First: There is no judgment here – none at all. As a mom with a baby who was tongue-tied and struggled for months to get breastfeeding right, I understand the desperation to have it just WORK once and for all. Some moms struggle for so long, weeks and even months in pain, pumping and trying to breastfeed. They are so desperate, and understandably so, to fix their breastfeeding problems and get that baby breastfeeding once and for all. Sometimes they inadvertently create this problem of oral aversion with aggressive stretching. This absolutely does not happen on purpose of course, though sadly it is happening and the truth is it does not need to.
I have heard some moms state that the baby cries when the diaper is changed and it’s no big deal, and this crying during aggressive stretching is just like that. Well, no it isn’t. A diaper change doesn’t cause the baby pain. And I have heard others say that it HAS to be done this way in order to make sure that frenulum doesn’t reattach. Well, no, it doesn’t – it can be done gently and still be effective.
I have spoken with moms who had significant mom guilt when they realized that their actions (aggressive stretching) had caused their baby’s emotional trauma and oral aversion. These moms were devastated that, in their attempt to help their child – they hurt their child. The fact is, as I see it, and those moms too, this is avoidable.
Tongue massage/stretching should be an in and out fast procedure. Gently slide your finger under the tongue and massage the incision site as such: from bottom: massage up the tongue, then back down 2 - 3 times using gentle but firm pressure - then get out of the mouth. This is 3-4 second procedure at most. If you are doing the stretch, you can use the Kotlow method of coming under the baby's tongue from behind: Baby is laying on his back with his head close to you, you gently slide two fingers under the tongue and lift the tongue up with a gentle push back - hold for count of 3 and then get out of the baby's mouth. I recommend 2-5 times per day for at least 2 weeks, and strongly encourage some sort of complimentary body work. And check in with your LC or Dr. to evaluate how the healing process is going.