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The content on this website (http://sdbfc.com) is the property of Robin Kaplan, M.Ed., IBCLC, except in the case of guest blog posts, which have been posted with permission of the authors credited.

The information and opinions provided on this blog are not a substitute for medical advice or consultation with a qualified medical professional; nothing contained on this website shall be presumed or shared as medical advice at any time.

Links to other websites and blogs that may be of interest to you, the reader, are provided; this does not imply endorsement of or collaboration between Robin Kaplan and the owners/authors of those websites and blogs.

Monday
Mar242014

Combining Lactation and Maternal Nutrition

Today, I'm thrilled to introduce a new guest blogger, Lindsey Hurd, MS, RD, LDN, IBCLC.  Lindsey is the owner of Angel Food Lactation & Nutrition, LLC, a business in Wilmington, NC that specializes in perinatal nutrition and lactation services.   Over the next several months, Lindsey will be sharing her brilliant knowledge about breastfeeding and nutrition, including multiple articles about breastfeeding children who have food intolerances.  

Before Lindsey starts writing her monthly articles, we wanted our readers to have the opportunity to get to know her first.  Welcome to our blog, Lindsey!  We are so excited to have you share your passion and expertise!

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Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Lindsey Hurd and I am a registered dietitian (RD) and board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) working in private practice in Wilmington, NC. My business, Angel Food Lactation & Nutrition, LLC, specializes in providing perinatal nutrition and lactation services. Consultations are offered in a home or office setting. Skype consults are available for families who are not local or are in need of flexible scheduling. Locally, I offer grocery store tours to instruct families on how to navigate their food selection and how to prepare foods that taste good and fall within their nutritional goals. Overall, I am here to support moms and babies, uniquely catering my advice and suggestions to fit their needs. Families trust Angel Food Lactation & Nutrition to provide specialized counseling for food sensitivities in baby, gestational diabetes, lactogenic (foods that enhance milk supply) meal planning, and nutrition support from infancy through preschool.

My journey began with an undergraduate degree in Exercise Science. In learning about the powers of exercise, I found a passion for instructing individuals on the role of nutrition, the biggest contributor to one’s overall wellbeing. Upon completion of my undergraduate degree, I continued to expand my knowledge in health and wellness by completing a Master of Science in Nutrition and a program in dietetics to become a Registered Dietitian. To provide comprehensive care from preconception through preschool, I chose to become an IBCLC, the expert in lactation support. I completed the Mary Rose Tully Training Initiative through the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute at UNC- Chapel Hill and successfully passed the boards, fulfilling my goal for the future. With my career path set, I continued to work in nutrition and lactation for more than 4 years.

 

Why did you decide to focus on perinatal, postpartum, and pediatric nutrition?

I quickly became fascinated with perinatal and pediatric nutrition as I progressed through my studies. The most noteworthy experience was completing my master’s practicum with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in private practice. I fell in love with her job and was amazed at the impact she had on infant nutrition. I immediately realized that I would never find another profession to fulfill my aspiration of providing families with the tools necessary to find their perfect balance of health and happiness. I truly believe this stage of life ‘chose’ me!

From establishing childhood eating habits to the physical demand of sustaining a pregnancy, family planning naturally becomes one of the most important seasons in our lives. Offering education, counseling, and individualized support to those who wish to make the most of this opportunity fills my heart with joy. I am motivated to improve my practice daily to better serve families needs, large or small. Currently, I am very active on Facebook, posting educational resources, up to date research, and a little something fun every now and then. I enjoy connecting with my followers who simply wish to further educate themselves or find a little motivation to continue achieving their goals. Clients teach me how their passion and determination can improve personal habits, overcome speed bumps, and create a ‘new normal’ with the ideal support in place. I am honored to receive an invitation into the lives of each family as a trusted resource in helping them meet their feeding goals. 

 

What role does nutrition play in breastfeeding and making milk?

