Snip It, Snip It… Good?


It’s the first of many hard decisions we’ll have to make.

Josie has been having a difficult time with nursing lately. Her latch was getting weak and she would just fuss on the boob. So we called in an excellent, highly recommended lactation consultant, who took one look at her frenum or frenulum (the little band under the tongue) and said it had to be snipped. Mind you, tongue-tie, as it’s called, is hereditary, and I have it. I was never snipped and my mom says I was her best nurser. These things give me pause. But, and there always is one, she explained that it’s a quality of life issue. ImageApparently it can be part of why she has GI discomfort as well. She noticed that Josie’s upper lip is very tight, and recommended snipping the top frenum too because it could prevent a big split between her two front teeth.

The idea of anyone restraining my baby and cutting her makes me panic and makes my cortisol rise, which makes the milk stop flowing. This happened on Friday. We had nothing to feed Josie and resorted to buying formula (recommended by the lactation consultant in such cases). Thankfully, once I took a Xanax and calmed the eff down, the milk began to come back. I switched from Xanax to herbs and have been producing enough since. Thanks be to god we never opened the formula.

Josie will breastfeed, but only at night and only side-lying in bed. Otherwise, she’ll have nothing to do with it and I have to pump (we’re renting the hospital grade pump since my flow disappeared). Her snip appointment is this coming Friday, and I wish there was some other way. Part of me (a big part) is scared that it won’t make a difference, that she won’t be able to nurse normally and her reflux won’t improve. I hate Hate HATE the idea of causing her any pain (even though the consultant said it’s no worse than the pain of an immunization shot). Ugh!

The key to keeping her well fed, whether through nursing or a bottle, is to keep my shit together. The other day I heard of a woman who lost her 5-month-old. Apparently she suffocated in her crib. I completely lost it. That is my biggest fear. Probably all new mothers’. But I’m still so postpartum that I have the thinnest skin, and I’m anxious about how my milk flow will react to her surgery. Can I really keep popping the Xanax until my emotions regulate?

6 Responses to “Snip It, Snip It… Good?”

  1. 1 Matt Hannafin February 27, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    We know from snipping: We had Malcolm circumcised. Talk about feeling bad. But it happened very fast, and he wailed, and then it was done. In retrospect, that was actually a lot easier than his recent tonsilectomy.

  2. 2 my aspie self February 27, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    It’s quite natural to be worried and anxious right now; eventually it lessons, but I think it never goes away. I remember sobbing at even the thought of a child dying. This morning, Amelia had a really hard time getting on the bus (last week was winter break, so we knew it’d be a hard transition) and she was sobbing. She even tried to run back in the house. A’s other mommy was beside herself with guilt and worry for an hour. So, yes, we all worry (and the Jewish mommas really worry) and yes, you will have to make many hard decisions. Many things will need an immediate decision when you’d rather have time to think it over. You’ll make a choice, and what will be, will be. Very few decisions will be final–you’ll get the chance to make them over and over again :/ Like schooling, for example. A is only in kindergarten, but it always feels like we’re trying to negotiate college. That lovely decision (homeschool? public school? something else?) comes back around every week or so. We just make the decision we feel most comfortable with, and try not to ask “what if?”

  3. 3 Bea February 27, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    …For your consideration and perhaps explore with your pediatrician/primary…

    From my own experience: Breast milk increases with suckling…it is a feedback loop 😉 …if you are both healthy. (Grave’s disease caused me to lose my milk prematurely with my second baby). When formula and solid foods are introduced, the baby is satisfied and doesn’t suck as much and then the breast milk supply decreases. To keep up your own milk, take naps between feedings to reduce your fatigue and drink water/milk to replenish your own milk. I think breastfed babies may not gain as quickly as bottle fed, but if they are sleeping and gaining and alert when awake, don’t worry. Most important, learn good burping techniques after and during feedings. A lot of gastric distress from breast milk is from swallowed air (or something you ate last night…LOL). Keep a log of your diet and her distress; you may discover a pattern (or maybe not!)

    Supplementary feeding may be the best thing for some babies and moms; in that case, enjoy it, look into your baby’s eyes and let her hold your finger…you have NOT failed her. Josie looks like a wonderful, alert baby! Thanks for the video…

  4. 4 Dr. Debka March 2, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Being a parent is hard that way…that things will be harder for you than for her to go through, I think. I had a REALLY hard time breast feeding. I was pumping, giving her milk with a syringe to avoid nipple confusion. Oy. Finally I gave up and started giving her breast milk from a bottle and breastfeeding when I wasn’t in too much pain. I took Beatrice to a pediatric occupational therapist at 3 or 4 weeks old after the lactation consultant said there wasn’t anything else she could do. I was supposed to do stretching exercises for Bea’s mouth muscles six times a day. She loved them.

    Everyone says stress is the worst thing for babies, mommies, and breastfeeding, and I had plenty of that. Although I wasn’t pleased, it wasn’t a difficult decision to start adding formula when she was still hungry and I felt like I wasn’t providing enough for her and couldn’t get ahead. Still…after all that we went through, I was sad to stop (after 7 months). Now that things are a little more regular I’ve thought about starting again. Is that strange? We both miss it, I think. She’s 10 months old today.

    After all that what I’ve learned is that the best thing for Mommy and Baby is to make sure she feels loved and protected. We’re incredibly resilient creatures when we have that, don’t you think?

    Lots of love to you all!

  5. 5 melissa March 2, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    It just occurred to me to pass along a really wonderful resource. Carol Grey does infant craneosacral therapy (she also taught our Birthing From Within class). My partner’s labor was bad all around, and we ended up with a forceps delivery. When she was born, our daughter had no use of her right are. The doc told us she’d probably never have use of it. We took her to physical therapy for a few weeks, with little improvement. When we had Carol come over to do her manipulation, the result was immediate! Our daughter had full use of her arm and that’s now a distant memory. I know your post is on a different subject, but I highly recommend contacting Carol for these and any other issues Josie has. Sometimes the cure can be so simple! (Not to imply that craneosacral therapy is simple, but that’s how it can look to an outsider!)

    This site says she even holds a free clinic every month!

  6. 6 Ericka and Carrie March 2, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    We know absolutely nothing about this topic and have no helpful (or not) advice. But we both love you all very much and send calm, healing wishes.

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