While some newborns can come out and be champs at eating straight away, others may hit some obstacles. They may have trouble latching, have lots of gas, have trouble gaining weight, etc. Most are unaware that lip and tongue ties can be the underlying cause. As a Newborn Care Specialist it is helpful to know if any possibly issues my be because of a lip and tongue tie. Here is a list of what to look for:
- Sore, cracked, bleeding nipples; flat nipples after feeds
- Slow weight gain
- Short feeding sessions leading to frequent hunger
- Colic/excessive crying, frequent hiccups
- Excessive spitting up or having frequent times where newborn throws up a lot of the feeding
- Slow weight gain/ Excessive weight loss
- Tongue tip that curls under, flattens out or pulls into a notched shape when baby tried to stick out her tongue
- A tongue that doesn’t fully lift up to the palate when baby cries
- Sucking blisters along the length of the lips
- Smacking sounds while sucking
- Top lip that can’t fully be lifted up to cover nostrils
- Trouble keeping a latch
- Spilling milk while feeding
If the newborn in your care is showing any of these signs or symptoms then it would be great to advise your clients to have the newborn evaluated for a lip and/or tongue tie. Unfortunately, a lot of pediatricians may say the newborn is fine, when in fact she is not. It is best to get an evaluation done by someone who is highly skilled in diagnosing and treating lip and tongue ties. That may be a pediatric dentist or and ENT in your area. You can also see if there is a local IBCLC who is able to diagnose first before you go to a specialist.
If a lip or tongue tie is not found, but the newborn is still exhibiting symptoms then a second opinion may be best. If one is found then getting it revised can really help improve or solve any symptoms shown.