Why Optimal Baby Oral Function Matters, with Michelle Emanuel

Does your baby sleep with an open mouth? Do they make noise when breathing? Are they copious droolers? Do they have lip blisters? Do they hate tummy time, or have a lot of reflux? These are signs that oral function may need to be evaluated, but why does optimal oral function matter? Michelle Emanuel has answers. Check it out.

To listen here, click the play button on the player above, or click the button below to listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Google Play.
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What we talked about:

  • Why does oral function matter?
  • Simple ways to keep neuro-feedback loops connected
  • The sounds of optimal breathing
  • Using big facial expressions
  • Easy to spot signs of oral dysfunction
  • The tongue and its responsibility in head control
  • The development of head control
  • Whole-body mechanics
  • Tongue ties, lip ties, and buccal ties
  • A team approach for optimal oral function
  • Cephalocaudal development (head to tail)
  • Are the toes clenched? Very spread? Uneven?
  • Where’s your baby at, and where are they going?
  • The unfurling of the body
  • The “Superman” reflex
  • The value of tummy time
  • Setting up frequent and easy challenges
  • Preparing baby for a tethered oral tie (TOT) release
  • Who identifies the TOTs?
  • Recovering from a release
  • What to expect from a release
  • Paying attention to dysregulation
  • The guppy!
  • Therapeutic sucking
  • Connecting to your local resources


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Courtesy of Michelle Emanuel

About Michelle Emanuel

Michelle is a neonatal/pediatric occupational therapist, national board certified reflexologist, certified craniosacral therapist, certified infant massage instructor, and a registered yoga teacher specializing in the pre-crawling infant. For 17 years, she worked at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, in both inpatient/NICU and outpatient/development realms. During this time, Michelle developed the TummyTime!™ Method (TTM) to help parents and babies overcome challenges and love tummy time. She also educates, certifies, and mentors professionals to become certified in TTM. For the past few years, Michelle has been in full-time private practice, evaluating and treating babies with cranial nerve dysfunction (CND), tethered oral tissues (TOTs) and pre-crawling baby oral motor/developmental concerns. She also travels extensively teaching her curriculum, collaborates and co-teaches with other TOTs professionals, and is on the teaching staff of the Academy of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy. Michelle lives in Cincinnati with her three children, a son in college and two daughters, both in high school.

Learn more at  tummytimemethod.com, and check you some videos on her YouTube channel, and her fabulous Instagram pages: @tummytimemethod and @tonguetiebabies



Title music:Vibe Aceby Kevin MacLeod, from the Free Music Archive / CC BY (edited for length).

Sponsorship music:Air Hockey Saloon” by Chris Zabriskie, from the Free Music Archive / CC BY (edited for length).

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