A little tongue tied

“It’s only a minor tie, they’ll grow out of it”, “They’re gaining weight fine, try a nipple cream or shield”, “At least they’re still getting your milk from a bottle”, “Breastfeeding just isn’t for everyone” “Baby is gaining weight just fine, you can deal with the pain”.

Parents tell me they hear lines like this from their health care providers. That just isn’t right and it makes me so upset. We have to remember that breast/chestfeeding is the biological norm and if a baby is struggling to latch there is always a reason. The number one reason I see for nipple pain and damage is tongue tie (after we’ve worked on position and latch).

While nipple tenderness is normal for the first week after birth, nipple pain and damage should NEVER be considered “normal” or part of routine feeding. Weight gain is only a piece of the breast feeding puzzle, and while it’s an important one, it only focuses on half of the breast/chestfeeding dyad. Offering your milk is important, but for some families the container it comes in can be VERY important. Unfortunately nipple pain and damage have been normalized by society and even by some health care providers. If a health care provider tells you there is no tongue tie and not to worry about nipple pain and damage because baby is gaining weight well, they should also be referring you out to a lactation specialist (IBCLC) to get to the root of why you’re having that pain and damage. Keep looking for your answers.