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My Baby Has Tongue-Tie: Our Moms Give Their Advice

Tongue-tie is the name given to a condition where the thin string of tissue under your baby’s tongue is too short and attaches his tongue to the floor of his mouth. This causes your baby’s tongue to be restricted and unable to move freely.

Tongue-tie can range from mild to severe – mild tongue-tie may not affect your baby at all, but severe tongue-tie may cause his tongue to almost completely fuse to the floor of his mouth. It can be quite difficult to diagnose, especially in mild cases, but the percentage of babies born with tongue-tie is quite low and there is no evidence that it is hereditary.

How will I know if my baby has tongue-tie?

Tongue-tie is not always easy to spot. It may be picked up at birth or at your baby’s routine six-week check-up, or it may not be noticed until your baby is older and he starts having feeding problems. If you are having difficulty breastfeeding, ask your public health nurse or midwife to check for signs of tongue-tie.

Will tongue-tie affect feeding?

Mild tongue-tie might not cause any problems with feeding, but more severe tongue-tie may cause issues such as trouble latching on to the breast, or being unable to get good suction on a bottle teat. This may lead to extra wind, due to taking in too much air, or may cause your baby to have trouble gaining weight.

Could tongue-tie affect my child’s speech?

There isn’t enough evidence to prove that there is definitely a link between tongue-tie and speech difficulties. However, surgery is often recommended for severe cases because of the possibility of this happening.

What can I do about it?

A simple surgery, called a frenulotomy, is a treatment option for tongue-tie. Your doctor will make a tiny snip in the string at the base of the tongue, releasing it from the floor of the mouth. Older babies may need to have the procedure under general anaesthetic, while younger babies may only require numbing cream for the treatment, and may even sleep through the procedure.
A frenulotomy is a safe procedure, however not all experts believe it is necessary for all cases, as it may lead to complications such as bleeding and infection.

Can you help this mom?

One of our moms left a message on our Facebook page, telling us about her little boy who has tongue-tie:

When my darling son was 10-weeks-old, I posted on here about his need to feed every 1.5 hours and that he always seemed hungry. All the feedback I got from you was the same, tongue-tie. I then went to see a specialist in tongue-tie and he said my son has a slight tie and explained the options to me. My son is now 10-months-old and my GP has commented on it saying I should get it snipped. I’m worried that if we go ahead with the procedure, it might affect his speech. Should I just leave it alone? He’s feeding fine and has had no issues with weaning since we started at six months.

We had some great feedback and advice from the eumom community, so here is a selection to help other moms dealing with the same issue.

“If there are no problems I wouldn’t go ahead with the procedure. All wounds have to heal and lay down scar tissue. If there were issues I’d say seriously consider it. I’m tongue-tied and so is my son. We have no speech issues at all. I trust evolution over anything else. If that was how he was made and it’s not causing him a problem now, why would it in the future?”

“My child had a complete tongue-tie at birth. It didn’t affect her and she breastfed fine. But at six months, when I introduced solid food, she couldn’t eat it and had a lot of problems. We saw a doctor at 10 months, and it was recommended she had it cut. I was concerned about speech problems, but she needed to eat too and hadn’t been able to at all. We went ahead with the procedure. She’s 19 now and has never had any speech issues. The only thing she can’t do is whistle! The doctor said it’s important for dental hygiene to be able to move your tongue freely, so that was another consideration. If he’s able to eat and has some movement of his tongue, maybe you might decide to leave it as it is. If you want to go ahead but are worried about speech problems, I can only say it didn’t cause my daughter any problem after having it done. Also, the operation was very quick and not traumatic for her at all. Good luck with your decision.”

“You should definitely get it cut! I’ve had a tongue-tie all my life. I’m 32 now. The doctors refused to snip it when I was a baby because I could feed and speak fine. Two years ago, the tongue-tie got so tight it partially snapped. It was very painful and distressing. I have been waiting two years now to get it snipped. I have constant pain, recurring mouth ulcers, infections and I now speak with a lisp, which I never had before. Please do your child a favour and get it done now while he is young. He will learn to speak normally and his feeding will improve and you’ll spare him my ordeal.”

“My son had a slight tongue tie too. I left it alone and he is now nearly 2 and a half and his speech is excellent.”

“My daughter is tongue-tied. She is 22 and has no problems. My granddaughter is also tongue-tied. She got it snipped at 6 weeks old and has no problems. Both of them have perfect speech.”

Have you got experience with tongue-tie? Do you have any more tips and advice to share with our moms? Leave a comment below and help other moms dealing with tongue-tie. Don’t forget to head on over to our Facebook page to join in the conversation.

About the Author

Editor of eumom.ie, Mairéad Cahalan is a creator of content, a lover of music, red wine and coffee, and a part-time wedding singer! Find her on Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud and LinkedIn.

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