Have you been facing issues while feeding your child? Your baby probably gets fussy every time you have to feed them, or is hungry all the time, even if you’ve tried to feed your baby at regular intervals. You may even notice more severe problems such as pain after breastfeeding or speech delays in your baby. Sometimes, you might witness an abnormal growth in your child’s mouth, which seems to be inhibiting the movement of the little one’s tongue. If all of these things sound way too familiar, the chances are that your baby has a tongue-tie (1).
So what is a tongue-tie, and how can you get rid of this problem? Keep reading for answers:
What Is A Tongue-Tie?
A tongue-tie, also known as ankyloglossia, is a medical condition that is observed at birth, where the movements of the baby’s tongue are restricted. Typically, there is a stretch of tissue on the underside of the tongue that connects the floor of the mouth. In the case of a tongue-tie, this band of tissue, known as the lingual frenulum, will either be too tight, too short, or attached from the tip of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. All of these factors will disrupt the free-range motion of your baby’s tongue when ideally, the tongue should be able to move freely within the mouth (2), (3).
This extra growth interferes with the child’s ability to feed. Babies suffering from tongue ties may also experience difficulty speaking, eating, and swallowing food (4).
How To Tell If My Child Has A Tongue-Tie?
- If your baby is unable to latch easily while breastfeeding.
- Your baby is not gaining weight and growing.
- You notice that your baby is chewing much more frequently than sucking.
- Your baby follows a pattern where they feed for a long period, stop for a short while, and then continue to feel again for a long period.
- During feeding time, your baby gets fussy.
- You hear a clicking sound when your baby is feeding.
- Your baby seems to be hungry most of the time, even when you’ve been breastfeeding them.
- You experience pain during and sometimes after breastfeeding.
- Your nipples are sore or even cracked.
- The supply of milk is less, and you experience mastitis or inflammation in your breasts.
- Your baby has difficulty moving the tongue easily.
- You notice that the tongue has a “V” at the tip.
Treatments For A Tongue-Tie
In some cases, doctors treat a tongue-tie right after the birth of your child. However, sometimes a doctor may wait as the tongue-tie can also resolve on its own. If the tongue-tie causes issues and interferes with your child’s eating and swallowing habits, a doctor may recommend surgical procedures to fix this.
Frenotomy is one such surgical procedure, where the doctor, after examination of the tongue-tie, will use a pair of scissors to snip the extra growth. The doctor may or may not use anesthesia for this procedure, as it is quick, and there won’t be much bleeding. Babies can breastfeed immediately after the process (7), (8).
Frenuloplasty is another procedure that can resolve a tongue-tie, but it is slightly more extensive. A frenuloplasty is recommended if the lingual frenulum is too thick to be treated for a frenotomy. Surgical tools, as well as anesthesia, are required for this procedure (9).
You’re probably worried and anxious about your baby’s tongue-tie. This is understandable since it can interfere with your child’s eating habits, which in turn can affect your child’s health. However, with proper medical intervention, this can be treated. What are your thoughts on this? Has your child been suffering from a tongue-tie? Let us know in the comments below!