Lip and Tongue Tie Impact on Breastfeeding and Bottle Feeding

    According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization, exclusive breastfeeding as the infants only source of liquids is the ideal for the first 6 months of life against which all other feeding methods should be compared.

    Making the assumption that there are no anatomy issues with mother or her breast milk production the following is absolutely true. “Breastfeeding should not be painful!” There should not be nipple damage, shape changes such a compression and lipstick shaping, bleeding or mastitis ,to name a few. Every mother should have had the opportunity at birth to have been evaluated by an IBCLC (International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant) or feeding specialist who is well trained to examine and support you with your breast or bottle feeding.

    There is also the assumption here (due to limitation of space) that there are no physical restrictions which are affecting your baby such as torticollis or some muscular-skeletal or physical birthing injury that can and does affect the ability of the baby to properly latch. Here again this is another subject that requires its own discussion, often referenced as Body Work.

    An existing tongue and lip tie are an oral tissue remnant which affect the vertical band of oral tissue that attaches to the underside of the tongue or the upper lip and inhibits its free mobility.

    For effective nursing the mouth must to open and gather the nipple far enough into the back of the baby’s mouth to initiate the complex oral behavior to allow for milk extraction. This biological behavior requires coordination of multiple anatomical components of muscles, nerves and bones.

    Simple head and neck anatomy for an infant to latch requires: “Suck, Swallow, Breathe” – coordination of:

    • 60 muscles
    • 22 cranial bones
    • 6 of the 12 cranial nerves
    Lip Tie, Tongue Tie Impact Physical Mechanics
    This coordination contributes to formation of either a good latch or a poor one.
    Good vs. Poor Breastfeeding Latch

    If this is not able to occur then your baby may have symptoms of choking, oral and/or nasal leakage, struggle to gain weight, bite the breast and become generally fussy or sleepy at breastfeeding.

    A cursory visual exam by your healthcare provider is often the only diagnosis regarding tongue & lip tie. This is not enough to formulate a proper diagnosis. That is not the standard of care and must be corrected. The standard is a comprehensive symptom intake (FORM?) and a digital exam. Ideally, there should also be a comprehensive evaluation by a tongue and lip tie trained IBCLC or feeding specialist for breast and/or bottle feeding.

    There are tongue and lip ties that can and do affect you and your baby’s ability to feed!

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