I do all of my newborn session in my clients homes. With set up and the session I am often there for 3-4 hours. While mums are free to potter around the house many stay to watch me at work. And so we chat. About the cuteness, the tiredness but nearly always about feeding. Many mums have trouble with baby latching or feeding for hours.
I usually tell of my own feeding experience. I was determined to breast feed. I had read all the books, bought my Lanosil, nipple shields, breast pads. All the glamorous accoutrements!
In hospital my poor little man could not sustain a latch. He would latch on and lose it again after two sucks. And it was sore. Not just uncomfortable- sore. But I persisted for days and in fairness the midwives were very supportive for the first 2 or 3 days. Having done my research I asked every single medical person who came through the door to check him for tongue tie. They all said no (over 10!) and the pump was wheeled in. Finally, days later a wonderful paediatrician confirmed tongue tie and insisted the lactation consultant visited me before we left.
Contrary to what I expected the lactation consultant said that his terrible latch had nothing to do with the tongue tie and it was not to be cut. And so I was left to pump and pump and pump. We visited the lactation consultant several times and still baby would not latch and I was told to keep doing skin on skin and to continue pumping.
No other choices were given to me and I could not find any information anywhere. The wonderful paediatrician had given me the name Dr Kirsten Fitzgerald so I had my GP refer me to her. I finally had it cut when my son was nearly 12 weeks old but it was far to late and he never latched. My body decided enough was enough and my milk dried up and while I was disappointed part of me was so relieved that I could throw the pump in the bin never to be seen again.
I had my son’s cut by Dr Kirsten Fitzgerald in the Department of Dentistry in Crumlin Hospital. This was public but I wasn’t given an option to go privately which I would have done to speed along the process. She was lovely but it was far too late. The procedure itself is so simple and straightforward. Another client of mine had her child’s done in Blackrock Clinic by Dr Súin Murphy when baby was less than two weeks old and subsequently latched and fed successfully.
I have no idea why it is so difficult to get this procedure done here or even to find any information on it. So hopefully this might help some other mums who just do not know where to go. It is very common in Europe and is typically done in the maternity hospital. Ireland has terrible breast feeding rates so maybe instead of focusing in guilting mothers for not breast feeding there could be more support for mothers who are trying and struggling.