129. Tongue Ties Part 1: Hear The Real-Life Journey Of Guest Holly Logan NP & Mom
Tongue ties are no stranger in the life of an IBCLC. I want you to hear the first-hand story of a real-life family who navigated through this struggle. Holly is a mom of 3 and a nurse practitioner. I'm laying the foundation for what tongue ties are. She's sharing her experience.
Say "hi" to holly on Instagram @homewithhollynp
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This podcast is not "medical advice". Please consult with your Healthcare Provider about your specific situation.
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Read the full transcript here:
Welcome to the Breezy Babies podcast, where we talk about all things boobs, babies and breastfeeding. This is episode 129, tongue and Lip Ties part one. I'm Bree the IBCLC and I made Breezy Babies with you in mind to help ease your transition into parenthood. Becoming a parent changes your life and every way imaginable. Bumps in the road are going to come up as you move into your new role, but my goal is to help smooth out those bumps and help you become the most confident parent you can be. With good education and support, I know you can meet your breastfeeding and parenting goals. Let's do this together. Hello, hello. Welcome to another week of the Breezy Babies podcast. Thank you so much for listening and I am excited to kick off the special threepart series with you where we are going to talk all about tongue and lip ties. It's going to be great. And don't worry, these three episodes are not going to be just me talking. I actually have two special guests. One you will meet today and the other you won't meet till next week. And then the third episode is going to be a special one that I decided to add on that will be specific to people who work in the lactation field and help people navigate tongue and lip ties. It's going to be so great. So if you are listening to this podcast episode and your little one is dealing with reflux colic, poor sleep, clicking while feeding diarrhea, pinching heartshaped, tongue chomping at the breast, severe nipple pain for you, unexplained low milk supply, if your little one is swallowing air, has a sensitive gag reflex spitting up very gassy, has a white tongue, trouble taking a pacifier or a bottle, then this podcast episode is for you. Or maybe you are pregnant and worried about some of these things and want to be a little proactive before your baby comes. This is going to be the perfect podcast episode that you are not going to want to miss. And to tell you the truth, I just want to give you a little bit of heads up that we're mostly going to be focusing in these three podcast episodes about tongue and lip ties. But all those symptoms that I just read off to you, sometimes they can get really muddy and overlap with things like dairy allergies. With breastfeeding. That can absolutely happen. I'm not going to go really deep into gut health and food allergies today. My guest today will touch on those. But if you want to dive deep into gut health food allergies, you're going to have to go back to some previous episodes where I dive really deep into those. Today. We're really just focusing on tongue and lip ties, the majority of it being tongue ties only, although the two can go hand in hand like you will learn about. I want to start by telling you that I recently put out a call for families who wanted to share their personal stories with their breastfeeding journey. And I had many that have reached out. You already know this if you listen to the last few podcast episodes. I've had a couple different guests who are moms just like you who are listening to this. And Holly is one that responded to this call and said that she wanted to share her story and her personal journey with navigating tongue and lip ties. So that is what part one is today. But before we jump into that, I want to tell you who is sponsoring this podcast episode today. Today's episode is brought to you by one of my favorite companies in the Lactation Space series. Chill. Series is a three in one breast milk chiller that makes pumping, storing and feeding a breeze. If you have ever had to pump your milk at work in the middle of the night or while you're away, you know the frustration of juggling storage bags and frequent trips to the Fridge or freezer. Series is a sleek storage system that stores all your milk in one place. It keeps your milk cold for up to 20 hours without any bulky ice packs or Insulated cooler bags. You have to go check out this series website just to see how beautiful and durable the double walled stainless steel is. A chiller can hold up to 34oz at a time. It's dishwasher safe. TSA approved is even compatible with all major breast pumps so you can pump directly into the chamber. All my pumping friends agree it's truly a game changer if you pump and store breast milk on the go. And I have a discount code for you if you use Breezy 15. Breezy 15. You can get 15% email@example.com or click the link in the show notes. All right, now back to our episode. I want to give you a little bit of background information before we jump in to my guest, because if you're familiar with tongue and lip ties, you may also be familiar with the term phrenaktomy. And I want to just start by telling you I will break all these terms down. By the way, if this is all brand new information to you, don't worry, keep listening. But I do want to start by telling you that sometimes a