Friday, 13 September 2013

Breast feeding - Tongue Tie

Before my daughter was born I'd always imagined I would feed her naturally. After all you know what they say, breast is best. I know some mother haves problems getting the baby to latch on, and it can be sore, and some mothers just aren't able to. I loved the thought of the bonding that takes place between mum and baby in this intimate moment just the two of you. 

 When my daughter was born, she instinctively knew what to do, and she appeared to latch on beautifully, I was so pleased. However once we had left the delivery room and we were on the ward, things changed. My daughter appeared to be latching on but it was very sore. On a number of occasions I pressed the call button so I could request some help with breastfeeding, but nobody came (that's another story) For the whole night I tried to feed her but she just didn't seem to be getting it, and I wondered what am I doing wrong? Why cant my baby grasp this? 

 Well the next morning my questions were answered. A consultant come around to see us, you know the usual to check how baby was doing. She asked how my daughter had been feeding during the night and explained that she didn't seem to be managing very well, she didn't seem to settle at all. The consultant checked her over, and straight away said she has a tongue tie. 

 A what? A tongue tie. I'd never heard of this before, it sounded like something she'd just made up. The consultant explained that a tongue tie occurs in babies who have a tight piece of skin between the underside of their tongue and the floor of their mouth. In essence it prevents the tongue from being poked out, lifted up and it can even sometimes affect language skills. Tongue ties can sometimes affect the babies ability to feed, making it hard for them to attach themselves to the breast. It occurs in only 3-10% of newborn babies. Normally the tongue is loosely attached to the base of the mouth but with a tongue tie this piece of skin is much shorter.  It can be treated simply by cutting the piece of skin that connects to the tongue to the roof of the mouth. It is a simple and painless procedure and can resolve feeding problems immediately. 

 At the time when I was hospital with my daughter it was explained to me that the skin could be cut but I was not made aware of how this would be done and I certainly didn't think it would be painless. Anyway we decided not to have it cut, as I couldn't bare the thought of putting my newborn baby through anything like that. There are alternatives to breast feeding a baby with tongue tie, we decided we would bottle her breast milk instead so she still got the same goodness just from a bottle. 

 If in the future it turns out that the tongue tie affects her speech then obviously we will consider what options will be available to us. The procedure is normally carried out with a anaesthetic in older children. However we don't see her tongue tie affecting her speech as she's 11 months old and can say mum and dad and various other words without problems. 

 Have you been affected by tongue tie personally or does your baby have a tongue tie? If so did you have difficulty feeding, and did you decide to have it cut? We'd love to hear from you, please leave your comments below.

2 comments:

  1. My baby had a tongue tie but our story is almost the opposite! I had seen them before (I'm a children's nurse) and had pointed it out to the doc on maternity ward. She said not to do anything unless it affected feeding... Well it did! So I told my health visitor who suggested we "wait and see". Then I told a different HV who said she didn't think it could affect feeding. Eventually I got so fed up I went outside the NHS and took him to a private consultant who snipped the tie straight away and improved his latch and sucking strength immediately!
    I'm about to have boy2 and will definitely be on the lookout for a tongue tie. If he has one I will ask for it to be snipped, it honestly didn't bother boy1 at all

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  2. I think I just felt that I didn't know enough about tongue ties to be able to make the best decision. My daughter can feed well from bottles and most beakers now and the words that she can say she says well. My other half actually has a tongue tie which admittedly I didn't even know about until our daughter was born I think as it doesn't affect him he was less inclined to have it cut.
    It is surprising though talking to people how common tongue ties actually are x

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