Medical Minute: Breastfeeding Challenges and Answers

MINOT, N.D. - As of late, breastfeeding has been a topic of discussion on social media. But many mothers argue that privacy challenges are the least of the issues to worry about when it comes to breast feeding.

Breastfeeding specialists say some challenges include latching and position. But even with the complications, they say breastfeeding is best for both mother and child.

"Breast milk is a living fluid. It adapts for different ages, it adapts for different times of days. It recognizes when if baby is sick, mother's body will create antibodies and give them back to baby. So we know that breastfeeding has many different health impacts. Not breastfeeding carries risk for both mom and baby," says Capri Ryan, Certified Breastfeeding Specialist.

Some of these risks, for both mother and baby, are economical, mental and physical. Babies are at risk of issues such as upper respiratory infections or childhood cancers.

While breastfeeding can be challenging, it's still an option many women people use to feed their babies.

A common problem more mothers are beginning to notice and question is tongue or lip ties.

"There's more mothers that are interested in breastfeeding and interested in understanding why their babies are just fussy or lazy, and they're asking more questions. So to be honest, a lot of this movement to really understanding tongue ties and lip ties and how they affect breastfeeding is really mother driven," says Dr. Bethany Jensen, Broadway Family Dentistry.

During development our tongue starts out attached to the floor of our mouths, over time the skin disappears allowing free motion of the tongue. But, if that skin doesn't disappear the tongue will not be able to elevate and create a suction for milk to be released hence the tongue tie.

Some of the symptoms include breastfeeding efficiency, nipple pain, reflux symptoms, colic and fussiness.

"When parents experience pain themselves or when babies are experiencing a lot of those symptoms, ya know, sometimes there's something else going on and if something like a frenectomy can help improve the symptoms is something really simple," says Jensen.

A frenectomy is a surgical procedure to release the tight tissue underneath the tongue or upper lip, and it's the only way to relieve tongue ties.

The women say they'd like to be a resource to make breastfeeding less challenging, making the beginning stages of motherhood easier.