Bringing a baby into this world can be one of the greatest things that a human being does. However, it can be a challenging time on so many levels. Feeding a newborn can present a number of challenges. One common cause of breastfeeding difficulties is “restrictive oral tissue”, or more commonly known as “tongue tie”, or “lip tie”.
During normal function, the tongue and lips work together to create a seal to enable a good latch on the breast. The lip acts rather like a suction cup around the nipple and the tongue pushes upwards on the nipple, creating a suction effect between the tongue and the palate with the nipple in between them. This suction effect helps the baby to hold onto the nipple and compresses the nipple, elongating it back towards the throat. Milk is expressed from the breast partly due a mechanical effect and partly due to a hormonal effect. It is the mechanics of breast feeding which are affected by restrictive oral tissues.
Specific symptoms during breastfeeding, commonly related to tongue tie and lip tie, include:
- poor ability to latch or inability to stay latched
- sliding off the nipple-falling asleep at the breast
- regular clicking during a feed-poor weight gain
- maternal nipple pain or damage (mastitis, cracks and bleeding)
- compromised maternal milk supply
- dribbling milk at the breast or bottle
- digestive issues such as increased gassiness or reflux-aerophagia (swallowing air during feeding)
- poor control of the milk during swallowing (lack of coordination)
- lip blisters
- white milk residues remaining on the top surface of the tongue
At The Myofunctional Centre, we have dentists working side-by-side with our own lactation consultants, that are highly skilled in tongue tie and lip tie management of infants and toddlers.