Tongue tie, also known as ankyloglossia, is a condition that can make breastfeeding difficult for both the mother and the baby. It occurs when the frenulum, a small band of tissue that connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth, is too short, tight or thick. This can result in a restricted range of motion for the tongue, making it difficult for the baby to latch onto the
If your baby has a tongue tie, it can be frustrating and overwhelming for you as a parent. However, there are several ways to support feeding and help your baby overcome the challenges associated with tongue tie.
Breastfeeding is the best way to support feeding a tongue-tied baby. To help your baby latch on to the breast, you can try using breast compression. This technique involves gently compressing your breast to encourage your baby to suck more actively and get more milk. Breast compression can also help to stimulate the let-down reflex and increase milk flow, which can be particularly helpful if your baby has a weak or ineffective suck.
In addition to breast compression, there are other latching tips that can help to improve the breastfeeding experience for both you and your baby. These include finding a comfortable position for both you and your baby, aiming the nipple towards the roof of the baby's mouth, and waiting for your baby to open their mouth wide before latching.
If your baby is struggling to latch onto the breast, you may want to consider using a nipple shield. A nipple shield is a silicone cover that fits over your nipple and can help your baby to latch more easily. Nipple shields can be particularly helpful if your baby has a shallow latch or is struggling to maintain a strong suck.
However, it's important to note that nipple shields should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional, as they can have an impact on milk supply and may not be suitable for all babies.
If breastfeeding is not possible, bottle-feeding can be a good alternative. When bottle-feeding a tongue-tied baby, it's important to choose a bottle and nipple that allow your baby to control the flow of milk. This can help to prevent your baby from choking or gagging on the milk and can also help to reduce the risk of nipple confusion.
When it comes to bottle feeding a tongue-tied baby with reflux, using the correct technique can make a big difference. Paced feeding is a method of bottle feeding that involves slowing down the flow of milk and allowing the baby to take breaks during the feeding. This can help to reduce the risk of choking and can also help to prevent overfeeding, which can exacerbate reflux symptoms. When using paced feeding, it's important to hold the baby in an upright position and to use a bottle with a slow-flow nipple to ensure that the baby is able to control the flow of milk. Additionally, it's important to burp the baby frequently during and after the feeding to help release any trapped air in the digestive system. By using these techniques, you can help to reduce the discomfort associated with reflux and make feeding a more comfortable experience for your baby.
Cranial Therapy is a gentle form of manual therapy that can be helpful for babies with tongue tie. It involves using very gentle pressure to manipulate the bones and tissues in the head and neck, which can help to release tension and improve overall function.
Cranial osteopathy can be particularly helpful for babies with tongue tie, as it can help to release tension in the muscles of the tongue and throat and improve range of motion. However, it's important to note that cranial osteopathy should only be performed by a qualified practitioner.
Tongue tie can be a challenging condition to navigate, but there are several ways to support feeding and help your baby to overcome the challenges associated with this condition. Whether you choose to breastfeed, bottle-feed, use a nipple shield, or try cranial osteopathy, it's important to work closely with your healthcare provider to find the best approach for your baby's individual needs.
For More information the following resources offer a wealth of information
"Breastfeeding infants with tongue-tie: An online survey" by Amir Lerman and Irene M. Budiansky. Published in the Journal of Human Lactation, this study found that mothers who used breast compression were more likely to continue breastfeeding their tongue-tied babies than those who did not use this technique.
"The use of nipple shields for breastfeeding infants with tongue tie or a cleft lip/palate" by Cherie H. Kuzmiak et al. Published in the Journal of Human Lactation, this study found that nipple shields can be a useful tool for helping babies with tongue tie or cleft lip/palate to breastfeed successfully.
"Tongue-tie and breastfeeding: A review of the literature" by Debra J. Bogen and Kristine A. Karlsen. Published in Breastfeeding Medicine, this review article found that cranial osteopathy can be a helpful adjunct therapy for babies with tongue tie, as it can help to release tension in the muscles of the tongue and improve range of motion