Nursing Nightmare: 2 Myths About Breastfeeding and How Your Dentist Can Help

November 28, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — surfsupdental @ 3:48 pm
Woman in light brown sweater nursing a newborn

Though nursing your newborn can be a tender bonding experience, many new mothers struggle with it. Whether their child doesn’t ever seem satisfied, or they feel too achy to try anymore, there are many indicators that something isn’t quite right. In many cases, the baby has a tongue tie or other oral problem affecting them.

Often when new mothers reach out for help, however, they’re told that soreness while breastfeeding is normal or that they simply need to toughen up and give it time. This response dismisses the possibility that there may be a real dilemma, but fortunately, a dentist may be able to help! Keep reading to learn 2 myths about breastfeeding that could do more harm than good.

Myth #1: Breastfeeding is Supposed to Hurt

The idea that nursing is supposed to hurt has struck fear, guilt, and shame into the hearts of many new mothers struggling to care for their newborns. While there can be some initial tenderness as you and your baby learn the ropes, persistent or ongoing pain can be symptomatic of a larger concern. Your baby might struggle to latch because of a lip or tongue tie, for example.

Myth #2: Dry, Cracked, or Bleeding Nipples are Normal

New mothers often hear that it’s normal for their nipples to dry to the point that they crack and bleed, but fortunately, this is also untrue. Along with persistent throbbing, it’s another sign that something is off.  If your little one is straining because they’re unable to latch properly, they may try to compensate for that by sucking harder. The added tension could be causing the issue.

How Your Dentist Can Help

If your baby is having a hard time latching, it’s entirely possible that a pediatric dentist can resolve the problem. They’ll examine your newborn to determine whether they show signs of:

  • A tongue tie. This occurs when the bottom of their tongue is anchored to the floor of their mouth by a thin membrane, called the frenulum.
  • A maxillary lip-tie. This refers to a remnant of tissue between your child’s upper lip which interferes with normal functionality.

Your pediatric dentist can fix these issues with a procedure called a frenectomy. It involves using a soft tissue laser to repair the frenulum restricting the movement in your child’s mouth. The treatment is relatively quick and pain-free because it vaporizes the unnecessary tissue rather than cut it. Often, any post-op discomfort is limited to only a few hours.

An inability to nurse can lead to other health conditions, like malnourishment, for example. There’s no reason to continue living with the frustration. Call a pediatric dentist today, and you and your newborn can enjoy a much more natural nursing experience.

About the Author

Dr. Bryce Cushing takes pride in teaching children that dentistry is nothing to be afraid of. He earned his undergraduate degree from Utah State University and then received his general dentistry training at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry. He also completed a pediatric residency at the University of Florida College of Dentistry. He provides a full range of dental services to meet the oral healthcare needs of children at all stages of development from newborns to teenagers. If you’d like to discuss a possible frenectomy, you’re welcome to request an appointment on the website or by calling (402) 773-7873.

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