What is the effect of a lip tie on breastfeeding or bottle feeding?
Often only the tongue tie is acknowledged to be important in feeding the baby and the lip tie is dismissed.
The importance of the upper lip flanging out while deeply latching on to the breast or bottle ensures a better seal of the oral cavity. Several studies with ultra sound images show a good movement of the tongue while breastfeeding. The normal tongue movement while breastfeeding is best achieved when the baby can open the mouth wide. This wide opening is best achieved when the baby is able to curl the upper lip, so that the mucous membrane portion of the lip (instead of the dry outer part) is in contact with the breast. This provides a better seal, which is the first step in generating negative pressure in the mouth while breastfeeding. This also applies to the bottle. When a lip tie is anchored to the upper jaw, the outward curling movement is impeded. This results in a smaller mouth opening and forces the baby to take a shallow latch and gives a poor seal while breastfeeding or bottle feeding.