Breastfeeding is one of the most natural and beautiful experiences for a mother and her child. However, it can also pose some challenges, especially when the baby has a tongue tie condition. As a Lactaction Counselor (LC(CBI)), I’ve encountered many mothers who experience this issue and seek guidance. In this blog post, I'll dive deep into this topic and introduce a valuable breastfeeding technique called the Flipple Technique, which can greatly aid mothers and babies during this journey.
What is Tongue Tie?
A tongue tie, medically known as ankyloglossia, is a congenital condition where the thin piece of skin under a baby's tongue (lingual frenulum) restricts the tongue's movement. This can make it hard for the baby to latch on correctly to the breast or bottle. Tongue tie can lead to:
Difficulty breastfeeding and leading to poor weight gain.
Nipple pain or damage for the mother.
Frustration and fatigue during feeds for both baby and mother.
What is the Flipple Technique?
The Flipple Technique, also known as the "exaggerated latch" technique, is a method designed to help babies achieve a deeper latch during breastfeeding. This can be especially useful for babies with tongue tie.
Steps to perform the Flipple Technique:
Position the baby: Hold your baby in the cross-cradle hold with their nose opposite your nipple.
Support your breast: Using the hand on the same side as the breast you are feeding from, form a 'U' shape underneath your breast with your thumb on top and your fingers underneath.
Nipple to Nose: Tilt your baby’s head back slightly and touch their upper lip with your nipple. This encourages them to open their mouth wide.
Flip the Nipple: Once the baby opens their mouth wide, use your thumb to push down on your breast, ‘flipping’ your nipple up and into their mouth.
Latch: The baby's mouth should cover more of the areola below the nipple than above, and the chin should be pressed into your breast.
Check the Latch: Look for a rhythmic suck-swallow pattern and listen for swallowing sounds to ensure an effective latch.
How Can the Flipple Technique Help?
Better Latch: This technique encourages a deeper latch, which means the baby can get more milk and do so more efficiently.
Reduced Nipple Pain: A deeper latch can reduce nipple soreness and damage.
Improved Milk Transfer: The baby is better positioned to compress the milk sinuses, facilitating more effective milk transfer.
Beneficial for Tongue Tie: Babies with tongue tie may struggle with achieving a deep latch, so the Flipple Technique can be particularly helpful for them.
In conclusion, while tongue tie can present breastfeeding challenges, techniques like Flipple can make a significant difference. If you suspect your baby has a tongue tie and you live in Denmark, consult an ENT doctor and find breastfeeding guidance from the nurses or private lactation counselors.
Remember, every breastfeeding journey is unique. Patience, persistence, and the right techniques can help ensure a rewarding experience for both mother and baby.
Check out these videos showing the Fipple technique:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usnoUPzlac8 - South Warwickshire University NHS Foundation Trust
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpPIO8DB6GY - The Milk Meg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deKN3wJ17Mk - Milk Mechanisms