5 Ways to Identify an Oral Dysfunction & Best Ways to Treat Tongue-Ties
Those first few weeks of a newborns life are so challenging, whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding! But when, on top of the “expected” challenges that accompany this newborn phase, you add difficulties with feeding and latching, i.e. tongue-ties, it just takes the stress and uncertainty of the infant phase to a whole new level!
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When I became pregnant I had this idyllic vision of myself peacefully breastfeeding my son, rocking him in my arms, and singing him sweet lullabies. I imagined this perfect bonding experience that we would share every time I brought him to the breast. And, that mother nature would just guide us into breastfeeding bliss. Unfortunately, this is not how things went down. Within just a few short weeks, three to be precise, I was rudely awakened to the world of tongue-ties, aka oral dysfunctions.
Now, in full disclosure, I had an inkling my son might have an oral dysfunction as all my nieces and nephews have had some form of a tongue tie. And, from what I’ve learned, tongue-ties may be genetic. So, the chances of my son having some form of oral dysfunction were pretty high.
Oral dysfunctions, as you’ll hear in today’s episode, can manifest in various ways. For infants symptoms can range anywhere from choking and clicking while feeding to lack of weight gain, snoring, reflux, or difficulty latching. While, on the mother’s end symptoms can manifest as blistered or misshapen nipples after latch, pain during feedings, or frequent clogged ducts, just to name a few.
Best Ways to Treat Tongue-Ties?
Those first few weeks of a newborns life are so challenging, whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding! But when, on top of the “expected” challenges that accompany this newborn phase, you add difficulties with feeding and latching, i.e. tongue-ties, it just takes the stress and uncertainty of the infant phase to a whole new level! Or, at least that’s how it was for me and I imagine I am not alone!
Which is why I reached out to Kayla Richardson, a pediatric Speech Language Pathologist and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant who specializes in Pediatric Feeding Disorders, Myofunctional Disorders, and early intervention. Kayla is the owner of Abeille Speech and Feeding Therapy, a therapy agency and pediatric feeding clinic in St. Louis, MO. She is also the creator of Functional Feeding Academy, an online learning platform for parents and professionals.
In full transparency I came across Kayla’s social media account around 2 am one morning while I was breastfeeding my son, again, during those early weeks of his life. Not only was the information she was sharing extremely helpful but scrolling her page during those early morning hours gave me the encouragement I so desperately needed as a new mama. So, as I started reaching out to guests for this season of the podcast, it just made sense that I would bring her on!
What We Explore in This Episode
In today’s conversation, Kayla shares why she believes every mother should see a lactation consultant both before and after birth, what symptoms to be on the lookout for if you suspect your child may have an oral dysfunction, why a tongue-tie release shouldn’t be done in isolation from therapy, such as craniosacral therapy or feeding therapy, why she thinks labeling babies as “colicky” is often an inaccurate and unhelpful diagnosis for parents, and more!
Honestly, I wish this conversation had existed before my son was born. I feel as though it would have alleviated so many of the stressors I faced in those early days. So, if your child is struggling with an oral dysfunction of some sort, press play now as Kayla is about to drop some major wisdom that will help YOU maneuver through your own parenting journey!
Pssst! Here’s a bonus episode for you:
The Ideal High Chair Position for Baby & How to Use Feeding Utensils with Kayla Richardson MS, CCC-SLP CLC
Mini bonus episode! This is Part 2 of my conversation with feeding therapist and speech pathologist, Kayla Richardson, MS, CCC-SLP CLC. Now, if you haven’t tuned into Part 1, Episode #93 ‘5 ways to identify an oral dysfunction & best ways to treat tongue-ties,’ I highly recommend you start there!
In this bonus episode, Kayla explores the difference between picky eating and oral sensory issues in children, tips on how to properly support your child while they eat and why it matters, different types of feeding utensils and how to use them, and more! Happy listening!
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