For a baby to be able to feed properly they need to have a full range of movement in their tongue.
The lingual frenulum is the membrane on the underside of the tongue that attaches to the floor of the mouth. If a baby is tongue-tied the normal movement of the tongue is restricted. This impacts on their ability to feed properly and often results in weight loss, very frequent feeds, taking a long time to feed, tiring quickly, dribbling, choking/spluttering. A breastfeeding mum will often have very painful feeds and nipple trauma.
There are two types of tongue-tie: anterior (lingual frenulum at the tip of the tongue) and a posterior (further back). Posterior tongue ties are not as easily visible so often go undiagnosed. If a tongue-tie is affecting feeding then a baby can have a simple procedure called a frenulotomy. This involves dividing/cutting the restricted lingual frenulum to allow greater movement of the tongue so they are able to feed properly. A frenulotomy can be performed by surgeons under the NHS or privately by registered Midwives or Health Visitors who have received additional training. It is very quick & requires no anaesthetic in babies under a year old.
Not all feeding problems are because of a tongue tie. However, If you are a parent & are having difficulty feeding your baby it might be worth considering getting your baby assessed by someone trained in identifying tongue ties. Feeding support groups may be able to help or you can contact a private practitioner directly via the Association of Tongue-Tie Practitioners website or:
Contact Petra Traynor:
Or call her directly on 07983 267512.