Infant tongue tie, or ankyloglossia, is a condition in which your child’s tongue is tethered to the floor of the mouth by a band (lingual frenulum). Up to 10% of children live with a moderate or severe tongue tie.
When your child’s tongue is limited in its mobility, this may result in difficulties with breast or bottle-feeding including decreased extraction of nutrients with failure to thrive, nipple or breast pain during feeding, or nipple injury from difficulty to maintain latch. Severe tongue tie can also contribute to difficulty with pronunciation of certain sounds.
Between 1997 and 2012, tongue tie surgeries increased ten-fold in the United States, but some studies indicate that it’s not always the solution when breastfeeding is the primary problem. A frenotomy, or tongue clipping is a popular first instinct, but seeking help with breastfeeding could be more beneficial.
If your baby is having difficulty latching, staying attached to your breast and/or you are battling nipple pain, frequent engorgement, or other breastfeeding issues due to newborn tongue tie, then speak with your doctor. Your doctor will help figure out if baby tongue-tie is the culprit and can also suggest some other ways to alleviate breastfeeding pain, such as lactation counseling.
Ogden Clinic has partnered with IBCLC-certified lactation specialists in Northern Utah. They take appointments from their Davis County office, and offer resources on their website.
If indicated, tongue tie clipping is a safe, minimally-invasive surgery at Ogden Clinic that cuts the lingual frenulum. The tongue is held up toward the roof of the mouth, making it very tight and thin. Your Ogden Clinic doctor then cuts the skin that releases the tongue. When it comes to pain, most babies will not require medication. Your provider may demonstrate aftercare stretches that can be done at home to ensure wound healing after the frenotomy appointment.
The baby's tongue moves much more freely immediately after the procedure is completed. Breastfeeding or bottle feeding can become easier for the baby when the tongue is no longer tied, allowing them to latch more efficiently and intake enough nutrition at each feeding.