Breastfeeding Tips for Difficulty Nursing: Looking at Tongue Tie in Newborns

Breastfeeding Tips for Difficulty Nursing: Looking at Tongue Tie in NewbornsDifficulty breastfeeding? Take a look into your baby’s mouth and see if your infant is affected by “tongue-tie,” a birth condition where the tongue frenulum is shorter than average. The frenulum is the band underneath the tongue that connects the bottom of the tongue to the mouth’s floor. While many people associate tongue-tie (the technical term is ankyloglossia) with stammering and speech impediments (which a short frenulum can cause), about 3% of babies have difficulty breastfeeding with tongue-tie.

Having a shorter frenulum makes breastfeeding difficult for a baby because it impedes the sucking motion necessary for a newborn to nurse effectively. Overall tongue motion and reach is impaired by the inherited condition—chances are that if your baby has a short frenulum, someone else in the family does as well.

What steps can you take to help your baby nurse with tongue-tie? Talk to your doctor about the possibility of getting your baby’s frenulum clipped—a medical procedure that widens your baby’s tongue range and is safe, efficient, and done only in a doctor’s office. One lactation consultant compares the procedure to getting your ears pierced.

If you are having difficulty breastfeeding despite trying a range of positions, are experiencing constant nipple soreness, or hear your baby making empty sucking noises while nursing, you want to make an appointment with a lactation consultant. A trained lactation consultant will be able to help you pinpoint what issues might be complicating breastfeeding. Many mothers experience a challenging adjustment period when first breastfeeding, so talking a lactation consultant will help soothe nursing frustrations.