From flavor learning and brain development to boosting milk supply, each bite directly affects baby from conception to weaning, and some even argue beyond. Enhancing maternal nutrition to balance foods mom needs with foods she loves will directly change the outcome for mom and baby alike. Nutrition plays a huge role in our lives beginning with the first feeding at the breast to the last bite of your favorite meal - mine would be ground honey almond butter on fresh bread from our local bakery! On a physiological level, pregnancy and lactation are two of the largest periods of nutrient demand for a woman’s body. Naturally, it makes great sense to say nutrition plays a strong role in maintaining the health and wellbeing of a mother and her baby. The two are largely connected throughout the perinatal period with mom’s diet providing the foundation for baby to grow in pregnancy. 

Lactation quickly follows this period, requiring enough nourishment to triple the baby’s growth within the first year and establishing his or her immunity throughout the first two years of life! Beyond providing nutrients for baby, mom must also support the needs of her own body. Fortunately, a woman’s body is built to increase the absorption of nutrients, the efficiency of energy metabolism, and to put the baby’s needs first, ensuring optimal development.  What does this mean for the mom’s body you might say? It means that she must increase her awareness of proper nutrition to keep this well-established process functioning at full capacity! This is often easier said than done, especially as a family multiplies. This is where I feel the most effective in my practice, bringing clarity and assurance to women as they progress through the childbearing years. 

 

What type of guidance do you offer to breastfeeding moms whose babies are dealing with food intolerances?

Food sensitivities in our littlest ones can often be a challenging and stressful event for families. The sudden onset, the varying symptoms, and the persistent nature make this speed bump hard to navigate for families in today’s society.  I found a need for diving deeper into food intolerance within the breastfed baby and toddler as I saw more and more families struggle with elimination diets, unnecessarily removing critical foods, and navigating the world of food selection with restrictions. In hopes of enhancing my understanding, I completed a certificate of training in food allergy management and many days of self-study to learn how milk transfers food components from mom’s diet and how maternal and infant immunity play a role in the progression of sensitivities. My goal with each family is to educate moms on how to restore balance, to find replacement meals for foods they love, to honor breastfeeding, and to get baby symptom free. Overall, I am here to support moms and babies - uniquely catering my advice and suggestions to fit their needs.

 

What type of services do you offer?

Angel Food Lactation & Nutrition, LLC offers nutrition and lactation assessments for the whole family. Skype/web based consultations are available for those who are unable to schedule a direct face-to-face visit, or wish to have flexible scheduling.  Have more availability after bedtime? Wish to schedule on a weekend or when both parents are home? Want to schedule, but live in another state? This offering is best for you! Consults are held in the comfort of your own home, using your preference of video chat or voice only.

Classes, small group consultations, and professional seminar presentations are additional ways Angel Food Lactation and Nutrition, LLC, aims to serve those interested in nutrition and lactation for families local to the Wilmington NC area.

 

Want to know more about these topics? The how, what, and when? Stay tuned for more posts to come and visit my webpage www.angelfoodlactationandnutrition.com for individualized counseling to meet your unique goals.


Wednesday
Mar192014

I'm Told my Baby Needs Supplementation...Now What?

Written by Danielle Blair, MS, IBCLC

If you are planning to exclusively breastfeed your baby, the thought of being told to offer supplements (meaning extra milk in addition to direct breastfeeding) for your baby may be downright terrifying.  You may be concerned about nipple confusion, milk supply, or exposing your baby to formula.  Hopefully by learning about common reasons for supplementation and supplementation methods, you can avoid unnecessary supplementation and learn how to offer supplements in ways that are less likely to interfere with breastfeeding.

 

Why might a baby need to be supplemented?

There are many common reasons why a baby might need supplemental feedings.  It is important for you as a parent to advocate for your baby by making an informed decision that the supplement is medically necessary.  Some common medical issues that can arise shortly after birth that may lead to supplements are prematurity, low birth weight, poor feeding, low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia), elevated bilirubin levels (jaundice), dehydration, excessive weight loss or poor weight gain.  In all of these cases, the first step is to ensure that baby is breastfeeding effectively.  If not, a supplement might be called for as part of the baby's medical treatment.

 

What is a supplement?

