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I am having trouble breastfeeding my fourth baby. I have successfully breastfed two of my other three kids, so I am confident that my technique is not to blame. To confirm this I saw a lactation counselor who told me that my baby has a "bubble palate" in addition to a possible submucosal tongue tie and a lip tie. She said that an ENT would be able to give me an "official" diagnosis, so I will make an appointment ASAP. In the meantime, she gave me some direction as to how cope until she can be treated, but, she also said that "no one does anything about a tongue tie like that, but perhaps you can find someone who will." She said nothing about the "bubble palate" other than it might get better when the lip tie is fixed, and/or when the baby gets bigger (she's three weeks old right now.) For now, my baby is getting enough to eat, her weight gain is fair (within normal, if a bit slow compared to my other children), and my supply is holding steady, but, the LC did say that by the time she's a month old, my baby might not be able to get enough and my supply will most likely suffer. This breaks my heart-I can't bear the thought that my baby might go hungry and the solution will be to quit bf'ing.

I have been looking for more info about "bubble palate" and have found nothing of any substance or credibility, just a bunch of "stay strong, you can get thru this" and "just give baby a bottle" on chat forums. I found one pdf of a paper written by a dentist that had pictures of cadavers with bubble palate but no info such as a medical/scientific name for the condition, how to treat it, long term effects, or methods of dealing with the feeding difficulties associated with it. I can find so much about cleft palates/lips, and tongue/lip ties, but nothing about this other defect. I am at this point fairly well informed about the lip/tongue tie problem, and will pursue correcting it, but there's still a big "what if" in my mind regarding the palate: "what if fixing those two isn't enough?"

So, to sum up my actual questions:

  • What is "bubble palate"?
  • Can it be "cured", resolved, corrected, or outgrown?
  • What are some strategies to overcome feeding issues if there's nothing that can be done?
    • are there any other effects besides the trouble with breastfeeding (speech, solid foods, oral hygiene, tooth alignment, etc)?

Also, related question:

  • What is the likelihood that correcting the lip (and possibly tongue) tie will be enough to overcome the difficulty we're having- making the "bubble palate" a non-issue?

Besides research/scientific info, I'd certainly be interested in other parents' experiences/strategies.

We need help.

Some additional info:

Baby was born full term, healthy, vaginal delivery w/o drugs/intervention. No complications during labor, delivery, or pregnancy.

No family history of defects.

The "bubble" is located on the hard palate behind her gums, and feels like a baby pea-sized indentation when I let her suck on my finger.

My pediatrician sort of dismissed my concerns, since, at our appointment to discuss all this he gave her a bottle and she took it. She dribbled milk out of the side of her mouth like she does at the breast, so she's not getting good suction on an artificial nipple either. For this reason (and, bc breastfeeding should not so easily be given up on) I don't accept his "solution" which is to just bottle feed her.

I realize this borders on asking for medical advice, but I'm hoping someone has more info than my dr and the LC (who is a nurse) provided.

I am not so pro-breastfeeding that I'll pursue it to the detriment of my child, but I do think it's worth fighting for.

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    Hey, congrats to the new baby! Hope you two will be able to sort this out soon - keeping my fingers crossed. Stay strong and best wishes to you from the other side of the Atlantic. – Stephie Sep 25 '16 at 18:15
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My son's palate, to quote the pediatrician, "like the Sistine Chapel in there", and what I found was that, at first, bottle feeding was a little easier for him, but he soon seemed to get better at the breast than at the bottle. If your baby can use a bottle, it's not so severe that you need one of those special (and expensive!) prescription nipples, and, at least in my experience, once she gets just a little bit bigger, it could get easier on its own. I think we actually used bottles more in the beginning but almost exclusively the breast after that until I weaned him when I went back to work, because--I assume with his tongue being a little better developed--he was able to conform my nipple to his palate easier than the bottle. I don't remember timelines, but I want to say it was not much older than your daughter is now.

At first, he had the same thing as your daughter, where milk dribbled out the side of his mouth when he ate, regardless of the source. Later, it got less messy when he nursed. Hilariously, the bottle nipple went the opposite direction, and when he sucked on a bottle, a stream of milk would actually shoot out the corner of his mouth, with a range of 1-2'.

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"Bubble palate" seems to be a form of "high arched palate" on which you may be able to find more information.

The consensus on the La Leche League forums seems to be that, if you stick with it, the breastfeeding problems will gradually abate as the baby grows.

http://forums.llli.org/showthread.php?108829-Bubble-Palate

It seems the problem makes a proper latch difficult, and as the baby grows and the mouth gets bigger, it becomes easier. Given all the benefits of breast feeding, I would stick with it unless weight gain becomes poor.

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