4 Things to Know About Tongue-Tie

During pregnancy I think there are a number of health related warnings you become aware of, from gestational diabetes to SPD and others of course having an impact on the baby, such as drinking and smoking. One such thing we became aware of was tongue-tie, which became particularly relevant when N was diagnosed with it.

The Basics

Tongue-Tie Leaflet
Tongue-Tie Leaflet

So there are some things I knew already about this condition. I’m not a medic in any way so I won’t give you technical terms, but in essence the tongue is attached to the floor of the mouth differently to normal. This can be that the connecting tissue is tight, short, is attached closer to the front of the tongue or further back under the tongue.

In short it restricts the movement of the tongue. However, please do your own research and ask your own questions as I’m no expert!

1. I hadn’t heard of ‘Posterior Tongue-Tie’

I’d heard of tongue-tie but not posterior tongue-tie. This type is not so easily treated as the more common tongue-tie. Sadly, the posterior variety is the type N has (of course!). We were advised that if he had the normal tie then it could have been treated in the hospital where we had him. As it is we had to be referred to another hospital where they were trained to deal with this type. Thankfully we got an appointment through for only ten days after birth which is pretty quick I think.

2. Impact on breast feeding

Tongue-tie has a significant impact on breast feeding. A baby has to have their tongue extended to draw enough breast tissue in to the mouth. With a tongue-tie the baby is unable to do this. You just kind of assume nature would take its course and breast feeding would work, but this is absolutely not the case for breast feeding, particularly with tongue-tie.

3. Impact on bottle feeding

Tongue-tie impacts bottle feeding
Tongue-tie impacts bottle feeding

I guess without knowing much you can guess there would be an impact on breast feeding, but there’s also an impact on bottle feeding. Babies with tongue-tie may have difficulty creating the right seal around a teat and it may also result in increased dribbling. We’ve found it helps to pace the feeding and wind four or five times during a feed and have a bib and muslin ready!

4. Details of the corrective procedure

The way to correct tongue to is relatively simple and is called ‘division’. In essence a rounded sharp pair of scissors are inserted into the mouth to snip the frenulum (tongue-tie tissue). It’s quick and is supposed to be relatively pain free as far as we know due to there being few nerves there. Seems relatively straightforward when put like that! You can even hold your baby during the procedure. Having never given it that much consideration I wasn’t aware of how exactly it was fixed but it’s so quick!

Outcome for N

He was a little trooper. Our appointment was very quick. We did have to wait for a long time due to an admin error (which is not good when Clare has had a c-section!) but when we were seen the appointment was all of ten minutes maximum.

It began with an assessment of course to check the tongue-tie issue. Correcting the tongue-tie involved Clare sitting with N on a chair, one nurse holding his head still while the consultant inserts two fingers in his mouth, feeds the scissors between her fingers and snips the Frenulum. This takes seconds, literally 5 seconds its over so quickly. Apparently some babies sleep through it, whereas N did cry out a bit but I think that was more due to being handled like that rather than the snipping.

Overall it went really well and we are please he has got it done to avoid long term issues. He, yet again, was a little star.

Have any of your children had tongue-tie? What was your experience?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.