Lip and Tongue Tie Resources

Christine Sweeney, LICSW Program Manager, Parent Connection, BIDMC

MAY 21, 2018

Breastfeeding Baby

For many new moms, one of the most difficult and often unexpected stressors after delivery happens when there are challenges to breastfeeding. Often breastfeeding is something a mom has looked forward to especially during the last months of pregnancy, visualizing warm loving moments with baby nursing comfortably at her breast. When this fantasy does not mesh with reality, parents often experience significant distress and sometimes overwhelming anxiety.

New parents are often surprised to realize that breastfeeding is a learned skill, on part of baby and breastfeeding mom, so it's pretty typical that it takes time, practice and often the involvement of a skilled lactation consultant to help master the art. In addition, there are sometimes other factors that complicate the learning curve, such as flat of inverted nipples, delayed milk production, low milk supply or overactive let down.

Then sometimes there are structural issues, such as lip and/or tongue tie that make learning to breastfeed that much more complicated. Actually, the complicated part is around obtaining the correct diagnosis of a lip or tongue tie. Once the structural problem is corrected, breastfeeding gets a whole lot easier. Unfortunately, it is not unusual that a lip/tongue tie is not identified during the postpartum hospital stay, or even during subsequent pediatric visits.

As I learned from one very savvy and determined-to-breastfeed mom, her baby's tongue and lip tie was not identified during her postpartum stay, or by her pediatrician, and while an ENT specialist corrected her baby's tongue tie, he missed diagnosing her baby's lip tie. It was only through her own perseverance in finally finding a pediatric dentist who identified and then corrected her baby's lip tie, that breastfeeding got a whole lot better.

The American Academy of Pediatrics website for families has great information:

Talk to your pediatrician, and meet with a lactation consultant. Addressing issues early on in the breastfeeding relationship is key.

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.