|Image via Public Domain|
Many women stop breastfeeding because they experience pain or feel they do not produce enough milk to satisfy their baby because their baby wants to eat around the clock. In both of these cases, the baby may have a tongue and/or lip tie which is preventing them from latching correctly. Although there seems to be increasing awareness about tongue and lip ties, most health practitioners and mainstream pediatricians are not able to identify these problems which may be huge barriers to breastfeeding.
- Colic or excessive gas – Since baby can not properly form a seal with their mouth they will suck in air which leads to lots of discomfort and an angry baby.
- Falling asleep at the breast – They work hard to get what milk they can and tire themselves out. This may lead to baby waking very often and seem like they always want to eat.
- Poor or slow weight gain – They are not able to obtain enough milk at a feeding. They may also not gain at all or lose weight if they are really struggling to get milk.
- Long nursing sessions with an unsatisfied baby – Baby will keep trying to get milk but is not able to suck correctly to get it. This may lead to frustration on both ends and make the mother think early on that she is not producing enough milk when she actually is.
- Unable to keep in a pacifier or drink from a bottle – Some babies are able to easier latch on to a bottle which makes mother’s think that they are the problem. Others, like my daughter, can not latch a bottle and ended up making a “chomping” motion. If the baby wants a pacifier they may also chomp on it and/or lose it frequently since they can’t move their tongue correctly to create suction to keep it in.
- Unable to latch deep enough which leads to inability to empty the breast and may also cause baby to “fall off” and need to relatch several times. This can lead to leaking of milk out of the corner or baby’s mouth. My daughter was such a messy eater before her revision and we would both have wet clothing when she finished eating.
- Nipple pain while breastfeeding
- Repeat episodes of mastitis, plugged ducts or thrush
- Bleeding or cracked nipples
- “Lip stick” tip nipple after feeding
- Low milk supply since baby can not adequately empty the breast to stimulate more production.
This information was adapted from Dr. Lawrence Kotlow’s Tongue & Lip Tie Fact Sheet. For further reading please view the entire fact sheet.
|My daughter’s Class III Lip Tie prior to revision|
Any of these issues may indicate tongue or lip tie. As I mentioned above, you need to find a practitioner who knows how to diagnose and treat them. The best resource that I came upon when looking in to all of this for my daughter was a the Tongue Tie Babies Support Group on Facebook. There are practitioners who post regularly and answer questions as well as parents who are going through or have gone through the problems and process of revision. I strongly encourage you to look here at the preferred providers when looking for someone to diagnose or release a tie.
We chose to see Dr. Lawrence Kotlow, a pediatric dentist in Albany, NY. It was about a 4 hour drive for us to see him, which of course took longer with a 4 month old. Dr. Kotlow is one of the leading experts in the world on diagnosing and treating tongue and lip tie. He uses a laser to make the revision which means no sedation or general anesthesia is needed for babies and there is less bleeding, faster healing and more complete release of the tie than scissors or scalpel. His website offers many valuable resources. I look forward to sharing our post-revision progress soon!
For more information on tongue and lip ties please visit:
Kellymom.com – Breastfeeding a Baby with Tongue-Tie (Resources)
Dr. Lawrence Kotlow, Pediatric Dentist in Albany, NY
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical conditions and is purely educational. Please see a knowledgeable healthcare provider if you have any diagnostic or treatment questions.