What is a Tongue-tie?
Tongue-tie is a problem that occurs in babies who have a tight piece of skin between the underside of their tongue and the floor of their mouth.
The medical name for tongue- tie is ankyloglossia, and the piece of skin joining the tongue to the base of the mouth is called the lingual frenulum. It can sometimes affect the baby's feeding, making it hard for them to attach properly to their mother's breast. It can also have an effect on bottle feeding.
Tongue-tie is a birth defect which research shows affects between 3% and 10% of new-born babies. It is more common in boys than girls and can be hereditary.
Normally, the tongue is loosely attached to the base of the mouth with a piece of skin called the lingual frenulum. In babies with tongue-tie, this piece of skin is unusually short and tight, restricting the tongues movement. This prevents the baby from feeding properly and also causes problems for the breastfeeding parent.
Some tongue-ties can be easily seen, however this is not the case for all tongue-ties and a professional assessment of a baby’s tongue function and feeding history will be required to identify if a restriction is present and the way in which it affects feeding.
Affects on breastfeeding your baby may:
- Have difficulty getting attached to your breast deeply enough
- Have difficulty staying attached
- Feed for prolonged periods
- Be unsettled and not satisfied
- Make clicking noises when feeding
- Suffer with excess wind, colic or reflux
- May dribble milk when feeding from the breast
- May choke when feeding
A breastfeeding parent may have:
- Sore nipples
- Squashed nipples
- Blocked ducts
- Low milk supply
Some breastfeeding parents and babies may have some of the above symptoms and problems while others may have them all. Some of the issues may be related to the way your baby is feeding and not the tongue tie. This may be improved by optimising your technique.
Bottle-feeding Your baby with a tongue-tie may:
•Find it difficult to attach to the teat
•Take a long time to feed or feed very quickly
•Drink only small amounts with frequent winding (paced feeding)
•Dribble a lot of milk during feeds
•May not be able to keep a dummy in
•Make clicking noises
•Suffer from excess wind, colic, and reflux
When your baby starts to eat solids:
Eating food may be a problem as the tongue is important in moving food around the mouth and swallowing.
I Think My Baby Has a Tongue-tie, How Do I Proceed?
If you suspect that your baby has a tongue-tie, or you have been informed by a medical professional that your baby may have a tongue-tie, the next step is to book an appointment with me. The contact form as well as terms and conditions information and our refunds policy can be found on our contact page here.