When it comes to tongue ties and lip ties, it’s time we get our act together

Ok, I’ll admit I’m feeling really raw on this subject. The last few weeks have seen some good steps forward, such as the amazing success of the interview with Dr. Ghaheri I posted last week, now approaching 600 views in the last week. Posting the video put me in touch with professionals in the US and Canada who are as passionate about this subject as I am, which is good. It also got me plugged in to start a Facebook group  for families and providers in Minnesota. But, I’ve also had some incidents that leave me feeling absolutely heartbroken and feeling helpless for the families I work with and even my own daughter.

tongue tie blog post smalltongue tie tongue tie

Dear community,

It’s time to come to terms with the fact that we are letting moms and babies down. I know there is largely still a collective shrug when it comes to tongue ties and lip ties, and so little understanding of the issue that care providers can’t manage to recognize even the most glaringly obvious ties. Yes, I realize there’s not a lot of research on it, but there is SOME research. Please. It’s not like health procedures get put into place only after thorough review. (Case in point? Colonoscopies. There’s actually a much cheaper, less risky, less invasive test…it’s just that once people realized they could make more money off of colonoscopies, patients largely stopped getting offered flexible sigmoidoscopy, a viable and safer option.) And yet, moms and babies are suffering, but the drive and compassion just isn’t there to take the initiative on this issue.

I have spent well over 12 hours in the last 3 weeks calling pretty much any dentist, ENT, oral maxillofacial surgeon office I can find. Every call had one of two outcomes: Either I was told by provider a to call provider b, only to call provider b and get told to call provider a, or I would get such a firm, vehement dismissal that such issues could exist (and don’t even get me started on the ignorance with regards to lasers) that I wondered if these people actually gave any thought about keeping up on current practice. After a certain point, it got almost (almost) comical; think of this scene, but add the sounds of mothers and babies crying instead:

Really, truly, I am sick and tired of seeing such obvious ties that they are visible from 15 feet away, yet those moms were told by pediatricians and lactation consultants that no tie exists. I am furious for these moms; they knew something was wrong, yet their health care providers failed them. I’m tired of hearing about moms getting nipple shields to help with bloody nipples, when in reality a quick peek under the tongue and snip would solve the issue in mere minutes.  I should not have to comfort so many crying mothers just because the IBCLC she went to doesn’t have the drive to investigate further once she declares “the latch is good”. That’s great that you can see that much, but (and I’m sorry this is harsh) stop being intellectually lazy. Do you have a lot of moms coming to you with the same exact issue, yet you can’t figure out the cause? Start searching on Pub Med (as I did) and you’ll start to get some answers.

Even Wisconsin is doing far better on this subject than we are in Minnesota.  We view ourselves and being so progressive when it comes to medical treatments, yet when it comes to this issue we’re almost dead last in awareness and access to treatment. So I beg you with every ounce of strength I can muster: please, learn about how to correctly diagnose ties (and it involves looking with your eyes, not just using your finger, FYI). Please, for the love of humanity, when a mom has done research and suspects a tie, LISTEN TO HER, DAMN IT!

Because, really, moms and babies deserve much, much better.

Veronica

 

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tongue tie blog post

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Interview with Dr. Ghaheri, ENT on tongue ties

For more information on Dr. Ghaheri, breastfeeding, and tongue and lip ties, visit his website at www.drghaheri.com

For more information on Veronica and BabyLove, visit www.babylovemn.com

Find support and resources at: www.facebook.com/groups/tonguetiebabies/

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

The real co-sleeping dangers

dangerous baby sleep

Today is Friday. I don’t usually blog on a Friday, but I saw something this morning on social media that was so blatantly dangerous and disturbing, I needed to speak up.

If I had dug around my box of old family pictures for awhile, I could have posted, for #ThrowbackThursday, one picture that still upsets me to this day: it’s a picture of my dad, sleeping on the couch, with me as a teeny tiny baby on his chest. It’s not like he knew it was dangerous, but as I always tell parents a) He did the best he could with the information he had and b) Now we know better, so we do better.

So, here’s the thing: While maybe their message is well meaning, when the “never sleep with your baby”, “back to sleep”, and “don’t breastfeed while drunk” messages get pushed and pushed and pushed by the powers that be, it discourages and blurs the lines about what is safe and what really isn’t. If you pay attention to the headlines, you’ll notice that two things ARE truly leading to the deaths of babies: Parents sleeping with babies in couches and chairs, and parents falling asleep on a couches or chairs while drunk or on drugs (legal or not).

