Whether it’s with breast milk, formula, or a combination of both, every mother and baby needs to figure out the feeding choices that work best for them.
These days, our culture sends a strong message about the benefits of breastfeeding. Many moms feel proud when breastfeeding is going well — like they have passed their first important test of motherhood with flying colors. That being said, not every woman can or wants to breastfeed, and it’s my opinion that the outcomes for babies who are formula fed may be academic, but in real life are imperceptible. Breastfeeding is not nature’s way of testing your abilities as a mother, and formula feeding is certainly not any indication of failure or insufficiency.
Whether it’s with breast milk, formula, or a combination of both, every mother and baby needs to figure out the feeding choices that work best for them. Though some find that it comes easily, most women say that breastfeeding involves a learning curve. It can take days or weeks for you and your baby to find your way.
The majority of women admit to me that, even when it works, breastfeeding is also really hard.
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We all know the definition of iceberg: a large mass of ice located in the water with just a visible portion protruding above the water’s surface. Ice floes, by contrast, are flat floating sheets of ice with no base underwater. Both beautiful and dangerous, icebergs and ice floes present no issue as long as you can sail around them or sail over them.
Often babies presenting with feeding issues can be viewed as icebergs or ice floes. These babies present with Tethered Oral Tissues (TOT), or oral ties. Upper Lip Tie and Tongue Tie have been implicated as causes of Oral Dysfunction related to both breastfeeding and bottle feeding.
Some moms who elect to have these tethers released via scissors or laser, find huge results from symptoms like: nipple trauma and pain; leaking milk around the mouth; gas; reflux (both silent and violent/vomiting); difficulty sleeping; snoring; weight loss; clicking-while-nursing; colic; and bowel issues, such as constipation. Sometimes the release of tethers seems like a miracle or cure-all for everything — even things not directly related to oral tethers — such as hating the carseat or disliking diaper changes.
The type of baby who gets a miracle cure from having
oral tethers released is dubbed the “Tether-Floe.”
Tether-Floe babies have all of their issuesfloating on the top of the water, so to speak. The tether is the clue and solution to their breastfeeding problems. For them, the laser or scissor frenectomy IS the answer. Poof! The problems begin to melt away, whether quickly or slowly, and within a short amount of time (days to weeks) these babies are breastfeeding like champs, gaining weight, and not hurting their moms any longer. For them, there were no underlying issues (or at least it seems so). The presenting problem is addressed and the breastfeeding relationship is saved.