Often we think of supplements as formula in a bottle, but in many cases, a supplement can be expressed breast milk.  Mothers can express their own milk, either by hand or with a breast pump, and offer it to baby by spoon, cup, syringe, supplemental nursing system, or bottle.  Each feeding method has pros and cons, and not all are appropriate for every situation.  If you are instructed to offer your baby a supplement, ask your healthcare provider or IBCLC to help decide which method is best to feed your baby.

 

What if I can't express enough milk for my baby?

In most cases, the only milk a baby needs is what he can take from the breast or what mom can express from her breast.  However, sometimes the medical treatment for baby's condition may include milk volumes that exceed mom's current supply.  This is especially true if supplements are recommended before mom's milk production surges about 3-5 days after delivery.  In this case, you may need to use donor milk or formula.  Your IBCLC can help you with pumping or hand expression techniques.  She might also recommend renting a hospital-grade pump until your milk production increases.

 

Will my baby ever be able to fully breastfeed after supplements?

Generally, the answer to this is YES!  Most reasons for supplementation are short-term problems that are resolved relatively quickly with good treatment.  Premature babies grow and get stronger, and typically get better at breastfeeding around their due dates or shortly after.  A baby who is having difficulty with breastfeeding immediately after birth will often be ready for breastfeeding within a few days after birth.  By expressing milk to feed to your baby, you are helping to establish and maintain the milk supply that your baby will need.

 

When can I stop supplementing?

Part 2 (next week) will discuss how you know it's time to wean from supplements and helpful tips for doing so. 

For more information about supplementation reasons, methods, and choices, check out these The Boob Group podcast episodes: 

Exclusive Breastfeeding and Early Supplementation 

Breastfeeding the Jaundiced Baby  

When Breastfeeding Doesn’t Go As Planned 

Low Milk Supply: Donor Milk, Milk Banks, and Formula 

 

About Danielle: 

I first became interested in supporting breastfeeding mothers after receiving wonderful support when I was a new mother.  What began as a way to "pay it forward" grew into a passion and a calling.  I have been helping new mothers breastfeed their babies since 2004 and became an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in 2010.  I am the owner of Gaithersburg Breastfeeding, LLC, offering home visits in Montgomery County, Maryland, and also work at a local hospital providing in-patient lactation services.  I have worked with mothers at all stages of breastfeeding, from the delivery room through toddlerhood and beyond.  I truly love supporting mothers as they learn the art of breastfeeding, and particularly enjoy watching moms develop the confidence that they can breastfeed their babies!

In addition to my work in lactation, I hold bachelor's and master's degrees in engineering from West Virginia University.  Much of my professional work in engineering involved sharing scientific information in layman's terms, as well as teaching and training; these skills have served me well as I teach parents about their new babies.  I live in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC, with my husband and two children.

Wednesday
Mar122014

The Lip Tie/Tongue Tie Challenge 

To help parents understand a bit more about how tongue and lip ties can affect breastfeeding, over the next few weeks we will be featuring stories from moms whose babies experienced these challenges.  We would like to extend a HUGE thank you to the brave mamas who submitted their stories for our blog!  We know you went through a ton of challenges and we are so appreciative that you were willing to share your stories!  If you have a story you would like to share on our blog, please send it to robinkaplan@sdbfc.com.

For more information about tongue and lip ties and how they can affect breastfeeding, please see our article: Does Your Baby Have a Tongue or Lip Tie?

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Written by Julie Sanders

My issues with breastfeeding my daughter started pretty much as soon as we left the hospital. I started experiencing a lot of pain in my nipples. Not just while she was nursing, but all the time. I was told it was normal for her to nurse 8-10 times a day, but my daughter was nursing 20+ times a day. Essentially, she was constantly nursing, with maybe a 10-20 minute break between sessions. I found that since any side-lying, cradled position was extremely painful, only the football hold position worked for me. I went to a breastfeeding support group her second week, and I learned that my daughter was chomping my nipples while she nursed, and that’s why they were in constant pain. Nipples are supposed to come out of a baby’s mouth just as round as when they went in, but mine were shaped like a football after a nursing session. No wonder! Someone suggested I try nursing her lying down because she was perhaps trying to stem a strong flow of milk into her mouth, but that didn’t help. On top of it all, I also got a clogged duct, which was painful and scary. I was in such excruciating pain I would cry when my daughter wanted to nurse because I just wanted a break for my poor nipples to heal. I didn’t know why it was so hard or what was wrong. The only thing that got me through this period were gel pads. The moist, cold combination was wonderfully soothing.

When my doula came over for our postpartum visit, she checked my daughter’s latch and suggested that we have her evaluated for a tongue tie. She said it didn’t look like her tongue reached far enough forward in her mouth (past the gums). We had never heard of a tongue tie before. She explained it is a very common, simple procedure our pediatrician could perform to snip the underside of her tongue to allow for greater mobility. I rejected the idea at first. The idea that my daughter wasn’t born with her mouth properly equipped to handle breastfeeding seemed ridiculous to me. My daughter was perfect in every way! But later that week when she had a wellness checkup, we asked about the tongue tie. Our pediatrician said it looked like there was indeed a tongue tie, and he would revise it if we wanted him to.  So he clipped the frenulum under her tongue. It was done with scissors while the nurse and my husband held her down. He gave her just a topical gel to numb the area, then had to do about 3-4 snips to cut what he deemed enough. She wailed like I had never heard before and cried real tears. I cried real tears too. It was scarring. I nursed her immediately afterwards to help stop the bleeding and she slowly calmed down. The bleeding stopped very soon and she seemed on the road to recovery. She had a little discomfort for the next day or two. I thought the nightmare was finally over. But it wasn’t. At first I noticed a relief in how she nursed, but it was very short lived. I found out at the breastfeeding support group the next week that there were exercises we were supposed to be doing to help my daughter learn to use the full range of motion of her tongue. The lactation consultant who runs the group emailed me a video with instructions. I did them several times a day, as suggested, but nothing changed.

At around three weeks we finally saw a lactation consultant. I wish I had seen her during week one! Within minutes of telling her our history and examining my daughter, she told us my daughter also had a lip tie, and explained that my daughter nursed constantly because she was only able to get enough milk to satiate her for a short time before she would get hungry again. I hated the idea that my daughter had another tie. My perfect baby was still perfect!  But we followed the advice of the lactation consultant and went to a pediatric dentist in the San Bernadino area who uses a laser instead of scissors, a tool that was supposedly less traumatic on both patient and parent. The thought of driving 80 miles with a baby so young almost deterred us, but we decided to go for it.

The dentist had my husband lie down in the chair and hold my daughter face up on his tummy. Being held by dad was far less traumatic than being pinned to a table by strangers. She also got to wear adorable little sunglasses to protect her eyes from the laser. The dentist checked her out and said she did indeed have a lip tie, and he wanted to do another revision on her tongue to cut more of the frenulum. It literally a minute per tie, if even. He lasered, she cried, and before I could even get upset he was done. I nursed her immediately, just like before, and she calmed very quickly. They gave me exercises to do with her several times a day to help the range of motion for her mouth. Once again I left with the feeling of “It’s over. It’s finally over.” But it wasn’t.

The discomfort again only lasted a day or two, and seemed a little worse for her lip than her tongue. I did the exercises but she just kept chomping. Though with the new mobility of her tongue, her bottom gums were padded a bit, and the pain, while still painful, was much more bearable by comparison. By this point I had gone through so much, I was determined to make this work. My lactation consultant had told us “body work” might be required. After all, my daughter had used her mouth to nurse a certain way her whole life thus far and she was used to it. So we went to a craniosacral therapist. The therapist observed my daughter while she nursed and felt all around her head to examine how her muscles were moving. She massaged around her head and jaw for a bit, and then she told us my daughter’s jaw was very tight, and that’s why she wasn’t latching correctly, but that there wasn’t anything she could do to loosen it.

