Lip & Tongue Tie Treatment Aftercare
Your baby may breastfeed, bottle feed and/or use a pacifier immediately following surgery.
It is important to understand that depending on the type of tongue-tie or lip-tie your baby had, improvement with breastfeeding may not be immediate. It can take 3–4 weeks or longer for your baby to learn how to use his or her tongue in an effective manner. We strongly encourage you to follow up with lactation support 5-7 days following your procedure.
Your baby’s mouth heals quickly and stretching exercises are very important after the procedure to make sure that the area that was released doesn’t heal back together. Before starting the exercises, make sure that your hands are clean and your fingernails are short. These stretches are NOT meant to be forceful or prolonged. It's best to be quick and precise with your movements. You do have to use pressure that is sufficient to get baby to open wide and completely lift the tongue but do not aggressively rub the wound. I feel that getting an affordable LED headlight (like a camping headlight) allows you to get the best results.
The following exercises should be started the evening of the day of surgery. Stretches should be resumed the next morning. THIS IS THE ONLY NIGHT YOU WILL NOT DO STRETCHES DURING THE NIGHT. It is necessary you do at least one stretch during the night for the next 21 days to prevent reattachment and for best results we encourage you to maintain the 3-4 hour schedule for the full 21 days even through the night.
Before beginning, position yourself above the baby with the baby's feet going away from you for the stretches.
Lip-Tie Exercise: Lift the lip as high as it will go run your finger gently right to left across the surgical site and hold it up for 5 seconds. Repeat every 3-4 hours for 21 days if there is scar tissue. Gentle massage should be continued day 21-28 at least 3 times/day once stretches are completed to break up any remaining scar tissue. You will know if this is necessary if you feel a knot in the location of the surgical site. The massages day 21-28 do not need to be done through the night so no more waking baby at night. Yay!
Tongue-Tie Exercise: Lift the tongue as high as it will go press gently backwards using a C scoop (rolling pin motion) on the surgical site as you swipe the finger vertically across the diamond with firm but gentle pressure. Repeat approximately 3 times staying under the tongue for about 10 seconds every for 21 days. Gentle massage should be continued just like above if scar tissue remains.
Most of our babies do very well following their procedure. However, every baby is different and we encourage you to be prepared for extra fussiness and need for extra cuddles for the first 4 days following the procedure. Babies may also go on a nursing strike. Be prepared to supplement with bottles as needed and try not to stress during this time as it will pass and baby will resume their normal schedule as soreness and frustration lessens.
Some things you can try to calm your little one include:
- Tylenol (according to the dosing chart we provide which is a comfort dose or according to the recommendations of your pediatrician)
- Arnica Comfort nursing (We recommend trying other things first if mom is experiencing a lot of pain or nipple damage)
- Lavender bath or nursing in a bath
- Safe finger wash cloth popsicles
- Baby wearing
If all these methods fail, do your best to keep in mind that fussiness will pass and try to take turns between mom and dad so one parent does not become overwhelmed.
Aftercare for Adult Patients
Adults can perform the same lip and tongue-tie exercises recommended for infants, but can typically handle performing them independently. For pain, we again recommend over the counter pain relievers like Tylenol or Advil. You can ice the treated area for a few minutes at a time to decrease discomfort and reduce swelling or inflammation. You should fully recover within three weeks. If at any time you experience fever, severe pain not abated with store bought pain relievers, extreme swelling that makes speaking, chewing, or breathing difficult, or other signs of infection, contact us immediately.