BREASTFEEDING SHOULD BE – EXCLUSIVE, EXTENSIVE AND NON-COMPENSATED!
Breastfeeding is the most beautiful way to bond with your baby. Ideally breastfeeding should be started within minutes after birth so that a healthy mom and bbay dyad is established. While babies are a natural at breastfeeding, it is okay to have some hiccups in the journey. An IBCLC and a Functional Pediatric Dentist would really be helpful in the entire process if you ever face any problems.
When I usually ask Mothers about what Breastfeeding means to them, I usually get mixed answers like, “It’s a beautiful bonding time between mommy and baby” or “Its feeding breastmilk to the baby”
While Breastfeeding does involve feeding Breastmilk to the baby directly from the breast and its super essential, its important to know that its not JUST about Breastmilk. There are many ways of feeding Breastmilk to the baby in today’s world but there obviously should be some greater reason why nature must have designed BREASTFEEDING for the baby, right?
I am going to tell you some secrets of Breastfeeding that you might not have known till now.
Breastfeeding your baby is super essential for the growth of their face and airway to their full genetic potential. There are numerous studies which shows that babies who haven’t been breastfed develop significant changes in their facial growth.
Diving inside the Breastfeeding process
We know that a baby is breastfeeding well when a baby’s mouth is wide open with lips flanged outwards and a large amount of breast tissue is inside baby’s mouth. The chin touches the breast and nose is slightly away from the breast. The suckling is rhythmic with short pauses and a swallowing sound. This is called a GOOD or a PROPER LATCH. Only when a baby has achieved a good latch, will they be able to breastfeed well.
The breast tissue is held deep inside the mouth with the tongue pressing the breast against the roof of the mouth (hard palate). This creates a vacuum effect. The suckling motion involves the tongue moving in a wave-like fashion pressing the breast tissue against the hard palate and this results in an effective withdrawal of milk directly to the throat.
When this happens, there is no :
⦁ Milk leakage from the sides of the mouth
⦁ No swallowing of air during feeds
⦁ Less hiccups
⦁ Less colic/gas
⦁ No nipple pain
In general a happy baby and mommy!
There is more than what eyes see !
- Breastfeeding is the first Neuro-exercise a baby gets. Children suckle onto their mommy’s breast in a way which is too different than they would suckle onto a feeding bottle.
- You see, the breast tissue is soft and is quite moldable and the constant wave-like motion of the tongue pressing onto the breast against the roof of the mouth to remove milk is exactly what shapes the hard palate as well. Babies’ bones at this age are like sponge and it molds in the direction in which the force is applied more.
- While suckling, The pressure from the tongue against the Breast tissue, cheeks and nasal breathing shapes the hard palate in a broad and nice U-shape.
- This helps to broaden the nasal passage as well and the jaws to grow in a forward direction and become wider transversely. This Jaw growth is extremely important as it creates ample room for the Wind-Pipe or Airway situated behind our face.
- The child is ultimately able to breathe well through their nose and every structure in the mouth and face occupies the correct position and function how it was designed to be.
- A child who breathes well, Sleeps Well !
- Proper and Long-term breastfeeding ensures correct Tongue Position, which is; the entire tongue resting on the Roof of the Mouth (hard palate).
- This ensures, that when the child goes into deep sleep, their tongue doesn’t fall back and choke on the airway because if this happens the child may never be able to enter deep sleep which is extremely vital for their growth and function. They may have restless sleep, showing signs of Sleep Disordered Breathing.
What happens during Bottle feeding?
While Bottle feeding can serve as an excellent tool during the time of emergency, it should NEVER be made as a norm in daily practice.
- The passive flow of milk from the bottle doesn’t exercise the facial muscles and tongue of the baby. This results in Less Strength in these oral muscles which may cause several issues later on either in solids feeding, sleep or in general health and growth.
- Moreover, A piston-like motion is seen to develop in bottle-fed children, due to the habit of positioning the tongue on the artificial nipple to control milk flow. This abnormal motor activity of the tongue is referred to as a tongue thrust which leads to malocclusion or crooked teeth in the future. This even encourages Open Mouth Posture or Mouth Breathing in children.
- Breastfeeding is hence a physiological aid for the baby to work the jaws and tongue in a natural way. Conventional and scientifically it has not only nutritional, immunological and physiological benefits but also practical, psychological and developmental benefits.
- Suckling plus normal swallowing motions help to develop proper perioral (around the mouth and jaw) musculature and ensure the right oral habits developing.
How does Tongue Tie/ Lip Tie affect Breastfeeding?
Tethered Oral Tissues like those of Tongue Ties/Lip Tie may prevent good latch in babies.
- When the Tongue and lip function and range of motion is optimal, there is a deep latch and an efficient suction created at the interface of tongue, breast and roof of the mouth. This results in an effective withdrawal of milk and a Non-Compensated suckling at breast.
When the Tongue and Lip function is restricted due to the presence of Tongue Ties /Lip Ties, the lips aren’t able to flange outward and the Tongue isn’t able to generate an optimum seal/vacuum with the breast against the roof of the mouth.
This may result in a lot of compensations and a cascade of symptoms.
|Infant’s Symptoms||Mother’s Symptoms|
|⦁ Poor Latch/ Shallow Latch/Nipple Feeding||⦁ Pain while feeding/ Painful or sore nipples|
|⦁ Gumming/Chewing on the nipples||⦁ Bruised/ Cracked Nipples|
|⦁ Clicking sound while feeding||⦁ Poor Latch|
|⦁ Milk leaking from the corners of the mouth||⦁ Breast engorgement|
|⦁ Frequent hiccups/coughs||⦁ Mastitis|
|⦁ Gassy/colicky baby||⦁ Decreasing Milk Production|
|⦁ Poor weight gain|
Other Factors Causing Breastfeeding Issues :
Apart from Tethered Oral Tissues like Tongue and Lip Ties, there are other factors as well which may play a role in interfering with proper Breastfeeding, like those of improper positioning or posture while feeding, Fascial Tightness especially in the neck, shoulder and pelvic region due to birth issues or birth trauma.
How do we treat Breastfeeding issues and Tongue Ties in Babies?
- Since Breastfeeding issues may be Multi-Factorial, hence we believe in following Multi-disciplinary approach. Based on a thorough history, clinical examination and severity of the condition, treatment is advised. In severe cases, a Frenectomy may be advised.
- Frenectomy is a completely safe procedure with minimal to no bleeding observed. Pre-op and Post-op work is required in order to achieve a proper outcome.
- Since, Breastfeeding issues may be Multi-factorial, Its becomes extremely important for Parents to consult Lactation Consultants, Massage Therapists and CranioSacral Therapists to sort issues regarding Breastfeeding posture, Fascial Tightness in the body, Alignment issues which may also be contributing to the problem.
- At Oraface, We are proud to have a collaborative team of like-minded professionals to help parents to have a beautiful breastfeeding journey, The First and Exclusive in Gujarat.
- If you found this relatable or think you have heard of similar symptoms coming in from your family or friends. Please scan here and book an evaluation with us.
- As an Airway Pediatric Dentist, I am an ardent advocate of Breastfeeding since I know the innumerous benefits that it gets with it.
- So Mothers You can now breastfeed your baby for as long as you want and as much as you want and you must do that because, BREASTFEEDING IS TRULY AN ELIXIR FOR YOUR BABY!
Got Questions? Feel Free to reach out to us!