Temeaka is a devoted mother of a cheeky toddler who has had to contend with some of the all too common symptoms of infant lip and tongue ties. Despite initial resistance from opinionated parties Temeaka has become a passionate advocate for the informed and speedy treatment of these ties, personally choosing to express rather than use formula when her boy was unable to breast feed for an extraordinary length of time. Whilst Temeaka was a persistent advocate for community awareness before becoming a mother it has been through this experience that her desire to help and inform has found a new determination and focus.
Disclaimer: It’s not often that I have to put a disclaimer at the beginning of an article but here goes. This article is an interview in which Temeaka talks about her personal experience with tongue and lip ties. Neither Temeaka or I claim to be medical professionals. The intention is simply to explore this often overlooked area of infant health through a first hand account. Temeaka is not asserting that every baby has this problem but tongue and lip ties are worth exploring if your child is having persistent feeding issues.
What are you talking to DIY itchy kitschy about today? Today I am talking about Tongue and Upper lip ties and exclusive pumping.
What is a lip or tongue tie?
A tongue tie is a restriction of the tongue caused by the frenulum, it can be anterior (which is obvious) or posterior which is harder to catch and often submucosal (hidden within the tongue and floor of the mouth) An Upper lip tie is a similar restriction caused my a frenulum that extends from the lip and attaches to the gum. Both come in varying stages/degrees.
Who inspired you or gave you the information about ties that made you decide to take action?
I knew about Tongue ties and noticed my son was born with one that was highly restrictive, he had both an anterior and a posterior. Our lactation consultant said he was lip tied but wasn’t aware of the impacts of both. I did my own research and discovered the tongue tie babies support group on Facebook. Without the info and knowledge of the group i would never have fought so much for our sons ties to be corrected.
What are the major concerns about babies with ties?
Some of the major concerns with tied babies are failure to breastfeed or even bottle-feed successfully, gas, re-flux, weight gain (not all babies struggle here), speech as they get older, dental issues like decay and large gap between front teeth, headaches/migraines. If left tied a baby/child/adults whole body has to learn to compensate for the ties.
What was your experience with full time expressing like?
Challenging, rewarding, insane, and worthwhile. exclusive pumping is hard work mentally and physically. But I wouldn’t go back and not do it. The hardest part was being told its impossible, 15 months and counting, 3 milk donations to 2 milk babies plus my own and a freezer stash say that it is. I have been blessed to have a supportive partner and friends and family who understand the challenge and give me all the help I need. If a mum can avoid it by correcting ties I’m the first to help but if its what she wants to do or has to do then I’m right here loaning pumps and sharing knowledge. I have been lucky to not be hit with things like thrush, clogged ducts and mastitis. Purely lucky!
What is the most exciting thing you have learned?
That I wasn’t crazy to think my baby not latching wasn’t normal and that it wasn’t my bodies fault or even my babies fault. and that there are doctors who will correct ties early enough so that if my next baby is tied i might stand a chance at breastfeeding.
What has been the most rewarding part of this whole struggle?
Helping other mums and being the port of call for many struggling. There are around 10 babies who’ve got the correct help through my constant barrage of information and post stalking on Facebook. Just knowing others haven’t had the battle we have makes it worth my battle.
What has been the biggest challenge?
The lack of correct information about ties and the affects they have and the lack of skilled providers in Australia that can correct a baby properly. I saw 5 hospitals across Australia, with countless professionals and tongue tie specialists who all said my sons ties weren’t his issue and that they didn’t affect babies the way i was saying they did. Since correcting his ties every single symptom we saw the hospitals for has gone, right down to constant hiccups and man farts.
Where can people go for more information?
http://www.kiddsteeth.com/ Dr Ghaheri and Dr Kotlow (Kiddsteeth) are the leading tongue tie Dr’s in the world.
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