The tongue has many important roles to play. Its full range of motion lets you make correct pronunciations when you speak. It also helps you swallow and sweep away bits of food to keep your mouth clean. But for babies with tongue tie (a short, tight band of tissue which tethers the tongue’s tip to the floor of the mouth), these may pose a problem.
Tongue Tie is a condition present at birth which causes a restriction in the movement of the tongue. It may cause feeding difficulties and speech problems.
If you’re breastfeeding your baby and they have a tongue-tie they may:
- have difficulty attaching to the breast or staying attached for a full feed
- feed for a long time, have a short break, then feed again
- be unsettled and seem to be hungry all the time
- not gain weight as quickly as they should
- make a “clicking” sound as they feed – this can also be a sign you need support with the positioning and attachment of your baby at the breast
If the tongue is attached to the bottom of the mouth near the tip it may appear blunt, forked, or heart-shaped and may not extend beyond the lower lip.
Tongue Tie can also cause problems with speech once the infant begins to talk. Pronunciation of letters that involves elevation of the tongue, such as ‘t,’ ‘n,’ or ‘d,’ may be particularly difficult.
The procedure to release the tongue allows it to move more freely. The Mother is encouraged to breast-feed her baby immediately after the procedure.