Stanford Children’s Health Doctors Help Newborn With Tongue-Tie to Breastfeed Successfully

Awasthi family photo
The Awasthi family

When 4-day-old Kyle Awasthi was diagnosed with a severe tongue-tie, his parents, Birute and Asheet Awasthi, were concerned. They knew he needed to be treated right away, but they also needed to find a doctor they felt they could really trust with a newborn baby.

After searching, the family found Bryan Drucker, MD, a pediatrician with Stanford Children’s Health. With the help of Dr. Drucker and a team of Stanford Children’s Health professionals, they found a solution that led to a full recovery for the infant.

A severe tongue-tie can make it hard for babies to latch well. They may not be able to get enough breast milk to thrive. It can also be painful for the mother and make breastfeeding difficult.

“It’s just a chaotic situation, where you have to feed the baby so many times in the day, and every time is a challenge, and the question is, what’s the right thing for the baby?” Kyle’s mother, Birute said. “We were trying to educate ourselves, trying to weigh the options, and we needed a doctor we could trust.”

So, the Awasthi family searched for help until they drove past a sign for Stanford Children’s Health’s Pediatric Associates location in San Jose that led them to Dr. Drucker.

“At that point I knew I needed to act. Immediately. And look for a doctor who is ethical, has integrity, character, and is a professional above reproach. We drove around with our baby in the car with us to find the nearest Stanford facility,” Asheet, Kyle’s father, recalled. A staff member at the office gave Asheet Dr. Drucker’s profile, and he knew right away that it was a perfect fit.

“I saw the words from Dr. Bryan Drucker: ‘Ultimately, I’m a child’s advocate, and I have their best interest at heart.’ At that moment, I knew that I have come to the right place,” Asheet said. “He is truly a ‘child’s advocate.’ … We are simply blessed that we found him in the nick of time. … And sure enough, he saved our baby’s torment by hand-holding us through a diligent diagnosis and guiding us in the right direction.”

Dr. Drucker was able to connect the family to a respiratory and ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist with Stanford Children’s Health, Iram Ahmad, MD. Dr. Ahmad was able to evaluate Kyle and correct the tongue-tie.

“Dr. Ahmad explained it all to us, examined the baby, and performed the procedure. We are very thankful to her,” Asheet said. “She put us at ease in the first few minutes and shared with us a wealth of knowledge to help us make an informed decision for the baby.”

Baby Kyle’s surgery was a success and allowed them to keep breastfeeding, which was very important to the Awasthis. The family credits the support from Dr. Ahmad with this positive outcome.

“It took about a month to get him to latch, but it was incredibly comforting and insightful to have a balanced view from our ENT doctor saying that is normal,” Birute recalled. “She just kept validating things that are normal and some things that are not easy for the baby. So that kept me committed, kept me comforted, and that actually resulted in the baby eventually just latching well, and the problem was fully resolved.”

Kyle Awasthi and mother
Infant Kyle Awasthi and mother Birute

Working with the Stanford Children’s Health team helped the family realize that problems like these are common and solvable with the right support. According to Birute, knowing what to expect was comforting and helpful, and she appreciated that part of her experience.

“You go into motherhood with set expectations, certain pictures of how you’re going to feed the baby. … We just assumed it just works magically for everybody. … You have to learn and relearn and change your picture in the first couple days,” said Birute. “You learn that most people struggle. But you go in thinking, ‘Oh, it’s just for me that doesn’t work.’ … Stanford helped us to get a realistic picture … and you adjust your expectations to reality.

“So that’s one thing I think that was super helpful and comforting, as a mom. That is a part of the Stanford experience that we’ve had that we’re appreciating a lot.”

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