Next we tried a chiropractor. Chiropractic was another kind of body work my lactation consultant had suggested we may need. She recommended a few people who worked with babies in my area. Over the next two weeks I saw the chiropractor three times. She adjusted areas in my daughter’s upper spine and around her jaw to try and loosen it. Between the three appointments and our periodic massaging of her jaw, gradually at around six to seven weeks old, my daughter’s jaw loosened, she stopped chomping my nipples, and started sucking the way Mother Nature intended. It felt like an eternity, but she is now three months old and our time breastfeeding is easy, a lovely bonding experience and no longer something I dread. It’s easy and wonderful, and it was worth every minute we spent at appointments and every dollar we spent on doctors and specialists and consultants.

I learned a great deal during this trial. A good lactation consultant is invaluable. Ours not only identified our issue right away, but she had all the references to specialists we needed. We were not in a place where we could have researched and found someone to go to on our own. We trusted our lactation consultant, we went where she sent us, and we were never disappointed. Surrounding myself with people who supported my determination to exclusively breastfeed was also pivotal. Being a new mom is an emotional time with many ups and downs even when breastfeeding is going well. My mental state really ran the gambit, and having people to tell me it would get better and that I could do it helped me through my lowest moments. The friend who introduced me to gel pads is an absolute saint! And I learned how strong a person I am.  Compared to this experience, labor was easy. I always referred to what we were going through as “a breastfeeding challenge” because a challenge is something you overcome, and usually leaves you stronger and better off than when you started. 

Monday
Mar102014

Nursing in Public - The Positive Spin

 

Recently, there have been a lot of stories in the national and local news about mothers being illegally harassed for nursing their babies in public (“NIP”).  The latest one involved a Twitter exchange between a breastfeeding mom and a Delta Airlines Public Relations employee

While we think it is so incredibly important that these types of incidences are highlighted and spoken about, we also believe it can paint an incorrect picture that if you nurse your baby in public, you’d better be ready for a fight.  So we thought we’d seek out some positive experiences mamas have had feeding their little ones while out and about - below are a few of the responses we received.  For every woman that may be made to feel uncomfortable for NIP, it is our greatest hope that there are 100 that receive smiles, nods, and even an occasional high five.  

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From Lara Snyder:

Our son is three months old and so far I have had nothing, but positive and amazing breastfeeding experiences! The first time we ever tried NIP-ing was when my family was flying home to Colorado, for Christmas. It was my husband's and my first time flying with an infant so we got to the airport early. Our son was only one month old and like any one month old he got hungry often! Since it was my first time flying with a baby and NIP-ing I was really nervous that someone would give me a hard time and make the flight difficult. Luckily nothing like that happened! After getting through security our son started to get fussy because he was hungry, so my husband found a comfy bench to put all our stuff down and so I could nurse. Oddly enough the bench was right outside some bathrooms and quite a few people saw what I was doing!! Once we got all our stuff situated and I got comfortable, my husband simply said, "Ok I'm going to the bathroom, you feed the baby," without even second thinking my boob was going to be out in public. Sitting right there in the middle of the San Diego Airport, I fed our baby boy while airport employees and multiple travelers walked by. No one said a thing about my nursing! I'm sure a few people felt uncomfortable, but they just looked away. One man even came out of the bathroom and began talking to my family. It was a little strange to me and my husband because we didn't know this person, but he was rather nice and wished us safe travels! Once we got on the plane the positive experience continued and our wonderful little man slept the entire flight! The pressure changes bugged him a little, and even then I started nursing him and everything went smoothly! My husband offered to sit in the middle seat (even though he hates it) just in case an unappreciative person sat next to us, they would have nothing to complain about because they would see my husband and not me! After our flight landed in Colorado we waited to be the last couple off the plane, and a lot of the other passengers were surprised there was a baby on board!  Both my husband and I were so grateful I could nurse my son during the rough patches during the flight, and we felt so proud of our little man surprising everyone by not being that crying baby on the plane!

