Tongue-tie is one hidden hindrance that can make breastfeeding difficult or even impossible for some moms and babies. When a baby has tongue-tie, their frenulum (the piece of skin that connects their tongue to the floor of their mouth) is too short and restricts the movement of their tongue. This can lead to breastfeeding issues because baby may have a hard time creating a good latch.
Why is baby’s tiny tongue such a big deal? The infant tongue plays an important role in latching because baby needs to move their tongue forward and over their lower gum in order to draw the nipple deeply into their mouth. If baby’s tongue can’t move freely over their gums, they might not be able to create and maintain a seal, which can hinder their ability to remove milk from the breast. For moms, this can be very painful and can even lead to cracked and bleeding nipples because baby is latched poorly and chewing rather than sucking on the nipple.
Because babies with tongue-tie may not be able to get enough milk, they might want to breastfeed every hour or more, but then get fussy and cry after feeding because they’re not satisfied. In turn, mom can develop low supply issues due to baby not fully emptying the breasts.
Here’s the good news: Tongue-tie is easily treated by a safe and simple procedure to release the frenulum. If you think your baby may have tongue-tie, reach out to a Lactation Consultant or your pediatrician. They can help identify and treat tongue-tie, and create a plan for breastfeeding success.
How did you manage breastfeeding a little one with tongue-tie? Share with us in the comments below.