What is a Tongue Tie? A fad or fact…

tongue tie

Why do we hear about tongue ties more often lately? It’s not new, it’s even mentioned in the Bible: Mark 7:53 “And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.” (ESV)

As breastfeeding rates dropped, we were less aware of it. Currently, breastfeeding rates are rising and we are more aware of the causes of problems in breastfeeding difficulties.

Not enough research has been done but, we are learning new things about ties every day.

What is a tongue tie?

Dr Bobby Ghaheri is a front-runner on this topic and extremely passionate about it. Visit his Facebook for more information.

A tongue tie is when the skin underneath the tongue is too tight and it restricts the movement of the tongue. 

When it is clearly visible and you can see the skin, it is called an anterior (front) tongue tie. It is easy to spot and usually mom gets referred to a doctor, who can revise it in the rooms at an early age. 

The tricky one is the posterior (back) tongue tie. This is not always visible at a quick glance. When an oral exam is done and the functionality of the tongue is assessed it can be diagnosed.

Asking if a baby is able to “stick out its tongue” past its lips is not a complete assessment. When looking for a tongue tie it is important to put your fingers in the baby’s mouth and assess the movement of the tongue, the lifting/cupping as well as the sucking.

Why is this important?

If a mother is breastfeeding, a tongue tie can have a negative impact on their journey. Some mothers experience nipple pain and damage. Some babies want to feed every hour for an hour.

Some babies gain weight and then suddenly plateau at about 6 weeks. Anterior ties can also have an impact on baby’s speech when they are older for example having a lisp.

Even with bottle feeding the baby can have problems sucking and have milk run down the sides of the mouth.

If you suspect your little one might have a tongue tie have a qualified medical professional, with the correct knowledge of assessing a tie, do an assessment.

Article by Sr Marisce – Registered Nurse & Midwife and Certified Lactation Consultant

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