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.

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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.

Comments

  1. Sara Christianson says

    This made me tear up a little. What I would have given to be able to know what I know now 14 months ago!! I felt like after months of research and fighting I FINALLY got my son’s lip/tongue tie fixed and it made all the difference!! Had I known, or had anyone paid attention to us, we may have had it corrected sooner and nursed longer!! Why is this such a “secret” problem? Thanks for addressing it! I hope that my daughter doesn’t have a problem when she is born, but if she does I will NOT wait so long to have it fixed!

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