• Megan Cottrell

Why Should I Choose a Craniosacral Provider that Specializes in Tongue Tie?


why should I choose a craniosacral provider that specializes in tongue tie

Craniosacral providers — there’s a wide range of folks out there! And not all of them have the same training and experience. Nowhere is that more true than when it comes to treating babies and newborns!


Think about it… you don’t buckle your newborn in the backseat and hope they sit up straight. You don’t take your three year old to a dermatologist to ask if they are on track with their developmental milestones. You wouldn’t expect your kindergartner to wear adult-sized clothes to their first day of school! When it comes to anything with babies and young children, we know they’re different and require special care.


I see this difference all the time when it comes to treating newborns and infants for oral restrictions such as tongue tie or other related tension issues, such as torticollis and plagiocephaly. It matters who you see! It matters a lot!


I recently had a client try to “save” money on treatment for her newborn with a tongue tie by coming to me one week and seeing another, less-expensive and less-experienced, craniosacral therapist the next. She figured she’d get the same treatment, but save a few bucks, like stopping at Aldi instead of Meijer to save on your grocery bill.


But after a few weeks, she switched to just coming to me. Why? The money-savings weren't worth it in terms of the results she was seeing. Each treatment with me yielded big results for her baby - less crying, better feeding, less tension - and she didn’t see that after her sessions with the other therapist.


The money spent while “saving” with the other therapist ultimately was a total waste because they didn’t get anything out of it! Imagine you're a champion swimmer with designs on the Olympics, looking for a new coach. You hire someone great that you really connect with. The trouble is, they're a Badminton coach. They might be a great person, but they're not going to know much about shaving a second off your backstroke. They might encourage you and have some wisdom to share, but they're probably not going to get you into gold medal territory. Babies with a tongue tie or other tension issues have a specific issue they need to overcome, and they need a "coach" who has the experience and knowledge to get them there.


Seeing a provider that doesn’t have the right experience can waste an even more valuable resource: time! I often hear how frustrated clients are that the money was wasted, but also that valuable time was wasted when they could have seen more progress by sticking with an experienced provider.


But, what are the tangible differences between a craniosacral therapist trained and experienced with treating babies and young children for tongue tie, and just your average craniosacral therapist? Let me flesh it out for you.


Just a note: All of these differences presume that a parent is pursuing treatment for tongue tie because they desire a healthy, more comfortable and more productive breastfeeding relationship. If that’s not your goal (and that’s okay), your needs may be different and there is still value in a specialist- we see kids with all kinds of feeding goals!


1. Time is the Most Valuable Resource You Have With a Newborn.

The sacred intimacy of the fourth trimester — that first three months of bonding, nursing and being together — can’t be overstated! Time is your most valuable resource as the parent of a newborn. Most parents have very limited time for maternity leave and bonding. You don’t have time to waste it on people who don’t know what they are doing!


I’ve seen multiple clients whose maternity leave is at an end and they’re still struggling to establish a good breastfeeding relationship. Some may have had one or two revisions already or seen multiple lactation consultants. They haven’t made any progress because they’ve spent so much time with unskilled providers that haven’t been able to help them. That's painfully maddening for a mom who is already struggling!


2. We’re More Skilled With Young Children


Children are not mini adults! Not everyone is well-versed in how to work with a baby or a kid. When someone’s not comfortable working with kids or a newborn and ends up treating them like an adult, you’ll get way less quality outcomes.


You’ll also probably feel stressed as a parent when your baby or child doesn’t meet that therapist’s expectations. My adult clients easily lie in one position for an hour, no problem. Do I expect that of babies or kids? Absolutely not! We move, rock, feed, play and transition as needed.


Many tongue tie babies are already a bit fussy and stressed. Going to see a provider who doesn’t know how to meet their needs will often crank up their stress level, leading to crying and more tension (for both of you!).


3. We Have Better Connections and a Better Network


Not sure what dentist to go to? Haven’t found a lactation consultant that seems to know anything about what you’re experiencing? A craniosacral therapist who is well-versed in tongue tie will have a good network to refer you to. They know how to refer you to people who will get you success. Good providers know other good providers, and good providers are picky! You get the benefit of their experience both in your sessions and who else you can trust if you need further support.


4. We Have The Knowledge To Support Lactation, Feeding Goals and Oral Function



Breastfeeding involves some complex dynamics when it comes to how the muscles, bones and tissues work together. An experienced provider knows how it’s supposed to function, and the gaps that often exist for babies with a tongue tie.


For example, babies with tongue tie often make clicking sounds when they’re nursing. Anyone can read that in any tongue tie article on the internet. But an experienced therapist knows that the clicking could be connected to one of several factors — low muscle tone, specific restrictions in the body — and can refer you to other providers if needed.



5. We Know What’s Normal and What’s Not


Because I see so many babies for tongue tie, I know when things are progressing as they should and when more help is needed. I can recognize co-morbidities and know how to treat them or refer out. I know that most of my clients get the best results with a specific treatment plan because I developed the treatment plan based on what got the best results! Because over half my clientele come to me for the same issue, my clients have the comfort of knowing I can recognize what’s normal and what might be beyond normal with their child.


As an experienced therapist, I can provide you with educated support for goals, leading to better outcomes. My experience allows me to see the big picture and identify where we need further support, such as a lactation consultant, myofunctional therapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy.



6. The Calm Assurance That You’re Getting the Care You Need


One of the most difficult parts of the tongue tie journey for many parents is not being heard and understood by providers, be that a midwife, pediatrician, lactation consultant, doctor or dentist. Many of the parents who come to me know that something’s not right, but can’t find anyone who can help them make it better.


There is a deep calm assurance when you know you are being heard and getting the care your child needs. People often come in feeling that the problem they have is impossible to solve. They’re amazed when suddenly they are being heard and working with a person who knows what they are doing and effectively treating it. After struggling for weeks and months, that feeling is priceless!


So, if you’re seeking craniosacral therapy for your baby or child with a tongue tie, I hope you’ll consider seeking out a craniosacral therapist who specializes in the issue. Not only do we offer this therapy at Craniosacral Center of Grand Rapids, but we’ve also created an extensive tongue-tie parent education course to help you better understand and move through this season with more confidence and calm. We hope to see you in our office soon!



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