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Who said "lip ties don't affect breastfeeding"?

For starters I would like to acknowledge & thank Mum A and Miss S for sharing their story to help others!

For several months, Mum A & Miss S had endured:

  • Baby fatiguing during feeds - having prolonged, frequent feeds

  • Multiple episodes of blocked ducts & mastitis

  • Painful latch

  • Difficulty latching

  • Fussy baby

  • Sleep & settling difficulties

  • Reflux

  • Lots of tears & anxiety

After seeing 12 IBCLC's, Mum A followed her instincts and made an appointment to see Laser Dental Surgeon, Dr. Jeff Kestenberg for expert lip and tongue tie assessment. It was recommended the lip & tongue ties were cut and Dr. Kestenberg referred them to me for ongoing care.

Within 2-3 weeks of breastfeeding support, oral motor therapy & bodywork, Miss S was breastfeeding like she should have been from birth. Mum and baby are finally now able to enjoy their breastfeeding relationship!

The question I ask, is why none of those 12 IBCLC's were able to identify Miss S's lip & tongue tie?

Why did this mother and baby's suffering have to be drawn out for such a long time?

For starters, there is a lot of misinformation about lip & tongue ties in general.

Unfortunately Mum A & Miss S's story is not isolated - I could write a book of the stories mum's have shared with me.

  • Don't treat your baby's lip tie, they will fall over & tear it anyway when they are a toddler?

  • Lip tie's don't impact breastfeeding!

  • Why are you traumatising your child by putting them through that?

Have a look at the picture above. Within the blue circle is where Miss S's lip tie was. Her mouth is unable to gape wide and her lip muscle is still tight as mum has to use a lot of strength to lift her lip. This lip tie was so thick and restrictive, that it restricted two upper jaw bones from fusing which is where you can see the huge indentation. This lip tie was making it impossible for Miss S's lip to extend and a seal around her mums breast causing her to bite, chomp and tense her jaw during breastfeeds.

The biting and chomping during breastfeeds is due to the abnormal use of the jaw muscles to draw suction from the breast. Normally, the tongue will hug the breast, whilst moving up and down to pump milk out of the breast during breastfeeds.

Biting and chomping during breastfeeds for this mum & baby resulted in terrible nipple pain, nipple compression and damage. Miss S was unable to maintain her latch as she kept slipping off the breast - so she would get frustrated, because all she wanted to do was to breastfeed and feel comforted. Miss S's lip tie was also causing her to excessively gulp and take in a lot of air during feeds, giving her terrible discomfort with bellyaches and reflux.

Just imagine, each and every time you are hungry, you cannot eat and swallow properly. After each meal, you can't relax, cause you have reflux and abdominal cramping. You struggle to sleep because you are so uncomfortable and then you get overtired because you feel jet lagged. Your emotional reserves are barely in existence because you feel so wound up...this is just a glimpse of what life is like for the mother and baby affected by lip and/or tongue ties.

We know that oral structures form weeks from 6 weeks gestation in utero.

Oral motor patterning begins soon after and the oral muscles memorise their dysfunctional movements.

When lip and/or tongue ties are cut, it reduces the restriction, but doesn't change the oral muscle functioning. This is why babies need to have oral myofunctional therapy (ie. oral & face muscle therapy) to support rapid return to normalised oral motor functioning following these procedures. Studies have confirmed that oral motor therapy following oral tie surgery is what makes the surgical recovery, a success.

If you suspect that your baby has oral ties with feeding issues such as: taking a long time to feed, reflux, colic symptoms, chomping, milk spillage, painful latch, it's really important to make sure that you see an IBCLC who has expertise in performing oral motor function assessments and an understanding of lip & tongue ties.

It is unrealistic to rely on your GP or MCHN to perform these assessments as this highly unlikely to be their area of expertise.

For anyone that says that "lip ties don't affect breastfeeding", re-read what has been written above and look again at Miss S's picture....then tell me that "lip ties don't affect breastfeeding".

I have expertise in the area of supporting breast and bottle-fed infants with oral motor dysfunction, providing oral motor therapy as well as gentle bodywork for feeding related issues. I specialise in assessing babies under the age of 1 year within the Northern Suburbs of Melbourne, and have an extensive network of colleagues throughout Australia who are able to provide the same support.

I have met thousands of families who share Mum A & Miss S's story and it is my mission to help prevent other families going through the same turmoil by sharing my expertise and associated networks.

Feel free to make an online booking with me or contact me so I can link you in with someone local who can help you.



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Hi, thanks for stopping by!

At MILK early parenting support, I strive to be your go-to source for all your parenting needs – from pre-birth to post-birth. I'm a passionate and experienced International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). I love empowering expectant and new parents with all the knowledge and support they need to make the right decisions for their family.

Whether it’s helping you find the best feeding and sleeping strategies, or ensuring that your baby is getting the nutrition they need for optimal growth, I'm here to make sure that you and your baby get the best start in life.

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