Those who know me well know that, when Lenny was six months old, he had his lip and tongue ties revised. I can say it matter of factly now, but at the time I was an emotional mess.
Finding out that something was “wrong” with Lenny was a huge stressor for me. I had always suspected something wasn’t one hundred percent correct with the way Lenny latched on to nurse but, with the early help of a lactation consultant and sheer determination to keep breastfeeding, we made it work. It probably helped that Lenny was sent to daycare at such a young age, and was drinking formula to supplement the breast milk he was getting, so that he was gaining weight on target. It wasn’t until I read Katie’s post about her daughter’s revision that made me think something similar could be the cause of our own issues. Lo and behold, a quick lift of Lenny’s lip and lots of research later confirmed my hunch. He had a lip tie and probably a tongue tie.
While part of me was relieved to have some answers to why Lenny was slow to gain weight in the first few weeks, and why his latch was always so shallow, most of me was terrified that I now had to face something “bad” with my child. I didn’t want him to be hurt by the (minor) laser surgery to correct the ties, but I had done enough research to know that leaving the ties could cause more issues as an older child and even as an adult. The decision was ours to make–do we correct something that is not causing much issue now (unlike many babies who have ties, we were still able to make breastfeeding work to a degree) to avoid future issues like speech problems, food aversions and even migraines that may or may not even occur? It was a tough choice to make, and it is fair to say I was paralyzed by the decision. For weeks I sat on the knowledge of the lip and tongue ties, too scared to call and make an appointment to get them fixed.
Finally we did make the decision to have the ties fixed, and I don’t regret it one bit. To look back on it more than six months later, it seems silly that I would have ever considered not doing it. But, at the time, the fear and the emotions were real. It was the first time we had to make a hard decision as parents; the first time we had to cause some pain knowing the benefits after healing would be greater.
I realize parenting is one hard decision after another. These types of challenges keep popping up, although maybe the decisions get easier once the first few are under our belts. Maybe. I do know that I feel more confident in my strength as a parent, knowing that, even though it wasn’t an easy decision, in the end we made the right choice for our son.