Tongue & Lip Ties
Do you experience pain during the first weeks of breastfeeding? Are you having trouble with latching?
If so, your baby might have an unidentified tie. However, there is no need to worry! This issue is very common and can be fixed with a simple procedure, or you can adopt methods and products to help ease the pain for you and your baby.
What is a tongue tie (ankyloglossia)?
A tongue tie is when the skin under a baby’s tongue is too short or tight, which prevents them from breastfeeding or bottle feeding adequately. Some signs that your baby may have a tie:
You notice them slipping off easily when they are feeding.
Not gaining weight sufficiently.
Staying on to feed for extended periods of time (because they are not able to feed efficiently).
A noticeable clicking sound when feeding.
Dryness or cracking, bleeding or splitting of the nipples.
You are not alone!
A recent poll taken by health professionals dealing with tongue and lip ties stated that 90% of the babies they saw had tongue or lip ties. According to the CDC Breastfeeding Report Card, 83.2% of mothers in the U.S. in 2015 started off breastfeeding their babies, while 57.6% were still breastfeeding at six months. In 2007, 75% of new mothers started off breastfeeding their infants, while only 43% were still doing so at six months. This is so prevalent there is even a support group on Facebook for parents of babies with tongue ties.
There are two fairly quick procedures that can be done to fix your baby’s tongue tie. You might choose to have the procedure before the baby leaves the hospital, or you can have a provider to do it at a later time. They will likely fit you in quickly as they know the impact to feeding if not corrected. Your insurance may require a referral from a lactation consultant or pediatrician.
Frenotomy: This procedure can be done without anesthesia and very little pain to the baby. The doctor uses sterile scissors to cut the frenulum free (skin under tongue causing tie). This procedure can take less than 5 minutes and you can rest well knowing your baby won’t be any pain because there are very few nerve endings or blood vessels in this area. The baby can breastfeed immediately after, and this is sometimes recommended to help clear debris or minimal blood.
Frenuloplasty: This procedure is for the more rare cases of tongue tie when the frenulum is too thick for a frenotomy. This procedure can be done with general anesthesia and using surgical tools. After the doctor clips the frenulum, they close the wound with sutures that absorb as the tongue heals. It is recommended that for both procedures the mom helps the baby implement some tongue exercises to aid tongue movement and decrease potential for scarring.
Products to Help with Pain
Breastfeeding with a tongue tie often come with some nipple pain, though not always. We have found some recommended products that can help ease this pain and enhance the healing of your nipples while feeding. The links to these products are listed below.
HPA Lanolin: Lansinoh Lanolin
Medela Pure Lanolin: Medela Pure Lanolin
Multi-Mam Compresses: Multi-Mam Compresses
Facebook group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/tonguetiebabies