There’s More to a TT Release

“Parents, I know it feels like you are saving money when you find a dentist or doctor who will do your baby’s tie releases without an IBCLC, but please consider that the role of the surgeon is ONLY to enable full function to be possible. The release itself does not cause babies to suddenly nurse properly. And the role of the manual therapist is to assist the baby in releasing long-held patterns of restriction that prevent optimal latch and range of motion. Neither of them plays the key role in supporting the breastfeeding dyad in normalizing function. That is the role of the IBCLC. 

No dentist or doctor should be doing a release without IBCLC evaluation, preparation and follow-up. The IBCLC shouåld prepare the parents by teaching oral-motor exercises that begin prior to release and ensure the baby is able to repattern proper muscular activity. Those exercises are modified based on the function, response, age of the baby etc. The IBCLC needs to help the mother correct long-held (usually unconscious) compensatory patterns while breastfeeding that prevent the baby from achieving full function and may even cause reattachment. Also, many babies are dealing with other issues such as intolerance to foods in mom’s diet, many moms have milk supply issues and so on.

I see far too many babies after they have reattached or whose mothers thought the TT release did not work or who had far too many unnecessary bodywork appts, hoping that was the problem, bc they never saw an IBCLC. Your providers are doing you no favors by allowing you to scrounge around for breastfeeding help on social media or from support groups. ****This is primarily a breastfeeding issue and the primary care is provided by the IBCLC.***”      – Jennifer Tow, IBCLC


This is not just an IBCLC trying to get more business. This is real, folks. If you go through with a tongue tie release without a knowledgable IBCLC’s assistance, you are setting yourself up for a very disappointing and frustrating experience and  your baby up for even worse: a frustrating and painful experience.

If you are willing to put forth the money and the effort to release a tongue tie to have breastfeeding success (among the many other benefits), you need to go all in. Otherwise, you have pretty much wasted a great deal of money and time and caused your baby to suffer a painful procedure for no benefit. Spend the money, hire an educated IBCLC.

I don’t know if the IBCLC in your area is knowledgable about Tongue-ties. You won’t know either until they either help you successfully or fail you miserably. Do you want to take that risk? I will not!

If you have found this blog because you are searching for answers to your breastfeeding struggles, fork out the money and hire Jennifer Tow. She is constantly growing, learning, researching. Trying new ideas, exploring new treatments, learning new methods. She never stops. She won’t ever stop, I believe. You will not find a more informed and experienced IBCLC out there in regards to tongue-tie.

If you need help, email her at Send your name and a summary of your situation. She will respond with her prices and set up a time to meet with you via Skype. Don’t let a Skype visit scare you out of it either. She can literally look at pictures of your baby’s face and tell you things about his/her facial structure and oral issues. She can find providers and help you make connections locally to get the care your baby needs.

Do not ask her if you can just correspond through email for free. These issues are too complex to ping-pong emails back and forth. It’s also very time consuming for her. She is the best of the best and you need to compensate her for her expertise, experience, and efforts. You would never think about emailing a doctor back and forth for free to resolve your inability to eat. This is no different.

If you came here looking for answers to your tongue-tie issues, you found it. Her name is Jennifer Tow and she was my only hope to feed my kids. Just hire her. You won’t regret it.


Jennifer Tow, IBCLC

How to Give a Bottle to Baby

We often repeat what we grow up seeing with little thought towards it. This applies to feeding babies as well! Certainly, the more ecposure children and young adulys have to breastfeeding, the more normal it will be seen as, the higher the percentages of they themselves choosing to breastfeed. 

Unfortunately, there are circustances that force a mother to give a bottle. How we give bottles and how we allow others to feed our baby a bottle can have an astounding impact on either or not our baby choices to continue breastfeeding. 

Below is very informative video on the proper way to bottle feed a baby. Even if there is no intention of breastfeeding, paced bottle feeding can have wonderful benefits and greatly reduce the chances of health problems, eating disorders (over eating is an eating disorder), and unhealthy weight gain. 

Video of Paced Bottle Feeding

Oxytocin, Supply, and Hindmilk. What’s the Link?

Hind milk fails to be released as a result of not having letdowns. Which in turn, lowers supply. The result is less foremilk and less hind milk altogether. When this happens, even having letdowns will be insufficient because there’s simply not enough milk to satisfy baby. Letdowns are caused by oxytocin. Oxytocin is released when the nipple is stimulated. 

When a baby first latches on they take shallow, pacifying sucks to stimulate a letdown. Milk begins to flow and they switch to deep long rhythmic sucks. To get additional letdowns for more milk it takes greater amount of stimulation. Thus the deep long rhythmic sucks produces additional letdowns. These letdowns often overlap each other where you cannot tell one stopped and another started. 

If baby is tongue-tied, he or she cannot sustain deep, long, rhythmic sucking. The nipple lacks additional stimulation  required for additional letdowns.

