5 changes after my frenectomy

Adult Tongue Tie

Well, last week I got really brave and took the plunge: I finally was able to find a dentist who was willing to take me on as a test case to have my tongue tie released. I’ve read only the tiniest of handful of accounts from adults who had revisions, so I wanted to share with you some things that I’ve noticed one week out. PLEASE NOTE: Since I was a test case, it turned out that I had a lot to release, so we know I need more revision. 30-something-year-old tongues turn out to be a little bit more apt to bleed. It was done bleeding within 5 minutes, but I’ll be going back for more revision once this heals.

First, a bit of background: I’ve been told I was a very colicky baby for the first 4 months of my life. My mother swears it only got better when I got put on some antibiotics, but I was also having weight-gain issues. I wasn’t really gaining weight at all. I looked like a tiny, translucent bird in all of my pictures. But God bless my mother, she didn’t give up on breastfeeding. She did the best she could.

I have a wire that has been holding my front two teeth together since I got my braces off as a teenager. At some point, I did otherwise break my lip tie, but the tissue between the front teeth is thick enough that there would be a gap there if left unwired. I haven’t gone back to look at pictures from childhood to see if I can detect a lip tie. And, as we often say, almost always is there a tongue tie when there is a lip tie. And my tongue (especially now that I’m 30-something) had a VERY thick frenulum.

Just one aside: I’ve been a little stunned to see the turn that the conversation has taken in recent months on the issue of tongue ties. Specifically, there have been some very vitriolic conversations online by lactation professionals that have taken on tones of blaming parents for MAKING tongue ties an issue. I’ve seen the phrase “parents want the easy fix” pop up over and over again. I’ve read as IBCLCs INSIST that the parents just didn’t try hard enough to work with a lactation consultant on positioning and latch. Unfortunately, some of these IBCLCs have built up a wide audience, and their views can be their views, but what I keep pointing out (and it keeps falling on deaf ears), is that parents don’t get to the tongue tie conclusion easily. Some may, if they are lucky enough to give birth in a hospital with an educated pediatrician who routinely revises tongue ties. Beyond that, by the time I see families join my group, they are at a point of crisis. Real, real crisis. Telling moms they need to “try harder” and see ANOTHER lactation consultant (when often they’ve seen 2-3, or when there literally isn’t one for miles and miles around) is mean at best and unethical at worst (if a care provider can’t provide appropriate care, they are under an ethical obligation to refer to a provider who can.) I was VERY tempted to screen shot some of the very negative posts that I was reading last week and every time they ranted about tongue ties, I would replace the mentions with the phrase “Artificial Baby Milk”; the results would be interesting. (As in: “Parents who are too lazy to work with a lactation consultant look at tongue ties Artificial Baby Milk as the easy fix.” See what I did there?)

Anyway.

Here are the 5 things I’ve noticed in the last 7 days after my release:

1) The tension headaches are largely gone- If you’ve seen my video on how everything in the head is connected, you’d know that the muscles around the skull can hold a lot of tension as a result of having a tongue tightly tethered to the bottom of the mouth. I did go in for some body work with my favorite chiro right after the revision to help release the tension, and it has largely stayed away (well, until yesterday, when I had a train wreck of a day, but I’m already feeling better.)

2) I don’t carry my tension in my shoulders day in and day out- I’ve had so many massages, so many adjustments through the years, and I’ve never had any luck eliminating the tension in my shoulders for more than an hour or two. Well, now I feel like I can. Muscle memory is strong, so I have to be very conscious of my shoulders, but it’s easy to get them to relax when I try.

3) My jaw doesn’t click- OK, so this did take a couple of adjustments to get addressed, but as of now, my jaw is, for the first time ever, click-free and EVEN. I have to imagine I had this same jaw issue when I was born–and I’m pretty sure, even with the perfect latch, my jaw movement would have made it difficult to transfer milk.

4) My tongue sits on the roof of my mouth- Again, I’m still retraining myself to do this, but I can actually keep my tongue where it belongs, whereas before my tongue rested on the back of my teeth and pushed outward on them, essentially ruining the thousands of dollars paid to correct my overbite.

5) My Eustachian tubes moved- Seriously. I felt them move upward over the weekend. Not only that, but I felt them clear out, like they could drain finally. Like EVERYTHING else, it wasn’t until things had changed that I could notice how much of an impact this all made on my body.

Other adults have reported changes in their gaits, posture, and even improved thyroid function.  Time will tell if I see some of those improvements, too. It would have been nice to have this fixed as a baby, but….we all do the best we can with what we have at the time.

Have questions? Let me know!

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.

When is the best time to get an epidural?

