Navigating the Challenges of Tongue Ties in NewbornsJul 17, 2023
Navigating the Challenges of Tongue Ties in Newborns
One of the most discussed subjects in infant and baby health revolves around tongue ties. It's increasingly linked to various pediatric health issues. If you're questioning whether your child has a tongue tie and if it's causing difficulties with latching, nursing discomfort, weight gain, colic, reflux, or overall well-being, we're here to assist you in clarifying that!
We aim to explore the science behind tongue ties in infants with you, moving beyond their impact on breastfeeding, speech, and neurodevelopment. We'll investigate why tongue ties are prevalent today and unveil the genuine root cause behind these challenges. By comprehending the condition and its consequences, you can make informed decisions about your next steps.
Naturally, as a caring parent, encountering difficulties with breastfeeding, latching, or discomfort can immediately raise concerns. It's common to receive suggestions from friends, relatives, or pediatricians, with "Could it be a tongue tie?" often being one of the first mentions. Suddenly, you find yourself thrust into a topic with numerous opinions and options, which can be overwhelming to navigate.
Tongue Tie: Understanding It and Its Symptoms
Tongue tie is a condition affecting newborns, where the strip of tissue anchoring the tongue to the mouth's floor is too short, limiting tongue movement and function. Breastfeeding can become challenging for babies with tongue ties, as they may struggle to latch properly and nurse effectively. Tethered Oral Tissues (TOTs), which includes discussions of the frenulum and other mouth and jaw connective tissues, is a term often used to describe this condition.
Common difficulties experienced by babies with tongue ties include:
Difficulty attaching to the breast or staying attached for a full feed. Being unsettled and appearing hungry frequently. Slow weight gain compared to expectations. Making a "clicking" sound during feeding.
Many signs and symptoms of tongue ties overlap with general colic and neuro-gastric distress in infants, making it challenging to differentiate between the two and identify the root cause of your baby’s nursing and sleep challenges.
Is It a Tongue Tie or Another Factor?
To address this question, we need to explore the causes of tongue ties. While traditional medical explanations attribute tongue ties to genetics, we know there's more to the story. Some natural health practitioners connect tongue ties to mutations in MTHFR genes, affecting folate absorption. Studies even suggest increased folic acid intake, as in prenatal vitamins, may play a role.
As Pediatric Chiropractors specializing in neurology and neurodevelopment, we go beyond traditional approaches by examining the nervous system and considering factors like soft tissues. The nervous system's tone influences muscle and soft tissue tone. If both the mother's and baby's nervous systems are stuck in fight-or-flight mode, it can affect the frenulum, mouth, and jaw.
While physiology and chemistry matter, genuine health and development start with the nervous system.
Tongue ties, like many conditions, often result from a combination of factors, creating a "Perfect Storm."
The Connection Between Prenatal Stress, Birth Trauma, and Tongue Ties
This "Perfect Storm" often begins during the prenatal stage due to the emotional fight-or-flight response of the mother and baby. It becomes compounded during the birth process, where physically stressful births commonly involve misalignment and fixation of the vertebrae, impacting the cranial and oral system.
Combined with in-utero stress, a neurological component arises during key developmental periods. In fact, a study found that 99 out of 100 healthy newborns experienced somatic dysfunction during the birth process. This adds further pressure to the already compromised cranial and oral system, impacting the baby's neuro-oral movements.
Care Options for Tongue Ties
Many parents opt for tongue-tie revision surgery performed by a pediatric holistic dentist. You may consider this decision based on concerns regarding nutrition, neurological development, and emotional bonding with your baby. However, certain factors should be considered before making this decision.
If your baby experienced stress in utero, abnormal fetal positioning, or birth trauma, increased tension and thickness of the soft tissues may be a protective response to the entire neurological system. The key is to address the underlying tension and consult with a Neurologically-Focused Pediatric Chiropractor before considering surgical revision.
Navigating tongue ties or potential tongue ties can be complicated and complex. We are here to help! We often find that a baby's tongue tie is associated with moderate to severe tension and stress in the nervous system. The INSiGHT scan, a gentle and non-invasive thermography-based scan, can provide insights into the neurological struggles your baby may be experiencing.
Remember, as parents, you are not alone in this journey. We want you to have access to the complete narrative, encompassing the underlying factors behind tongue ties and exploring comprehensive care options. This approach will significantly contribute to you and your baby’s prosperous journey during the nursing period and throughout infancy, something every parent and baby deserves!