Recognise that tongue and lip ties are a diagnosable impediment to breastfeeding and change your position statement to reflect this!
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Each year approximately 308,100 babies are born in Australia. Of those babies, 4-10% are believed to be tongue tied. That’s approximately 12,324-30,810 babies and their mothers that are potentially struggling to breastfeed!
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) state in their Position Statement on Breastfeeding (updated in 2007), “The problem – Low rates of breastfeeding in Australia”. Less than 20% of Australian infants are achieving the recommendation of 6 months exclusively breastfeeding.
Why: New mothers are not being consistently advised. "It is essential that that advice given to new mothers, by medical and social welfare professionals is clear, consistent and evidence based.”
The AMA recognises that “In Australia, the most common reason given for the termination of breastfeeding is a perceived insufficient milk supply”.
Unfortunately, often oral ties (Ankyloglossia & Maxillary) can lead to a perception of low milk supply because baby is feeding often or refuses the breast in favour of an easier bottle or cup. Tied babies also may not be able to effectively remove milk from the breast, leading to an actual low milk supply.
The AMA believes that: “Governments need to provide policy that promotes breastfeeding in all environments and makes it ‘the norm’.”
This cannot happen if we continue to ignore the structure and mechanical impediments that make breastfeeding so difficult in the first instance.
The AMA recognises that 83% of infants leave hospital being breastfed - so the intention and desire on the part of Australian women clearly exists. However, without the support to recognise AND assist with impedances such as lip and tongue ties, the AMA will never achieve the levels of change they desire, as women will continue to cease breastfeeding due to lack of support or perceived inability to breastfeed.
WHAT DO WE WANT?
- It is imperative that the AMA recognise that posterior/submucosal tongue tie, anterior tongue tie, and upper lip tie are legitimate, diagnosable conditions that impede on the success of breastfeeding.
- It is vital that the AMA recognise that better education is needed amongst health professionals regarding tongue and lip ties.
- We request that the AMA release a new Position statement on breastfeeding, that includes the detrimental effect oral ties have on breastfeeding both for the mother and the infant, as outlined in current medical literature on the subject and their link to the cessation of breastfeeding prior to the recommended 6 months as outlined in your current position statement.
- We request the AMA include in their updated position statement, information which supports the existence of tongue and lip ties, in an effort to make health professionals more aware of this impediment to breastfeeding.
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