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I recently went to help a mama who was having nursing issues. The baby was several weeks old and hadn't had a difficult time nursing earlier. Her instinct was the frenulum under the baby's tongue was getting in the way of his suck, so she asked me to come take a look.

After washing my hands, I felt under the baby's tongue and easily felt the frenulum and its tightness. In fact, when he stuck out his tongue, you could see the "fork" in his tongue, typical of a too-tight frenulum.

Many midwives cut the frenulums themselves and I have been taught how to do it, but this one was pretty deep and far back, so I sent her into the doctor to have it done. She looks forward to having her nursing experience hurt much less in the near future.



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Reader Comments (5)

Does the labial frenulum (connecting the upper lip to the mouth) cause nursing problems too?

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlpnmon

I learned the upper skin attachment is called the frenum and no, it does not cause issues since it isn't attached to the tongue in any way.

My own kidlets had thick frenums that I never had cut. It's a dominant gene and runs in families. Their father had it... a gap in the teeth... and they all do, too.

December 31, 2009 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

We just went through this with our son, aged 4 months. He had nursing problems that we just couldn't figure out, and by 2 weeks postpartum he was completely bottle-fed because we couldn't get his weight loss under control otherwise. We finally saw a lactation consultant who diagnosed tongue-tie, and after getting it corrected and doing some remedial breastfeeding lessons (he was hooked on the bottle by that time!), he is now back to being 100% breastfed. It's been quite a journey, but I'm so glad we got it corrected.

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDiana J.

My experience with nursing is that a tight frenulum connecting the upper lip to the mouth CAN cause some difficulty with nursing. The lips need to be flanged to nurse optimally, and although nursing can still be done, a very tight upper lip frenulum can cause some pinching issues. At least it did for us. I was constantly having to untuck my daughter's upper lip when nursing, and at 15 months when her dad accidentally snapped the frenulum up top when pulling a shirt over her head, I could immediately feel the difference in her latch, and the discomfort that I had frequently had when nursing almost completely dissappeared. We had a lot of problems nursing initially, and it took a lot of work to make it happen, but I am so glad that it did! Hopefully you aren't offended by my contradicting you, but I think that with regards to an upper lip frenulum it can make a difference. And I agree on the genetic thing, my hubby had it as a kid too, many children end up with it breaking on accident.

December 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMeg

I don't mind you sharing your experience *at all*, Meg! So glad you did... always good to hear another voice. Thanks for writing!

December 10, 2010 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

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