August 05, 2014

Ultrasound of Breastfeeding Baby

Ever wonder what breastfeeding looks like inside an infant's mouth? What does the tongue do exactly? Does it move up and down or is it more back and forth? How far does the nipple go into the mouth exactly?

Well, using ultrasound, researchers were able to exactly see what happens during breastfeeding inside an infant mouth.

The key learning point discovered from the ultrasound images is that milk expression is due to a vacuum created within the infant mouth that occurs from the up and down movement of the tongue.

Why would an ENT be even writing about this topic???

It is because of the importance of the tongue's vertical motion that may explain why infants with tongue tie or posterior tongue tie have breastfeeding difficulties. In this situation, the tongue is tethered to the floor of the mouth preventing the tongue from moving upward and by surgically correcting, breastfeeding difficulties can be solved easily.

Watch video on breastfeeding problems due to infant factors.

Watch the video I made regarding breastfeeding ultrasound (below).

Frenulotomy for breastfeeding infants with ankyloglossia: effect on milk removal and sucking mechanism as imaged by ultrasound. Pediatrics. 2008 Jul;122(1):e188-94. doi: 10.1542/peds.2007-2553. Epub 2008 Jun 23.

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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