What is tongue tie?
Tongue tie is, simply put, where the frenulum of a baby impedes their lips or tongue from functioning properly. This can lead to many struggles for mothers, regardless of previous experiences. There is one thing to know; that it will be alright, and we are here to help with you. Listed below are some of the most common things we think you should Know, followed by some helpful suggestions on what to Do.
Slow weight gain
Know: During the the first few weeks of life, These common things are sometimes, but NOT always due to tongue tie or lip tie:
Latching pain beyond the first week/first 30-60 seconds
Creased nipples with pain
Blanching of the nipples with pain
Recurring blocked ducts
Incomplete milk transfer
Poor, shallow latch
Popping on and off the breast
Falls asleep without emptying the breast
Poor weight gain
Short feeding cycles without being satisfied
Long feeding cycles without being satisfied
Protects the airway during sleep
Drips milk from the nipple
Tongue clicks during feeding
Difficulty holding the pacifier in
Difficulty holding suction on the bottle
Know: Ties routinely contribute to the following challenges:
Do: Have your personal history and your baby's positioning and latch assessed by a qualified health care member, make adjustments and watch/feel for improvements. Give yourself and your baby time to notice improvements!
Know: Tongue tie or lip tie can't be assessed or diagnosed just from the presence of a lingual or labial frenula.
Do: Have your suspected tongue tie or lip tie assessed by a qualified practitioner.
Know: The presence of a lingual frenula occurs in 97% of the human population.
Do: wait to see what function items appear to be abnormal.
Know: What is normal in the first week of nursing (ie: nipple pain & discomfort vs. damage to nipples).
Do: First have your latch and positioning assessed by an IBCLC experienced in ties.
Know: Birth story and position in the uterus can both affect symptoms that mimic ties.
Do: Before rushing into a tie revision, have an experienced pediatric trained body worker examine your baby for asymmetries and/or a tight oral tissue.
Know: Not all body workers are pediatric trained nor are they trained to see tongue tie/lip tie.
Do: ALWAYS ask for credentials. It's more than a professional courtesy, it's a need so you can receive the best care for your individual needs.
Know: Many tongue and lip ties assessed over the internet are wrongly diagnosed.
Do: Take your baby/child in for a full functional assessment by a qualified IBCLC.
Know: IBCLC's are not legally able to diagnose. They are only legally able to assess and then refer to another practitioner who IS qualified to diagnose.
Do: Take your assessment results to your qualified and Experienced primary care family doc, pediatrician dentist, or ENT.
Know: There are several well trained practices in the Treasure Valley.
Do: Make sure that if you don't already have someone in mind, that you ask for a list of referrals who can both meet your budget and style preference.
Know: You should trust your parent gut feeling.
Do: Feel free to pump the brakes on any recommendation someone gives to do or not do a revision. Your gut feeling is there for a reason! Discuss your concerns with your practitioner or follow up with a second or third opinion.
Know: There are many qualified tongue tie experts throughout the world and research on ties continues to grow.
Do: Ask who your practitioner has been trained by and take the time to learn what their bias may be. If you don't know, ask!
Know: Feeling rushed into a procedure isn't best practice.
Do: Pause, take a breath and know that you can wait for a second opinion or for body work to help.
Know: Tight muscle and facial tissue can mimic tie pain and function impairment.
Do: Have mouth and body work done first before revision.
Know: Often ties run in families.
Do: Be prepared for a tie in your baby if you have seen them in your family line.
Know: 3% -12% of the population seems to be the number that research has found needs tie revision --
That means 82%-97% do not.
Do: Be watchful for people- friends or practitioners who seem to be over-zealous in their recommendations for release.
Know: Revision is invasive and it is important to feel supported and prepared for the aftercare needed.
Do: Acknowledge your own feelings surrounding the revisions and discuss with your practitioner.
Know: Ties can cause damage to a mother's nipples and be very painful.
Do: Know that a release of a tie may make a very big difference in your nipple healing.
Know: As an IBCLC, Lynnelle is trained to assess tongue and lip tie and counsel you about your options.
Do: Take some time to think about the information presented to make the best decision for your family.
Know: If you feel you have been wrongly pushed into a revision, you may have reason for those feelings.
Do: Make a formal complaint (contact the IBC at www.idahobreastfeeding.org/copy-of-ethical-concerns ).
A note specifically about the relationship between
Craniosacral Therapy and Ties:
In regard to tongue, buccal and lip ties, Craniosacral Therapy cannot make ties disappear, but what it can do is help to improve mobility of the tongue and tissues by reducing the restriction and tension patterns. When a baby has tethered oral tissues (lip, cheek or tongue frenula) there are often restrictions elsewhere throughout the body.
Sometimes, after a full evaluation, a tie revision is needed. Craniosacral Therapy plays an essential role pre and post revision by decreasing restrictions and preparing the body for the releasing of the tethered tissue. Without proper preparation and aftercare, babies can struggle with re-attachment, breast aversion and tight surrounding muscles resulting in continued oral issue concerns. Craniosacral Therapy is now routinely recommended as a gentle complimentary care practice for infants needing a revision.