Abnormal Anatomy of an Infant’s Oral Cavity

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Posted on 7th December 2010 by admin in Uncategorized

An infant’s ability to breast feed properly and effectively is greatly influenced by the anatomy of the mouth.  The muscles of the face, neck and trunk can affect feeding.  In some instances of oral anatomy, maturation and growth can change the oral anatomy.  If these changes do not occur on their own, oral surgery may be able to correct any problems.

Weak lip tone is the lips inability to seal around the breast.  The amount of suction can be impaired by this abnormaliy.  This can make feeding more challenging, inefficient and tiring for the infant.  Under these circumstances, an infant is likely to reduce his intake.

A weak lip seal can cause breast milk to be lost during a feeding.  Premature infants or infants with muscular weakness or illness may have low muscle tone or weakness that can create stamina deficits.  These deficits eventually impair the infant’s ability to maintain a lip seal.  It is best to observe an entire feeding to determine if a weak lip seal is present.  Stamina related problems may occur at the latter end of a feeding.

Excessive lip tone occurs when the infant uses excessive reliance on lip activity to hold the breast in the mouth.  This may be the result of a neurological abnormality, or a sign of an injury to the tongue jaws or facial nerves.

Cleft lip is a common congenital mid-line defect that can sometimes be repaired surgically in early postpartum.  It does not significantly interfere with breastfeeding.

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