Foremilk gradually transitions to hindmilk while the milk is flowing out. This is because when milk is produced in the milk ducts, the fat is attached to the lining of the milk ducts while the watery part is contained inside. During letdowns, the milk ducts contract, causing the fat to break off into the watery part, creating a creamier milk. If only a first letdown is created and no additional letdowns follow, the fat is left on the lining of the milk ducts. Baby drinks the watery part and her thirst is quenched but she will remain hungry and unsatisfied. 

Dehydration and malnutrition will cause low milk supply because your body has to work harder to make the milk. High blood sugar can also shut down the body’s ability to create milk. 

High stress can lower supply because it hinders the release of oxytocin, which causes the letdowns. Because breastmilk is based on supply and demand, less milk demanded (aka milk leaving the breast) will result in less milk produced. The same result will also occur if baby cannot sustain long deep rhythmic sucks.

How to Nurse a MouseTrap: Overcoming Nipple Trauma

Soon after Adeline’s birth, she began rooting, seeking to nurse. How exciting! Two babies in a row that actually want to nurse immediately after birth! (Loretta was taken from me shortly after birth because she was “too cold” and put under a warmer. Eh, What can you expect at a hospital birth? So even if she was searching, I was given the opportunity to take advantage of it. Ruby I don’t recall having any interest at all).

Adeline latched on first try, in the side lying position. She suckled strong and hard. Yay!

Until about 6 hours later. Of her nursing off and on every hour or so. Strong and hard. And I had bruising, peeling, sore, red nipples. Seriously, when she latched on, it was like a mousetrap. (At least I think it was like a mouse trap. It’s what I image a mousetrap feeling like.)

The next time she cried, I took the time to examine her tongue. (I had noticed a pretty significant lip tie immediately after birth). But her tongue looked good! A frenulum was present. But it’s not so much what the tongue looks like, as much as it is about mobility and function. Mobility seemed good! She could stick her tongue out pretty far. She could also lift her tongue straight up in the air without any cupping!

A cupping tongue is a sign of a posterior tongue tie. The frenulum is restrictive at the base of the tongue and therefore does not allow the tongue to lift properly. The anterior (front) of the tongue can lift well, but the back of the tongue cannot. This causes the tongue to create a cupping motion when lifted. Josiah had this.

I was completely perplexed about whether Adeline had a tongue tie. With her having such a difficult birth, she was very tense. Her left side was very painful. She would cry when we picked her up. Perhaps it’s tension that is causing the nipple trauma. I canceled the frenectomy and decided to go with some chiropractic care and body work first. But this whole situation really unsettled me.

I turned to my trusted resources, Jennifer Tow. I sent her videos and pictures of Adeline. No doubt, there was much tension and pain from birth. She explained to me some massage technics to help loosen her up until we could get to a trained professional. It helped immensely. It’s amazing how much power we have as mothers to help our children. We just need someone to show us the way!

But there was a tongue tie involved also. It was explained to me that although she can lift her tongue very high and without cupping, she  does so only by “tenting” the floor of the mouth. This is where the restriction is. As the tongue lifts up, the restriction is revealed by the floor of the mouth pulling up like a tent.

I called Dr Myer’s office back the morning of the appointment I had canceled the day before. The fit us in. Thankfully, I had still gathered all my remedies just in case. I show up to the office with my remedies in hand and my game face on. Let’s do this!

Immediately after the revision I nursed her. And it was marvelous. No mousetrap! Boom! Amazing! Jennifer Tow, one of the World’s leading IBCLCs, if not the top IBCLC in the world, was right! Amazing how that happens! Hire a top of the line professional and they actually do know what they are talking about! Worth every penny! Every penny!!!!

I have spent the last week and half giving remedies, doing exercises and stretches, and nursing. And it’s wonderful! It’s a little scary to do the exercises. But Jennifer had a brilliant suggestion to help with that anxiety: start doing them BEFORE the procedure! That way you are confident in them, baby is used to them, and you can get through it easier. What a big difference!

The most recent exercises I got from Jennifer before Adeline’s birth involved much more than just keeping a wound open. It included suck training, fascia releases, and palate desensitization. Because of all of this, I began the exercises on her hours after her birth in hopes it would help loosen the tension in her mouth. Glad I did.  It really paid off.

Two days ago I had a follow up appointment with Dr Myers. No reattachment. Wound is healing wide open! I do the exercises prior to nursing, each session. During the day and at night. Anytime she nurses, she gets a dose of remedies and then her exercises prior. And it’s working!

If you are experiencing nipple trauma from nursing and would like information on remedies and exercises to use after a frenectomy, you can contact Jennifer Tow for a professional consultation. It is worth every penny to get the right information, a good release, and proper healing afterwards. You can hire her as your IBCLC by sending an email to

Welcome Adeline Lauraine

My newest nursing adventure has begun!

I found out I was having a girl shorting after the new year began. My previous child, Josiah, was a surprise. We didn’t find out his gender and finding out at his birth was one of my incredible moments of my life. But alas, my husband isn’t big into delayed gratification and ruined all of my fun with this baby.