phrenctomy is just a part of the journey. Often we want bodywork to also be part of the journey. Okay, we'll go into this a little bit deeper as this podcast episode goes on. And I can't even believe this, but I was looking back through my podcast episodes, and I have not had an episode about tongue ties or lip ties since episode eleven. That was a long time ago. And while that might not sound surprising to you, it is surprising to me that I haven't talked about tongue or lip ties since episode eleven because I come across problems with tongue and lip ties a lot. And yes, you might say, well, you work with people who have trouble with breastfeeding, so of course you're going to see lots of tongue ties and lip ties. And to that I would say you're correct. I may have a skewed view of the percentage of babies with restriction and how that's impacting the movement of their tongue. I will also add though, that I have absolutely seen many instances where a pharma saved a breastfeeding relationship. For some families, the pain and discomfort for both mom and baby were waste. Just such a to high level that having the release done was the only thing that allowed them to continue on. So let's break down some of these, some of these words that you're going to hear. So you have a really clear understanding of the definition. If you were to go and Google search tongue tie right now, a definition that would pop up would be a condition present at birth that restricts the tongue's range of motion. You also may see another definition for tongue tie that says a condition in which a person's tongue remains attached to the floor of their mouth. Another what I found is tongue tie is when a band of tissue connects the tip of the tongue to the floor of the mouth, which keeps it from moving freely. And I would say any of those would be correct. Okay, now let's break down what phrenctomy means. Ferenctomy. If you were to Google this, it would say for anectomy is the complete removal of the French, including its attachment to the underlying bone, while phenotymy is the incision and the relocation of the frontal attachment. That can be done with scissors, a laser. There's a couple of different ways. Now let me just stop right here and say it's a little confusing to me and maybe to you as well over the years to know what the difference is between a phrenotomy and a phrenectomy and if the release of a tongue tie is a phenotype or a phrase to me. So I have even listened to presentations at a Lactation conference where the presenter explained that the release is actually a phenotype because we are not actually removing the French, we are making an incision. And you know, I found that most people in the Lactation world, they actually refer to it as a frenectomy and not as a phenotype. And you know, in the end it might just be potato potato like. We know what you're talking about. But I just want to explain my frustration that sometimes it's tricky to know what the exact right term to use is. So in this podcast, we may use both terms interchangeably and just know that whether we're talking about frenectomy or frenotomy, we're talking about the release of that attachment under the tongue. Another term that you're going to hear is body work. Now, body work is referring to an osteopath, a cranial sacral therapist, a cranial facial therapist, a physical therapist, a chiropractor. Those are all options for body work surrounding tongue tie releases. Okay, this is all going to make a little bit more sense and I will continue to explain what all this means. But I wanted to kind of set up the foundation here so that as my guest, Holly is talking to you and explaining a little bit of her journey, that you have a clear idea of what she's talking about. So I'm going to turn the time over to Holly in just a minute here, but I want to give you a little bit of background information. She is the mom of three boys and she currently is breastfeeding her ten month old. Now, Holly is a family nurse practitioner, so she does have some medical training, but currently she is at home with her boys. She loves talking about all things lactation, newborn, infant care, and prior to leaving her job. You're going to hear a little bit about that. In this podcast episode. She talks about how she considered reflux, breastfeeding challenges and food allergies to be of particular interests and as part of her expertise because of her own personal journey. So without further ado, I'm going to turn the time over to Holly Logan. Hello, everyone, and thank you Brianne from Breezy Babies, for welcoming me to share my story on the podcast. My name is Holly Logan. I'm a mom to three boys and currently nursing my ten month old. I'm actually a family nurse practitioner by trade, but I'm currently a stay at home mom. I wanted to share my experience with Hung Thai's because each of my babies have had their own challenges, breastfeeding challenges, and little did I know until this past year it would all loop back to tongue issues. If you are or were a tongue tie skeptic, welcome to the club. And I think you should hear this. There's definitely a lack of understanding and support within the medical community surrounding tongue ties. So I hope my story will help you be your own advocate and help you find or think about the resources you need. My story actually starts with my second son because we started to question if he had some true medical issues that were impacting mainly his sleep. He had always