Growth and Development
A newborn baby has only three demands: warmth in the arms of the mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three. The experience of breastfeeding is special for so many reasons – the joyful bonding with your baby, the cost savings, and the health benefits for both mother and baby.
Proper latch is the most important component of breastfeeding. Your baby latching on properly is the key to the start of a successful nursing relationship. Breastfeeding is a learning experience for both mother and child, and it should be enjoyable not painful. Many mothers often mistakenly assume that if they are not able to successfully breastfeed, there is something wrong with them. The opposite is true. Infants are often born with a combination of conditions called ankyloglossia or tongue-tied and/or lip-tie.
What is tongue-tie and its consequences?
Ankyloglossia happens when the band of skin that attaches to the floor of the mouth is too close to the tip of the tongue. This band of skin sometimes attaches too close to the gums behind the lower front teeth as well. When the frenum attaches too close to the tip of the tongue, the tongue is not able to move as freely. Some children have trouble sucking, and; therefore, the first problem is noticed when breastfeeding or nursing. Some children may have trouble with certain speech sounds, especially “l, r, t, d, n, sh, th, and z” sounds. Others may develop a lisp. Additionally, these children can have difficulty removing food stuck to their palate or sides of their mouth. They also may have more plaque and tartar build-up. A frenum that is attached too closely behind the bottom front teeth can cause gum recession.
Some children who have mild tongue-tie may be best treated by careful observation and consideration of speech therapy by a Certified Speech Pathologist. Others may benefit from a minor surgical procedure, called frenectomy, which can be performed in our office. A frenectomy is done with a special laser that relocates the attachment of the frenum to a more favorable position that frees up the movement of the tongue.
What is a lip-tie?
A remnant of the tissue in the mid-line of the upper lip and gum which holds the lip attached to the gum (gingiva) and may interfere with the normal mobility and function of the upper lip contributing to poor latch by the infant onto the breast, and may contribute to decay formation on the front surface of the upper teeth.