I didn’t think I really minded whether or not we had another boy or girl. I would be happy either way. But as I lay on the examination table with cold sticky gel on my belly, with everyone’s eyes glued to the big sonogram screen, a wave of terror washed over me when I heard “It’s a girl!”

What as supposed to be an exciting moment in my life was one filled with terror. So many questions. So many fears. So many memories. Choking back tears and forcing a fake smile I wipe my belly off and sit up off the table.

Apparently I have more emotional issues to deal with than I realized. More unresolved pain. Memories yet to be processed and reconciled.

My greatest desire in life is to have a pure heart. Sincerity and authenticity are among the most important qualities to me. If there is residual pain, fear, bitterness, resentment, all of that must be resolved, dealt with, and purified out of my heart and spirit. My gratitude that God blessed me with another sweet girl swells out of my heart. She has come to purify me.

My husband and I began the process of starting a new church last year. There is much to do. The timing of this pregnancy was not the most convenient. I didn’t have time to concentrate much on this pregnancy. It was like I was even pregnant for most of it. She was merciful to me. I had an easy pregnancy. Healthy. No issues. I battled swelling in the last trimester but a little rest and some supplements and it was easily manageable. She’s being merciful to me post birth as well. I have recovered faster from this pregnancy than all three of the others. With each baby, after birth pains get more intense. My after birth with Josiah was absolutely horrendous. I expected and prepared myself for even worse this time around. But Adeline has been merciful yet again. My pain has been minimal. Birth, that’s a different story.

With both my older girls, Loretta and Ruby, I pushed myself hard and went into labor 10 days early. I was sick of being pregnant. I didn’t believe in going past my due date. Whatever. (Yeah… my attitude was horrible.). Both girls were a struggle to nurse. Particularly Ruby. With Josiah I took it easy and desired to make it to my due date. The sucking reflex is one of the last things to develop. Loretta was born without a sucking reflex. We won’t even start talking about all of Ruby’s issues. She didn’t have issues. She had subscriptions. I learned my lesson and took it easy with Josiah and he was born healthy the day before my due date. He latched on immediately after birth and all was great. He began smacking a few days later while nursing, but a little lip-tie and tongue-tie revision and some body work, as we were good! Rainbows and unicorns.

I pushed myself too hard through my pregnancy. The last month I was completely done. I took it easy, rested plenty, let the house go to pot. Things were seeming okay. Then there was a birth party. Two days later my son woke up puking. Two days later, the girls wake up puking. The next morning, Thursday, I wake up with a fever and nausea. I take it super easy that day. I stayed in bed all day. I manage my fever so I can sleep and relax without the joint aches and chills. I do everything I’m supposed to. But what I was trying to avoid inevitably became my reality: Labor.

At 5am that morning I wake to do the normal, “I’m pregnant and can’t sleep through the night without peeing” thing. I receive a message from a friend asking me if I’d had the baby yet. “No. You’re crazy. I’m making it to 40 weeks!” *Contraction*


I hang out in the bathroom to make sure it was my imagination. Fifteen minutes go by and I have another one. This totally isn’t happening. I lay down in the bed. Almost falling asleep, I am awakened by another one. And they hurt bad. It is not the exciting early labor contractions. I breathe deeply, I can’t move out of bed into a bed position. It’s too late. My husband wakes up from my change in breathing pattern. I get in the shower and they start getting closer together. We call my mom inside. We call the midwife. Inflate the birth pool. They stretch back out to fifteen minutes. Aaaaaaaaaand stay there. All day.

Midwife checks me and can’t even reach my cervix because it’s so far back. She leaves. I’m not in labor. Just sick and having contractions because I’m sick. Except they won’t go away. All day. Sometimes they space out to 30 minutes, but they never et closer than 15 minutes. I text the midwife. I’m just sick. Rest. Drink fluids. Take magnesium. My husband feels bad for me. But I’m not in labor. I keep waiting for something to show that I wasn’t crazy. They contractions are very intense. Very painful. I call the midwife. Baby isn’t in the right position. That’s why it hurts and isn’t going anywhere. But I’m not considered to be in labor. Rest.

I never bleed. I never lose my mucus plug. Nothing. Just contractions. I’m on my hands and knees all day, trying to turn the baby. Trying to make it through the contractions. But I’m not in labor. I am in labor. But I’m not. If I was dilating, there would be evidence. So I’m not in labor. I’ve tried everything. They won’t stop.They won’t go away. They won’t subside or lessen.

Finally my husband has an urge to put pressure on my tail bone. Counter pressure. I’ve heard of this. And it feels good. So good. It helps me make it through the pain. Then the pain increases. More and more. Im desperate. I’ve got to try something else.