After a conversation Crystal and I had last week about epidurals, we decided to have the same conversation again, but this time on camera.

Sorry about the odd framing. I’ll set up the shot better next time.

 

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.

2014 Updated Convertible and Combination Car Seat Lists

The new IIHS Booster Seat Ratings just came out, and it’s really fun to see how well manufacturers are responding to the ratings by improving their designs. Some of the ratings did apply to seats that I had written about before. Some ratings improved from before, and one seat did not do very well at all. Additionally, a seat was just reintroduced to the US market, and I wanted to include it in the list of combination seats. So, below you will find an updated list of seats that I suggest for both convertible car seats and combination car seats.

First, though, some caveats and disclaimers: 

There is no right right car seat for everyone.  You need to pick a car seat that works for your budget, that will fit your child and, especially in the case of convertible car seats, will fit in your car.  Additionally, I do not make any money on the sale of any brands that I will list below.  This is just my opinion based off of 5 years of experience as a Child Passenger Safety Technician. These are not listed in any specific order, either.

Convertible Car Seats

#1- The Recaro ProRide 

I like the ProRide for a few reasons. It’s got some of the highest limits both forward and rear facing. This means it’s going to do a good job of keeping your child rear facing for a long time and allowing your child to stay forward-facing in a 5 point harness for as long as possible.

  • Cost: $220-$260
  • Rear-facing limits: 5-40lbs and 49″
  • Forward-facing limits: 20-65lbs and 22.5″ when seated
  • Dimensions: 27-29″H x 19″W x11″D
  • Weight: 20lbs
  • Expiration: 6 years from date of manufacture
  • Other features: Side-impact protection, Adjustable head support, Recline level indicator, no-rethread harness adjustment

#2- Diono RadianRXT

Things I love about this car seat include it’s steel frame, that you can use the LATCH to anchor it to up to 80 pounds, that it’s also a booster, that it’s narrow frame means you can fit three into the back seat of many cars, and that you can tether it rear-facing. Yes, it’s a little pricey, but it’s the only car seat you really need to ever buy (in theory). In 2014, the IIHS rated this seat as a “Best Bet” when used as a booster seat.

  • Cost: $250-320
  • Rear-facing limits: 5-45lbs and 44″
  • Forward-facing limits: 20-80lbs and 57″
  • Dimensions (HxWxD):28.5″H x 17″W x 16″D
  • Weight: 26.15lbs
  • Expiration: 8 years from date of manufacture in harness mode, 9 years in booster mode
  • Other features: Side-impact protection, Adjustable head support, Expandable sides, Adjustable cup holder

#3- Combi Coccoro

While the two seats I listed above are FABULOUS at being able to be used for the long-term, if you have a smaller car or 2 kids in the back seat of your 4 door car (or, in a 2 door car), then you might need a seat that’s more compact so it’ll actually fit in your backseat rear-facing. This is also a really nice, lightweight seat.

  • Cost: $175-$210
  • Rear-facing limits: 3-33 lbs. and 40″
  • Forward-facing limits: 20-40lbs and 40″
  • Dimensions: 17″ L x 15.50″ W x 28.25″ H
  • Weight: 11.75 lbs.
  • Expiration: 7 years from date of manufacture
  • Other features: Side-impact protection, Can be tethered rear and forward facing, starts at a very low birth weight, a very good seat for preemies, buckle has a visual cue to tell you it’s buckled correctly

#4- Evenflo SureRide DLX

For families looking for a cost-effective option, this is a good seat.  It has some features of the more expensive seats above, like high height limits in the forward facing position.  It does not have some of the nicer features of the other seats, and it can’t be tethered in a rear-facing position.  Also, you’ll find it’s missing some of the “ease of use” features the other seats have. But I will say I do like Evenflo seats and was thrilled to find this seat.

  • Cost: $85-$110
  • Rear-facing limits: 5-40 lbs. and 40″
  • Forward-facing limits: 22-65lbs and 54″
  • Dimensions: 24” High x 18.5” Wide x 28” Long for rear-facing; 28” High x 18.5” Wide x 20” Long in forward-facing mode
  • Weight: 10.5 lbs.
  • Expiration: 6 years from date of manufacture
  • Other features: Side-impact protection, made in the USA, fold-down cupholder

#5- Diono Rainier

As much as I love the Radians, The new Rainier has a few things up on them. First, the lifespan of use is 12 years from date of PURCHASE, whereas the Radians are good for 10 years from date of manufacture. The Rainier is also a little more padded and has higher weight limits. The one downside is that the Rainiers are wider, so you can’t get 3 in the backseat of a smaller car. This seat was rated as a booster by the IIHS for the first time in their 2014 list. It was given the grade of “Not Recommended”, so I can’t really say this would be a good choice to keep using as a high backed booster.

