Many times, improper latch, cracked nipples, bleeding nipples, thrush, frequent feeding (more than every 2 hours), failure to thrive are among the problems that mom can experience when their baby has Tethered Oral Tissues (TOT). It may not be the “classic” tongue tie that professionals are looking for. How can you tell? Run your finger across the floor of your baby’s mouth, under the tongue. If you can move your finger across the floor of the mouth WITHOUT BUMPING INTO THE FRENUM, then your baby is fine. However, if you cannot do this, you may be looking at something that can plague your child for many years to come. Also when your baby cries, if the tongue cups instead of lifts, that’s a sign of a posterior tongue tie. These are very difficult to find unless you are in the hands of an experienced provider. Many professionals do not recognize the impact that TOT can have on a baby’s ability to feed and sometimes babies can be labelled as being a “lazy feeder” or “having a short tongue”. Check the links page for sites to explore to help you figure out what is happening in your baby’s mouth.
Babies who are tongue tied, swallow a lot of air whether they are breast or bottle fed and can exhibit the very same symptoms as acid reflux. Most doctors will prescribe medication but if they only looked under the tongue, chances are they would find a simple solution to the problem by revising the tongue tie. Some of the ties are sneaky and may be a submucosal or posterior tongue tie. Find the right provider to do the release and eliminate the need for medications.
The cure is very simple: revise the frenum as soon as possible after birth. It is done without anaesthetic and very little discomfort for baby. The benefit is evident right away because baby can finally latch and feed properly.
Depending on the age of the baby when a TOT is revised, there will certainly be a transition until baby’s muscles have started to work properly. Your baby has been compensating for the restrictions since about 15 weeks in utero and it may take a few weeks for baby to learn a new way to feed.
Cranial Sacral Therapy or Osteopathy is required for those who are having a revision, baby, toddler, child or adult. Muscles have been compensating for the tie for many months (sometimes years) and need to be loosened up for the full effect of the release to be evident. Therapy is needed after revision to complete the process of getting the muscles and fascia “unwound” so they can function properly. The fascia goes from the tongue to the tip of the toes and can impact the diaphraghm for breathing, neck and shoulder pain, back pain and even leg pain.
Also have a peek inside the upper lip. Lip tie is sometimes a problem as well with inability to achieve a good latch. A quick fix will not only help with your breastfeeding difficulties but will enable the two front teeth to erupt without spacing between them.
The best transition from breast is right to a cup, bypassing the bottle and sippy cup. Try “Baby Cups” or the Wow cup that are both perfect for proper tongue development. Open cups should be used at family meal times. If baby is still wanting a bottle once or twice a day, it’s not going to be a problem. Continue to build the mouth muscles that breastfeeding has so wonderfully started for your baby. Bottles, sippy cups and pacifiers do just the opposite so try to avoid them at all costs.
Purees and liquid nutrition (other than milk) are a poor excuse for food! If you want to feed your baby right and grow beautiful faces, check out the book called “Baby Led Weaning” and start feeding baby table food from 6 months on. You’d be surprised at what babies love to eat, especially when they have to use their fingers to pick it up.
Also, the tribes in Africa have beautifully formed arches and straight teeth but they have never seen an orthodontist! Their babies are transitioned from breast to table food including tough, chewy things to develop the masseter (cheek) muscles and help the face to grow forward and wide rather than down and back. We need to adopt more of THEIR habits rather than using the things that have “westernized” us and to the detriment of our faces, and go back to basics.