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tongue-tie: snip or nipple shields?

(29 Posts)
Joppe Sun 16-Dec-07 10:26:40

My SIL gave birth a week ago, and has very sore nipples. They often hurt throughout feeding, and SIL is starting to dread bf. They saw a breast-feeding consultant who diagnosed a mild case of tongue-tie (which the grandfather and uncle of my niece also have). The breast-feeding consultant suggested to snip the tongue-tie. SIL is very concerned about this. They talked to their paediatrician (they are in the US), who suggested that frenotomies are outdated, and nipple shields would solve the problem. Does anyone have any experience with this?

LIZS Sun 16-Dec-07 10:31:32

Nipple shields probably won't provide a long term solution if she wants to b'feed.

crokky Sun 16-Dec-07 10:33:21

If it is a mild case, is there any chance it will resolve itself? HV said my DS had mild tongue tie, bf painful at first, but then did it for a year without problems.

PortAndLemonaid Sun 16-Dec-07 10:35:19

Unscientifically, and as a sweeping generalisation based on parents of babies with tongue-tie I've seen on MN, those who get it snipped generally get breastfeeding to work well and those who don't generally end up giving up breastfeeding (but then the two groups are self-selecting rather than being a proper scientific controlled sample).

Joppe Sun 16-Dec-07 10:39:32

Thanks for your replies. I have no experience with nipple shields, but I have some vague idea that they might actually interfere with establishing bf successfully? Is that true.? Crokky that is very interesting and helpful. She seems to be in a lot of pain, and her dh seems to think if this isn't resolved she'll stop bf. Did you do anything to help with the pain?

The early days of bf is a while ago for me, so I remember it being painful, but I can't remember whether only the latch on was painful, or the whole feeding session. My Sil is attaching a lot of importance to this distinction.

Joppe Sun 16-Dec-07 10:41:43

That is interesting portandlemonaid, The only person in RL I know who used nipple shields gave up bf. Does anyone have positive experiences with them?

Joppe Sun 16-Dec-07 11:08:21


FlamesparodyOfAChristmasName Sun 16-Dec-07 11:39:54

Snip - DH has a tongue tie and it aches sometimes now. Not a big issue really, but for the sake of 24hrs discomfort as a baby...

Having seen Psychomum have issues with her DS2 and feeding, I say snip there too

LIZS Sun 16-Dec-07 12:01:51

I used nipple shields as ds was a reluctant feeder, sleepy and wouldn't latch on and I became sore with the fumbled attempts . But it was very much a short term fix to get feeding established (5 days or so).

From hearing others' stories on here too it seems that successful longer term use is difficult to achieve. Milk production is n't fully stimulated as the indirect feeding isn't as effective and they are a faff to sterilise for each time and take around or use discreetly in public.

Joppe Sun 16-Dec-07 12:07:11

Thanks - I'll forward all this to her. Any further experiences/insights would be very helpful.

Joppe Sun 16-Dec-07 12:07:13

Thanks - I'll forward all this to her. Any further experiences/insights would be very helpful.

Islamum Sun 16-Dec-07 12:11:47

My dd is tongue tied, and bf was painful at first but is fine now at 5 weeks, I mentioned to my pediatrition that she sometimes struggles to latch and fusses, she said that it was all too easy to blame the t-tie but probabaly unrelated?

MarsyChristmas Sun 16-Dec-07 12:24:16


Every client of mine that has had their baby's tongue tie snip saw instant results and breastfeed well.

For some babies a mild tt can cause massive problems and those with more severe hardly any. I wouldn't recommend nipple shields as the cure though.

lljkk Sun 16-Dec-07 12:50:23

No 1st hand experience but I've never heard of nipple shields as helping before, whereas people who've had the baby's tongue snipped rave about it (not just this thread, but whenever I've read Internet discussions about it).
If SIL is in the USA they hardly have much of a culture in understanding how to support & promote breastfeeding, do they????

fingerwoman Sun 16-Dec-07 12:53:12

yes, I have a 7 week old baby who was tongue tied and we had it snipped at 3 weeks.
if she starts using nipple shields she may have to use them forever, whereas getting it snipped will sort the problem out once and for all.
she should also look at her latch and positioning though, because I was still sore after getting ds2 snipped and it turned out I just needed help with positioning.

