In a world that is filled with inequality and poverty, breastfeeding can provide a remedy to hunger and malnutrition for babies, even in a crisis. World Breastfeeding Week is organised by three global health organisations: World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, the World Health Organisation and UNICEF.

The event runs from August 1 – 7 this year and is held in more than 120 countries. The purpose of the celebration is to protect, promote and support breastfeeding, particularly for the first six months of life. This provides critical nutrients, protection from potentially deadly diseases and substantial health benefits for the child. The event also emphasises the benefits for the mother too; burning calories and producing oxytocin, which helps return the uterus to its original size and reduces the risk of breast or ovarian cancer and osteoporosis.

As with anything in life, breastfeeding is not always straightforward. Sometimes medical issues can make it more difficult. One of the most common is tongue-tie. It affects 11% of babies and is more common in baby boys.

Tongue-tie is when the piece of skin connecting the baby’s tongue to the floor of its mouth is shorter than average. Some babies don’t seem to be affected by it and can breastfeed happily, but for others it can seriously inhibit their ability to feed. A baby needs to latch onto both the breast itself and the nipple at the same time, while using their tongue to cover their lower gum. This prevents the mother’s nipple being damaged. A baby with tongue-tie simply isn’t able to open its mouth wide enough to do this properly, causing sore, cracked nipples, mastitis or low milk supply in the mother. This results in families needing to turn to formula much earlier than it is recommended.

If your baby is feeding successfully with no problems, great! But if not, we are able to offer a very simple solution: tongue-tie release. This simple, completely painless procedure is very quick and effective, meaning that problems with feeding are often fixed instantly. All it involves is a tiny snip to the tongue, which will fully heal within days.

If your baby has tongue-tie and you are having issues feeding, give our friendly and experienced team a call. You’ll soon see how we can support you in moving forward with breastfeeding and improving the lifelong health of both you and your baby.

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Dr. Debra L. Hamila, Au.D., CCC/A

Debra Hamila received her master’s degree in audiology from Cleveland State University and her Au.D. from Arizona School of Health Sciences and has been a practicing audiologist for more than 33 years. She has worked in a variety of ENT offices, hospital, and clinical settings.