Tongue-tie or ankyloglossia is a condition in which the short and thick band of tissue holds the lower part of the tongue’s tip to the floor of the mouth. It’s an oral condition that babies develop in the uterus, that causes the tongue and the floor of the mouth to bind together during the growth of an embryo in the uterus.
This condition restricts the tongue’s range of movement. It can also impact how a baby eats, talks, and breastfeeds, although some babies might not experience any of these. An untreated tongue-tie can improve by itself as the baby grows older, mostly between ages two and three. With this, the tightness of the frenulum loosens naturally from the floor of the mouth.
It’s also possible to resolve some cases of tongue-tie through a surgical cut to release the frenulum under the tongue, known as frenotomy. If you’re unsure about going for the surgery option or waiting for the condition to resolve naturally, this article is for you. Here are three signs your baby needs tongue-tie surgery.
Difficulty In Breastfeeding
A tongue-tie condition may make it hard for your baby to breastfeed well. There’ll be obvious difficulty to latch when breastfeeding. When breastfeeding or bottle feeding, the baby won’t be able to open the mouth wide enough. Latching on the nipple for breast milk becomes a struggle. There’ll be reflux and constant clicking or smacking noises when feeding. The baby won’t also concentrate on feeding, thereby coming on and off your breast.
The mother may also notice that the baby gulps air a lot and doesn’t consume much of the milk that gets to the mouth as most of it leaks around their mouth. As a result, the baby tends to remove the bottle or breast and displays intense struggle while feeding. This leads to a situation where you have a baby who doesn’t feed well and gets hungry constantly. There’ll be poor weight gain due to inadequate feeding, and even the little milk the baby sucks dribbles down the side of the mouth.
In a nutshell, feeding simply becomes a hard task for the infant. If your baby is experiencing more than one of these signs, you definitely need to consider the surgery option. Just visit hibberttonguetie.co.uk in Manchester for consultations and schedule a proper tongue-tie surgery for your baby.
However, you should note that not all tongue-tie babies have difficulty in feeding. So, if your baby’s having breastfeeding issues, it’s recommended to go for a proper diagnosis to ascertain whether it’s a tongue-tie condition or a sign of another medical condition.
Breastfeeding Issues For The Mother
The breastfeeding mother will also feel the side effects if the baby has a tongue-tie. Such a mother will experience painful nursing periods. The nipples appear creased when your baby moves from it, and you’ll also notice some latching problems. Babies usually have to extend the tongue over the bottom gum to latch effectively on the nipple for milk. This position may be impossible for a tongue-tie baby, making the baby chew the nipple instead of sucking on it.
Besides, latching’s a form of protection for the nipples against bacteria and damages. The inability of the baby to do this will eventually result in substantial nipple pain for the mother during and after breastfeeding. There will be blisters and cuts on the nipples. Sore nipples will be present, too. The nipples will appear squashed, lipstick-shaped, and white. The breast may get inflamed as a result of the wrong sucking position, known as mastitis. This condition can also cause one or both breasts to swell up, redden or get inflamed, with constant infections.
Hence, the mother starts experiencing difficulty producing milk for the baby as the tightness of the tongue may not allow the baby to squeeze the milk ducts under the nipples as required when breastfeeding.
The Shape And Restricted Movement Of The Tongue
The shape of the tongue is another sign that tells you your baby may need tongue-tie surgery. The tongue resembles a heart-like or notch shape when stuck out. The tongue will also appear short when stuck out. The tip will look flattened or square-shaped instead of pointy. You can lift your baby’s tongue to check this.
You may also notice certain restrictions in the movement of the baby’s tongue. For example, the baby will struggle to stick out the tongue beyond the lower front teeth or reach the back teeth. There will also be a noticeable difficulty when the baby wants to move the tongue to the upper teeth or doing side to side movement with the tongue. If it’s very apparent your baby’s tongue is restricted, then tongue-tie may be responsible for it.
You can visit a speech-language pathologist to confirm if the shape of the tongue and movements are right. If declared otherwise, your baby may need tongue-tie surgery for proper correction.
Tongue-tie is an oral condition common among babies. Some cases are treated naturally, while others would require surgical cuts. Your baby may need a surgery if you and your baby are experiencing difficulties during breastfeeding, signs pointing to improper breastfeeding, restricted tongue movements, and an irregular tongue shape. Consult with a specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment.