How did you know that you needed help with lactation?
From the very first day after my delivery I was facing numerous problems during breastfeeding and felt very helpless. My gynecologist suggested me to use nipple shield which became inconvenient afterwards and it caused low milk supply. When I started feeding without nipple shield I used to have intense pain because of the improper latch on. I had no way to know what was causing the pain and felt inadequate about the way I positioned my baby. I have asked so many pediatricians and doctors about the issue but there was no help at all. Everyone suggested me to have patience and wait it out and said this is normal for many first time mothers and I was asked to do nothing about it and not to complain about it. Unfortunately I had to start giving formula milk when my baby was one month. This was the most devastating thing for me to feel that I did not have enough milk for my baby and that I was letting my baby starve if I dint give formula. I felt like a failure.
Where did you look for help and what help did you find?
I turned to my gynecologist first and then to several pediatricians for help desperately but I disappointed. I was also aware that there were lactation consultants who were specialized and could help in solving the lactation related problems. When I searched online I got two to three consultants. But doctor Effath Yasmin was the only person who understood my problem and was confident enough to resolve it. She finally gave me hope.
Yasmin took a detailed history from me and has spend hours with me and provided me thorough guidance and support despite it being online and long distance. Never once did I feel I left alone after connecting with her. She gave me comprehensive support via phones calls, pictures, thru every possible way as I was not able to travel with a baby of one month. From the pictures and videos which I have shared with her she diagnosed that my baby was tongue tied. And suggested the resolution called as frenotomy. She gave in-depth support to protect my dipping milk supply and kept me motivated every day until we worked to find resources to resolve the cause.
How was the experience?
Let me tell you the most interesting thing is that the actual treatment was only for 10 mins mostly including the preparation time. That’s it. But the whole journey towards it was bit difficult and the main hurdle was lack of awareness. In fact lack of importance for continuing breastfeeding when issues occur and huge lack of awareness amongst the medical community to help a breastfeeding mother like me was the biggest huddle.
First thing was to convince family to get that treatment done, then finding the right doctor to do it, then convince that dentist about the issue and how that treatment will help to resolve it. Doctor Yasmin has been immensely supportive by talking to my family, helping them understand the implication of the problem and the importance of the treatment for long term improved health for my baby. She worked with me to find a doctor and provide professional educational support to help the doctor understand the importance and the need for this treatment.
Finally the frenectomy was done but my baby responded to it very slowly. Doc Yasmin suggested me few exercises which I need to do on a regular basis to get the expected result. And on one fine day I got complete freedom from the fear, worry, pain, and nipple shield! My milk supply got better and increased over the weeks following the procedure. Now he is five and half months and completely breastfeeding, no other supplements and also zero pain while feeding. I cannot tell enough about how liberated I feel about finally enjoying being a mother to my baby.
What was the treatment called? What did it involve?
The treatment is called frenotomy or frenectomy. In this treatment baby suffering from tongue tie and a lip tie is helped with releasing the tie with a small slight cut on his frenum to improve the tongue movements and help baby have ability to deeply latch, suck and swallow. It involved doctor preparing by swaddling the baby to prevent movement and used normal sterile scissors to snip open a small portion under his tongue which was less than half a minute. Preparation took longer than procedure.
Yasmin reevaluated my baby’s tongue and suggested further release since it was complete the first time. I did not hesitate to go the second time since I knew it really is a small procedure with huge benefit with no risk. Even no anesthesia was used.
How is your baby now? Did the treatment help him?
My baby is healthy and happy now. His weight gain is proper and everything is absolutely fine now. I am a happy nursing mom now.
How important is breastfeeding to you?
Breastfeeding is the most important thing for me and baby. This is the first step towards healthy life for a bay and a mother. I have gone through a huge emotional, psychological and physical trauma because of lactation issues but finally I could resolve it with the help from Doc Effath Yasmin and now feeding is the most pleasant thing for me and my baby. I cannot thank her enough for the support she has provided me.
I would like to spread awareness and help new mothers if they are facing any issues in lactation. I already started providing information to my family friends and relatives. I feel empowered as a mother. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to share my experience.
Expert Notes by Effath Yasmin an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant IBCLC, Mumbai, India
A tongue is an extremely complex muscular organ which is essential for sucking, swallowing, breathing, speech, eating, drinking, chewing, tooth and gum health, and digestive health. A baby’s mouth is designed to breastfeed effectively and any loss of normal breastfeeding experience either by the mother or the baby must be evaluated or treated as early as possible to avoid future problem and more importantly from premature weaning.
A tongue tie is and a lip tie is tightness in the normal tissue that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth and gums of the baby respectively. This prevents normal range of movements of tongue preventing important functions of the tongue. Some of the symptoms may involve
Frenotomy is a small procedure which is essential for release of a tie and is the first step to restoring normal tongue and lip function. Rehabilitation of the tongue motor function is an important follow up treatment after the procedure with tongue exercises and sucking. This procedure requires no anesthesia. The rehabilitation period is sometimes longer for older babies and children. Therefore it is best done in infancy as early as possible. Most importantly this protects an important experience of breastfeeding for the mother and her baby.
Interview published on healthsite.com
In India, a number of new mothers face problems breastfeeding their newborns, but are afraid or shy to talk about it. Here is the story of a young mother, who struggled with breastfeeding issues, but did not give up. Her baby had a common condition, but the lack of awareness only prolonged her trauma. Here is an interview with the mother and her lactation consultant Effath Yasmin: