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Importance Of Teamwork In Evaluating Tongue Ties Written By: Dr. Ankita Shah, Jan 2021

Teamwork

Most often parents come to us after the diagnosis of a tongue or a lip tie with the thought process that a simple procedure will suddenly change the way their baby breastfeeds. Well that is the case BUT it requires a lot of Pre and Post treatment follow-up along with a team approach where the baby is evaluated holistically.

Teamwork to evaluate and treat babies with tongue ties is the key to a successful procedure.

The body is a very good communicator, if we listen to it! The body is also very resilient and it will usually figure out a way to perform when we ask it to. Babies come with certain reflexes right from birth. But sometimes a new born baby with oral restrictions such as ties can have latching issues while nursing which is discomforting to the baby and the new mum. Since your newborn has a tongue/lip tie and cannot make use of full range motion of the tongue or lip he/she will start compensating by using his/her muscles of face, chin, lips, jaw or neck to withdraw milk. This muscular compensation leads to discomfort, pain and struggles during a mother's breastfeeding journey as the tongue’s job is done by other muscles.

If you can listen to it, try to figure out what is going on, and correct it, you can help!

This is because our bodies are beautifully made to compensate and adapt to restrictions in order to carry out the function. Compensation patterns will only work for so long before something breaks down.

Just like if your right leg is injured, your body will compensate to perform walking making more use of the left leg. But it will allow you to walk comfortably only until the left leg starts showing injury due to compensation.

If you have any of the compensation patterns present, it’s a good idea to talk to the lactation consultant trained for identifying tongue tie and its compensations to try and figure out what the underlying problem is.

WHY DO WE REQUIRE A TEAM APPROACH ?

Tongue-tied babies often show some tightness in their body postures, early fusion of the cranial bones, lack of control of the neck muscles or some lack of coordination of the nerves that control the sucking, swallowing and breathing. Often, there is significant muscular discoordination and habit that doesn't allow them to nurse efficiently. Therefore you may see a change but you will have to give your baby and yourself time to re-adapt and may require help from a trained and certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) and body workers pre and post the frenectomy/frenotomy procedure.

This happens because your baby may have adapted to the compensatory mechanisms to deal with the nursing challenges and a sudden release may create confusion to your baby. Therefore it is absolutely necessary for your baby to undergo the suck retraining and some bodywork inorder to adapt to the changes.

Another way of understanding this is - you met with an accident, suffered from multiple injuries. Your surgeon fixed you up and you were ready to go but were still recommended physical therapy. WHY?

This is because you needed to undergo rehabilitation for your injuries and make sure after the surgery your muscle- balance -posture is retrained. Releasing a tongue tie is also very similar!

When communicating with moms pre-treatment, we cannot stress enough the importance of post treatment care and continued lactation support following the frenectomy procedure. Essentially, the baby must learn how to use his or her tongue in a new way. Some babies need no help at all and immediately breastfeed post-procedure, while other babies may need help from additional professionals.

1)Lactation consultant (IBCLC) : provides full feeding observation, latch/ position adjustment, suck assessment, pre and post feeding weight checks and strategies for correcting problems and managing breastfeeding.

2)Body workers (craniosacral therapist, osteopath, chiropractor, occupational or physical therapist) : Can help babies to release tight muscles that have compensated for a tight frenulum or improper suck. Bodywork encourages an infant to express postural reflexes and explore natural movement inclinations through the nervous system.

3)A speech or developmental feeding therapist: can help babies learn to use their tongues for more effective eating and speech.

BENEFITS OF HAVING A TEAM APPROACH

A multidisciplinary team approach combines collective expertise from different healthcare professionals to accurately diagnose, comprehensively treat the myriad of tongue ties.

They all come together to solve all problems related to tongue ties like breastfeeding, breathing and sleep patterns, jaw growth and speech issues.

Their focus is not just on the procedure but to improve the breastfeeding journey of the mum and take care of the overall development of the child.

Here at Tongue Tie & Sleep Institute, we stress emphasis on having a team approach.

Every member of our team is dedicated to advancing the standards of care through learning and applying new pathfinding research, offering advanced education and most importantly caring for our patients wellness.

As quoted by Ann Douglas

" If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to support that child's parent.

We are here to support you and your baby. Please feel free to Contact Us for any help or assistance.