When our first son was born, he had latching issues when breastfeeding (it hurt mama a lot and never got better!) and several specialists suspected he had a tongue and/or lip tie. I never had him properly evaluated, because we got pregnant when he was 6 months old and gave birth to our second son during the pandemic.
As he has grown into a toddler, his eating habits have gotten pickier and pickier. Which, I know is par for the course with a toddler, but he seems to be exceptionally so, especially given that our second son is a hearty eater, and that’s the case even as he entered toddlerhood.
So I went ahead and had our 3-year-old evaluated. In the D.C. area, Dr. Jaju is considered the premiere pediatric dentist for all things lip/tongue ties and oral issues. She is thorough, her office is a haven for children, and her bedside manners are incredible with children. She was patient and determined and even if I did hold it off for quite some time, I am glad I finally got him evaluated.
It’s what was suspected all along: he has both a lip and tongue tie, as well as a small jaw that causes difficulties when he eats. This also presents itself in the foods he’s willing (and not willing) to eat. He’s always tried to fill himself up on milk and occasionally eats pizza and chicken nuggets. On the drive home, I’ll admit: I was sad. I felt I’d let down my son. That if I was a better mother, I would have addressed this much earlier.
I pushed aside the guilt, and started working with a food therapist (as recommended by Dr. Jaju) as the first course of action. We are a few weeks into our son’s food therapy sessions, and he’s now completely off of his bottle! His food therapist suggested we switch him to a transition bottle that would strengthen his muscles that suck out of a straw. He’s not into the new bottle and instead has pretty much stopped drinking milk. This is great because his appetite for other foods has skyrocketed.
We will also be working on exercises for him so he can strengthen other areas of his mouth, including both sides of his jaw.
Wish us luck!