Nourishing the Bond Between Mother and Baby
Breastfeeding has been shown to benefit both mom and baby, with the nutrients from breastmilk nourishing baby’s growing body to keep them healthy and strong, and the release of oxytocin while the baby feeds helping mom to heal more quickly after giving birth. While it is common, and completely normal, for a baby to need time to learn how to properly breastfeed, some babies are born with a tight frenulum, the thin strip of tissue that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth, that causes ankyloglossia, or tongue tie.
This congenital and hereditary condition restricts the movement of the baby’s tongue, which they use to press the nipple and areola against the roof of their mouth to extract milk from the breast. An easy way to tell if your baby is tongue tied is by opening their mouth and checking to see if the tongue is in the shape of a heart. The following are also often associated with moms and babies struggling with breastfeeding due to a tight frenulum:
To correct a tight frenulum, we can perform a quick, in-office procedure called a frenectomy. For this treatment, we simply trim the frenulum with a gentle dental laser, loosening it to allow the tongue to move in a natural range of motion. No anesthesia, cutting or stitches are needed, and there will be little to no bleeding, so mom and baby can begin breastfeeding immediately following the procedure.
Many mothers need additional help after a frenectomy to get their baby to properly initiate breastfeeding and develop it into a learned habit. In these cases, we have a highly trained, professional Lactation Consultant available at our practice to help mom and baby begin to form this bond. Megan Dunn is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant with a passion for helping moms and babies through lactation support.