tongue-tie release and treatment, Portsmouth, Hampshire.

What is Tongue-tie?

Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) is a condition in which the membrane under the baby's tongue (the lingual frenulum) is abnormally short or tight which may restrict the movement of the tongue.

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.

If a baby's tongue function is significantly affected by a tongue-tie then feeding can be negatively affected. Interestingly, both breast and bottle feeding babies can suffer feeding problems

Possible problems caused.

If the tongue can move effectively even with a tongue-tie and there are no feeding issues then division may not be required at the moment. Perhaps the best plan may be ongoing feeding support with body work.

However, a baby does need to be able to move his tongue effectively in a number of different movements to attach effectively at the breast and maintain this latch during the entire feed.

Tongue-tie information and treatment, Portsmouth

If the tongue is not able to move freely and effectively, then not only may optimal attachment to the breast be difficult to achieve, but cause sore and damaged maternal nipples as the baby attempts to feed.

This can then result in mastitis, a poor milk transfer, a reduced milk supply, an unsettled and colicky baby, not to mention an exhausted mum! Bottle fed babies with tongue tie can also experience problems with their feeding, such as gagging, excessive dribbling, wind and a general dissatisfaction after a feed.

Additional issues to consider with a tongue that has a restricted movement include possible problems with managing solid foods, oral hygiene, speech development, posture and headaches - to name just a few.

Treatment options.

Support with breastfeeding and experimenting with different feeding positions can be of benefit. Please source help from a lactation expert to assist with the early days of feeding plus body work.

If you think your baby has a tongue-tie that is affecting your feeding, then please do speak with your Health Visitor (HV), midwife (MW) or General Practitioner (GP) about actioning an NHS referral. This discussion is also important to help plan your interim feeding support to maximise your comfort and your baby's feeding technique for before and after your NHS appointment.

Unless you are a current family that I am already supporting, I no longer offer tongue-tie release service on a private basis so if you are looking for an independent option, please access details of other private practitioners here:-

Further information.

The Association of Tongue-tie Practitioners, supporting parents of tongue-tied babies to access safe and effective care.

The effectiveness of frenulotomy on infant-feeding outcomes: a systematic literature review (2013) Finigan V and Long T. Evidence Based Midwifery: June 2013

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) have produced a comprehensive parent information sheet, about tongue tie, just click the link to access this printable pdf document.

UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative Helping a baby with tongue tie.

Nice Interventional Procedure Division of ankyloglossia (tongue-tie) for breastfeeding, information for the public. December 2005.

Tongue-tie information site.

Client feedback.

"Things are still going well for us and the BF is more pleasurable with every day. The tongue is healing beautifully. It's amazing how much wider she can now open her mouth now and latching on is so much easier for her."

"Just a note of thanks, she is certainly feeding a lot better and we are positive that the tongue division has helped a lot. I am still a little sore but following your advice and things have started to improve. We have been visited by the midwife and the breast feeding advice lady who basically endorsed everything we had discussed. Once again thank you, if we have any problems we will certainly call again as you were extremely helpful."

"Thanks for your email and for coming over at such short notice on Friday. We are quite relieved to have had the tongue tie problem diagnosed and rectified. "

"his tongue seems fine now, and apart from his complete over excitement when presented with a nipple, which results in lots of head shaking and opening and shutting of his mouth, making getting him to latch on sometimes a bit tricky, he is feeding much better than before."

Professional Indemnity Insurance and Public Liability Insurance is provided by Hiscox Insurance Company Ltd.

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