All Things Ties · Myo for Kids

What to do when you suspect your baby has a tongue or lip tie

Nothing is more frustrating than making a plan and having it go awry. You imagined a blissful breastfeeding relationship with your new baby and were presented with an alternate reality. Whether it’s a painful latch, nipple pain, low supply, or thrush, none of it should be allowed to disrupt your imagined goals. Breastfeeding should be a pain-free time to connect with and nourish your baby in the way nature intended.

There are many ways to get to that ideal relationship. However, as with all things, some methods are more difficult and stressful than others. So if you are tired of digging through the infinite results on your search engine and social media posts, here’s some relief.

Lip and tongue ties can disrupt proper breastfeeding, but they are not exclusive causative factors. In fact, there are many confused and angry parents who jump directly into a dental office for a release, only to have it not improve the latch, pain, supply, or swallow. It could easily take many visits to several specialists to narrow down the root cause with confusing and conflicting opinions.

Let’s streamline things and get back to the basics. There are 3 steps in a stressfree baby lip and tongue tie plan.

1. Practice

The experts and leaders in the infant release field, Dr. Ghaheri, Allison Hazelbaker, and Dr. Larry Kotlow have some conflicting views and diagnostic criteria. However, there is one thing that they all agree on adamantly: releasing a tie does not alone resolve lack of proper function. A team approach that includes an IBCLC (lactation consultant), therapist or bodyworker, and a release provider along with active wound management are essential.

What does this mean for an exhausted new parent? Appointments, appointments, appointments. Obviously not stressfree. There are trained myofunctional professionals and lactation consultants that can assess and screen for ties, compensations, torticollis, plagiocephaly, latch, or other common problems that may accompany your breastfeeding issues.

This one provider visit and assessment can help guide you on the proper path to a healthy, productive, and desirable breastfeeding journey. Discover if your baby would benefit more from you adjusting your body, getting physical therapy, feeding therapy aids, or a surgical release. It’s quite possible that you may need to do a combination of those things.

When tongue or lip tie release is required, active wound management is important for proper healing by secondary intention. Skipping a myofunctional professional or lactation consultant and going straight to a release provider is a recipe for disaster. Will the release doctor provide you with stretches, possibly. How do you start to implement those things without prior planning and practice? Especially when you have an angry baby with an open wound who cries upon every oral touch you attempt. Certainly not stressfree.

Save your baby from a possibly unnecessary procedure and yourself from undue stress. Make the one appointment you need for a thorough personalized plan and begin to practice any active wound management. Seek help, support, and confirmation before you seek out a release provider.

2. Preparation

Once you have taken the time to put your plan into practice, it’s time to prepare for a release provider. Tongue and lip tie implications on breastfeeding benefits for proper oral development are becoming more researched and taught, there are many providers learning from experts in the field on proper releases. You have options that extend beyond an outdated “preferred provider” list on social media.

There’s much to consider, including how you would like to have the procedure done. The methods used in an ENT office, a pediatric dental office, and an oral surgery office are all different. Your myofunctional professional or lactation consultant may have a list of providers they suggest based on what you want out of your procedure. You are never limited to that list, and I advise you to call and interview the provider prior to setting an appointment.

Spend time learning and adapting to holds and stretches while your interview release providers and know your options.

3. Patience

Releases are not magic, you spent time learning what was wrong and who you needed on your team, take time to allow healing and function to form.

Both you and baby need time to recover and establish a new and improved breastfeeding relationship. Maintain appointments with myofunctional professionals, lactation consultant, feeding therapist, or bodyworker to ensure healing is optimal and functional movement is established.

Sum it up

  1. Practice stretches prior to seeking out a provider by visiting with a myofunctional professional or lactation consultant first.
  2. Prepare for surgical release by seeking out your provider based on interviews and recommendations.
  3. Patiently ensure proper healing by visiting any supplemental providers. Function does not happen magically upon release, give yourself and baby time to develop functional feeding.

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