Nothing in health care should be above challenge. The role of criticism in medicine has long been acknowledged as a necessary step towards progress. There is nothing unusual about disagreeing over how to screen for, or test diagnoses, or related medical procedures. In professional, academic, and social settings, such discourse is an accepted way to spur fruitful dialogue. A healthy degree of scepticism is not the same thing as suspicion.
When reading anything, anywhere that critiques someone’s ideas on tongue-tie (or anything else), your first question (whoever you happen to be) should most certainly not be,
Who do you think you are to criticize the experts?
See my last post for how well we can trust doctor and patient perceptions about the benefits and harms of surgical interventions. Throughout history vanity has and does play a part when it comes to imperious claims, it’s not just a matter of financial gain. However, always be wary of any one trying to sell you something, particularly if they claim to be acting out of benevolence.
Where practitioners recommend invasive surgical procedures, research backing up any claims of their efficacy needs to be robust, not in its infancy, when discussing what are the safest decisions for babies who are unable to speak for themselves and in need of our protection. Babies are not guinea pigs and anxious parents are particularly vulnerable and easily undermined by dominant authority figures whose focus is to find a problem amenable to intervention. The best available research has to protect people from unnecessary or ineffective treatments, particularly when they may inflict harm. Wounds are wounds however you choose to describe them.
An obvious question to occur to any seasoned breastfeeding supporter might be: is an improvement in breastfeeding a direct result of a tongue-tie release? Or would the improvement have happened anyway? You may have observed how breastfeeding frequently improves after the most difficult of beginnings. One thing does not necessarily follow on from another without a direct causal link having been established.
Support from someone knowledgeable in breastfeeding management is a good starting point, particularly when a cascade of interventions during a baby’s birth has led to a difficult start to breastfeeding.
A good counsellor won’t make too many assumptions but will ask more questions than she will claim to answer.
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