When Breastfeeding Hurts | Why I had my daughter’s tongue tie fixed


Yes, the title says breastfeeding. If it makes you squeamish, squirmish or giggly, you probably have no business being here. Carry on!

when breastfeeding hurts

When I breastfed my oldest daughter, I had no idea what I was doing. There was bleeding, cracking and pain involved. Lots of pain. People just said “breastfeeding hurts.” Had I known better, I would have said, hmmm…this bleeding thing probably isn’t normal, right? And the fact that I have to breath harder than I breathed during labor while breastfeeding her, that isn’t good, right?

But, I didn’t know better, and I was sort of the first of most of our friends to have a baby, so I didn’t have anybody to turn to. Fortunately, a friend from church had a baby that was a lazy latcher came and helped us and things started looking up.

Then came babies number 2 and 3. They were so easy to nurse and I didn’t have any issues. In fact, E nursed until she was 16 months old and likely stopped because there wasn’t much of a supply left as I was pregnant with B.

Six months after stopping nursing E, B was born, so I figured it would be a cake walk.

Wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong!

From the very first time she nursed on the ambulance ride over to the hospital, everything just seemed off. She wouldn’t open her mouth incredibly wide. And once I did get her latched on, it was like she was chewing on my breast. Her lips weren’t flanging out and her jaw motion was all wrong, too. In fact, she made a clicking noise with her mouth. That was what finally set off the warning bells. Oh, and it hurt. A LOT. 

When breastfeeding hurts

One of her very first nursing sessions. I took a picture (and video) because I thought it looked all wrong.

I thought maybe it was just because it had been a while and I quickly forgot. I asked the nurse at the hospital and of course she said it was fine. At that time, I didn’t consult with a location consultant. I wanted to get the heck out of the hospital. 

We got home and the pain persisted…and the weird mouth clicking…and the shallow latch. It wasn’t good at all. Also, when she was done breastfeeding, instead of my nipple looking symmetrical, it looked beveled like a brand new tube of lipstick.

Fortunately, I have a neighbor that is a certified lactation consultant (CLC). I could have called my insurance to find one and try to get in, but it was during the new year and she is two houses down! I gave her a call and she came to our rescue.

She came over to the house and watched our breastfeeding session. She agreed about the shallow latch, and the weird clicking. She also felt in B’s mouth and confirmed my tongue-tie suspicions. The CLC also said B has a high palate which was likely the cause of the bad latch. She suggested trying a nipple shield. So I bought one and tried it. B hated it. Every time I tried to use it, she would bite me. In case you are wondering, biting without teeth still hurts.

Here’s where I should tell you this is all our experience and of course, you should check with your CLC, your pediatrician/doctor and all of your people!

Breastfeeding is super important to me, so quitting wasn’t an option. But, the pain was almost too bearable (and we are talking about pain just a couple days after a completely unmedicated home birth!) and I was crying every time I had to feed her. Like I was dreading her being hungry because I knew how much it was going to hurt. I would start sweating at the thought of it. 

At the CLC’s suggestion, I called a pediatric ENT in our area. They said they couldn’t get us in for two weeks. I plead my case, told them I would come in whenever they could see me. The wiggled and got us in the very next day! 

With a date and time in mind, it helped me get through the pain and discomfort.

The appointment came and I took my little several day old baby to the ENT. I explained the problems we were having and he confirmed my suspicions as well. He explained that he would numb the area with a topical gel under her tongue. He also had me put some in my mouth so I could feel it. It worked very well! We waited a couple minutes to make sure it was numb, then he used a small device to keep her tongue from moving and gently snipped a tiny part under her tongue. She didn’t even cry! There was a tiny bit of blood and then is stopped bleeding right away. 

After having her tongue clipped

I know it’s hard to tell, but she had more of my breast in her mouth and was nursing so much better with much less pain for me.

Immediately, I nursed her and noticed there was a lot less discomfort. She opened her mouth bigger and was able to get more of my breast in her mouth. She didn’t click anymore and she almost seemed surprised when nursing.

