The birth of a new baby is an experience unlike many others in our adult lives. The anticipation that builds over the course of a mother’s pregnancy is full of joyous moments and the expectation of all the wonderful experiences of parenthood. Many times mothers eagerly anticipate the connecting attachment experience of breastfeeding with their newborn. This experience is physically and emotionally nourishing in many ways. However, sometimes the positive experience can be challenged through difficulties experienced by both the newborn and the mother. For many new mothers, helpful support can be found through maternity delivery services, lactation consultants, and pediatric doctors and nursing staffs, but in some instances new mothers are experiencing such difficulty through the breastfeeding experience they may be referred to a surgical specialist for evaluation of the infant’s oral tissues and attachments.
There are many advantages to the multi-disciplinary teamwork approach to support the breastfeeding experience as the collection of professional opinions and advice can often work in tandem and give credibility and direction to mother’s seeking help. Sometimes however, the multitude of opinions can contradict one another and leave a new mother frustrated with conflicting views, opinions, or advice and create more stress than previously existed. Couple with the information readily available on the internet and breastfeeding groups on social media, the information overload can be extremely stressful. This added stress can often be paralyzing and further drive a wedge in the mother/baby breastfeeding dyad.
It’s important for mother’s to realize there is no set standard across all disciplines for the diagnosis and support of the breastfeeding experience. Every provider is shaped by his or her own training and exposure to the research and literature involving breastfeeding. For example, I had zero formal training in breastfeeding support as a dental student and pediatric dental resident. It was only through my own personal experience as a dad to a struggling infant that I began a quest to understand and learn more. If I relied solely on my formal training, I might be more of the opinion that the diagnosis and treatment of tongue ties and lip ties is a social media fad driven by online sources; however, my personal experience helped shaped my journey for more understanding and gives me insight into the experience of new mom’s facing difficulty.
When I encounter new mother’s in this stage of what I term breastfeeding discovery, I offer some simple, yet counter-cultural advice. Here’s a few tips if you feel pulled in multiple directions with numerous sources of advice and opinion:
- Listen to your mommy instincts. God gave you the unique intuition to know and feel when there is problem or something can be improved.
- Seek multiple opinions. The medical support model for breastfeeding difficulty is still developing and some providers simply may not have been exposed to the newer research being published on the topics.
- Trust the fact that providers are genuinely working in the best interest of your baby even if their opinions or advice are in conflict with one another.
- Ask all the questions you need to ask to reach a decision for your peace of mind.
- Share your experience with other new moms who may need the knowledge you have gained to provide them with the best breastfeeding experience possible.
As always, feel free to reach out to us at Spring Creek Pediatric Dentistry for a clinical evaluation of tethered oral tissues or restrictive oral attachments. We proudly work with providers in the medical field to help you reach a decision you are comfortable with for the benefit of your child.