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From Marion Luebberman:

I had to take my little guy to two life celebrations for friends who had passed away before he was four months old. I was terrified both times because I was sure people would give me the stink-eye for bringing a baby to something so somber, but the truth is, people love to see babies during times of sorrow. At the first event, I had to nurse during the eulogy and my son was only a couple months old so he was very floppy and not cooperative at all. The mother and aunt (neither of whom I'd met before) of our deceased friend came over and offered to help me. I was struggling with my cover and they both said "we've all been there, do what you gotta do!" I felt so comfortable there and my boy was fed and happy. At the next service, which was attended by 200+ bikers, my husband and I were talking to the widow of the friend we had just lost. She lit up at the sight of a little baby and told me that if I had to feed him at any time, I was welcome to "whip it out and do what you gotta do!" I did just that and nobody blinked an eye. If I could pass on any message to moms who are wary of nursing in public, I would tell them what these awesome moms told me - do what you gotta do!

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From Tiffany Kyle: 

In my 15mo of breast feeding I can honestly say I have never had a negative experience nursing in public. One day stands out especially for me as being an incredibly positive moment. I was at Starbucks with my son and I think he was probably 7 or 8 months at the time. It was one of the Starbucks that has comfy furniture and it was quite crowded. I had been chatting with the people around me a little bit and they were commenting on how cute my baby was. When my son needed to nurse, we did our thing. I'll admit I wondered for a split second if any of these strangers who were sitting very near to us would have a problem with it, but everyone was more than supportive. The lady across from me gave me a high five and said what a great job I was doing and no wonder my son was such a happy guy. Seriously made my day. :)

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Thank you so much to all of the ladies who contributed their positive stories - let’s keep it going by not only sharing our own experiences, but creating a happy memory for the next woman you see feeding her baby at the zoo, or the park, on the airplane, or in the grocery store - give her a high-five and tell her what a fantastic mama she is, and “to do what you gotta do!”

 

Do you have a positive NIP experience you would like to share with our readers?  Send your story to ashleytreadwell@sdbfc.com and we will include it in an upcoming article!   

Tuesday
Mar042014

Does Your Baby Have a Tongue or Lip Tie?

Painful, cracked, compressed-after-breastfeeding nipples.  Baby not gaining weight well.  Constant breastfeeding sessions that seem to take over an hour.  Excessive baby fussiness and gas.  These are some of the many signs that your child may have a tongue and/or lip tie.  So, what is a tongue and lip tie and how do they affect breastfeeding? What are ways to fix them and improve breastfeeding?

With several fantastic articles already written on this subject, we are going to give brief answers to these questions and link to our favorite comprehensive resources.  Also, over the next month, we will be sharing stories from breastfeeding mothers whose babies had tongue and/or lip ties.

 

What is a tongue tie and lip tie?

There are pieces of connective membranes under the tongue and behind the upper lip called frenula.  Everyone has a lingual (tongue) frenulum and a labial (lip) frenulum, which means that if your baby has one, it doesn’t automatically mean that you are going to have breastfeeding challenges.  It’s how the tongue and upper lip function that determine if the frenula are causing a problem.

Tongue tie

Upper lip tie 

How do tongue and lip ties cause breastfeeding challenges?

When the frenula are tight, they act like rubber bands, tethering down the tongue to the base of the mouth or the upper lip close to the upper gumline.  This makes it difficult to move the tongue in an effective manner or flange the upper lip out.  When the tongue doesn’t have full range of motion, it can cause all sorts of issues.  Some moms’ nipples will be compressed, causing pain and ineffective milk extraction.  Some babies will become very tired and fatigued while breastfeeding, having to work extra hard to compensate for the lack of range of motion in their tongues.  This can turn into ineffective, long feedings and slow weight gain for babies.  Other babies gain weight perfectly fine, but have tons of gas and excessive fussy periods because they are taking in so much air while breastfeeding due to the inability to push the milk back in a wavelike motion.  Babies with tongue ties or significant lip ties often continually fall off the breast, as they are unable to form a good seal and suction.  Other babies have such difficulty latching on to the breast that they refuse to breastfeed altogether.

