Steph and her son Albert faced challenges at the beginning of their breastfeeding journey, and were unable to find a comfortable latch. “We wanted to breastfeed [Albert],” she says, ”but his latch was fussy, and it hurt, and I knew it was wrong.” They discovered that Albert had a tongue-tie, also known as ankyloglossia, where the thin piece of skin under the tongue is abnormally short and movement of the tongue is restricted. Tongue-ties affect around 3% of babies and can have an immediate impact on a baby’s ability to latch and feed effectively. The severity of Albert’s tongue-tie meant that after five days of struggling to feed him, they decided to have it cut.
The procedure to cut a tongue-tie is known as a lingual frenectomy or tongue-tie release. Steph hoped that post-procedure their problems would immediately be solved. Unfortunately for Steph and Albert, they were still unable to breastfeed. “Cue twenty-four hours of pure screaming hell,’” she says. “Everyone was crying. Albert was crying, I was crying, and my three-year-old daughter was crying, because she got no attention.” Steph was feeding Albert pumped milk through a syringe, and without making any progress with his latch, made the decision to stop trying to breastfeed and exclusively express feed him instead. Her next concern was ensuring that Albert continued to work for his feeds, to prevent scar tissue forming and contracting at the site of the tongue-tie.
Generic bottle teats can cause a weaker latch or lazy feeding, which Steph was desperate to avoid. “Cue Minbie,” she says. “My sister told me about this magical teat that made babies work for their feed, so I went online, I had a look, and ordered one. It came the very next day,” she smiles. “I pumped, gave him a nice warm feed, and he stopped screaming. He had a nice warm tummy full of milk, and I never looked back.” The unique shape and design of the Minbie teat nurtures a baby’s latch and strengthens their muscle coordination in the same way breastfeeding does, which was perfect for Albert’s needs. The anti-colic, anti-reflux design mimics the breastfeeding motion to support effective suckling development of the jaw-complex. “He’s been working for his feed ever since,” says Steph, who has since continued to exclusively pump and bottle feed Albert with Minbie, so that he can still receive her milk.
There are other benefits too. “Not only do I get to feed him,” says Steph, but my family get to feed him, which my Mum is really happy about,” she smiles. Albert’s big sister also gets to help feed him, and perhaps the biggest bonus of all, “Daddy gets to help with night feeds!” she laughs. “He’s a super happy calm baby, and those screaming twenty four hours seem a thing of the past.” Having experienced what she did with Albert’s tongue-tie and his difficulties in feeding, Steph is sharing her story to help others who might be going through something similar. “I hope this video will help other people,” she says, “and if your baby is tongue-tied and [breastfeeding] is still not working, then there is an option of exclusively pumping if you want to, and making them work for their feed with a Minbie teat. It’s completely worked for us.”
If your baby is experiencing difficulty breastfeeding due to a tongue-tie or any other concerns, we encourage you to contact us for more information on how the Minbie bottle can help you. More information on the revolutionary design of the Minbie teat can be found on our website here.
If you’ve had success with a Minbie bottle, share your story with us in the comments below.