Many mums wonder why they are having trouble breastfeeding their newborn babies. In order to understand the problem, we need to talk about normal anatomy and physiology first.

The normal breastfeeding motion is best achieved when the baby can widely open the mouth. This wide opening is best achieved when the baby is able to flange the upper lip outwards allowing the mucous membrane portion of the lip (Rather than the dry outer portion) to contact the breast. This allows for a better seal, which is the first step in generating the negative pressure for breastfeeding.  

When a thick upper lip tie tethers the lip downwards, the flanging motion is impeded. This results in a smaller mouth opening and forces the baby to adopt a shallower position on the breast leading to a number of problems.

Tongue ties can also affect the babies’ ability to breastfeed normally. A tongue tie occurs when there is a piece pf tissue (called a frenum) between the tongue and the bottom of the mouth. When this piece of tissue restricts tongue movement it can interfere with breastfeeding and bottle feeding and can later cause trouble with eating or saying some letters of the alphabet.

The biggest problems that many mums face is the baby will usually loose interest in breastfeeding which is very concerning and heartbreaking.

Lip and tongue ties are estimated to happen in 4-11% of infants and the usual complaints are:

  1. A baby is slipping off the nipple easily after attachment
  2. Poor latch
  3. Cracked bleeding nipples
  4. A baby becoming tired or falling asleep soon after starting to feed
  5. Mild dribbling from the corners of the mouth
  6. Reflux
  7. Low weight gains in babies

If you think your newborn baby or young child may be in need of screening for this problem, please phone us 55808855 to book a complimentary assessment with Dr Mah or email