Breastfeeding is one of the most difficult aspects of mothering during your child’s infancy stage.
Whether it is constantly worrying if your baby is getting enough nourishment or the pain and engorgement that accompanies the beginning days of the journey, there is always something to consider when feeding your baby.
But there is one condition that flies under the radar that could be a game changer for you and your baby- and we can help you uncover if your baby is suffering from it!
Mommas who plan on nursing their babies look forward to the moment when their child first latches – hopefully right after coming out of the womb.
It can be incredibly frustrating and disappointing if your baby cannot latch or get a good suck.
You may blame yourself and seek the consultation of a lactation consultant or the child’s pediatrician to no avail.
A prevalent condition that is often overlooked is called lip tie and tongue tie, and is could be the source of all your woes.
According to the Journal of Human Lactation, a lip tie is when the “piece of muscleless tissue connecting the upper lip to the upper gum restricts the mouth’s mobility, because it’s too thick, too tight, or both.”
A tongue tie (ankyloglossia), according to Mayo Clinic, is “a condition present at birth that restricts the tongue’s range of motion.”
While we don’t know exactly what causes lip tie or tongue tie (although several studies suggest it is hereditary) we do know how to identify it and treat it.
The conditions is barely spoken about, but more common than one would think.
Medicine Net reports that 4%-11% of all newborns are born with a tongue tie, with no solid statistics on the less popular lip tie.
Why do these conditions make breastfeeding more difficult, and sometimes near impossible?
A tongue tie affects breastfeeding, according to Momma Natural, “because the tongue is unable to move up,” while a lip tie makes it “harder to flange the upper lip.”
Both positions are needed for a baby to properly latch and suck the milk from the breast.
How are these conditions fixed?
With a short and simple surgical outpatient procedure, typically using local anesthetic- or no pain management at all.
A frenotomy (tongue-tie surgery) or a frenectomy (lip-tie surgery) both are most commonly corrected by using a laser to cut the piece of attached tissue causing the issue.
Using a laser instead of scissors, as it had been done in the past, allows for less bleeding, less pain, and quicker recovery.
And you can nurse the baby immediately after the procedure, likely with a noticeable difference!
The good news is that it is not impossible to nurse your baby with one or both of these conditions, it does however cause more difficulty and pain.
If you cannot get the surgery or just choose against it, you can continue to nurse by paying attention to these things:
- Be sure to position the baby’s lips around the areola.
- Squeeze the nipple so the baby can place their mouth around a larger portion of the breast.
- Allow the baby to nurse frequently for shorter periods.
If you are concerned your little one has a tongue tie or a lip tie you can check with a pediatric dentist or certified lactation consultant to be sure.
There are some mothers who are discouraged from providing their babies with the best nutrients possible because of the difficulty surrounding tongue tie and lip tie.
Some mothers are told they cannot breastfeed their children at all!
Do not believe these lies. It is incredibly rare for a mother to be unable to nurse her child.
And now with the diagnosis and correction of a simple impediment, you could be on your way to the miraculous breastfeeding journal you had always dreamed of.
(h/t Mommy Underground)