It’s the up and down pump action of the middle of the tongue that is essential for creating a vacuum (negative pressure) in the mouth for baby to be efficient at moving milk from the breast. Babies need to be able to protrude the tongue out past the lower gum line AND MAINTAIN IT protruded for the duration of the feeding. Diagnosis of a tie should never be done by visual assessment alone, especially from a picture. A picture is one literal snapshot in time and what the tongue does in that moment is not representative of how it moves spontaneously or when challenges with specific directions. Now there are extreme cases where the tongue is very clearly restricted, but a full assessment is still beneficial. To determine whether a tongue is tied or not, a skilled and highly trained provider should be spending several minutes with your baby, assessing their whole body as well as their tongue. Their fingers need to be in your baby’s mouth to see how the tongue moves, it’s strength and coordination. A full history and a feeding also need to be observed before deciding what kind of intervention may be needed. Does the baby just need to work on reducing tension in their body? Is it how mom is positioning the baby that’s causing pain and damage? It is there an actual lack of functional skill at play? All of this should be guided by a trained IBCLC. Your pediatrician is most likely not trained in this (I’ve seen rare exceptions). And parents on social media groups are certainly not properly trained. They are only coming from their own experience.
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Did you know I teach a parent course on tongue ties? Tied and Untied is your complete source of all information related to ties. ENROLL HERE
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