If you are a breastfeeding mother, you may have noticed that your child had a tongue tie at an early age, as a tongue tie can cause issues with a child's breastfeeding latch. If you and your child's pediatrician have decided that an infant frenectomy is the best option for your child, you may be excited about breastfeeding your child after the procedure or nervous about trying to breastfeed again. Below are some tips to help support successful breastfeeding after a frenectomy.
Do Not Expect Immediate Results
If you expect that your child will have a perfect latch immediately after their frenectomy, then you will likely be disappointed. Babies practice sucking while you are still pregnant, so they have developed muscle memory and habits regarding their sucking position, even if you catch the tongue tie early. It can take several days or even weeks to retrain your baby to suck properly and utilize the full range of motion made possible by the frenectomy. It is important to be patient and not have too high of expectations in the beginning, or you may become frustrated.
Consider Suck-Training Your Child
Suck training is a way of utilizing your finger to help your child develop proper positioning of their tongue and lips while breastfeeding. It is used to help mitigate a variety of latch problems and can be helpful after a frenectomy, as it encourages your child to roll their tongue and position it further in front of their teeth. You can conduct suck training on your own at home, several times a day, or you can consult with a professional for more efficient suck training methods.
Consult With a Lactation Consultant for Positioning and Training Tips
If you have only breastfed a baby with a tongue tie, you may have developed some habits to help compensate for the tongue tie. If you continue those habits, you will not encourage a deeper, more effective latch. A lactation consultant can help you identify appropriate positions for you and your baby to encourage your baby to utilize a proper latch. They can also give you tips on suck training.
Make Sure You Keep Your Milk Supply Up
While your baby is adjusting to the frenectomy, breastfeeding may need to be supplemented with bottle feeding. You can express breast milk to feed your baby with a bottle, or you can supplement with formula. Whichever option you choose, it is important to keep your milk supply boosted, as milk supply can diminish if you are not regularly breastfeeding. You may choose to use supplements, such as a breastfeeding tea or cookies. Additionally, you should pump more often than you would breastfeed, and you should remember to stay hydrated.
By maintaining your supply, you will ensure you will be able to breastfeed your baby when they develop a good latch. Additionally, you will make it easier for your baby to get milk from the breast, which can encourage them to eat from the breast.
Remember That a Fed Baby Is Best
While it can be frustrating to want to breastfeed your baby and be unable to, it is important to remember that it is important to make sure your baby is getting enough nutrients, whatever the source. You should work closely with your child's pediatrician to monitor their weight gain and make sure that they remain healthy and strong, even if that requires supplementation with bottles or the continued use of nursing props such as nipple shields.
Transitioning to breastfeeding after a frenectomy can be a slow process. It is important to discuss your options with a lactation consultant and your child's pediatrician. For more information on frenectomies, check out websites like http://www.vfdental.com.