At our practice, we often have new mothers come to us in frustration because breastfeeding is difficult and they have been referred for a lip and tongue tie evaluation. Here is why it is so important:
An early assessment for tongue and lip tie can be extremely beneficial for breastfeeding mothers and their infants. Tongue tie occurs when the frenulum (the tissue that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth) is too tight, thick, or short, which can limit the mobility of the tongue. Similarly, lip tie occurs when the frenulum that attaches the upper lip to the gum is too thick or short.
These conditions can make it difficult for an infant to latch on properly and effectively extract milk from the breast. This can cause pain, discomfort, and frustration for the mother and may result in poor weight gain for the baby. In some instances, it may end the breastfeeding journey earlier than desired for mother and baby. Lip and tongue ties also have a big impact on overall development - we'll address this issues for older children and adults in a future blog post.
An early assessment by a healthcare provider, such as a lactation consultant or pediatrician, or pediatric dentist can identify tongue or lip tie problems . If intervention is recommended, a simple procedure called a frenotomy can be performed to release the tight frenulum, which can improve the infant's ability to latch on and feed effectively.
By identifying and treating tongue and lip tie early, mothers can avoid unnecessary pain and frustration and increase the likelihood of successful breastfeeding. It's important to note that not all infants with tongue or lip tie require treatment, and each case should be evaluated individually.
Some signs and symptoms of tongue and lip tie can include a variety of symptoms for mother and baby.
Baby may experience:
Loss of suction during feeding or having difficulty remaining latched, or obtaining a deep latch
Fatigue or becomes tired / falls asleep during feedings
Choking with faster flowing milk
A need to breastfeed constantly to get enough milk
Symptoms of colic
Little or no weight gain
Noisy eating / sucking (clicking)
Excessive gassiness after eating
Reflux symptoms in combination with other symptoms
Mother may experience:
Pain during feeds with damaged nipples
Nipples that distort into a lipstick shape after feeding
Engorgement, clogged ducts, mastitis from inadequate breast emptying
Lower milk production over time
Oversupply if feedings becomes to frequent