I go into the bathroom and fill my tub. On hands and knees in the tub. My sweet daughter, Loretta, pouring warm water over my back and my husband puts counter pressure. (Loretta is six and asked to be present for the birth. I prepared her by watching a series of videos that gently acclimates them to birth. I found the videos on a website.) I ask my husband if I have the purple line. He says I do and finally! Someone acknowledges I’m in labor! The baby is coming! Everything changes!

My mom leaves work and heads this way. The midwife leaves and heads this way. My mom is 30minutes from me. My midwife is all the way in St Augustine. It’s Friday, Good Friday, at 5pm. Traffic is a concern.

We start filling up the birth pool. My tub is in the corner and so there’s not a lot of room for me to lean over the edge. My arms keep going numb. My knees hurt from the hardness of the tub (even though we put a towel under me). I can’t wait to get in that birth pool. Lean over the soft spacious side.

Even though the pool isn’t yet filled, I get out of the tub because I just can’t take it anymore. I sit on the toilet so that I can easily stand and squat during a contraction. At this point, counter pressure hurts worse and I refuse to let anyone touch my lower back.

Suddenly my water breaks. Immediately my body bears down as the infant rejection reflex is triggered. My body is pushing her head out. I’m not. I can’t step away from the toilet because it is impossible to move. My husband gets on his knees infant of me, I lean over him and he backs me away from the toilet a few feet so my mom can get behind me to catch the baby.

My friend Brittany had arrived at the house at some point (I have no idea when). At some point also my stepdad had come home from work and was watching Josiah and Ruby. I think he was “feeding” them dinner. Brittany runs into the bathroom when she hears me screaming. It’s completely involuntary. She was at Josiah’s birth so she knows what I sound like when I’m pushing. Loretta comes in and crawls past me so see Adeline make her arrival.

My water broke at 6:47. Adeline comes out at 6:49. I’m still leaning over my husband, standing. My mom is holding the baby behind me. My husband essentially carries me into the bed room to the bed while my mom trails behind us with the baby. The placenta is delivered and placed in a bowl next to us. I hold my sweet Adeline and wait 30 more minutes until the midwife arrives. Laying next to me on the bed, She begins rooting. She latches on first try and sucks.

My mom tells me that she came out forehead first. Sunny side up. No wonder my contractions were so painful and spastic! No wonder the counter pressure was required to move her through the pelvis. It all makes sense now. Fourteen hours of labor. Sunny side up baby. Still no tearing.

Adeline is very sore from malpresensation. She cries when touched. Her face is asymmetrical. Her latch is tense and her suck strong. Too strong. It hurts to nurse. I’ll look at her tongue later. It could be tension from a traumatic birth.

She is beautiful! She looks just like Ruby but with hair! I’m so happy she has hair! Soft, beautiful hair.

My pretty big girl, Loretta, gets to cut the cord. She also put on gloves and helped the midwife examine the placenta (Which was also beautiful! No calcifications or infarcts.).

I tried to talk my husband into an unassisted childbirth for Josiah and Adeline. He was uncomfortable with it so I never pushed the issue. That night, I was holding Adeline while Michael was holding me. He told me that he was so glad that it ended up being an unassisted birth. It was so nice to just enjoy welcoming our new baby with just the family. No rushing around to check dilation or motor heart tones. No crowds. No phones or cameras. All of my babies I have birth pictures and videos of their births. Not Adeline. Not a single picture. No video. Just the sacredness of birth at the home with the family. Just like women gave birth 4,000 years ago.

I love this man. I love that he is the father to my now four remarkable children. I love that he supports me. I love that all my children flooded into my bedroom immediately after birth to meet the baby and kiss their mommy. What a beautiful experience. What a precious baby. What a glorious welcoming of our sweet Adeline Lauraine.




Since Adeline’s birth there have been many tears. 

My tears. Tears from my husband. 

Tears of joy. Tears of gratitude. Tears of fear. Tears of the relieving of fear. 

Tears of sorrow for what was lost and never had with Ruby. Tears of reclaiming. 

Tears of regret. Tears of letting go of regret. Tears of closing a chapter. Tears of opening a new. 

Tears of memories. Painful ones. Tears at memories-creating new ones

Tears washing our souls. Cleansing our spirits. Purifying our hearts. Tears of growth and maturity. The germination of a new experience. 

Tears of lost dreams, what could have beens, what should have beens. Its not fair.  I can never get that back. I can never have Ruby as a baby again. Tears of “I dont want that back. It was too hard. I never want to experience that again.” Tears with being okay with that. 

Ruby had her journey. She had experiences. She was my teacher. I learned how to hurt that deeply. I learned how to love that deeply. I learned to put on my big girl britches and deal with it. 

I learned about life. Struggle. Depression. Judgement.  Condemnation- from others and myself. I learned grace, mercy, forgiveness, and restoration. I learned perspective. Empathy. Sacrifice. 

I learned that everyone is fighting a battle no one knows about. There’s usually a deeper level people are acting on when they behave untowardly. Dig deeper. Whats really going on in their lives? In their minds? In their hearts? Why are they really crying?

