As the number of infants presenting to chiropractors with the problem of suboptimal breastfeeding is increasing, further questions about this population are raised. The incidence of ankyloglossia (tongue tie) diagnosis appears to be high in this population. However, there is little literature or clarity on the role of the ankyloglossia in the often complex clinical presentation of feeding difficulties, particularly on sustaining breastfeeding in the medium to long term. This study was designed to describe a population of infants presented to a chiropractic teaching clinic with the problem of suboptimal breastfeeding, and assess this population for diagnosis and management of ankyloglossia. This will be used as a starting point for further research into these common problems of ankyloglossia and suboptimal breastfeeding. Inclusion criteria were infants presenting to this clinic with the complaint of feeding difficulties, as reported by the mother. Data were collected using maternal questionnaires and a total of 131 infants were included over a period of five months. Ankyloglossia had been diagnosed prior to presentation to the chiropractor in 39% of infants, and of these, 77% had undergone frenulotomy (tongue tie cut) once or more. Given the high incidence of ankyloglossia diagnosis and frenulotomy in these infants with persistent feeding difficulties, both the diagnosis and management of this problem must be reflected upon and questioned. This study highlights a clinical need for a) clearer diagnostic criteria for ankyloglossia and, b) further research with a focus on sustained breastfeeding following frenulotomy and other treatments.
Author keywords: Ankyloglossia; breastfeeding, chiropractic, frenulotomy, pediatric, suboptimal breastfeeding
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