Painting by Myra Roberts
Many mothers come to us in tears having been told that they should just give up on breastfeeding and give the baby formula.  Mothers have been told that something was wrong with them or that they have the wrong kind of milk.  A lot of heartache could be prevented if at birth the one simple assessment that is often missed, checking under the tongue and upper lip for ties, was performed on each and every baby. If a lip or tongue tie is found and corrected early it can save a breastfeeding relationship and also prevent speech and dental problems that can occur later. This often-overlooked condition can cause a decrease in the milk supply and can make breast-feeding painful.  Mother's please follow your instinct if you feel something is wrong! Sometimes you need to go to more than one professional in order to find someone that can both diagnose this condition and understands how it impacts breastfeeding.  The provider should be able to support you during this treatment. If you are unsure, please feel free to make an appointment with  Mark Corke DDS for the assessment. Our dental office is breastfeeding friendly!

Lip tie or tongue tie is a condition where the frenulum attaches to the lip or tongue in a way that restricts movement. An anterior tongue tie is attached to the front of the tongue and can actually change the shape of the tongue into a heart because of the restriction to the floor of the mouth. Sometimes the sides of the tongue will rise but the center of the tongue will stay on the floor of the mouth. Even if a baby can stick his or her tongue past the gums or lips, there may still be a tight frenulum restricting baby’s ability to breastfeed effectively. A posterior tongue tie is harder to see by looking but Dr. Corke can feel the restriction during the exam.  The tie revision will be completed in the dental office with a dental laser requiring NO general anesthesia as the laser numbs the area and stops any bleeding.


A babies tongue movement during breast feeding is different than when they drink from a bottle. The tongue needs to create a vacuum and it does most of the work of holding onto the breast.  If the baby cannot latch or suck effectively the breasts will not be emptied. This can lead to mastitis and low milk supply. The baby may not be able to gain sufficient weight.  Many mothers get discouraged and give up on breastfeeding long before they ever wanted to.  

Tongue tie related problems can show up later in the form of speech problems.  Articulation and pronunciation will get your child assigned to speech class but they won't reap all the benefits unless the tongue tie is released.

A lip tie can cause decay on the front teeth.  With the lip tied down so tightly the milk is trapped under the lip leading to decay.  This tightness also makes it difficult to brush the upper front teeth completely.  
Mother's symptoms :
-Painful nursing
-Cracked and/or bleeding nipples
-Mastitis
-Sleep deprivation- the baby nurses all night
-Low milk supply, may start out ok then dwindles
-plugged milk ducts

Baby's Symptoms :
-Difficulty latching
-Gumming or chewing nipples
-Reflux or colic
-Gassy
-Poor weight gain
-Makes clicking noise while sucking
-excessive drooling, milk may even spill out of mouth
-Choking on milk or popping off the breast to grasp for air
-Decay on teeth around the tied area
-unable to hold pacifier
-Gaps between two front teeth


Saving the breastfeeding relationship...