What is Tongue Tied?
A baby that is tongue tied has a bit of membrane connecting the bottom of the tongue to the floor of the mouth.
How Can I Tell If My Breastfeeding Baby Is Tongue Tied?
A tongue tied breastfeeding baby will often be very rough on mom’s nipples because baby is not able to breastfeed properly. If you havesore or damaged nipples this is a sign that you baby either has a bad latch or is tongue tied. (Since a bad latch is far more common – see this article on the correct breastfeeding latch [ARTICLE COMING SOON!] to determine if this is the cause of the soreness.)
Next watch how far baby can extend his tongue. Tongue tied babies generally can’t extend their tongue past their lower lip so if you see this symptom along with damaged nipples, have a health care professional determine if your baby might be tongue tied.
How Does A Tongue Tied Baby Affect Breastfeeding?
A tongue tied baby is usually not able breastfeed correctly. This leads to a number of breastfeeding complications:
- Sore and damaged nipples
- Inefficient and incomplete milk withdrawal.
- Lower milk supply – as milk is left in the breasts from inefficient breastfeeding, the body will lower milk production, because it sees milk left in the breasts as a sign that it is over producing.
- Slower weight gain for baby – since baby’s primary food source is difficult to get and milk supply may be dropping, it may show up on the scale.
- All of the above may make the mom feel depressed and want to put off breastfeeding because of sort or damagednipples. Longer times between breastfeeding sessions can lower milk supply even more and further jeopardize the breastfeeding relationship.
How Is Tongue Tied Treated In Breastfeeding Babies?
Once a health care professional has diagnosed that the baby is tongue tied, treatment involves a simple procedure to snip the membrane. You doctor can provide you with specific details about your baby’s procedure.
What Should A Breastfeeding Mom Do?
If you suspect your baby may be tongue tied, get an appointment with your doctor to confirm. Schedule the procedure for as soon as possible and in meantime you should pump after each breastfeeding session and again once or twice per day to maintain yourmilk supply.