Today I cry tears. Tears of newness. Gratitude. Support. I cry because it hurts to nurse. I cry because I am getting help. I cry because God has put previous people in my life that are helping me. 

I cry because I am a woman. I am a mother. I am a human. 

And when I cry…

…I cry tears. 

Body Work: Solution for Small Mouths, Recessed Chins, Car Seat Screaming

I don’t know if I can honestly say that every baby “needs” body work. But I will say without any doubt or hesitation, that every baby can benefit from body work. Many behaviors in babies that are considered “normal” can be helped with body work. Such as carseat screaming.

Both Ruby and Josiah screamed uncontrolably in the carseat. My mom and I used to call them both “The Car Seat Screamers.” Ruby was much older when I finally broke down and took her for the first time. On the way home, it was the first time she had ever been in the carseat and didn’t scream every breath. She actually slept the whole way home. From then on, she only cried if there was something wrong that was fixable (wet diaper, hungry, etc).

/*Josiah was the same way. But I was smarter with him. I actually took him when he was about a month old. He too stopped screaming immediately.

The difference with Ruby became even more apparent once we got home. Her palate was much lower!  Her head was more round. My husband came home that night and was astounded at how different she looked!

The best part, was that he could hold her without her screaming the entire time! He had never been able to hold Ruby without her crying. No one could, except me.

This is just some of the things that Body work has helped my children with. There are many other issues that can be resolved with body work.

Many moms suffering while nursing are told that there is no hope because their baby’s mouth is “too small.” Or the baby has a recessed chin and nothing can be done. WRONG! Body work can resolve these issues! Below is a link to a fantastic a-rticle that details what body work can do, how to know if your baby needs body work, and why it works. I hope it helps you!

CranioSacral Therapy: When Can It Help

Improve the Brain, Improve Digestion, Insomnia, and Stress

My family has been very blessed this past year to discover Functional Neurology and to see a fantastic Doctor that practices it. Dr Kemp has done amazing work on almost my entire family.

Ruby’s Issues

It’s more like a subscription, not just a few issues. She is light years better than where she once was. However, there is still much progress to be made. Some things that really are a development thing (she has absolutely no concept of counting. She can recite numbers well and accurately,  but does not understand that they are actually numbering items) and still digestion and weight gain issues.

Back in April, we realized that she was in Ketoacidosis. This is a condition that the body is basically in starvation mode. You aren’t absorbing nutrients properly (either because you aren’t eating them or because your body isn’t working properly to absorb them) and so your body basically starts eating itself. It can’t get the energy it needs from foods, such as eating enough protein, fat, or even carbs, so your body starts burning the storage of fat and muscles that you have.

Now if you are overweight, this is not always a bad thing. In order to lose weight, your body has to burn and use the stored fat so this can be a good thing for those people. It means that you are limiting you consumption of carbs and sugar and so the body is breaking down fats for it’s energy.

However, if you’re 23 pounds soaking wet at almost 4 years old, this is a problem!

We knew something was awry with Ruby because she would be hysterical every day when she woke up from her nap. Absolutely hysterical. Nothing would calm her or soothe her. My step dad is a diabetic so he happened to have some urine strips that would test for Ketones. (When your body is in Ketoacidosis and is burning stored fat or proteins, it will release ketones that is picked up by the kidneys and excreted in the urine). Her strip was the darkest color that was possible for the strip to detect. So we called the doctor.

We tested her for basically everything. Again. Everything came back normal. Her blood sugar was a little low. Not much. But a little. We decided that she just wasn’t consuming enough protein and perhaps wasn’t absorbing it well. So I decided to cram protein in her.

And by cram I mean, feed her until she is so full that she’s gagging and about to throw up. Three farm-free eggs every morning. At least. Large amounts of proteins. I even give her protein shakes. Within three weeks she had grown an inch taller, gained a full pound, and was no longer passing any ketones in her urine.

Unfortunately, this is not sustainable. I was spending over an hour at the table with her each meal, forcing food down her throat against her will. She would scream and cry. I’ve got two other children pulling at me. And now she basically hates eating.

Figures, right?

Dr. Kemp tested her gag reflex. It’s super sensitive. She gags just by opening her mouth widely. Ridiculous. He said that a hyper-sensitive gag reflex indicates that her entire digestive system is spastic and hyper. This means that everything she eats basically flows straight through her. No wonder she’s not absorbing anything! So we are working on brain exercises to help her. Sadly, this takes time.

A few weeks ago I noticed a book in Dr. Kemp’s office.

why isnt my brain working book











I was strangely to it. I asked if it was any good and was told that it was. Every time I go in, I have to stop myself from stealing it.

Tonight, on a Facebook group, a link was posted by this Author. It was 3 Simple Brain Training Tricks to Improve Digestion. It linked a video that explains the basic tricks.


He can get all “Jargon-y” on you during this video. So it can get a little confusing. The Vagus nerve he is referring to at the beginning of the video is the nerve that connects the digestive system to the brain. Amazingly, it runs right under the tongue.