 

Here are two articles that describe how tongue and lip ties can affect breastfeeding:

A Breastfeeding Mom’s Symptoms are as Important as Baby’s

Baby’s Weight Gain is Not the Only Marker of Successful Breastfeeding

 

Why didn’t my healthcare provider mention this to me? 

Most health care providers have not been trained to assess and diagnose tongue or lip ties.  Again, it is how the tongue and lip function (or not function) that cause the breastfeeding challenges.  Most health care providers have not been trained to complete suck assessments on infants, therefore they cannot accurately assess what the tongue is doing while feeding.  The best person to assess for a tongue or lip tie is a trained IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant).

 

Who can treat my child’s tongue and/or lip tie and what are my options?

The best person to diagnose and treat a tongue or lip tie is a trained dentist, ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat surgeon), oral surgeon, naturopath, pediatrician, or other medical professional trained to do minor surgery.  Make sure to do your research, as not all professionals that revise tongue and lip ties know how to release them effectively.  If the professional doesn’t do the revision procedure effectively and completely, then it will not fix the breastfeeding challenges completely and your baby may have to have the procedure again.  

In most cases, the tongue or lip tie revision is done at an office visit.  Some practitioners will numb the area before the procedure, although it isn’t necessary.  Some practitioners, such as ENTs and pediatricians, may use blunt-edged scissors to snip the tight frenulum.  Others, such as dentists, may use laser for the revision procedure.  

 

Are there any negatives to having the tongue or lip tie revised?

There is very little risk for having your baby’s tongue or lip tie revised.  Most parents comment after the procedure that their only regret is that they didn’t do it sooner, as it improved their breastfeeding challenges tremendously.  Some babies may be a little fussy after the procedure, but most will settle with some extra cuddles.  Some parents find that a little infant tylenol or homeopathy can help relieve pain (but always check with your healthcare provider for appropriate dosing.)  

 

How can I keep the frenulum from scarring down after the procedure?

It is very important that parents do suck and stretching exercises after the procedure to prevent scarring down.  My colleague, Melissa Cole, IBCLC, created this quick and easy video for suck exercises after tongue tie revisions: http://vimeo.com/55658345.  She recommends doing these a few times a day, during baby’s quiet alert time, to retrain baby’s tongue to suck effectively and to prevent scarring down.  A local dentist recommends bending baby’s upper lip up to his/her nose after an upper lip tie release to prevent scarring down.

 

Will my breastfeeding challenges resolve immediately after the procedure?

Most moms report some immediate improvement after the procedure, but it can sometimes take up to a few weeks or months to resolve all of your breastfeeding challenges, depending on other confounding issues, such as mom’s milk supply or baby’s progress.  Remember, your baby has been using his/her tongue and upper lip in this way since he/she was in utero, so it may take some time to ‘relearn’ how to use his/her tongue and upper lip effectively.  Body work, such as craniosacral therapy and chiropractic, can help speed up this process as it can reset your baby’s nervous system, as well as relax the muscle tension that your baby may have developed while using compensating mechanisms.

 

Here are some additional online resources that have excellent information about tongue and lip ties.  Stay tuned for our featured stories from moms whose breastfeeding challenges improved after having their babies’ tongue and lip ties revised.  Better yet, sign up for our newsletter and have these articles delivered directly to your email inbox!

 

Websites that offer ways to see if your baby might be tongue tied:

Catherine Watson Genna: Is My Baby Tongue Tied?

Dr. James Ochi: Tongue Tie Survey


More researched-based articles about tongue and lip ties:

American Academy of Pediatrics Tongue Tie article

Dr. Kotlow: Tongue Tie Fact Sheet

The Leaky Boob: The Basics of Tongue and Lip Tie: Related Issues, Assessment, and Treatment

Boob Group episode: Tougue Ties and Lip Ties: Symptoms, Treatment, and Aftercare

 

If you would like to submit your personal story about breastfeeding a baby with a tongue or lip tie, please email it to robinkaplan@sdbfc.com

Did your baby have a tongue or lip tie?

How did this affect breastfeeding?

 

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