My son Brandon was born on 27/02/2004.
When he first cried, I noticed that his tongue looked very strange! but I didnt want to look silly, so I asked my husband to go get a midwife and tell her that his tongue looked strange.. One came over, said “oh yes, he has tongue tie” and then went again. As the midwife wasn’t concerned, nor was I, as I had never heard of tongue tie before.
When I was feeding him, it felt like wire strippers on my nipples! it was excruciating.. but I was just told that it would settle down soon.. when Brandons weight began to drop, I was told that I had to give him bottles, but I didn’t want to, so instead of giving up I decided that I needed something to keep me occupied while he fed.. So I decided to teach myself how to use a computer, and the internet.
Once I had mastered the internet and google, I googled tongue tie, and suddenly found out why it hurt so much! and why I was having so many problems..I then found out that years ago babies tongues were snipped if they were found to have tongue tie, and that some midwives would keep a long fingernail for this purpose!! But I also found that snipping of tongue ties was no longer common place since bottlefeeding had become so popular, If a baby couldn’t breastfeed then it didn’t matter they could just have a bottle!! I did not agree!!! I desperately wanted to breastfeed Brandon as I had been unable to breastfeed by 3 daughters for long, (I now know that this was due to bad advice and ‘care’ from health professionals, not my fault!) So I decided that I would somehow get his tongue snipped!!
Now with a baby who needed to feed almost constantly, and with me choosing to use the computer as distracion from the pain, I was getting good at using the computer!! And decided to set up a msn group called ‘tongue tie babies support group’, with pretty pages and everything!!! As I could see that there was not much advice out there, and to find someone who knew what I was talking about, let alone someone who had experienced having a tongue tie baby was nigh on impossible..
Now what happened after i set up my group is all kind of a blur, probably due to serious sleep deprivation, stress, pain, the fact that it was almost 8 years ago now and I have since had 2 more children!! so I will try to make this as accurate an account as possible! i think it was Pam Lacey ( miss you Pam xx) (PAM WAS A WONDERFUL LACTATION CONSULTANT WHO DIED LAST YEAR) who first joined my group and told me that there were private consultants who snipped babies tongue ties.. I was really excited and willing to do anything… Now this is a bit blurry!! i think Pam then told me about Alison Blenkinsop who was a lactation consultant, and who might know where i could get Brandons tongue snipped, so i contacted Alison and we spoke quite a bit through Email and on the phone, and she told me about Mervyn Griffiths (PAEDIATRIC SURGEON WHO HAS DONE RESEARCH), who snipped tongue ties!! I would need to go to Southhampton, to a private clinic, great, but was not looking forward to the train journey!! but there was a light at the end of my pain filled tunnel now!! At this point, I think Brandon was having to have some bottles, as his weight gain was non existant..
During all of this, I had learnt about some great organizations, like the ABM and the La Leche League, I was never told that there were actually people who could help!!!! I also learnt that my massive desire to breastfeed my child wasn’t as insane and crazy as i was being led to believe!!!
Anyway, what happened next was great, someone.. either Pam, Alison, or Mervyn I think (IT WAS ME!) told me that an old professor (Prof Whitelaw) was willing to snip Brandon’s Tongue tie, in Southmead hospital!! At the time, I just thought, ‘Yay! no massive train journey!!’ It wasnt until I got to the hospital to have his tongue snipped that i realized what a big deal this was!! And not until I had my second son in 2009 did I realise what I had achieved…
Anyways, We got to the hospital and met with Professor Whitelaw, who explained how a tongue tie procedure was carried out, Brandon would be swaddled, his mouth would be held open, and his tongue would be snipped with blunt scissors.. sounded scary, but he reassured me!! He then told me that a tongue tie division had not been carried out at Southmead hospital for 50 years!!! and that the only reason he knew how to do this was because he was an old doctor!! I was truly greatful to him… He asked if it was ok if students watched to learn how to do this, i said of course, and the room suddenly filled up!!!
A before picure was taken (I am not sure if it was filmed or not…), I then held Brandon while his tongue was snipped, it took seconds, then I was told to feed him… Brandon instantly stopped crying, and fed… it wasnt painful!!!!! An after pic was taken, I thanked professor Whitelaw lots!! signed some forms to say images could be used for training, and went home…