How Does Baby Tone Effect The Upper Lip During Breastfeeding?
There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to breastfeeding. Focusing on the infant, the tongue, and the lower jaw are commonly involved when a baby has difficulty transferring. The upper lip is usually used to compensate for the tongue and jaw. This results in lip blisters. On occasion though a baby will have adequate jaw and tongue motion but still struggle at the breast. One reason can be the upper lip does not have enough tone and can result in leakage or collapsing of the lip inward.
When The Upper Lip Curls Under
The upper lip provides half the seal when feeding. Without adequate tone, the infant can try to overuse the mentalis to try to seal the mouth. The mentalis brings the lower lip forward. This compensation however does not support the root of the issue and is an attempt to use the lower lip to create a better seal. This unfortunately makes the issue worse. If your child is clicking, losing milk, or having difficulty transferring despite appearing to have adequate jaw and tongue strength and motion treating the muscle of low tone can help.
How To Help The Muscles Of The Mouth To Provide Better Seal
The orbicular oris muscle wraps around our lips. It is responsible for puckering our lips. This motion also brings the lips forward. At the breast or bottle, this assists in a deeper and more complete latch. You can help improve the tone of this muscle by tapping or circular massage just above the lips. With an improved tone, you should notice the lip staying forward vs curling under. This is a simple yet effective way to improve tone in a baby with a low oral tone.
Should All Babies Have Facial Massages?
Facial massage is very helpful for babies. My youtube course has 10 minutes devoted to the subject. Both higher and lower-tone babies can benefit. This is not to leave out all babies benefiting from touch and massage. Tailoring the techniques to your child can however be a challenge. Even with my child, I struggled to see the individual factors that he would benefit most from. This is why I do both in-person and virtual massage consults and classes. With the support, I’m able to help families identify the areas their baby would benefit most. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment or virtual consultation please reach out below.