Lactation Consultant

lactation consultant 

Ankyloglossia and Recovery: Healing and Support from Our Lactation Consultant

What is Ankyloglossia?

Ankyloglossia, otherwise known as tongue tie is a congenital formation of the lingual frenulum (membrane under the tongue) that restricts range of motion of the tongue contributing to reduced function. Tongue tie is not a fad! One of the early medical reports of tongue ties being released was nearly 100 years ago. Midwives used to divide lingual frenulum of newborn babies with a long sharp fingernail according to historical reports. A grooved director was devised more than a century ago for the division of tongue tie.

As more research and study is being performed on this, there is some evidence that the presence of a tight labial frenulum (membrane under the top lip) contributes to feeding issues and air intake due to a poor seal (aerophagia).

The tongue has an important job in breastfeeding:

  • Ideally the nipple and a good amount of breast tissue is drawn into the baby’s mouth and suction is created to hold breast tissue in place
  • The nipple is drawn to the juncture of the hard and the soft palate
  • The tongue “sandwiches” breast tissue against the palate.
  • The tongue protrudes over lower gum to suppress bite reflex, it then moves the nipple and breast tissue into correct position and stabilises tissue. A vacuum is created, and the tongue works in a peristaltic motion – elevation and extension, anterior to posterior motion. The tongue then depresses to release the vacuum and expel milk.

How our lactation consultant helps you and baby heal

My name is Eve. I have been a practising midwife for 20 years, and am an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). An IBCLC is a healthcare professional who specialises in clinical management of lactation and breastfeeding. IBCLC’s have a unique body of knowledge and skill to provide breastfeeding care in routine and high-risk situations. IBCLC’s are internationally recognised.

Close up of baby breastfeedingI am passionate in helping both new parents and their babies to achieve the best start on their journey together by facilitating the unique bond that is developed through breastfeeding. I specialise in managing all aspects of lactation from methods to assist increasing milk supply, dealing with nipple trauma, mastitis, and a range of other common breast feeding challenges and I work together with you and your family to achieve a happy and positive outcome. In recent years, my special area of interest has become breast feeding challenges caused by Ankyloglossia, otherwise known as Tongue Tie.

At Perth Specialist Lip and Tongue Tie Clinic, I am there to support you and your family through the frenectomy procedure. I meet you at the pre frenectomy consult, assess your baby’s mouth and oral structure and function, observe a breastfeed, and advise you on my findings. We will discuss your feeding challenges, and explore appropriate avenues to help with these challenges. If you choose to proceed with a frenectomy, I will be in the feeding lounge after the procedure to support you and observe your baby’s first feed, give some education on optimal positioning and attachment technique, some breastfeeding advice and what to expect with healing after the frenectomy. There are also a few exercises that I recommend to do to ensure good healing and promote optimal tongue function. I will also phone you for a follow up on how your baby is feeding and progressing within one week of the procedure.

Optimal tongue function will enable baby to latch on to the breast and feed well.

Some indicators of good attachment are:

  • NO PAIN!
  • Baby will have full cheeks
  • Top lip neutral/flanged
  • Bottom lip flanged
  • Stable lips
  • A good seal/vacuum
  • Relaxed at the breast
  • Rhythmic sucking
  • Audible swallowing
  • Baby is satisfied after a feed
  • Baby is gaining weight
  • Baby has good urinary output
  • Breasts are softer after baby has fed

Some improvements in feeding associated with Ankyloglossia and frenectomy are:

  • The tongue has improved range of movement
  • Dribbling reduces
  • Clicking reduces
  • Wind reduces
  • Baby stays attached for full feed
  • Feeding becomes more efficient
  • Body language relaxed
  • Weight gain

Improved maternal symptoms Associated with frenectomy are:

  • Tongue has improved range of movement
  • Dribbling reduces
  • Clicking reduces
  • Wind reduces
  • Baby stays attached for full feed
  • Feeding becomes more efficient
  • Body language relaxed
  • Weight gain

A Lingual Frenectomy procedure is not a “quick fix” for breastfeeding issues. It releases the tension in the frenulum to enable the tongue to learn how to function optimally. Achieving optimal breastfeeding can still take time, and support by a qualified professional will help you achieve this. I strongly recommend that you seek advice from your IBCLC following a frenectomy.

You are welcome to make an appointment with myself at my private rooms in Bateman if you have not already seen an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant). 

Call Best Start Lactation Consultancy on 0417 244 521.

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