It is recommended to feed the baby immediately following this procedure. A follow-up appointment with your lactation consultant is highly recommended within 24-48 hours of the procedure. We will also have follow-up appointments set with our office for 1 week and 3 weeks after the procedure.
The successful outcome of this procedure is dependent on parental management of how the wound heals. If left to heal on its own, the tissues can completely reattach. Nursing alone is not enough to allow for proper healing. There are specific stretches that must be completed.
A running or camping headlamp can be a good tool to allow parents to better visualize the surgical site in the mouth. Your baby can be positioned on your lap or on any sturdy surface (a bed, couch, floor mat, etc.) It is sometimes easiest to perform these stretches with the baby swaddled and their feet pointing away from you. Having an extra set of hands may be helpful the first few times that this is done.
The healing site will have a diamond shape in appearance. We will refer to this diamond shape when discussing the wound care stretches. Please complete the following stretches 6 times daily for 6 weeks following the surgical procedure. One pattern to have is to do wound stretches after a diaper change and prior to a feeding. Wash your hands prior to the stretches. Wearing gloves is also an option.
- Using one hand, lift the tongue or upper lip until the diamond-shaped surgical site is visible. For some people, using your pointer and middle finger in a V shape does the trick. With the other hand, place the pad of your fingertip at the bottom of the diamond shape and with moderate pressure slide your finger up to the top of the diamond. Repeat this activity for a duration of 5 seconds. Although initially it may bleed a bit during the stretching, the friction on the wound is good as it will delay reattachment of the separated tissues. If you are uncomfortable with the friction and need some lubrication, coconut oil can be rubbed onto your finger first, although this may result in a less effective round of stretches.
- Using one hand, lift the tongue or upper lip until the diamond-shaped surgical site is visible. With the other hand, place the pad of your fingertip in the center of the diamond and slowly roll your finger to the left, back to the center, and to the right. Repeat this activity for a duration of 5 seconds.
- Lift the lip up in a flipping motion up until it touches the nose. Repeat five times. Place your thumbs on the baby’s head with middle fingers pulling down on the baby’s chin lightly. While stabilized in this position, insert your index fingers under the tongue and lift until the surgical site is visible and is being stretched. Repeat five times.
A few days after the procedure, the diamond will appear white or yellow in color. This is a regular part of healing and it is expected to form and ok to touch.
No pain medication is required. If you feel that your baby is uncomfortable and would like to use something, you can use a Homeopathic blend like Hyland’s Baby Oral Pain Relief or pure Homeopathic pellets of Arnica or Chamomilla as well. Another option could be to dilute 1-2 drops of clove oil into almond oil or another edible oil, as the clove oil can be soothing and numbing. But try it on your own gums first to ensure it isn’t too strong. Tylenol can be used but should not be necessary. Some cotton rolls will be sent home with you. They can be dipped in breastmilk and frozen for a soothing remedy to use within the first 24 hours.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to our office with any questions 773-975-6666.