Tongue-Tie and Signs to Look Out Forby Laura Driver
Tongue-tie affects around 4-11% of newborn babies and is more common in boys than girls. Tongue-tie is where the strip of skin connecting the baby’s tongue to the floor of their mouth is shorter than usual.
Some babies who have tongue-tie aren’t bothered by it. In others, it can restrict movement, and cause issues when feeding.
Tongue-tie is sometimes diagnosed during a routine baby check, but it’s not always easy to spot and it might only become apparent when your baby has issues with feeding.
Signs of Tongue-Tie
- Difficulty feeding
- Difficulty lifting their tongue up or moving it from side to side
- Difficulty sticking their tongue out
- Their tongue looks notched or heart-shaped when they stick it out
To breastfeed successfully baby needs to latch on to both the breast tissue and the nipple. Their tongue needs to cover the lower gum so that the nipple is protected from damage.
Babies with tongue-tie aren’t able to open their mouths wide enough to latch onto the breast properly.
If you’re breastfeeding your baby and they have tongue-tie they may;
- Have difficulty attaching to the breast or staying attached for a full feed
- Feed for a long time, have a short break, then feed again
- Be unsettled and seem to be hungry all the time
- Not gain weight as quickly as they should
- Make a ‘clicking’ sound as they feed
Tongue-tie can also sometimes cause problems for a breastfeeding mother such as sore or cracked nipples, low milk supply and mastitis.
If your baby can feed without problems treatment isn’t necessary. If feeding is affected treatment involves a simple procedure called tongue-tie division.
Tongue-tie division is carried out by a specially trained doctor, nurse or midwife and involves cutting the short, tight piece of skin connecting the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. It’s a quick, simple and almost painless procedure that usually resolves feeding problems straight away.