Signs of tongue tie

I can honestly say that the vast majority of times I am called for breastfeeding advice there is a tongue tie involved.  So often they are missed – not necessarily because of bad practice but becasue we are all still learning.  It is a common misconception that you can check for tongue tie just by looking.  Actually you should feel for one.  Any obstruction you feel may be a submucosal tongue tie. A tongue tie underneath the mucosa which is not easily seen.

Typical signs of a tongue tie are

1. Sore nipples, despite good latch and positioning technique, mishapen nipples following a feed

2. Unable to sustain latch – coming on and off during the feed

3. Dribbling out sides of a bottle

4. ‘Clicking’ noise whilst feeding

5. Frequent feeding

6. Baby weight loss

7. Unable to lift the tongue or move from side to side.  Particulary with submucosal tongue ties the baby may still be able to poke his tongue out – it is a common misconception that if the baby can poke his tongue past the bottom

8. Mastitus

9. colic/wind/fractious

10. reduction in milk supply

If you are expereincing any of these feeding problems you should ask your midwife or lactation consultant to check for tongue tie – including a submucosal tongue tie.  Sometimes this is referred to as a posterior tongue tie.  If she is unsure or you are, get a second opinion at your local tongue tie clinic.  These midwives will have had special training in this area.

Here is a short film to show someone checking for a submucosal tongue tie.  Initially you cannot see anything – it is only when you psh abck it ‘pops’ out.  Actually this technique can be difficult so I tend to run my finger from side to side and feel for an obstruction..

Once found, a tongue tie is easily sorted.  Some others find immediate relief and breastfeeding improves from that moment.  Others, notice an improvement over the next few weeks.  The procedure is quick and the babies have more discomfort from the practitioners fingers in their mouths rather than the actual cut.  Both my sons had tongue tie.  The first slept through the procedure, the other cried a little and did not feed straight away.  It did improve though.  He is still breast feeding now.  He had a lip tie too – but that’s a whole other blog!


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