been a poor sleeper. I blame myself for that. I just thought it was normal. Around age two, though, after we had stopped nursing, he started experiencing night tantrums. Yes, tantrums. It was horrible. Just screaming in the middle of the night like, where was this coming from? And also, even now, he's just never fully rested after being in his room for eleven or 12 hours. He doesn't get quality sleep and he still doesn't. He's at three years old. I had actually always kind of questioned his time being part of his sleep issues because as an infant he had significant reflux, clicked with nursing like crazy, had abnormal green mucousy stools, and even though I hate this word in diagnosis colic symptoms. I hate that word, colic, but that's just what people understand. From about four days old, I knew something was wrong. And looking back, I actually believe his first stool was diarrhea. And not just Maconum. Later I figured out he had something called allergic practicalitis to dairy. But again, that's a whole other story. And as he got older, as I got out of that postpartum overwhelming sleep deprived fog that I just decided was normal, I started to question more and more, why was this happening? He was so different than my first son, and it just didn't seem fair. I saw a lot of consults for colic in my office too, so I just became obsessed with the topic, and I pretty much consumed all the literature I could on infant reflux. I wanted to help myself, but also all of these struggling mothers. Much of that reflux research outside of just getting some food in me and take out dairy, which was frustrating, by the way, would lead me to the discussion of tung Thai. This topic was kind of taboo in my office because it was dismissed as not a real thing or just a moneymaker for the dentist. It wasn't something we really learned about in school. So much of my ideas came from my colleagues, and honestly, my husband's a dentist and he didn't believe in them either. And an ENT told me that he didn't have a tongue tie, so why would I question it further, right? On top of that, I had so many babies in my office under my care who just didn't improve with feeding following their tongue tie revision. And also, again, I was so sleep deprived, anxious, frustrated by it all. So I just kept doing what I was doing. I had never had supply issues, luckily, so we just made it work. But then I had a friend who dealt with significant reflux with her baby who was found to have a significant tongue and lip tie. And although I don't want to tell her story, it's not mine to tell. We have had so many discussions about what happened with her and then with her second child as well. And for her second child, we felt she felt so much more prepared, and yet she still had significant struggles. So it was hard for me to believe that the tongue was or is the only issue, or why, if this is such a problem, why wasn't there some perfect protocol for this? If it's so troubling for babies and mothers, why doesn't the frenectomy just fix it? And why did my kids not have trouble nursing and hers did? Why did her kids sleep pretty good at night? Mine didn't. Why do so many mothers struggle with supply issues if their baby have ties? Babies have ties and we didn't. That inconsistency is really frustrating and confusing, and quite frankly, I find it annoying. So when my 1st 3rd son was born, I looked immediately for two things. One, I wanted to see his poop. I prayed for yellow poop, and days later I did see it and I cried. But I knew right away he had ties. His tongue looked kind of heart shaped. That first latch, it hurt. It pinched like crazy. He was clicking a little, but not all the time. It was really his jaw. It just barely opened. It felt like he was gnawing on me and it was almost intolerable. And this was my third baby I had nurse, so I knew something wasn't OK. My first instinct was to ask for an osteopath because I'm very fortunate that the hospital I deliver actually has osteopaths on staff to help with babies. So my first son had a painful latch when he was born, and he had a very tight jaw. We saw an osteopath in the hospital. It was like magic going home, no problems. So after that experience, I thought an osteopath could fix all of my problems. And for my first, it felt like it did. But seeing this osteopath that I had a relationship with already really didn't improve things. This time the pain got worse, and I have a pretty good tolerance for that. I saw a virtual lactation consultant who confirmed his posterior ties, and I started using a shield for a couple of weeks because at that point, the pain had been so bad, and he was struggling a lot to nurse at night when he was tired. So he had to pump and give a bottle, and then we'd often throw that up. Nights after midnight are always worse. I don't know why he had a hard time with my right breast more than my left breast. He would occasionally predict a vomit. And I always just felt like his belly rumbled with air and feedings and he couldn't suck on a finger and couldn't suck on a pacifier, and neither could my second baby. It was a lot emotionally. I did everything I could. I saw the osteopath, I tried different positions. I worked with a PT virtually, who did oral work, which helped me to leverage his jaw open more. I did an online course, I read a book about it. I met with a popular account online that is all about tone ties and physical therapy. I'm a huge, huge believer in tummy time and rare, rare, rare