So, being a midwife is not only all about labor and birth. I am blessed to work in a practice that also provides newborn care for the first two weeks, and I love it!!
Recently, I have learned how to perform frenotomy’s. These are done when a baby is “tongue tied” and they cannot stick out their tongues…which can make nursing very difficult indeed. Being tongue tied happens when the frenulum (little piece of skin) that anchors the tongue to the base of the mouth is too tight or extends too far. In the frenotomy, this little piece of skin is clipped. It seems scary and yes, is a little intimidating…especially to have scissors in a newborns little mouth. However, it is very easy, the babies tolerate it well and it hardly bleeds. This is a topic near and dear to my heart. My sweet firstborn was tongue tied and I was not able to find anyone to clip it for me, I was not yet a nurse and had no idea how to do it myself. Together, we endured weeks of very difficult breastfeeding with a couple bouts of mastitis thrown in for fun. Eventually, we were able to work through it, but I would never want a Mama to have to deal with that…when it can be so easily fixed.
This week, I saw two Mama’s struggling with these tight frenulum’s. They were both working with lactation consultants who recommended an assessment for frenotomy. Both had seriously beat up nipples and were in a lot of pain and their babies were not gaining enough weight. The procedures went great and both babies were immediately put to breast….and the look of relieved surprise on the faces of the Mamas was priceless…”oh, this is how it is supposed to feel?!?” The baby that came in earlier in the week is already gaining weight!
These times are when this “job” is truly rewarding!