• Tongue problems: There is a range of tongue problems that can cause sucking problems. For example, poor latching technique, Tongue thrust, Tongue tie, short or long tongue, retracted tongue and tongue curling or sucking.
• Jaw clenching: Clenching of the jaw can also cause problems. Often called gum-biting or clamping.
• Sensory integration problems; this can cause “sensory overload" and makes it difficult for a baby to concentrate on feeding alone. See our section on sensory integration issues.
• Oral aversion:
Oral aversion is when a baby resists anything that touches the inside
of their mouth. This is usually the result of procedures done during and
after labor, such as forceful suctioning.
• Floppy baby:
A floppy baby may have low muscle tone or may have suffered from lack
of oxygen during birth. These babies struggle to move at all and
usually have a weak suck.
• Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome:
Babies who were exposed to drugs in the womb may have problems sucking.
These drugs may include alcohol, marijuana, antidepressants, methadone
and many others.
Signs and Symptoms of a Sucking Problem
• The mother has sore nipples that are obviously the result of the hard palate rubbing on the nipple because the nipple is distorted after feeding.
• The mother has engorged breasts for longer than one week after birth; this means that her baby is not removing enough milk from the breasts.
• The baby cries excessively because he/she is hungry.