Breastfeeding Problems and the Relationship to Tongue Ties
The day our first child was born, my wife and I were confronted with a lot of new experiences and unknowns. Although we always wanted the very best for our children, there were so many questions that we had, and we felt helpless a lot of the time. For example, in the first 6 months after our first child was born, it just seemed that he was so fussy and uncomfortable, always needed to be carried, and we wondered if this was colic? However, being first time parents, we had no answer. I believe that with what I know now about tongue ties, these miserable months could have been prevented. I am a firm believer that a lot of the fussiness was correlated to having a tongue tie. Our son was not able to ingest milk correctly and swallowing too much air which caused him to be uncomfortable and gassy.
We have performed thousands of procedures and this shows how many mothers struggle with breastfeeding. A tongue tie can be the cause of the severe pain, mastitis, flattened/infected nipples, poor latch that a mother experiences. The time of our life where our tongue is most important to us, is as infants. It serves as the “motor” that allows proper breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Effective and painless nursing requires the tongue to move in wave-like motions, creating both a suction/negative pressure of the nipple against the roof of the mouth. If the tongue has restricted movement because of a tongue tie, breastfeeding at times is not possible or is extremely painful.
What is a Frenectomy?
A frenum/frenulum is the piece tissue that connects the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth and in certain situations may prevent proper elevation of the tongue. A frenectomy is a procedure that removes this tissue to allow correct movement of the tongue. Our office uses the Solea CO2 laser for our frenectomies and it requires no stitches, little to no bleeding, and minimal thermal collateral damage (like the old lasers did). It allows us to complete a frenectomy in under 30 seconds and is considered the gold standard for these procedures.
There are a lot of doctors, pediatricians, and dentists that don’t believe in this procedure and that’s understandable. But with the advancement of the CO2 lasers, improved techniques, I can confidently say that these procedures work. It gives mothers an option to breastfeed, prevents aerophagia which results in a more comfortable child. I could literally write a novel on my experiences with frenectomies, but for those wanting more information on this topic, I would encourage you to visit the websites and read the blogs of Larry Kotlow DDS (pediatric dentist) and Bobby Ghareri MD (ENT), both of who I have had the pleasure of meeting. I have been to both of their offices and have had the privilege to see Dr. Ghaheri perform these procedures firsthand. I visited Dr. Ghaheri prior to performing my first frenectomy and this visit really cemented my desire to be a practitioner who offers this in our practice. There are mothers who desire to breastfeed, and we are committed to get you to there. We are experienced in this procedure and have the clinical results to confirm this.
Issues that can arise from a tongue or lip tie:
- Clicking and making sounds while feeding
- Swallowing air while nursing (aerophagia), leading to a fussy baby
- Reflux/colic/crying episodes
- Can only sleep when held upright
- Poor weight gain
- Unable to hold onto a pacifier
- Falling asleep while attempting to nurse
- Prolonged breastfeeding
- Short, shallow, unsustained latch
- Sliding off the nipple
- Nursing/lip blisters
- Flattened, blistered, bleeding nipples
- Moderate to severe pain when infant attempts to achieve a latch
- Infected nipples/plugged ducts
- Engorged or unemptied breasts
- Premature reduction of breast milk supply
- Depression, mother frustration due to the lack of infant-mother connection