Have your baby checked for tongue tie ASAP. And make sure the person checking is EXPERIENCED in also looking at posterior tongue tie and upper lip tie. My nipples were so cracked and bloody that nursing was almost more painful than labor. My daughter lost almost a pound in her first 2 days, and my milk came in late too–all signs of tongue tie. When she got a few weeks older, my baby began to fight nursing and it lasted until we had her ties revised. She kicked, bit, screamed, arched, repeatedly came off the breast while feeding, flat out refused to nurse, and 3 pediatricians and 2 lactation consultants said she had acid reflux and she was put on Zantac. She was colicky and screamed all day long from 5 weeks to 6 months old. She wouldn’t sleep at all unless I held her and I couldn’t put her down for even a second without her screaming (babywearing saved my life). When she was 5 months old, she stopped nursing at all, even when she was sleepy, and in my heart I knew something wasn’t right.
After months on the highest dose, the acid reflux medicine was doing nothing and my baby was miserable, so I started researching and came across dr. Larry Kotlow DDS website and read his documents about tongue tie and breastfeeding. I knew that was what my baby had, but when we took her to our pediatrician, he said she was fine and some babies just don’t like to nurse. That’s not true. I found a skilled IBCLC with a ton of experience in diagnosing tongue ties and she immediately diagnosed my daughter with a harder-to-diagnose posterior tongue tie (tonge is anchored to the floor of the mouth in the back so it’s hard to spot), and an upper lip tie. We made an appointment with a laser dentist to laser the ties away, and the IBCLC showed me a position to try and nurse a bit before my baby’s ties could be fixed. I also pumped 8x per day, drank boats of water, and took supplements to maintain some kind of supply, even though the poor latch and refusal to nurse had severely impacted my supply.
Turns out, tongue-tied babies can’t form a proper latch and it causes them to have a painful experience nursing, and their tummies fill with air that makes them, gassy, colicky, causes “reflux,” makes them eat very often, not settle or sleep well, not gain weight well, and more. The very day my daughter had her posterior tongue tie and lip tie revised, she stopped throwing up. That very night she slept well without being held and didn’t wake more than once all night, she no longer cried all day long out of discomfort and pain, and nursed calmly and willingly, with no loud slurping noises from swallowing air, and no pain for me. I was able to continue nursing with 1 supplemental formula bottle a day until she was 8.5 months old. I desperately wanted to go longer, but due to the long-time struggles we had had, my supply never recovered and then I started to lose it completely.
I’m telling you this long story because so SO many babies have ties that are never diagnosed and treated, because our pediatricians don’t know what to look for, thanks to a bottle feeding culture (bottle nipples can’t tell you if they’re in pain.) The sooner ties are fixed, the more likely it is to retain the breastfeeding relationship. I posted this story on my personal FB page after we had our daughter treated, and 7 friends with new babies messaged me to thank me because they had also been struggling with nursing in similar ways, and it turned out their babies also had tongue ties. It’s VERY common. The difference in my daughter and her health after getting her ties revised was vast and immediate. I urge you, and any other mamas with these same struggles, to do some research, read Dr. Kotlow’s research, and find out if this could be your issue because aside from nursing, there are other long-term effects dealing with speech development, tooth decay, pickiness in eating, and much more. Good luck and I truly feel your pain. Xoxo.