Who are Lactation consultants?
A certified Lactation consultant or professional plays a significant role in journey of mother-baby feeding care both before and after the birth of the baby. A lactation consultant can provide information, guidance, and hands-on instruction around the topic of breastfeeding and help expecting couples and new parents to sustain and reach their breastfeeding goals.
Why would I need one?
While breastfeeding is one of the healthiest and most natural ways to feed a baby, nursing doesn’t come naturally to all new mothers especially if there has been any birthing complications. For the first time moms, it is a new journey and sometimes proves challenging when proper guidance is not received. They can help you with the following and much more:
- Counselling and advice if you have any concerns or questions about breastfeeding
- Specific tips on breastfeeding and guidance on topics like breastfeeding positions, latch, low breast milk supply, breast or nipple pain, burping your baby, and how to calm your baby if they gets fussy before or during a feed
- Advice on dealing with mastitis, engorgement, breast infections, or plugged milk ducts
- Recommendations on how to go about breastfeeding if you plan to return to work
- Information on how to express breast milk and its proper storage
- Trouble hitting weight milestones
- Struggles with the right nursing position, especially after a C-section
- Baby falling asleep at the breast or refusing to breastfeed
- Emotional and physical barriers to breastfeeding, including postpartum depression
When should I seek help for breastfeeding?
A mother child dyad has a bonding that is special in its own way and starts even before a baby is born. The golden hour or the first hour of baby’s life starts them on their feeding journey. It is best that you get in touch during prenatal period as they can prepare you well, but you can also reach out when you face any issues or have concerns. It can also be sometimes reassuring to meet them as they can answer any of your queries which you want answers for but are unable to get from your healthcare provider.
What if the issue is related to tongue/lip tie?
The lingual frenulum is the small band of tissue that connects the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. Tongue tie or “ankyloglossia” occurs when a baby’s lingual frenulum is too tight, too short, or too thick. Tongue tie can cause a number of problems with feeding, speech and sleep. When a tongue tie is causing problems with breastfeeding, the baby often does not open his mouth widely, thus not latching on to the breast at the correct angle. Instead he may latch onto the nipple, and ‘gum’ or chew it, causing. The tongue-tied baby may be found to be unable to make a good seal around the breast with his lips so that milk is seen to dribble from the mouth while sucking often causing severe pain and eventually, nipple damage. There can be cracking, distortion, blanching or bleeding from the nipple, sometimes followed by infection or mastitis. The tongues restriction can also cause issues with the seal on a bottle causing issues such as gas pain and reflux. An upper lip tie can limit the ability of the baby’s upper lip to form an adequate seal while feeding, causing gas pain and fussiness. Some infants will continue to have problems on the bottle, such as dribbling, swallowing of air and vomiting. Many will also have difficulty coping with purees and solids when these are introduced. This can cause discomfort, difficult feedings, poor weight gain, and stress for parents, baby and the whole family. As a consequence, many mothers who plan to breastfeed their babies are compelled to wean them to the bottle much earlier than expected.
An undiagnosed or untreated tongue tie may negatively influence overall health and well-being, leading to an increased risk for physiologic alterations resulting in poor breathing and sleep quality. Evidence suggests that normal development of the cranial, facial, and neck structures is positively impacted by long-term breastfeeding. The natural jaw movements and suck motions that take place during breastfeeding assist in creating optimal shape and function of the head, neck, mouth, and sinus cavities. How we “suck” and what we “suck” on as infants may influence our ability to function properly as we grow. Having a free-moving, high-lifting tongue helps to promote optimal feeding (breast and bottle), swallowing, breathing, and sleeping. In short, we need to feed, breathe, and sleep WELL to function WELL.
If this is a concern for your child, or after a comprehensive functional examination we find the same, we may recommend a “Frenectomy” with Soft Tissue Laser. Not only dedicated to promoting awareness about the importance of breastfeeding, and committed to providing parents with the necessary education, care plans, and resources to reach their breastfeeding goals but being a trained dentist will be able to assess for tethered oral tissues and help in releasing of the same if required to restore the function and also to guide the parents into developing healthy oral practices for their child.