Quite often, babies with a tongue-tie can feed without any problems.

In fact, some people can go their whole lives without even realising they have a tongue-tie!

How does it happen?

A tongue-tie happens when the short, tight piece of tissue that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth (the frenulum) is shorter than normal. This can prevent your baby from latching on effectively.

Some babies with a tongue-tie have no problems at all and can latch on and feed well but others struggle which can cause problems for both you and your baby.

  • your baby’s tongue doesn’t lift or move from side-to-side
  • difficulty breastfeeding and staying attached to your breast
  • slow weight gain
  • your baby may make a clicking sound when they are feeding
  • your baby seems unsettled and unsatisfied despite frequent, long periods of feeding.
  • your milk supply may reduce as your baby is not latching on and feeding well
  • you may have sore or cracked nipples, which can make breastfeeding painful
  • a poor latch and ineffective feeding may lead to engorged breasts, which can then lead to mastitis.

Diagnosing a tongue-tie

If you suspect your baby has a tongue-tie, a trained specialist would need to assess your baby.

If your GP or health professional suspects your baby has a tongue-tie, they may refer you to the specialist tongue-tie clinic based in Lordswood.

The specialist infant feeding service can offer support to help you feed your baby effectively and discuss any treatment if needed.

Tongue-tie division

If treatment is necessary, your baby will have a straightforward procedure called a ‘frenulotomy’. This is carried out by specially trained medical staff based in the Lordswood infant feeding clinic.

A frenulotomy is a very quick and simple procedure and no anaesthetic is used. The surgery involves snipping the short, tight piece of tissue connecting the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth.

You can feed your baby as soon as it’s done, which will help to stop any bleeding and heal the cut.

After a tongue-tie division

Following a tongue-tie division, babies may need to relearn how to breastfeed.

After the procedure you will be advised to do oral exercises with your baby such as smiling and pulling tongues to support your baby’s tongue mobility.

It is important to note…

A tongue-tie is often not the only reason for feeding issues. If you have any concerns about your baby and tongue-tie please consult your local health visitor or GP.

Want more information?

Check out the Association of tongue-tie Practitioners website provides lots of information and support for parents and professionals.

Baby breastfeeding

My youngest daughter had a very shallow latch and a tongue-tie which we had cut. After the tongue-tie division we were able to continue to feed.

I was so worried it was the end of our breastfeeding journey, but thankfully as soon as she felt better she latched straight back on and we are still enjoying our breastfeeding journey together at 13 months!