picture of baby with tongue tie

What is a tongue tie?

Tongue tie occurs when the piece of skin which connects the floor of the mouth to the base of the tongue causes restriction. This piece of skin is called a lingual frenulum. It can be attached to the tip of the tongue or further back under the tongue.

 

picture of baby with tongue tie

 

How are babies affected?

Difficulties with breastfeeding often present in the following ways :

Breastfeeding

  • Difficulty latching on and/or staying attached to the breast
  • Almost continuous feeding with short breaks
  • An unsettled baby who appears to be hungry, fussy or may be on medication for reflux or colic
  • Poor weight gain
  • Sore nipples
  • Reduced milk supply
  • Mastitis

Bottle Feeding

  • Feeds taking a long time
  • Only small amounts taken at each feed
  • Excessive dribbling
  • Changing of teat or bottle does not seem to help
  • Unsettled baby who may be on medication for reflux/colic.

These difficulties in feeding are often attributed to a tongue tie , but this may not be the primary cause.  Not all tongue ties need to be divided as infant feeding problems can be resolved with the right help and support. During the consultation we will mutually decide whether a tongue tie division is necessary.

How is the tongue tie divided?

Following a discussion on the risks and benefits, a written consent is obtained.

Your baby will be swaddled in a blanket which you will provide.

I wear latex free gloves and use sterile single use blunt ended scissors.

I will show you how to hold your baby’s head securely during the procedure.

A bright light will be adjusted over your baby’s mouth to allow enhanced visibility when examining under your baby’s tongue.

I will place my finger under the tongue and your baby may cry a little at this point

Following the division, I place a small piece of gauze onto the floor of the mouth to stem any bleeding. Usually there is only a small amount of bleeding, and most babies will stop crying at this point.

I will then support you with either breast or bottle feeding. Occasionally after the procedure a baby may only wish a cuddle.

At the end of the consultation I will check to ensure that the bleeding has stopped, answer any further questions and provide you with an aftercare sheet.

 

after tongue tie