  • Cost: $290
  • Rear-facing limits: 5-50 lbs. and 44″
  • Forward-facing limits: 20-90 lbs and 57″
  • Dimensions: 16 x 17 x 28.7 inches
  • Weight: 28.4 lbs.
  • Expiration: 12 years from date of purchase
  • Other features: Also a high back booster, can be tethered rear-facing, folds for travel

#6- Graco MySize 65 

OK, I do like this seat. I like that you can adjust the harness without un-installing the seat. I like that there are 2 separate sets of lower anchor straps so you don’t have to move the lower anchor straps when you go from rear-facing to forward facing. I like the recline settings. The infant insert is nice, too. The main downside is the lower height limit for forward facing.

  • Cost: $180
  • Rear-facing limits: 4-40 lbs. and 44″
  • Forward-facing limits: 20-65 lbs and 49″
  • Dimensions: Overall Height: 26″ x Width: 22.3″ x Depth: 19.3″
  • Weight: 19.34 lbs
  • Expiration: 6 years from date of manufacture (stamped on back)
  • Other features: integrated cup holder, ease of install, upgraded LATCH connectors

Combination Car Seats:

All of these seats were rated as “Best Bets” in 2014 by the IIHS. There was a change in this, as the Britax had been rated as a “Check Fit” last year. Manufacturers do tweak designs on the same model, so older seats may not be designed as well. Just another argument for the wise investment that goes with a new seat.

#1) The Evenflo Maestro

Full disclosure: this was the combination car seat I bought for my son after he outgrew his convertible car seat. He was able to stay in in with a 5 point harness until November of last year, and he was 5 years old then. He’s still using it now as a booster seat. I don’t love it as a booster (I don’t like how the shoulder portion of the seat belt is threaded), but I do like that you can secure it with the LATCH as a booster to keep it in place in case you have to stop suddenly or get in a crash.

  • Cost: $70
  • Harnessed limits: 22 – 50 lbs and 28 – 50 inches
  • Highback booster limits: 40 – 110 lbs and 43.3 – 57 inches
  • Dimensions: 19” W x 20.5” D x 27” H inches
  • Weight: 11 lbs.
  • Expiration: 6 years from date of manufacture

#2) Evenflo SecureKid DLX

For a step up in price from the Maestro, the Evenflo SecureKid has some really great extra features to make it more comfortable for your child and easier for you to install.  The headrest is adjustable, and the lower anchors have retractors that automatically tighten the install as you push on the seat. As far as I can tell, you can only get the seat from BabiesRUs, and as of the date this post was published, is only available for preorder.

  • Cost: $160
  • Harnessed limits: 22 – 65 lbs and 28 – 50  inches, or 17 inches when seated
  • Highback booster limits: 40 – 110 lbs and 43.3 – 57 inches
  • Dimensions: 26” High x 19” Wide x 21” Deep
  • Weight: 14 lbs.
  • Expiration: 6 years from date of manufacture

#3) Recaro Performance Sport

If you read my post on convertible car seats, you know that I really love the Recaro ProRide. For a combination car seat, the Recaro Performance Sport is really great too.  You can’t use it rear-facing, but if your child has outgrown his or her convertible car seat, this is another great option. This seat has an adjustable headrest, has memory foam cushions, and has some extra features, like color-coding slots and a white stripe on the edge of the harness, to make sure the straps aren’t being threaded incorrectly. Also, the seat meets both US and European crash test standards; the requirements to pass European tests are more stringent than in the US.

  • Cost: $200
  • Harnessed limits: 20 – 65 lbs and 27 – 50  inches
  • Highback booster limits: 30 – 120 lbs and 37-59 inches
  • Dimensions: 25” High x 1.5” Wide x 14” Deep
  • Weight: 25 lbs.
  • Expiration: 6 years from date of manufacture

#4) Britax Pioneer 70

The Britax Pioneer is also on the higher side for price, but it’s long life means that you’ll get your money’s worth. As with the Recaro, Britax seats pass European and US crash test standards. One feature this has that the other seats don’t is a harness that you can adjust the height of without rethreading. My only quibble with Britax seats is that they can a little tricky to install using the vehicle seat belt; though as always, if you read the manual and follow the directions, you should be fine. This was rated as a Best Bet by the IIHS in model year 2014. In 2013, this seat got a “check fit” rating from the IIHS for use as a belt-positioning booster; this means you’ll have to take extra care to teach your child what proper belt placement is.