This is why tongue-tie is such a problem! The vagus nerve is stimulated to release signal the digestive system to work by the tongue moving. If tongue is tied down by a tight or restrictive frenulum, then the vagus nerve is not stimulated. It never gets the message.

It’s like having mail at the post office that you don’t know is there for you and a mail man that won’t deliver the letters to you. You never get the message.

Your stomach never knows to make acid. So the food doesn’t digest timely. It ferments in the belly and bubbles up into the esophagus causing reflux. Most babies that take reflux medicines just need a tongue-tie revision.

Your intestines don’t know to contract and move the food through. So you are constipated and bloated.

The liver and gallbladder know to release bile so then fats are not broken down and utilized properly.

These are big, big problems!

It gets even more intense when you find out that the vagus nerve is also responsible for important roles in the parasympathetic nervous system!

The Parasympathetic nervous system is one of two different parts of your nervous system. The Sympathetic system is responsible for giving you energy, fight-or-flight, waking you up, exciting you, and stimulating your brain. The parasympathetic system does the opposite. It calms you down, relaxes you, puts you to sleep, and controls the digestive system (during times of fight-or-flight, your body actually stalls your digestive system to redirect that energy to other parts of your body).

So if the parasympathetic system is not activated properly because the vagus nerve is not stimulated, then you will be an anxious, uptight insomniac with digestive problems. Sounds like a lot of fussy, colicky babies I know! Like mine, come to think of it!

For more information on this, read this article: Simple Trick to Relieve Stress: Vagus Nerve Stimulation.

I believe that it’s important to release tongue-ties. It will help correct digestive issues, anxiety, insomnia, and stress. It’s important to our  physical health and our emotional well being. But it seems that releasing a tongue-tie alone may not be enough. If the vagus nerve remains dormant or disconnected from the brain, then the results we are looking for will not be fully achieved.

These exercises in the above video will certainly help adults and older children. Exactly how to apply these exercises to babies and smaller children, specifically my little Ruby Sue, is still a mystery to me.



Tongue-Tie Release and Pain Management

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. I have not been trained professionally nor have I worked in a professional setting in regards to anything medical. I am simply a mom. A mom who has experienced quite a bit with three tongue-tied babies and has educated myself to the best of my ability as an amateur. This post is written solely based on my own limited experiences and my opinions have been formed off those experiences alone.

Ruby’s Tongue Tie Releases

Ruby had her tongue-tie released three times. Yup. Kinda crazy. The first time was by an ENT while she was under general anethesia (GA) for a hernia repair. She was 3 months old and the ENT would only do the prodecure under GA. Lucky for us, she was already scheduled to undergo a hernia repair so we worked it out.

During recovery I nursed her. She nursed beautifully. Wonderfully. LIke a dream come true. I remember updating my FaceBook status rejoicing that God had made a way for us to nurse.

FB status

But the ease and effectiveness of her nursing was short lived. Very short lived. As in, less-than-a-week short lived.

I was not informed about anything related to pain management nor any exercises to prevent the frenulum from reattaching (this is when the tissue that was cut away heals back and the tongue remains restricted). I remember a few days after the frenectomy, noticing a huge white blister under her tongue. I had no idea what to expect. The ENT did not discuss ANYTHING with me about what to do or expect. I thought it was puss and so I called his office concerned about infection. (Pretty ignorant, huh? Yeah… that’s how they reacted too.) I was told that was a normal wound that was healing.


This should be good, right?

Only if it heals with space between the tongue and the floor of the mouth. Otherwise, it heals right back into a restricted position. And that’s exactly what happened. Back to square one. Only I didn’t know that we were back to square one. So I was extremely frustrated that she wasn’t nursing properly again. I blamed myself. I blamed her. I started to think that the crazy things ignorant people say about nursing babies could be true. Maybe she was just a lazy baby. So lazy that she can’t or won’t eat? That’s kinda the opposite of lazy though. Most lazy people gorge themselves. But when you’re only getting a few hours of sleep a day for months on end then you loose the ability to think clearly. That’s where I was: Lost, desperate, confused, depressed, disappointment, and ignored by the medical community.

Ruby was six months old when we were blessed to find Jennifer Tow. She was so wonderful to help us. I don’t even know if we would still have Ruby if it wasn’t for her. At least not the Ruby we have now. She got me in touch with a wonderful pediatrican in Gainesville who clipped Ruby’s tongue again that same day. I remember rushing down there in a furry when I got the call from her to come that afternoon. Not only did she fully release her tongue-tie, but did so without all the ridiculous drama of an IV, general anethesia, or other shenanagans that the ENT put us through. Best of all. She got Ruby off her nursing strike and to the breast. Immediately Ruby was able to remove 1 ounce of milk from me in less than a minute. I was able to get her to nurse once or twice after that. But again it was short lived. I wracked me brain trying to figure out why! Ruby wanted to nurse and now she could move her tongue freely. So why wasn’t she?! What was I missing!? The doctor claimed that there was some disagreement in the tongue-tie community about exercises. She did not think they were neccessary and was very experienced in releasing tongue-ties. She had a very good success rate of mother’s going on to nurse their babies. I trusted her. I did not do the exercises.

