It wasn’t supposed to go this way. When Michelle Rawlings gave birth to her baby son, she expected to breastfeed him and share what would become a lifelong bond. It was her little baby’s desire as well. They were discharged from the hospital 48 hours after labor and delivery. Everything seemed fine until she arrived home and started breastfeeding him. He was barely able to latch onto her breast if at all. The baby’s inability to feed left it screaming out of hunger most of the night. Needless to say, Mrs. Rawlings was at her wits end.
Thankfully, a nurse midwife paid the family a follow-up visit. After Mrs. Rawlings explained her difficulties with breastfeeding, the nurse strongly recommended the two return back to the hospital to have the baby’s tongue examined. The attentive nurse midwife suspected he may have ankyloglossia.
This is a disorder where the skin layer connecting the bottom tongue to the base is abnormally short. As such, the child cannot properly latch onto the breast for feeding. Later in life, it will experience difficulty with speech. That said, the fix is relatively simple. In Mrs. Rawling’s case, her son had lost almost one fifth of his birth weight due to the incident. He remained on an IV for four days until he regained his strength.
Sadly, Mrs. Rawlings problems did not end with the correction of her son’s ankyloglossia. He continued to have issues breastfeeding. As a result, she developed postpartum depression. She still struggles with her own depression, but has undertaken an awareness campaign on Facebook to help unsuspecting parents.