Mother breastfeeding her baby - Photo by Timothy Meinberg / Unsplash

How Can You Tell if Baby Is Tongue Tied?

Delayed Milk Onset Jan 26, 2021

What is Tongue-tie?

A mucous membrane called the frenulum is centered on the underside of a baby’s tongue and attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth.

A defect like this can make it look like the baby has a short tongue or sometimes no “free tongue. “ A tongue-tied baby might have some problems moving the tongue up and down and side to side. A tight or short frenulum or tongue tie can make it difficult for a baby to feed at the breast.

A baby cannot bring the tongue forward enough to get the nipple and areola into their mouth. Newborn tongue-tied babies can sometimes breastfeed without problems as long as a proper latch can be established.

Sucking is only possible with the forward movement of the jaw and tongue, and the tongue helps to create a seal during breastfeeding. In the case of a baby with this problem, the movement is restricted and, therefore, causes some sucking issues.

tongue-tie
Breastfeeding baby

Nipple pain is the first sign of a tongue tie during breastfeeding.

Between 2 – 4% of all babies are born with tongue ties. Breastfeeding a tongue-tied baby can be very frustrating, especially if you don’t know that your baby has this problem.

Breastfeeding Issues That Could Be Signs of Tongue-Tie

  • Tongue-tied babies cannot stick out their tongues further than their lips.
  • The baby’s tongue is heart-shaped at the tip.
  • The mother has sore nipples, blocked ducts, and mastitis.
  • Tongue-tie babies lose weight after birth because they are not consuming enough milk. How to tell if your baby is drinking enough.
  • A tongue-tied infant usually has a shallow latch while breastfeeding.
  • Babies with tongue-tie are usually very fussy during feedings.
  • Suction is often broken during feedings, and the baby chokes or makes clicking sounds while feeding.
  • The mother's milk supply might be low because milk transfer is hampered, and not enough milk is being removed from the breasts.
  • The milk might dribble down the baby’s mouth while feeding since they cannot make a proper seal.
  • The baby is biting or chewing on your breast instead of sucking.

A breastfeeding relationship is not trouble-free for everyone. Problems might have zero to do with tongue-tie, so your midwife, health visitor, or breastfeeding consultant should still be able to help you and your baby.

Suppose you and your little one are experiencing at least three of these symptoms mentioned above, and those symptoms are not GONE by the time your baby is one week old. In that case, it is time to see a specialist who is knowledgeable about the frenectomy procedure. (Snipping the skin under the tongue to free the tongue)


Fix Tied Tongue

  • Tongue-tie surgery. When it starts to cause breastfeeding problems, a procedure called “frenectomy" can be done to clip the frenum.
  • This procedure is sometimes called “clipping tongue" or “frenulum clip."
  • There is hardly any bleeding, and the baby can nurse immediately after the procedure. Some doctors might say that they do not do this procedure anymore, which is not true.
  • Many doctors still do the operation because it allows the mother and baby to continue to breastfeed. If your doctor refuses to do the tongue-tie release frenectomy procedure, you can find somebody who will.
  • Wait it out. Sometimes the frenulum may stretch out on its own due to the baby's sucking.

Severe Tongue-tie

This is when the frenulum is very short or attached to the tip of the tongue. It may cause speech problems later in life if the frenulum is not cut. A tongue-tied toddler might struggle to pronounce “th, l, f, g, n, r, “

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Tracy Behr

Mom of two, breastfeeding helper, and lover of all things natural! Studying a breastfeeding counselor course via Childbirth int. & plant-based nutrition via the Nutrition Inst.

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