What, really then, is dangerous?

Never fall asleep with your baby while on a couch or in a chair

Never share bed space with your baby if you smoke

Do not fall asleep with your baby if you’ve been drinking

Do not share sleep space with your baby if you are on any kind of sleep medication

Waterbeds and sagging mattresses are very dangerous sleep spaces for babies

Do not share sleep space with your baby on a bed that is pushed up against a wall

Do not allow pets or older children to share the same sleep space with you and your baby

If you want a good handout to share with patients or family members, the always-amazing Kathleen Kendall-Tackett has a PDF on her website on safe sleep. She also has this really great video you can watch:

The reality is, it’s not uncommon for mothers to fall asleep while breastfeeding at 3am. They are exhausted, eyelids droop shut, and….zzzzzzzzz.  It happens. BUT…if you’re going to fall asleep while nursing, make sure that if it does happen it’s in the safest situation possible: On a firm mattress without heavy blankets, no pets, that your hair is tied back, and you are not under the influence of anything.

Listen, accidents can and do happen. It’s imperative that parents make safe choices for their kids. While so much of parenting seems like you can just make whatever choice you want, there are a few things that are not negotiable:

Always use properly-installed car seats and seat belts for your child, and make sure whatever method of child restraint you are using is appropriate for his or her age, height, and developmental stage.

Lock up your guns if you have young children. (Yeah, I went there. I don’t care.)

Don’t leave a baby or toddler unattended in the bathtub or around pools, lakes, or rivers.

Don’t put infant car seats on top of shopping carts, restaurant high chairs, chairs, tables, or anything else that’s not the car seat base in the car or compatible stroller.

Don’t parent while very intoxicated.

Don’t sleep with your baby on the couch.

Don’t sleep with your baby while sitting in the chair.

OK. Sorry. Soapbox done. Carry on, and make safe choices. Your child’s life depends on it.

 

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

More Breastfeeding Tips

More Breastfeeding Tips

Last week I somehow lucked out and was interviewed for a story in a national magazine on tips to make breastfeeding easier. I was warned it could take well over a year before it gets published, but I’m so excited to see my name in print in a glossy magazine. The reporter and I talked for almost an hour, but there were a few tips and tricks that didn’t make the cut. I think they are really important, so I wanted to share them with you:

  • Don’t think laid-back breastfeeding is a fad- I don’t know how many times moms are told about laid back breastfeeding prenatally, but somehow opt into the standard breastfeeding pillow with baby completely on his side once that baby is born. I’m not kidding– babies have a MUCH better time with breastfeeding if you can do laid-back breastfeeding. Think of it this way: When babies are being held by mom in this biological position, babies know they are secure and supported, they can move their heads, they can use their hands, and gravity is there to help them swallow. These are all things we as adults like to have in place whenever we’re eating or drinking, too. It’s just common sense, I think.
  • Trust that your baby likes to breathe- Babies are smart. Very smart. When you use laid back breastfeeding, your baby’s head is free to move. The thing about babies is this: they have instincts to help ensure survival. So if your breast was truly cutting off your baby’s breathing, rest assured that he would realize it right away and pull away from the breast. Is your baby nursing happily? He can breathe.
  • Engorged? Don’t pump!- Remember how your doc or midwife would press on your ankles when you were pregnant to check out swelling? When you press on swollen tissue, the fluid is temporarily displaced. This is extremely helpful in those first few days when engorgement hits. If your breasts are swollen, use your thumb before a feeding to press around the areola and displace the fluid in the tissue. Engorgement is caused by swelling in the breast tissue, not too much milk. Attack the problem at it’s source. It only takes a minute, and you have all the tools literally at hand.
  • Keep your baby’s hands free- This one is simple: do you eat without your hands? No? Then don’t be silly and make your baby eat without his hands, either. It’s also important that his hands aren’t trapped between your body and his body.
  • It’s not nice to shove food in anyone’s mouth- Again, super simple: How would you feel if I took a delicious burger, tickled your lips with it, and then randomly shoved it into your mouth? This is what moms have been being told what to do for YEARS. That was such horrible advice. Let your baby latch on at her own pace.
  • Don’t take “no” for an answer- This one is more parenting advice than anything. Does your gut tell you something is wrong, you did a ton of research, but you can’t get your pediatrician to take you seriously? Never let anyone dismiss your concerns. Speak up. Ask for help. Make those phone calls. Don’t give up. Fight for your child– you’ll never regret that you did.