  • Cost: $185
  • Harnessed limits: 25-70 lbs and 30-54  inches, 18.5 inches seated
  • Highback booster limits: 40 – 110 lbs and 45-59 inches
  • Dimensions: 19″ W x 34″ H x 21″ D
  • Weight: 21 lbs.
  • Expiration: 9 years from date of manufacture

NEW! IMMI Go Seat

This seat was just brought back on the market, and it’s a really interesting design. It’s made to be super portable, very easy to install when using LATCH, and can convert into a backless booster. Because of the design, it requires the use of a tether to install it. It’s small dimensions make it very handy to use when you need to get 3 seats across a small backseat, and it’s perfect for families that travel a lot.

  • Cost: $199
  • Harnessed limits: 22-55 lbs when installed with LATCH, 22-65 lbs when installed with a seat belt, and 31-52  inches
  • Backless Booster Limits: 4 years of age, 40 – 100lbs, 43 – 57 inches
  • Dimensions: 16.5″ W x 16.5″ D; Height is determined by the seat the vehicle is attached to
  • Weight: 10 lbs.
  • Expiration: 6 years from date of manufacture

Have any questions about this list? Let me know below!

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.

When the parent knows more than the physician

parent versus physician

Two articles that I’ve read In the last 3 days have compelled me to share something here on the blog. The first was a story in this month’s The Atlantic that talked about the amount of burnout that physicians face, largely due to the insane demands of charting and other administrative functions. The other was a story from The New York Times about how parents can sometimes do so much research that they know more about their kids’ health conditions than the doctors who end up treating them, largely because the parents have made time for the research that the already-frazzled physicians don’t have.

I’ve told my story before about my daughter’s birth, and I detailed her lip tie release last year. (Oh, and by the way, her front two teeth no longer have a gap. Take that, lip tie deniers.) There’s another story, though, that had way more of an impact on me as a mother and as an educator. It’s the story of my daughter’s obstructive sleep apnea.

I get that all new moms are anxious when it comes to their baby’s sleep. I mean, we do talk about SIDS quite a lot, so there is naturally going to be some worry about making sleep safe. But, in those first few days at home, in the middle of the night, I was disturbed to realize: my daughter would stop breathing while asleep for 3-4 seconds at a time, and then start breathing again with a small gasp. At first I thought it was my imagination, but the hours I spent sleeping with my hand on her while she was asleep in her bassinet next to me did eventually convince me there was a problem that I wasn’t making up.

I shouldn’t tell you this, but things were a little better when I finally threw in the towel and put my daughter to sleep on her side instead of the officially approved back position. When on her side, she was able to flex her neck, and she would tilt back her neck far enough to open and straighten her airway while she slept. She would continue to sleep in that position, neck bent and mouth open, for the entire first four years of her life.

When I finally ventured out of the house with my 4 week old daughter to have lunch with a friend, it was my very, very exhausted self who had been holding her upright for every nap that was gently counseled to try cosleeping. “Just try it for a nap,” she suggested. That afternoon, after looking up all of the safety guidelines, I did, in fact, try cosleeping for the first time. It was a life-changing revelation. From that nap forward, my daughter did co sleep with me until she was 9 months old.

The researchers who do study safe sleep have found that when breastfeeding mothers and babies sleep close together, either in the same bed (again, following the established safety guidelines) or in a crib or bassinet within arms reach of moms, there is a synchronization of sleep patterns that is believed to be important for newborns who aren’t very good at regulating their breathing during sleep on their own. Furthermore, as researcher Kathleen Kendall Tackett once told a plenary session at a conference in Boston that I was attending, for babies with obstructive sleep apnea, co sleeping and bed sharing can be critically important for helping those babies keep breathing.

Now, my story isn’t as much about co sleeping as what happened when I tried to get help for my daughter. At one of her very first well baby checks, I mentioned to her doctor that she would stop breathing when she was asleep. As a new mom, he dismissed any of my claims. As she grew and started to take naps on her own, my husband and I got used to listening to her regular gasps for air over the baby monitor. In a messed up way, those gasps were reassuring: they told us she was still breathing, just not correctly.

Later on, after doing some more research and after it was abundantly clear that she would always have short periods of apnea while sleeping, I did broach the subject again with her doctor. He finally listened and said a sleep study should be done, but the wait list was months long. Shortly after that, our lives spun into chaos: our basement was destroyed during a very heavy rainstorm, requiring us to gut the entire thing and start over from scratch, my husband, sensing an impending layoff, got a job in downtown Minneapolis and had a 12 hour workday and commute, and I became pregnant with my son. (Looking back, it was probably inevitable that I’d end up with postpartum anxiety.)

Tomorrow: The advocacy journey continues

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.