it is such a simple procedure. ds slept through it- it isn't anything major and there are no drawbacks to having it done, so she really has nothing to lose

Joppe Sun 16-Dec-07 16:31:30

I just got back to this. Thanks all, that's all very helpful.

helenhismadwife Sun 16-Dec-07 19:21:43

Both my youngest dd's had tongue tie that affected their ability to feed effectively. It affected dd1 weight gain I was in a lot of pain feeding but knew that my positioning etc was fine.

we had dd1 done at 4 weeks and dd2 at 11 weeks it was very quick (took less than a minute) dd1 cried but as soon as she was given back to me she went straight to the breast and fed easily for the first time, dd2 didnt even cry.(I cried more than them both times blush} For me it made a huge difference. I am so glad we had it done I have read since that it can affect speech, having said all that my dd's tongue ties were quite bad

Sanguine Mon 17-Dec-07 12:40:43

My 12 day old babe has a tight tongue tie that makes his little toungue into a heart shape. God bless him, he seems to have learned to latch and suck well with it and everyone remarks on what a nice action he has on the breast. However, to begin with he dropped 20% of his birthweight and got dehydrated, and ended up in scbu. Because of this, the paed has decided to snip the tie this week. I'm not sure if it's because of the T-T or not, but my milk didn't come in til about day 7 (the day he went to SCBU!), and frankly, the supply is pathetic (we're topping up with formula + EBM), despite living a life permanently hooked up to either my baby or a double pump. What I want to know is, when the T-T is snipped, will he be able to stimulate me to better milk production? Or do I have to start reconciling myself to the fact I just don't have enough milk for him? All this pumping is seriously getting me down, all I have to do is look at the pump and I want to cry! Emma

bethoo Mon 17-Dec-07 12:51:04

my son had tongue tie and could not latch properly, he had it snipped and 9 months later still bf without a problem. not once have i had sore nips! as soon as they cut the tie they stick the baby on your boob and the baby has forgotten everything!

bethoo Mon 17-Dec-07 12:52:50

Sanguine - my son also has a heart shaped tongue which is adorable!! his tongue tie was quite severe, had it not been cut he probbly would not have been able to ever poke his tongue out ehich would have affected eating and speech.

juliewoolie Mon 17-Dec-07 13:06:40

my son had a tongue tie and it very nearly caused me to give up breastfeeding in the first week. On day 8 we had it snipped, it took 2 seconds and he went straight onto the boob for a feed no blood barely a whimper and the first pain free feed we had had. before I had been crying throughout the feed and had blood coming out of my nips.

Their is a pead in Southampton who is a top man at this and if you google toungue tie and Southampton his name will come up and his research.

The thing that did it for us was when we were looking into it we found a quote that said wouldnt it be sad for your child to never be able to stick his tongue out at someone or lick an ice cream.

AwayInAMunker Mon 17-Dec-07 13:12:10

There's some stuff on my blog about tongue tie here - hth

Lazycow Mon 17-Dec-07 13:25:43

Ds was mildly tongue tied and establishing breastfeeding was very very difficult. I breastfed for 2 years in the end BUT almost every feed in that time was painful. It really did make breastfeeding very difficult and not at all pleasurable for me.

By the time we realised what the problem was ds was nearly 8 months old and we were told that any tongue snipping would need a general anaesthetic which they didn't like to do until a child is 2 years old unless absolutely necessary. I didn't want to put ds through a general either so we had missed the boat on having it doen quickly and easily.

We were told that before 7/8 months old a local anaesthetic would probably be OK as the baby would be able to be held still and would not be likely to be frightened as they wouldn't know what was happening. Older than that and it becomes difficult to do as the baby may become distressed and scared.

If I had another child with even the mild tongue tie ds had I wouldn't hestitate to get it snipped as early as possible.

Lazycow Mon 17-Dec-07 13:26:23

BTW I used nipple shields in the early weeks which helpd but didn't solve the problem.

Elsbells Mon 17-Dec-07 13:32:24

SNIP asap.

DD had tongue tie which was not resolved until she was 8 weeks by which time BF was still painful and could only feed with nipple shields. My supply was buggered and I stopped BF all together at around 15 weeks which was *not what I would have hoped for*. sad

I really feel that had it been checked at birth and fixed we would still be feeding now.

Wishing your SIL the best.

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