I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any questions or comments!

Warmly,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

The real final reveal

Sorry about tricking you last week.

So, for real, here are the pictures that I took in the midst of cleaning up on Sunday. Things aren’t 100% in the right place, but you get the idea. I shot a video that my phone is refusing to upload to anything, so you’ll have to make do with the pictures below.

Reactions have been overwhelmingly positive. I am still getting used to teaching and using all the extra square footage. There are some things I can’t find, like my masking tape and tongue-tie brochures. A few things will slowly trickle their way in, like the copier we somehow have to get here from the other corner of 494.  But all in all? I’m happy.

Very happy.

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And just in case you want one last look at Suite 200:

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Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Introducing: Metro Doula Agency, LLC!

After lots of work, some web issues, and loads of care, I’m excited to announce my co-baby: Metro Doula Agency, LLC.

My long-time doula backup and doula partner Liz Fish and I started MDA to serve two needs: It can be a long search for parents to find an available doula, nevermind one that will fit their needs. Also, not all doulas have a love for running a business, and want help with marketing, paperwork, etc. Thus, Metro Doula Agency, LLC was created to help connect doulas and families throughout the Twin Cities area.  Our goal is to find a team of doulas who are professional and highly skilled who parents and providers can trust. And for parents, they will have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that our standards and expectations meet theirs.

Want to find out more? Head on over to the website and check it out!

Warmly,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

No research on waterbirths? Not so fast.

When ACOG and AAP released the joint opinion paper in March “Ob-Gyns Weigh In: Laboring in Water is OK, Delivering in Water Has No Proven Benefit,” It was unclear what kind of effect such an opinion piece would have. After all, it wasn’t a policy statement with citations of all the research to support the new policy; it was an opinion piece that stated that “more research is needed.”

Really?

In the aftermath, hospitals and providers are walking back from allowing mothers to birth in tubs. Despite the fact that they have no proof of negative outcomes from the practice, suddenly this has become a good excuse to halt the option until…well, who knows. The rationale that’s being given is there’s more of a need to study waterbirths.

Really?

Rebecca Dekker over at Evidence Based Birth does a really good job talking about the evidence to support (or not support) the practice of allowing women to labor in a tub and to give birth in the tub. I’m not going to reinvent the wheel, so go read it on her website. The upshot? This isn’t an easy thing to study due to logistics and ethical standards, but it has been studied. It’s been studied enough that the practice is considered safe throughout much of Europe. And guess what? Their water works the same there as it does here.

Another really good explanation of the entire kerfuffle can be found over on Lamaze’s Science and Sensibility Blog.  While it is written by Waterbirth International’s Barbara Harper, she has 24 footnotes of references to back up her information. One of the most stark parts of her post talks about the difficulty in setting up such a study. She writes:

 A 2005 randomized trial which was set up in a Shanghai, China hospital was abandoned because the hospital director realized after only 45 births that the study was unethical.  The original goal was to study 500 births, but the results of those first 45 were so good they abandoned the research project, yet continued their commitment to offering waterbirth to any woman who wanted one.  The latest communication from the Changning Hospital in Shanghai indicates that they have facilitated well over 5000 waterbirths since then.

While I can’t locate information on the study she’s referring to, I did find a nice long list of studies on waterbirth that have been done in China.

Where are things headed? Truly, I don’t know. I am rather befuddled at this recent turn of events, given how quickly water birth access has expanded in the Twin Cities. In the end, as I always do, I encourage families to find out their options and vote with their feet. Want to have the option of a waterbirth? Then support those groups that still offer it. And let them know that there is plenty of research on the subject.

Off my soapbox.

Warmly,

Veronica

 

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

The final reveal of BabyLove

It’s been a VERY long week of packing, cleaning, moving, teaching, moving, hanging a million things on the wall, fixing things, rearranging furniture, assembling furniture….you get the picture. The good news is that my cast is off, too!

So, want to see the final product?

BabyLove’s Grand Reopening Open House
May 4th, 1-4PM

It’s a class reunion, open house, and party all in one! My daughter will have crafts for the kids, there will be lots of fun door prizes, and a chance to hang out!

See you soon!

Warmly,
Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.