What is a tongue-tie?
A tongue-tie (also known as Ankyloglossia) is caused by a short or tight membrane under the tongue (the lingual frenulum).
Where the membrane is attached at, or close to the tongue tip, the tongue tip may look blunt, forked or have a heart shaped appearance. However, where the membrane is attached further back the tongue may look normal.
Research suggests that approximately 1 in 10 babies may be born with some membrane under the tongue. But only about half of those babies display significantly reduced tongue function, making breast or bottle feeding difficult.
These babies are likely to benefit from treatment to release the restriction that the membrane is having on the tongue and enable to baby to feed effectively.
Problems which may be due to a tongue-tie:
- Sore/damaged nipples
- 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 behaviour
- Unsettled behaviour 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)
Your baby may not display all of these signs and there can be other causes for these symptoms so thorough assessment by a practitioner skilled in breastfeeding is essential.
For more detail please see our new ATP 'Breastfeeding and Tongue Tie' leaflet click here