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Tongue-tie in newborns - Bex's breastfeeding experience

4 days after my twins were born I was broken. My son was feeding almost constantly and the agony was becoming unbearable. My nipples were bleeding and deformed and I just didn't want to carry on, despite my determination to breastfeed. I was lucky and had the support I needed, both with my husband who knew how important this was for me, my friend who had breastfed before me and got through the painful first couple of weeks and the midwives who gave me the help and support in person that I needed.

I was brought a breast-pump (we were still in hospital following my post-partum haemorrhage after my Caesarean section) and bottles and reassured this didn't mean the twins wouldn't go back to the breast when I was ready. They had been checking their latches, both of which were apparently correct yet I was exhausted and struggling. I wasn't sure if it was just due to them being so small with tiny mouths and huge milky breasts! They were born at 37 weeks and a good weight - 5lbs 11oz and 6lbs 8oz but still seemed so tiny. I was told my son had a slight tongue-tie but nothing else was mentioned about it or any solution other than the relief I felt by using the breast pump and bottles.

Luckily I was transferred to our local midwife-led birthing unit on the evening of day 5 (a Sunday) where they continued to support us with the breast pump and bottle feeds as well as encouraging me to try Priya on the breast again despite my fear. First thing Monday I was referred to a tongue-tie specialist and booked in the very next day. Being just 7 days old, my son slept through the whole assessment and procedure, not even waking when his frenulum was cut. I breastfed him straight after and it was instant relief - no pain!

I'm so happy we were able to get it sorted so quickly as I then went on to learn to tandem feed my twins and breastfed them exclusively for 6 months (they soon went off expressed bottles and only wanted the boob!) and continued feeding until they were 15 months old. Despite the odd battle over the nipple if I was feeding one at a time as they got bigger, we had a wonderful breastfeeding journey, the twins sometimes holding hands as they fed, even as tiny 6 week old babies. It was adorable and SO much easier for me than having to make up/sterilise bottles or worry about taking enough formula for two with us on day trips or holidays. It really was the lazy option for me in the end, especially for night feeds, my boobs were always handy!

It's because of this experience that I wanted to train to provide the service for more women who might be struggling to breastfeed due to tongue-tie. As a dentist I already have the knowledge, skills and insurance to perform the surgery (and have in fact assisted with an adult frenulotomy during my time working in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery) but have signed up for specific training relating to newborn tongue-tie assessment and procedure to make sure I am providing the absolute best care and advice to my patients and performing tongue-tie division only when it is necessary and will be beneficial to both mother and child.

Here are some of my favourite photos of our breastfeeding journey...

Photo by Laura Aziz, day 15.

Photo by my husband, day 3

The rest of the photos are phone snaps and selfies so not quite as beautiful but still some of my favourites!


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