Does Your Baby Have a Tongue or Lip-Tie?
Does anything compare to the joy and excitement of having a new baby? There are so many things to experience in the first days and it can be overwhelming. Is my baby feeding well? Is my baby getting enough? Is my baby latched correctly? These are all normal questions asked by many breastfeeding mothers. Understanding the expected number of wet/dirty diapers and weight gain eases many of these questions. It is also helpful for mothers to know infants will lose up to 10% of their birthweight but should gain it back by two weeks of age.
When there is a latching issue, mothers can experience painful nursing and nipple issues. Infants often exhibit clicking sounds with a poor latch and can easily slide off the nipple. Mothers may not be aware of an issue in the first few days due to a sleepy baby and a short hospital stay. Having a trained lactation consultant to observe latching prior to hospital discharge can help identify and alleviate issues.
Sometimes infants can have latching issues due to a tongue or lip-tie which limits normal tongue and lip movements. When nursing, the tongue should extend past the lower gum line and the lips should be flanged outward. If the lips are curled in, this could be a sign of a lip tie. The baby’s mouth should be opened wide when latching onto the breast. As much of the nipple and areola should be in the baby’s mouth as possible to help with the latch.
Mothers can have infants checked by medical staff for possible tongue-tie issues prior to hospital discharge. This is a good idea if a problem is suspected or if other family members have had tongue-tie issues. Sometimes tongue-tie is difficult to diagnose and may be missed. Once home, some babies with a tongue-tie may adapt without noticeable issues. Babies and mothers with continued issues should be reevaluated by trained specialist such as a lactation consultant, pediatrician, or pediatric dentist. For preferred pediatric dentist providers, visit the Tongue-Tie & Lip-Tie Support Network for a database directory. The site links to various websites such as www.shelbypediatricdentistry.com with helpful pictures and information.
Sometimes infants with tongue or lip-tie do not have poor weight gain but have continued issues such as colic or reflux. Nursing in an inclined position rather than on a horizontal surface can help. The NuAngel Trinity Nursing Pillow was designed by a lactation consultant to help position the infant on an incline. This pillow is sold on www.NuAngel.com, www.Walmart.com and in Walmart stores . The goal is to continue breastfeeding. Both baby and mother benefit from any breast milk an infant receives.