Arched Or High Palate: Techniques To Help
What is an arched or high palate? This is when the roof of the mouth is shaped in a way that is too high or narrow. Your baby can just be born with it, or it can worsen with behaviors such as chronic thumb-sucking. In addition, the shape of the roof of the mouth can cause your baby not to be able to latch correctly. This can lead to sore nipples, as well as too-short feedings.
Babies with a high arch to their palate tend to flick the nipple up into the ‘cavity’ very quickly. There really
needs to be so much breast tissue in the baby’s mouth that the nipple is forced further back.
High Palate Symptoms
When it comes to babies, it’s important to state that those infants with a narrow palate may have difficulty nursing or feeding from a bottle. The main issues can be improper suction due to a narrow palate, and this can potentially cause air bubbles when nursing. In addition, this can cause babies to experience excessive gas. Here are the other symptoms parents should look out for:
- difficult nose breathing
- inability to latch when nursing
- sleeping issues
- issues when breathing at night
- complications when it comes to clearing nasal fluids
Experts claim that a narrow palate can cause breathing issues in children that can lead to a habit of mouth breathing. In some cases, this can lead to obstructive sleep apnea. Other symptoms include:
- crowded teeth
- impacted teeth
- speech variances, especially when it comes to sounds that involve contact of the tongue against the palate
- poor oral hygiene
In most cases, adults have the same symptoms as kids. However, once the mouth is fully developed, treatment becomes more complicated. Adults who want to treat their narrow palate usually have to undergo surgery. Here are all the options that prove to be the best treatments available so far.
High Arched Palate Causes
When it comes to narrow palate causes, plenty of different things can contribute to this condition. The most common high palate causes:
- thumb sucking
How to fix a high or arched palate in babies: There’s no magic solution, but you can work with a lactation consultant to adjust your position so your baby can achieve a better latch. One way to do this is to hold your baby lower, so she can meet the nipple from below.
Techniques to help:
- Experiment with positioning – Important to find the best position for mom and baby. Some moms try sitting the baby beside her so that the chin is on the underside of the breast. Gravity seems to help get more breast tissue in like this. Sometimes mom leaning over the baby works, again with gravity on her side. Some moms use a modified football hold with the baby wrapped around her hip, facing her side, and the baby’s lower lip about a half inch under the nipple. She would then position the lower lip on the areola, wait for the mouth to open wide, and then pull the baby on by the shoulders to get a deep latch. Leaning back helps hold the baby against her chest. If this is done right, the baby’s head will be slightly extended, and the latch will be asymmetrical, with more breast tissue over the tongue and less under the palate. The more breast in the mouth, the less the tongue restriction seems to matter because when the mouth is full of breast, the tongue has to lift less to press milk out of the breast.
- Alternate breastfeeding positions to help relieve nipple soreness.
- If nipple damage occurs, apply Neosporin/Polysporin to cracked nipples AFTER nursing or pumping twice daily. Wipe off with a warm, wet washcloth BEFORE nursing or pumping.
- If nursing is painful, break the latch with your finger and re-latch. Apply a cold compress to the nipple after feeding to help reduce inflammation. This situation usually gets better with a bit of time. As baby grows, they can take more breast tissue in the mouth, resulting in a better latch. Often this seems to spontaneously resolve at around the age of 8 to 10 weeks.
As stated before, a high palate treatment exists, but if it’s not done early in childhood, it will be difficult to do it later in life. But don’t despair: There various treatment options for high palate in adults.