Is a lip tie real?

Tongue tie, lip tie, oh my!

What to do about a possible lip tie? I just finished reading Why Upper Lip-Tie Isn’t a Thing

Please don’t slam me for this title! I didn’t write it! I am also not sure what to think. I googled the author but couldn’t find much about her. Her blog seems to be well thought out, well researched, and I do agree that in many areas casing the allusive cause of poor breastfeeding has led to several babies being “treated” so many times or so extremely that they end up being far worse than they were before.

Lip tieI personally have had only one case of a lip tie release by itself seemingly resolve a latching issue. To me, as a well trained IBCLC, it seems that the upper lip is not nearly as important for a good latch as having good tongue function. I also question the authors conclusions that releasing a lip tie will cause unattractive facial development. Where did that come from? As she says, time will tell.

However, compared to lip tie, I have had hundreds of babies and mothers experience positive changes with a tongue tie release. Balance and skilled practitioners are the key. I do feel that as it always does, the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction. 15 years ago it was hard to find a practitioner to release a tie. Now it seems that there are some practitioners who will release anything that has the whiff of a tie. Again and again. To the point where the baby is unwilling or unable to feed by mouth. I think the pendulum needs to rest in the middle. I worry this author is going to push back into the realm where we cannot find treatment for the babies who need it.

What to do?

Lip tieWhen I do an oral exam of a baby I check for both tongue appearance and function. I am very familiar with Dr. Hazelbaker’s ATLFF scoring tool and Dr. Martinelli et al’s tool for assessment. My first job is to help with breastfeeding. If I see a baby who scores really high for these tools then a professional evaluation by a specialist seems in order. If I am not sure, then let’s work on better breastfeeding practices and see how things are going in a few days.

I did find it interesting that the author offered no other possible treatment path. Mothers and babies are suffering from not breastfeeding well or at all. What are we suppose to do?

Lip tieBreastfeeding was designed to work. Life is exquisitely orchestrated to work the great majority of the time. Why is breastfeeding so broken in the US?
Our culture? Lack of confidence in breastfeeding? Lack of knowledge? How we are birthing? Our diets/environments?
I do know working with a well qualified IBCLC can help. Don’t just run out and get tied released without getting comprehensive breastfeeding help! You get can work on your latch, your breastmilk supply, whatever else might be going on. If you are in the area of Ann Arbor, give a call 734-975-6534, or send an email, barbara@bfcaa.com. I think we can help!

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