When Lip and Tongue Ties Interfere with Weight Gain

I have to admit that my job is pretty cool. It also has some frustrating moments as well. It is not uncommon for me to see a baby struggling with weight. Some of these babies aren’t even up from their birth weights at 5-6 weeks out. These babies are being seen by medical providers and for whatever reason, the baby is still not gaining weight.

When these babies come into my office, I immediately do a suck assessment. During the suck assessment, I assess for limited range of motion of the lip and tongue. The lip and tongue are crucial in creating a seal at the breast and creating suction. If the tongue and often times the lip are restricted, baby may not be able to transfer milk from the breast and gain adequate weight.

Infants need to gain an average of 5-7 ounces per week for the first 4 months. It is even up for debate in my lactation consultant group that the necessary standards for weight growth is a minimal of 8 ounces per week for the first 4 months.  So when an infant is not gaining anywhere close, the baby is not eating enough. There is no such thing as “small babies.”

When tongue and/or lip restrictions interfere with normal weight growth for an infant and no one mentions the option of revisions, the consequences can be deadly. Mom’s milk supply is compromised. Mom’s confidence is compromised. The infant’s health and well being are compromised.

“Feeding the Baby Enough is Always the #1 Rule in Breastfeeding.”
Helping the baby feed effectively is also the next step. A simple assessment by the IBCLC and a simple procedure called a frenectomy by the pediatrician or a specialist can save a baby’s life. It is a simple solution to an often time over looked and undermine issue.

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