Monday, July 11, 2011
The baby in Haiti was three months old when I was consulted about her near-death situation. She was a twin. Her twin was thriving and breastfeeding well. This baby was not breastfeeding well, dehydrated, failure to thrive and had gained NO weight since birth…three months.
When I arrived in Haiti, her Mother and Father were invited to meet with me at the guest house where I was staying. It was night time and, since that location in Haiti had no electricity at night (and very little during the day), I had to assess the baby by candle light and flashlight. Sure enough, she had a tight frenum. It wasn’t until two days later that a physician, who had just arrived in Haiti and had the proper instruments, was willing to listen to me and agree to try to perform a frenotomy. He had never performed one before and thought it an “out-of-date procedure”. None the less, he agreed and performed the procedure. The baby was immediately put to breast and her Mother’s eyes became almost the size of saucers! She was immediately able to tell the baby was breastfeeding correctly. The next day when we weighed the baby she had gained 40 grams overnight! She continued to gain 40 grams a day and slowly began to recover. Had her tight frenum not been clipped when it was, this baby would have died in a matter of just a few days. A 40-gram weight gain overnight as compared to no weight gain in three months was attributed solely to the frenotomy, which allowed correct movement of her tongue so she could breastfeed correctly. She is now over six years old and long ago caught up to her twin in weight and height.
Mary Grace Lanese
Maternal and Child Health Coalition of Greater Kansas City