use of positioners. I did it all. And yet I ultimately told my husband in The Sociopath Doctor that I was working with, that I had lost the battle with this tongue. And sorry, I get a little emotional because I hate even saying that out loud, that I had lost my battle with this tongue. We got to the point that he was having a hard time nursing. He wanted to comfort nurse at times, and he couldn't and would get frustrated or finally eat and sometimes projectile vomit, mostly at night. I think my final straw was a day. He had maybe three feeds, and we ultimately did the revision. At 14 weeks old, I balled my eyes out. I screamed. I probably cried more than him. All along, we've been fortunate that he could nurse, and I know women who could never get baby back to breath, so I'm grateful for that. But all of this has just been extremely frustrating and emotional. I think there was a huge part of me that just didn't want to admit the tongue was the issue and pretend like I could overcome these issues without a frenectomy. And by the way, now after all of that, the stretches, the osteopath, the oral work, the frenectomy, we have challenges with solids, so we still have our challenges. So here's the next part of the story, and I think this is where it gets interesting. Through connections. We found someone who does something called orofacial my biology. You'll have to Google it, but I found her because my second son, Mr. Reflux, was having speech issues. As I started to do my own research for my third son, I started to make connections to my second son. Mr. Reflux now wakes frequently still. He had had those night tantrums. He grinds his teeth occasionally. He also prefers to nap upright in the car seat, has huge tonsils and adenoids. He coughs with food sometimes more often than his brother. All things that have said to me, these ties are impacting his oral posture, impacting his quality sleep, which I think is causing a lot of behaviors and tantrums that, as his mother, I feel are exaggerated and not agerelated, but related to quality sleep, lack of quality sleep. So here I am with a three year old and a ten month old with ties that are functionally impacting their sleep and eating. And, oh, by the way, my first son definitely has ties, but priority wise, his brothers need the care first right now. And I share all of this because tongue ties are elusive. They're annoying, and just frankly, I think they're just pain in the butt. It's a tongue, right? Are you kidding me? All of these issues from a tongue? And on top of that, outside of this insider's club of lactation consultants and select people on social media and some select people who've gone through it, people just don't get it right. Specialists may not believe you. Many pediatricians and ENTs and orthodontists don't believe you. And when I tell people I can't be away from my baby because he can't take a bottle because he has tongue issues, it's kind of embarrassing or I don't know. I don't know how to explain that. I know I don't have to, but it is difficult to explain that. It's so frustrating. So I wanted to offer you not a medical advice, obviously, but advice after hearing all of this, if you've made it this far. So thank you for listening and hearing my story. But my first piece of advice is don't accept infant reflux as an answer. It's a symptom. But of what? Why would a baby, especially a breastfed baby, be born with reflux? Of course there are babies who have true pathologic reflux, but that number is tiny. I saw a reflux way too much in my practice. It just doesn't make sense. It would be good to think about food sensitivity. Something called I mentioned that before a nonig food allergy. My son had a dairy issue. But dairy, soy, and gluten are the top three. Elimination of those foods from your diet will change symptoms, usually within 48 hours, not two weeks. Like most people will tell you, really, within 48 hours. You should see some change or improvement and maybe look at your diet overall. I know when I'm stressed, I consume a lot of caffeine and sugar. I know I crave chocolate. Postpartum, please think about always eating something with your first cup of coffee and limit caffeine like you would in pregnancy. And look at gut health. Did you receive antibiotics in pregnancy or delivery? Was your baby born by Csection? You may benefit from a probiotic after talking to your provider and your baby if one of these three things happen to you. Just please don't accept colic or reflux as your answer, as your final answer, until you've explored other things. And second, look at that latch. Get someone to look at that tongue function. And you know what? This is one of those times that Facebook or Social can be helpful to find that tongue person in your area. But I'll warn you, even my tongue savvy person, based on my research, isn't as savvy as everyone says. Maybe he is, but he's kind of my only option. So online people may be your best bet. But keep digging, keep reading. And if your child's doctor rolls their eyes at this whole tongue thing, please remember that this tongue tie issue is not taught in schools. My husband's a dentist. He remembers one slide about tongue ties. I remember zero education on this. I'm not making excuses, but please try to take a breath and understand that breastfeeding medicine is not taught adequately in schools. When I went to an anti this week for my second son, he didn't brush me off completely, but he did hit me with the