What you need to know about lip/tongue ties

Breastfeeding isn’t always easy or pain-free and sometimes, there is a reason for that. Lip and tongue ties can cause issues with nursing, but how to tell if your baby has one?

It isn’t always clear-cut and even doctors and midwives don’t always know what to look for.

If you are having pain while nursing (and your baby isn’t gaining weight), you might want to look into a lip or tongue tie – especially if you have tried different nursing positions and hold and checked baby’s latch.

Here’s what you need to know about lip and tongue ties. Read on:

What are they?

A tongue tie is caused by a short frenulum and can make it hard to move the tongue properly.

A lip tie is a similar issue, caused by a thick frenulum and making it hard to move the lip freely.

How can you tell?

A good lactation consultant can probably identify a lip or tongue tie fairly quickly and help you determine the next steps. However, you can look in your baby’s mouth and get a sense of whether he or she has one. There are varying degrees of lip and tongue ties, however, so it’s best to get an expert opinion.

Why it matters

Lip and tongue ties can cause issues with nursing because anything that restricts the tongue and lips moving and opening freely can impact your baby’s latch – and cause pain for mom and keeping baby from getting enough milk.

And a mom who is in pain and a baby who can’t eat properly might mean the premature end of the nursing relationship – which can be frustrating and upsetting.

What can be done

There are things you can do to fix issues caused by a lip or tongue tie – or even fix the lip or tongue tie itself. Sometimes, just fixing positioning or latch can help and sometimes, a procedure called a frenotomy can help by releasing the tie.

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