Your baby has had his/her tongue-tie and/or lip-tie release, so what now? It is important to understand that depending on the type, improvement with breastfeeding may not be immediate. It can take a little bit of time for your baby to learn how to use his/her tongue in an effective manner. We encourage you to return to your lactation consultant and continue appropriate therapies.
Most babies experience only minimal discomfort or fussiness after the procedure, and breastfeeding provides natural pain relief. If however, your baby seems uncomfortable, Tylenol (acetaminophen) can be given to help with the discomfort. Please speak with your doctor/dentist/pharmacist if you are unsure about what dose of medication to give, and remember that medication dosages should always be based on your baby’s weight.
Within the first 24-48 hours after the procedure, a grayish-white patch will form in the area(s) where the incision was made with the laser. This is the space that was created for improved lip and/or tongue movement. This is NOT infection or thrush and the tissue will thicken and return to its normal appearance in about 2 weeks. Slight puffiness of the upper lip is also normal since the lip had to be held and pulled to complete the procedure.
Your baby’s mouth heals quickly, and stretching exercises are very important after the procedure for:
- Optimal healing of the incision sites
- Optimal tongue mobility and functionality
- Prevention of re-attachment and scar formation
- Prevention of oral aversion
- Improved feeding skills and maternal infant bonding
Exercises should be done before daytime feedings for 2 weeks ideally, but most importantly in the first 48 hours. Before starting the exercises, make sure your hands are clean and your fingernails are short. It is usually easiest to perform the stretches while positioned with the baby’s head in your lap as the doctor did for the procedure.
- Place your thumbs or index fingers under your baby’s tongue on either side of the incision.
- Lift your baby’s tongue while gently pushing back at the same time so you can see the diamond shaped area where the cut was made, and hold for 3 seconds.
- There may be a small amount of blood at the area stretches, which is normal.
- Repeat 1-2 times.
- Use your index fingers and thumbs to lift the upper lip until it reaches/covers the nostrils and hold for 3 seconds.
- Repeat 1-2 times.
- Then massage the outside of the lip just below the nose.