Feeding a baby comfortably and efficiently is the most important aspect of a newborn’s life and a precious experience for a new mom. In some cases, a connective band of tissue known as a “frenum” can cause conditions such as a tongue-tie or lip-tie. These conditions can jeopardize the beautiful nursing relationship between a mother and her newborn.
A normal frenum functions to connect two parts of the body. For instance, the frenum that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth is called a lingual frenum. If the frenum attaches too low or too tight, the tissue becomes restrictive in nature, just as webbed fingers or toes become restrictive. So, as a surgical release helps webbed fingers or toes function well, a frenectomy procedure might be beneficial to help the baby and mom have a comfortable and efficient feeding experience.
Why do we seem to be seeing more tongue-ties?
Lip and tongue-ties are not a new problem. In fact, a lip or tongue-tie was one of the main reasons given to Moms to wean her child to a bottle instead of breastfeeding. However, in the past decade, there has been increased awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding. This awareness has allowed breastfeeding to become more popular again, while also bringing more attention to the problems associated with feeding such as lip and tongue-ties among others.
How are tongue-ties and lip-ties treated today?
Thanks to the great advances in laser technology, most technologically-savvy and up-to-date healthcare providers are educated on the laser’s properties and why they are highly favorable in soft tissue procedures. The lasers ability to coagulate as it releases tissue allows better healing of the surgical site.
Lasers virtually eliminate the need for scalpel, sutures, or anesthetic in most cases. The newborns we treat can nurse immediately and moms report significant difference in personal comfort, baby’s consumption, and efficiency while nursing/feeding.
Team approach for long-term success
Mothers and babies experience maximum benefits when a frenectomy is combined with guidance from a knowledgeable lactation consultant or a feeding therapist. This is important in developing a new and improved breastfeeding relationship. They can help you tease out any maternal or infant related factors that may be interfering with your baby’s ability to feed.