Does My Baby Have Tongue Tie?

Tongue Tie
Many women have challenges with breastfeeding but aren’t aware that their baby has tongue tie. This common issue develops when the baby is in the womb due to too much tissue growing in the mouth. The ties are often located behind the tip of the tongue, closer to the base of the tongue and underneath the upper lip. Unfortunately, the issue can lead to serious health effects over time. As a new parent, it’s important to learn the signs of a tongue tie and how it’s treated.

Does my baby have tongue tie?

You may notice that your baby does not open his or her mouth widely while breastfeeding, which can make it difficult for the infant to form a proper latch. As a result, the nipple can become cracked and even bleed, due to an improper latch.

What causes a baby to have tongue tie?

The cause of tongue ties isn’t known, but it can run in families and occur in children who have other issues that affect the mouth. Up to 15 percent of babies have tongue ties or other types of tongue mobility restriction.

Can a tongue tie affect speech development?

Tongue ties commonly affect speech development as the infant grows and develops because the tongue can’t rise high enough to make certain sounds. Th, t, s, l, and n sounds are often difficult to say and can also be accompanied by a lisp. Restrictions with tongue movement may lead to difficulty with social skills for the child. It can also cause oral health problems if the tongue cannot remove particles off the teeth while consuming food.

Can you breastfeed a baby with tongue tie baby?

Mothers can continue to breastfeed a baby who is tongue tied, but there will likely be damage to the nipple, and the child may not get enough nutrition. The child can have difficulty getting enough milk and can begin to suffer from colic. Doctors may also recommend that the child is formula-fed to promote their growth and development if the tongue tie is interfering with breastfeeding.

How are tongue ties treated?

Tongue ties often need to be treated to ensure that the child does not become malnourished and can begin to breastfeed properly. In some cases, undergoing surgery may be necessary. Children who do not receive treatment may go through years of speech therapy without making any improvement.

Three different options are available for a tongue tied baby:

• Snipping the tongue tie
• Using a laser to remove the tongue tie with anesthesia
• Revising the tie without a general anesthetic

Identifying the signs of a tongue tie will help a new mother avoid complications with the baby’s breastfeeding and speech later in life.

Photo: Getty