How to tell if my baby is tongue tied

Signs of a tongue tie – Transcript

If you’re having difficulties at the moment with breastfeeding I’m sure you will be trying to find an answer, and maybe asking your friends or relatives and health professionals – trying to work out what is going on, (and I know that there’s lots of information out at the moment around tongue-tie), and many breastfeeding mothers worry that this is what’s happening with their baby, and looking to a tongue-tie division (tongue-tie procedure) for an answer to that problem.

Over many years working with breastfeeding mothers I’ve seen babies who’ve had a tongue tie who have really fed much better after that procedure – and for them that was the right thing. I’ve also seen babies who’ve taken a while to get used to breastfeeding in a new way, once they’ve had the procedure done, and things have then improved – and I’ve also seen some babies who’ve had a tongue tie division, when possibly it was unnecessary.

newborn baby boy smilleing while sleeping I do genuinely feel that this is a complicated issue and a controversial one too. Some very recent research has suggested that some babies are having this procedure unnecessarily. I do genuinely feel that this is a complicated issue. There seems to have been an epidemic of referrals in recent years where breastfeeding mothers are looking for a quick fix.

So I feel that if you are experiencing breastfeeding difficulties and you’ve looked at a lot of the videos in this package to trouble shoot some of those difficulties, and you’re still not seeing any resolve at all, then it’s really important that you seek out skilled support from a breastfeeding counsellor or IBCLC, somebody who will be able to help to resolve those issues.

So in this video I’d like to talk to you about a few potential signs that might indicate that your baby has a tongue tie. Do bear in mind though that you may not see all of these particular signs.

So one of the most common signs that many breastfeeding women experience when the baby has a tongue tie is very sore nipples. And this is not just in the early days, getting used to breastfeeding, but it’s every single feed – nipples are coming out looking misshapen and that is never seemingly getting resolved, no matter WHAT you do with the positioning.

I would encourage you to look at the video which talks through comfortable breast feeding so that you can make sure that you’re feeding your baby in the best possible way to get the best possible latch.

Another potential sign is if you find that you’re getting quite engorged, and not just every now and again – it’s a common feature and maybe even leading to blocked ducts or mastitis. If your baby isn’t draining the breast well, not latching well and not draining the breast well because of that tongue tie, then this can be the outcome. But of course there can be other reasons for that.

Sometimes babies who have a tongue tie find it really difficult to stay latched, so they tend to bob on and off, on and off, sucking in a whole load of air, and sometimes making clicking noises as well. But I would encourage you to try lots of different positions just to rule out positioning as a reason for these symptoms.Mother with a crying baby

If you do find that your baby is bobbing on and off the breast (fussy at the breast) and sucking in a whole load of air, then babies can get very windy because of this and very uncomfortable.

You might find those feeds are taking a long time too. You might find that your baby isn’t gaining weight well (boosting supply) your baby isn’t attached to the breast well therefore not draining the breast, and struggling to cause your body to make more milk – but some babies gain weight absolutely fine even with a tongue tie.

If your baby has a tongue tie, generally, he will not be able to extend his tongue past the lower lip or the lower gum line, and that tongue will appear to be restricted. Sometimes the tongues look very short in the baby’s mouth, even spoon-shaped and not able to reach the roof of the mouth too.

The tongue tip itself might look heart shaped or a little bit flat or notched. Bear in mind that the tongue may extend but retracts back – but it’s important to know that some babies can extend the tongue a little bit and then it retracts back. And a tongue tie may still be present.

So if you are seeing some of these symptoms and you feel convinced that this could be the issue please seek out that skilled support to determine whether a referral to a tongue-tie practitioner is warranted.

Review dates, references & further resources

Review Dates

Version 1.1 published in March 2019. Next review date: Jan 2022


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