Jennifer Tow pushed me to do them the next time I spoke with her. But it was too late. Several days had passed and there was already reattachment! The doctor may be right about infants that nurse. (If an infant is nursing properly every few hours, they will move their tongue quite a bit and therefore they may be able to avoid reattachment even when forgoing the exercises. It is a risk that now I would not take. However, it may be possible.) But our problem was greater than this. Ruby wasn’t nursing at all except those two times the night of the release. So she wasn’t moving her tongue.

Ruby’s attachment became so severe that she could not even properly drink out of a bottle. The Doctor clipped her a third time. We did exercises this time, by golly! I’m glad to say that today, Ruby’s tongue is very mobile! If there is any restriction, it is minor.

But the situation was never resolved the way it should have been. Ruby did not nurse. Not properly. Not effectively. And shortly after each procedure, NOT AT ALL.

The exercises were effective in preventing reattachment in Ruby when we did them the third time. However, there was a missing piece that kept use from going on to have an effective and established nursing relationship. It remained a mystery until my next child was born. Tongue-tied of course.

Josiah’s Tongue-Tie Release

Josiah was born a healthy weight of 7 pounds 14 ounces. That was thrilling after having given birth to Ruby, only 5 pounds 2 ounces. What was even better is that he did not have a large obvious tongue-tie. (Also a step-up from Ruby!) But the best part was the fact that he latched on immediately after birth, the first try, and nursed like a champ! Whoa-Whoo!!!!!

But a week after his birth, unpleasant familiarity appeared. He began smacking at the breast. Or clicking some people call it. Regardless of what you want to call it, he was constantly loosing suction and would have to reattach himself. This is a problem. It can lead to a lack of letdowns, improper milk transfer, gagging, swallowing air, and anything else bad you can imagine. You know, those wonderful moments in the middle of the night filled with screaming and they call it “colic” because the doctor is rather clueless of what is really going on. Yup… that!

So I put a call into Dr. Gary Myers. Since Ruby’s birth, he has traveled to watch Dr. Kotlow release infant tongue-ties and has also been in contact with Jennifer Tow quite a bit. And he uses laser instead of scissors. Josiah’s tongue-tie was not extremely restrictive. But he did have quite the lip tie. We released it and had immediate improvement. Stretches and exercises and no reattachment.

By this time, I have embraced alternative medicine and knew that if he acted in pain to give him some homeopathic remedies (arnica and hypericum). After a good week or two, he was pretty much healed up.


Then it returned again. The smacking. I finally had enough of it and called Dr Myers again to release his tongue-tie. He was six weeks old this time. Nursed imediately after the procedure and I rode home with my healthy baby boy on the back of a unicorn.

That night, Josiah stopped nursing. He would lay down and suckle at the breast. Barely. I couldn’t unlatch him, he would cry and cry from hunger because he hadn’t removed any milk. I made my home-made lact-aid to try to help him. It helped once. or maybe twice. But not really. I was PETRIFIED!

Why?! Why is this happening to me again! I did everything right!

About a week of misery, disappointment, fear, anger, and every other negative emotion imaginable, I had a revelation. I was laying in bed “nursing” him. I was exhausted. And I began to think.

“He was smacking before his tongue-tie release, but at least he was nursing! It has only made things worse! I’m buying a bottle tomorrow morning if he doesn’t nurse by morning. I never should have release his tongue-tie. It wasn’t perfect, but at least we were nursing!”

And then the light bulb went off!!!!

I watch him. With every suckle his forehead wrinkles. If he actually swallowed he would whimper. I remembered my poor husband after his tongue-tie release. He said it was some of the worse pain ever. It hurt for over 6 weeks. Josiah was obviously in pain. If my tongue hurt, I wouldn’t want to move it. I would try everything I could to KEEP from moving it.

I imagined my body’s response to such a wound. If I had a cut between my fingers, a deep cut, I would tape my fingers together and avoid spreading them at all cost until it healed back. Until it healed back… But if I only opened it once or twice a day to spead it, then I would be reopening the wound each time and tearing it back open. It would begin healing and then everyday I would tear open the healing just to hold it shut again for another 12-24 hours. It would NEVER heal like that! No! It would hurt for weeks and months. Imagine the scare tissue that would build up after the constant healing and tearing. Healing and tearing.

Perhaps THAT’S why so many babies have such a tremendous build up of scar tissue after a frentectomy! Perhaps pain is why Ruby wouldn’t move her tongue to nurse even though she had the ability to and why Josiah won’t nurse now!

