Breastfeeding Issues In babies:
Tongue Ties in Infants
- The relationship between tongue ties and infants becomes the most apparent during Breastfeeding.
- As an Airway Dentist and Myofunctional Therapist our primary goal for Infants is to ensure that Breastfeeding journey goes Non-Compensated, Exclusive and Extensive for as long as the mother and the baby wants.
- Breastfeeding not only provides an infant with the most nutritious Breastmilk but also helps in the optimum growth of their oro-facial structures and airway.
- Tongue has a huge role to play when it comes to efficient Breastfeeding. The forwards and up & down motion of the tongue against the breast tissue at the roof of the mouth helps in an effective removal of milk from the breast. For this action to happen non-compensated, tongue must be free enough to have an optimum range of motion.
- A Tongue Tie or a Lip Tie can prevent the occurrence of a good deep latch and hence may result in a lot of compensations and even Breastfeeding issues.
What is a Tongue Tie?
- Tongue tie (Ankyloglossia) is when a tiny string of tissue (Lingual Frenulum) underneath the Tongue connecting the Floor of the mouth is attached way too tight or is short in length restricting the tongue movements.
- The restriction of tongue function due to Tongue Tie may affect Breastfeeding, sucking, swallowing, eating, speech, breathing, sleep, jaw growth, posture and even digestion.
What is a Lip Tie?
- Lip Tie is when a similar band of tissue (Labial Frenulum) underneath the upper Lip is attached to the gums at a level way too high than normal.
- Presence of Lip Tie may result in potential Breastfeeding issues, gap between the teeth, short upper lip, gummy smile, unable to close the lip without strain, speech issues and cavities in the front teeth.
How does Tongue Tie/ Lip Tie affect Breastfeeding?
- Tethered Oral Tissues like those of Tongue Ties/Lip Tie may prevent deep 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 withradrwal 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|
|⦁ Feeling hungry often|
|⦁ Sleeping on breasts often|
|⦁ Slipping from the breast|
|⦁ Restless Sleep|
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 inorder to achieve a proper outcome.
- For more details on Frenectomy procedure, Read “What to expect in a Frenectomy Procedure?”
- 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.
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