Brisbane Tongue Tie Clinic - Dr Helen Fung
My Personal Journey to Motherhood and Breastfeeding
SEE ALSO:
Tongue Tie Explained - Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
 
10th September, 2015
By Dr. Helen Fung
Dr Helen Fung
1st September, 2015
  
As a Paediatric Dentist who has treated tongue ties for years, I always knew that breastfeeding should not be painful, but a comfortable, pleasurable experience for both mum and bub.

With the arrival of my own daughter late last year, I was able get first hand experience on breastfeeding. I was very lucky to experience a relatively easy birth experience. She fed straight away for over an hour, and managed to latch on without intervention. However, over the next few days, despite having a great latch, I started experiencing nipple pain. Being experienced in assessing tongue and lip ties, I was confident that the pain wasn’t because of the presence of a tie, but only due to my hungry little girl’s cluster feeding whilst trying to bring my milk in. The blisters and cracked nipples was an experience I simply couldn’t have imagined by reading from a textbook or speaking to mothers. I was lucky that the problem resolved itself after a few days, but it truly made me empathise with just how excruciating the pain could be.

This experience made me realise how much I wanted to breastfeed my little girl. Despite the pain, I kept on breastfeeding, without knowing if the next feed would be just as painful, or if it would start feeling better. In time, both of us learnt how to fit in with each other, and I was lucky enough to be able to exclusively breastfeed her until she was 6 months old. Now, at over 9 months, we are still happily breastfeeding along with solids. So happy, in fact, that she still consistently refuses the bottle, and I still relish our breastfeeding relationship around 3am every morning!

Whilst my journey with her has been fairly straightforward, those first few days of pain every time she latched on has shown me first hand what some mothers experience, sometimes for months, before a knowledgeable provider assesses the breastfeeding difficulties. It seems obvious to me that the earlier the diagnosis is made, the quicker it can be managed appropriately, to allow the breastfeeding relationship to continue.

Amongst my many goals, my priority is to help mothers to experience the wonderful breastfeeding journey I have travelled with my own daughter. Breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful, it shouldn’t be a struggle. My hope is that I can help minimise the problems caused by the presence of tongue and lip ties as early as possible, and to help all breastfeeding mothers experience the joys of being able to nurture their infant successfully and comfortably.
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