This isn’t the solution for everybody and I made sure to do my research and try to get help from anybody that could help me.

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  1. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says:

    I never breastfed myself, so I know nothing about it other than my milk still came in after my babies were born and it HURT. It hurt for about a week until they dried up. OUCH.

  2. I am really glad your neighbor was able to help. I wish there was easier access to breastfeeding help. I am SO lucky we had the midwives (one is a CLC) to help, but most people don’t have that. The nurses in the hospital were HORRIBLE with this, and since I inconveniently had a baby on the weekend the hospital LC was off. Nice. I don’t know how to go about advocating for more help, but I do try to help any friends with it to the best of my abilities. It hurt when Logan did finally latch on becuase of the pumping I was doing to try to go into labor, and then to feed her. But I am with you, quitting, even when EVERYONE calls and texts to let you know they formula fed their kids and they are all fine (yes, formula is wonderful but it isn’t what I wanted to do yet), just wasn’t an option. Way to hang in there, momma!

    1. I still don’t understand this idea of people not having babies or needing help on the weekends!

  3. I didn’t know B had a tongue tie! I’m sure this was best for both of you, and that philosophy I really believe in for infant care – you have to do what’s best for YOU and baby! 🙂

  4. Wow, that is pretty lucky that you had a lactation consultant living so near to you! I had a really rough start nursing Kay, and no one could seem to figure out what the problem was. I dreaded feeding her for the longest time, and was barely hanging onto a few nursing sessions when we were finally diagnosed with thrush. It was so amazing when we finally nursed pain free! 🙂

    1. I was so glad when I remembered that was is an LC and that she responded and came to help!

      I’ve heard thrush is so very painful, too! It’s amazing the difference between painfree and painful breastfeeding.

  5. oh, poor baby! Breastfeeding is so important – I’m so happy you guys were able to continue!

    1. Me, too, because I never felt like quitting more than I did with her….and now, here we are almost 14 months later!

  6. I’m glad you shared this story, breastfeeding is a wonderful thing. I’m also glad that you have a sense of humor about this ” my nipple… looked beveled like a brand new tube of lipstick” YIKES! One more thing that I’m glad about is that you didn’t give up, I know there is a frustrated new mom that needs to hear this.

    1. Oh…I wasn’t even trying to be funny:) It’s a good way for people to know that their baby’s latch is off.

      I do hope it helps somebody, but I do wish that nobody would need the info.

  7. AMEN. I am thankful that I didn’t have major issue with Gage, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen with the next one, as you’ve experienced. You are awesome for sticking with it and providing that liquid gold for B. 😀

    1. So glad I did, too, but there were definitely some times where I wanted to tap out!

  8. Both my kiddos had lip tie. Not to the extent of needing to get it fixed, but I wish I had known the solution with my first. I dreaded feedings just like you. And although we somehow managed it could face easier. With my son, breastfeeding was a breeze because I knew the simple fix (just lift their lip). My daughter also had a lazy latch so I’m not sure it even would have worked, but knowing something was wrong would have helpful at least!

  9. So glad you had her conditioned corrected so breastfeeding could be smooth sailing for you.
    I breastfed the boy until he was almost 2!

  10. This is a great story! Yes mom’s should definitely listen to their intuition. I’m glad you were able to figure out what was wrong.

  11. I always thought that breastfeeding must equal pain. Now I know I was wrong and luckily I did my research pretty well while pregnant. I’ve read a lot online and got this book „How to make breastfeeding pleasant and easy” by Susan Urban and decided to… believe in this! It really gave me a lot of valuable information and when my little one came – I did breastfeed without problems. And almost without pain at all. Of course my nipples had to get used to it, but she latched very well since the beginning and the pleasant part came very early for us. 
Hope to also have two more breastfeeding stories on my own soon.

    1. Adriana, this guide is just PERFECT! I have found it on I think the author’s website and on Amazon. Have just finished reading it and it made me much more self-confident! I am going to be a mom really soon and I feel well prepared for the role of a breastfeeding mommy now! can’t wait 🙂 and I love that it’s an ebook – very handy 🙂 Thanks for the info

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