LP – Infant Sucking Problems

More and more babies exhibit compromised suck-swallow-breathe coordination due to a variety of factors including cultural childbirth practices. Learners traversing this pathway will begin with assessment of normal infant sucking
and proceed to identification of disorganized and dysfunctional sucking as a foundation for classifying infant sucking problems. Causes of infant sucking problems and assessment approaches form the content of several modules, presented from various perspectives. Two modules on treatment approaches round out the journey, providing the learner with multiple ideas on how to address infant sucking disorganization and dysfunction.

The tongue-tie controversy rages on and on and on. This pathway sets the record straight by presenting the scientific evidence on the subject matter. The science begins with the anatomy of the oral frena in the first two modules then
moves into the evidence on how tongue tie impacts infant feeding and ongoing
development. Assessment, an important aspect of proper tongue-tie diagnoses leads the learner to further exploration of the history of tongue-tie assessment and treatment, the controversial issues, both past and present and the burgeoning
of the new tongue-tie industry. The final modules address treatment approaches and treatment best-practices.

More and more babies experience dysregulation and feeding dysfunction for a variety of reasons. Bodywork modalities have been found to effectively address the kinds of feeding issues that plague babies and undermine breastfeeding success belying the assertion that there is no evidence to support the use of bodywork for
infant feeding issues. This pathway defines bodywork then explores the role bodywork plays in addressing infant feeding problems, no matter the causative vectors. When should bodywork be employed, which babies are candidates, how
much and what kind of bodywork is needed? These questions and more are answered in this series of modules. Bodywork may not be financially accessible or there may be other blocks to accessibility. One module in this series addresses simple strategies that can serve as restorative measures when bodywork is not accessible.

At least 25% of today’s babies can be diagnosed with acquired soft tissue torticollis and 45% can be diagnosed with positional/deformational plagiocephaly, two conditions that dramatically impact infant feeding. What has gone wrong for the incidence of these conditions to have risen so sharply in such a short period of time? This learning pathway covers strategies for proper structural assessment and discusses the vectors of insult that creates structurally-based feeding
problems. An exploration of fascia and its role in postural alignment gives the learner specific understanding of this prime-mover organ and its impact on infant suck-swallow-breathe coordination. Intimate discussion both torticollis and plagiocephaly and their negative impact on infant feeding rounds out this pathway. As more research proceeds on this subject, new modules will be added to this cutting-edge learning pathway.

Every breastfeeding/lactation support professional must engage in evidence-based practice but what of the art of breastfeeding support? This learning pathway provides opportunity for the participant to learn clinical application skills to which they may not have been previously exposed. From strategies to support milk-making to thorough but gentle
examination of the infant’s mouth, clinical skills are presented in video and discussed. The presentation on infant latch provides a well-rounded explanation of the postural goals of proper infant positioning, use of infant reflexes for latch facilitation and proper maternal ergonomics. The module on finger-feeding includes an exploration of the current research
on the method and demonstrates proper technique with evidence-based tools to compliment the method. This pathway also
explores cognitive bias, the deterrent to open-minded practice. We all must continue to grow as clinicians, if we get stuck in doing things a specific way because we believe in them, we stop growing as practitioners to the detriment of our

The therapeutic relationship between the breastfeeding mother and her support team depends upon the establishment of a positive rapport through the use of effective communication skills. Application of these skills in clinical practice enhances the relationship between the support team and the client. These same skills can be used to establish trust and rapport in professional relationships increasing the ability for lactation support team members to make positive change in their work environments. This leaning pathway presents active listening skills, the basic communication paradigm and strategies for addressing conflict and cognitive bias. Specific modules teach the learner about difficult people, and how to affect change through influencing, a special set of advanced communication skills.

In the past, it was believed that we taught babies everything they needed to know; that their brains were tabula rasa (blank slates.) We now know that babies arrive as conscious beings with a rich psychoemotional experience from the time they spent in the womb. This learning pathway delves into the science of infant as conscious being presenting the rich domain of science known as pre and perinatal psychology and the neurobiology of inter-personal relationship. Optimal bonding and attachment builds optimal inter-personal relationships. The module on attachment and bonding takes an intimate look at the neurobiology of infant attachment and how breastfeeding facilitates parent-infant attachment. Infant trauma is on the rise. The module in this pathway addressing infant trauma discusses the role trauma plays in undermining feeding behavior and suggests strategies for addressing trauma in the infant.

Breastfeeding and lactation support professionals must observe scope of practice but how does scope of practice difference between the various certifications? What are the unique roles of each type of certification? This pathway explores scopes of practice comparing and contrasting different certifications. The private practitioner must wear multiple hats including those that enable them to start and conduct a thriving business. This pathway explores the various business issues and skills the private practice lactation supporter must master to successfully compete in the marketplace in the United States.

All lactation support professionals must possess an understanding of infant suck anatomy and physiology to optimally perform their job. This learning pathway about the biodynamics of infant suck addresses multiple aspects of infant
suck-swallow -breathe coordination. The pathway begins with embryological development of infant suck-swallow-breathe, continues with the anatomy and physiology from multiple perspectives, and ends with reflex support of infant suck-swallow-breathe coordination. Learners who have not been previously exposed to this content will garner a foundation of understanding on infant suck-swallow-breathe dynamics and will be better prepared to accurately assess and address deviations from normal. Learners previously exposed to this content will deepen their knowledge to enhance their clinical effectiveness.