Baby Having Problems Breastfeeding? Your Dentist May Be Able To Help
If your baby is having problems latching onto your breast, there are many reasons why this may be happening. It could be that your baby needs more practice, but there may be a medical reason why this may be happening.
While your baby was developing inside your uterus, part of that included a small amount of tissue, known as frenulums, that attaches your baby's tongue to the floor of their lower jaw. Everyone has this tissue, but in tongue tie situations it is too tight, and your baby will have problems moving their tongue. This makes it hard for your baby to latch on to your breast.
He or she will try to overcompensate for this by suctioning harder, which can cause you nipple pain and even nipple damage. They cannot hold up long to suctioning harder, and you will likely hear a clicking sound as they try to hang on, and loss of suction. In some cases, babies are not able to latch to the breast at all.
If you suspect your baby is having this problem, take them to your pediatrician. If they find tongue tie is the problem, they will likely send your baby to a dentist. They can release the tie using scissors or a scalpel. The dentist will likely use some type of anesthesia before doing the procedure. Some dentists will use a laser, as no anesthesia is required and there is no risk of infection and minimal bleeding.
If you lift up your upper lift, you will see a piece of skin that connects to your upper gum. This piece of skin is called labial frenulum. Your baby may have a labial frenulum that is too short and too tight, which would restrict movement of his or her upper lip.
If your baby has a lip tie, they would not be able to get a good seal on your breast, and may only be able to take your nipple in their mouth. This causes nipple pain, and your baby cannot get enough milk. You may notice your baby constantly loses suction, or they may refuse to open their mouth wide.
If your pediatrician determines that your baby has a lip tie, they may send you to a pediatric dentist at a family dental clinic, who can snip the skin to free the upper lip. The procedure is very quick, and the doctor can perform it without any anesthetic.
When you get your baby's tongue or lip tie released, you will notice an immediate difference in the way they breastfeed.