What is a tongue-tie?
Tongue-tie (also known as ankyloglossia) is a common condition were a thin membrane under the tongue, joins the tongue to the floor of the mouth more than it should do.
Research suggests that approximately 1:10 babies are born with tongue tie. Around half of those babies may experience reduced tongue function, making breast or bottle feeding difficult.
Nipples which look misshapen or blanched after feeds
Low milk supply
Exhaustion from frequent/constant feeding
Distress from failing to establish breastfeeding
Restricted tongue movement
Small gape resulting in biting/grinding behavior
Unsettled behavior during feeds
Difficulty staying attached to the breast or bottle
Frequent or very long feeds
Excessive early weight loss/ poor weight gain/ faltering growth
Clicking noises and/ or dribbling during feeds
Colic, wind, hiccoughs
Reflux (vomiting after feeds)
Here are a few of the commonly asked questions reagrding the procedure:
Will it hurt my baby?
No pain relief is required as there are no nerve endings nearby. Your baby will be wrapped in a blanket to keep them safe and secure during the procedure and you will have the opportunity to feed your baby straight afterwards.
Will it bleed?
Bleeding is usually minimal; approximately one in one thousand babies may bleed. These babies do not lose large amounts of blood as the wound only oozes. The bleeding normally settles on its own with no further treatment or long term effects on your baby.
How long will it take to heal?
When the frenulum has been cut it opens into a diamond shape at the base of the tongue, and within 2 days it becomes a white patch which looks like a mouth ulcer; if your baby is jaundiced, it will be yellow. This can last for two weeks and won't cause any pain.
Will my baby be unsettled after the procedure?
Although some babies will cry for up to 60 seconds, the average is just 15 seconds (and some just stay asleep). Their routine maybe a bit unsettled, however the majority of babies do not suffer any ill effects from the procedure and return to normal quickly.
Will it affect my babies speech development?
Some babies with tongue tie experience speech difficulty, others do not.
Are there any risks involved?
Bleeding – The risk of bleeding is minimal. If your baby does bleed it normally settles down on its own with no further treatment or long term effects on your baby.
Infection – The risk of infection is very rare.
Reformation - In some babies the tongue-tie may reform which may require a further procedure.