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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(9), 10833-10845;

Persistent Nipple Pain in Breastfeeding Mothers Associated with Abnormal Infant Tongue Movement

School of Chemistry & Biochemistry, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jane Scott and Colin Binns
Received: 13 July 2015 / Revised: 26 August 2015 / Accepted: 27 August 2015 / Published: 2 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Breastfeeding and Infant Health)
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Background: Infants of breastfeeding mothers with persistent nipple pain have been shown to apply stronger vacuums to the breast and transfer less milk during one monitored feed. This may be associated with differences in the movement of the tongue. The aim was to analyse the intra-oral nipple shape and movement of the tongue of infants of mothers with and without nipple pain. Methods: Breastfeeding infants of mothers with or without nipple pain were monitored using ultrasound and intra-oral vacuum during one breastfeed. From cine clips of the ultrasound scans measurements were made of the depth of the intra-oral space between the hard-soft palate junction (HSPJ) and the mid-tongue; the distance of the tip of the nipple to the HSPJ; and nipple diameters from the tip to the base. Results: During nutritive sucking, tongue movements of infants of mothers with nipple pain resulted in a smaller intra-oral space (p = 0.040) and restricted nipple expansion compared to controls (p < 0.012). Stronger baseline and peak vacuums compared to controls were confirmed (p = 0.002). Conclusion: In these mothers, nipple pain was associated with restricted infant tongue movement. Ultrasound may complement measurement of intra-oral vacuum in monitoring treatment strategies in breastfeeding women experiencing nipple pain. View Full-Text
Keywords: breastfeeding; infant; lactation; nipple pain; sucking behaviour breastfeeding; infant; lactation; nipple pain; sucking behaviour

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McClellan, H.L.; Kent, J.C.; Hepworth, A.R.; Hartmann, P.E.; Geddes, D.T. Persistent Nipple Pain in Breastfeeding Mothers Associated with Abnormal Infant Tongue Movement. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 10833-10845.

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