I jumped out of bed and ran to the kitchen like I was being chased by a pack of wolves. I grabbed Arnica and Hypericum. I dissolved the tablets in water and fed it to Josiah using a syringe. I rocked him for 20 minutes while it kicked it. Then we laid down to try nursing again.

And he nursed! Oh, the beautiful sound of swallowing! Oh, the ecstasy of a forceful letdown! The wonderful sight of a sleeping, satisfied baby with milk dripping from the side of his mouth. Amazing!

I continued to give remedies despite it being downplayed by others. I was told that after 3 days an infant won’t feel any pain. Even though my husband was in pain for six weeks, infants heal much faster and so I shouldn’t nee to give the remedies. But the remedies worked when nothing else did. I would try to stop giving them every few days, seeing when the pain stopped. He would quite nursing every time and whimper in pain during a letdown when he had to swallow against his will.

Guess how long I gave him remedies…

Six Weeks.

After six weeks there was no more whimpering while swallowing or forehead-wrinkling while sucking. Interesting, huh?

I can’t help but wonder about Ruby. IF after that second release I had given her something for pain, would she have nursed? I don’t know. It’s possible. It definitely saved Josiah’s nursing relationship. I’ve suggested this to several others that have contacted me and they have seen success as well.

Perhaps it is true that a frenectomy on an infant would be pain-free in three days if we weren’t reopening the wound each time we did exercises. But we must do them to prevent reattachment.

Perhaps the doctor in Gainesville could be right. Maybe, MAYBE, exercises aren’t needed if you treat for pain. If there was no pain when moving the tongue, then the tongue could naturally rise off the floor of the mouth while talk, eating, chewing, swallowing, and sucking on it’s own. How would the skin between your fingers heal if you kept your fingers apart constantly because you were pain-free? I would suspect that it would take longer to heal than if the fingers were taped together. I would also think that the body would eventually heal with the gap that was cut between the fingers being wide open.

My journey with Ruby could have been different if I had treated her for pain. It may not. There’s no way to know. But her not nursing did push me learn more, try more, and reach more. For that I’m thankful. I’m also thankful for God who is with us no matter how dark the night and will reward us if we are faithful to him. It matters not what my journey for Ruby held, all that matters in the end is that I have a wonderful daughter that is full of life today. I am thankful for that! I have determined that I would trust God no matter what I thought of him keeping or not keeping his promise to me that Ruby would nurse again. And I have found that God is always faithful.

photo 1

She doesn’t nurse terribly often. There’s not much milk transfer when she does because I have none (I am 16 weeks pregnant with #4!) But she is nursing. God keeps every promise he makes us!


***For more information about the remedies for pain that I gave Joey and the exercises I did on him, see my page on Tongue-tie exercises. Click here.***

Next Steps for Ruby

Night and day.

That is the difference in my sweet little girl.

In addition to all the amazing things we talked about in the last few posts, the magic just keeps happening around here.

She walks around the house now singing the “Alphabet Song,” “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” and “Jesus Loves Me.”

She has heard us talking about her upcoming birthday and is estatic about it. She tells other people happy birthday and pretends to blow out candles.

Ruby is playing with her sister now. Really playing!

She can count to 15 (she usually forgets number nine, but other than that she does great). She can recognize many of her letters and is learning their sounds.

We still have a long way to go. I have been battling a lot emotionally (see previous post) because I didn’t see just how far behind she really was until she started making progress. Maybe my subconscious was blocking me from seeing it because I couldn’t handle it. I don’t really know.

Sinse she was finally able to start counting, I have been working with her to use her fingers to count. Well, in the process I learned that she has zero ability to independently move any of her fingers other than her index finger. She can close her hand and open it. But cannot do anything with her fingers other than point. I will hold her hand with two fingers up. As soon as I move my hand, all her fingers open all the way up. I have worked and worked and worked with her. She cannot do it.

A few weeks ago, Dr Kemp called me to check on her. (Who does that? No other Doctor I know!) I told him what was going on and also wanted to move forward with additional work towards getting her fully functional, healing her food allergies, etc.

He suggested having her do the bird dog stance work with her until she could hold it 30 seconds on each side.

You can image how that turned out. If not, I’ll tell you. TERRIBLE, that’s how!

I called his office back about a week later, and explained to him that it just wasn’t going to happen. He gave me different exercises (some to specifically target her fingers) and then we’ll check her out again after the first of the year.

Two days ago she was watching me while I calculated something to myself. I began counting on my fingers (yes, I do that still. Especially sinse I no longer have teachers that scold me for it). Ruby watched me and began looking at her hands, turning them over and over.

Yesterday I signed “I love you” at her. She held up her hand tried to move her fingers around.

Today, she held up two fingers for the first time! It wasn’t pretty, but she did it!

Another step forward!

Monday is her last appointed with her speech therapist under the Early Steps program. Tuesday she has an evaluation with the school board to see if she qualifies for speech therapy through the school system.

She turns three in 6 days.

What a journey this has been! I’m ready to take the next step!