art sufficient double blind, controlled, randomized trials nonsense. And I smiled. I took a breath, and for a place of empathy, just tried to remember that he doesn't know everything and that's okay. But what we can offer is we know our children best. We can trust our intuition and know I knew that my second son's reflux was caused by that tongue. I really do believe that at this point. And the reason he sleeps poorly at night is because of those big tonsils and adenoids. And maybe it's because of his tongue position and my baby. Now, I get super frustrated sometimes because he doesn't take a bottle, which is fine, I'm with him, but he doesn't take much for solids. But you know what? He can take milk from a syringe in an emergency, and he is starting to eat and enjoy some bites of food. I try to take a breath and remember that every baby's child's journey is different. His osteopath reminds me of that too. That some just take it in their own time and it's okay. I can only control what I can control today. He doesn't associate his jaw from his tongue, as his therapist says, which makes so much sense to me. And so we have to work on that little by little each day. Which leads me to tip three try to have a plan. I think it's very important to understand that tongue tie journeys are not linear. It's not for nectar me than done happiness. If you're going to do the fertilizer, you need to understand the importance of fascia release. Working with someone who does body work, like a chiropractor or an osteopath, you need to know how to do the stretches. And I highly recommend sock therapy. This isn't something I did leaning up to the front and because I didn't know enough about that, but knowing what I know now, I would have done more with sex therapy as well. So if you have breast pain, your baby clicks when they nurse. They're super gassy and happy until they poop and fart. They snore. They projectile vomit. They can't take a bottle. They can't suck on a finger. That's a big one for me. They can't eat a piece of food without projectile vomiting. You've taken every course of baby blood weaning and they still just throw everything up. Maybe something is going on. And if someone says they're fine, don't take no for an answer yet. Fortunately, there are people online who can help you through this. There are solutions. And I will tell you, it's not an overnight fix. As I said, I secretly hoped my son would have his revision and all the magic pixie dust would prevent him from having feeding issues. But alas, here we are. But you're not alone. You're not crazy. It's going to be a road, and it's a road worth fighting for. And I know I'm speaking from a place of, I guess, privileges the word. I am lucky I could pay for the consult. I go to weekly appointments for both the kids because I am home. So I realized that I'm very lucky that I have that opportunity. That's why you have to kind of figure out what works best for you and for your family and kind of making a plan for this. But I'm happy to help anyone find the resources they need. If you need to shoot me an email or message and setting up a consult with a lactation consultant, that's savvy with ties like Brian is definitely some place to start. Definitely a place that you need and someone you need on your team. So, again, thank you for listening. If you've made it this far, I hope my own story has helped you maybe realize that things weren't perfect and you weren't crazy. I don't even know what the word is. I just feel like there was so much ignored with my second son and for my third son. I didn't want that to happen, and I wanted to figure things out. And it's been a long journey. Again, he's three years old, so it's been a three year journey with him, and we're still figuring things out, but it's a journey we're fighting for. And yeah. So, again, thank you so much for listening to my story and having me on, and I hope it was helpful. Thank you. All right, well, Holly just so great. I'm sure you loved her just as much as I do. I love that her husband is a dentist and he said there was no tongue tie. I think that just makes the story even so much better. So I want to remind you of Holly's top three tips that she shared today. Number one, don't accept colic or reflux as a final answer. Dig deeper. Her tip number two was look at the latch and function. And her tip number three was have a plan. It's not for an academy. And done. I love how Holly taught about teaching to be your own advocate. If you would like to connect with Holly, she is on Instagram at Holly at home with Holly NP. I will link her in the show notes so you can go say hi to her. Thank you for sharing her journey with her own kids. Come back next week. I'm inviting you to come back next week for part two of tongue and lip ties. I have another amazing guest for you. I hope you love hearing from other moms and their experiences. I feel like they're just so relatable because these are people who have lived through it first hand. I walked this journey with many of my clients, but it's just a different perspective to hear it from the parent and what they went through, because they are the ones who are with their baby day in and day out, and I hope you're finding it as valuable as I am. So come back next week for part two of tonguein Lip ties. I have another amazing guest for you, and of course, I'm going to leave you with. You are strong, you are smart, you are beautiful. You're a good friend to all. See you next week. Bye.