 weeks old. She recommended we offer his binky often, as sucking would help to stretch out his frenulum (in his case). I had already given up breastfeeding by then, due to the excruciating pain it caused. He did have speech therapy for a while at age 2.5, but honestly that was due to a reaction to a shot (he is allergic to pertussis vaccine). He is now a happy, wonderful boy, with no dental issues and only an occasional word-slurring, which… Read more »

Alisa
Guest
Alisa

I just thought I would share this link which explains lip ties and indicates not all lip ties are problematic. If you sent having issues breastfeeding, sounds like it is a non-issue http://www.drghaheri.com/blog/2014/10/8/the-difference-between-a-lip-tie-and-a-normal-frenulum

Alisa
Guest
Alisa

If you are NOT having issues breastfeeding is what I meant to write…

Kimberly Elwell
Guest
Kimberly Elwell

You can have no trouble with breastfeeding and think revising isn’t necessary. However, a tie could still cause unnecessary dental (cavities, gap, etc.) & speech issues down the road. Revising a tie isn’t invasive. It’s quick and very low pain. Your child will get a numbing shot and will not feel anything, and pain is minimal after the procedure. It’s very much worth taking care of before any harm is really done. You may think it’s not necessary because breastfeeding is going well, but consider the long term.

Elizabeth
Guest
Elizabeth

I so appreciate your post, I am raising and re-lactating for my grandson. He is now 7 months old. I saw a lactation specialist who was wise enough to check since my supply was low. He is scheduled for the procedure and I hope and pray that he can latch right for his sake and mine. We are adopting him and I want us to have as great a breastfeeding relationship possible!

NT
Guest
NT

*I have to vent* WOW! I am reading this on my son’s first birthday. We had a very rough start to breastfeeding. I saw “FOUR” different lactation consultants and 1 ENT specialist to consult for a tongue tie but no one ever bothered to check for a lip tie. No one even mentioned it as a remote possibility. I didnt even know it is a thing until I read this while I was researching for a reason for the gap in my son’s front teeth. On my 10+ appointments with LCs in the first 8 weeks of my son’s life… Read more »

Charlene
Guest
Charlene

My daughter has a lip frenulum but I can not find anyone who thinks it’s bad enough to clip it. Now at 2 1/2 she need fillings and still the dentist tells us to let it be clearly the frenulum is not allowing the upper part of the teeth to get clean. Please help I need suggestions on how to proceed. It was not an issue with feeding cause I could not breast feed and now I feel that the doctors just want to leave it cause it makes them more money. I am so stressed over this