Tongue tie is, among other things, a feeding problem for both bottle and breastfed babies alike. The difficulties arise when the membrane (frenulum) under the tongue is too short or restrictive, and this limits the movement in the middle of the tongue. This makes it more difficult to maintain a latch or seal and clicking may ensue as the tongue collapses, drawing air into the mouth, causing air swallowing, discomfort, fussing etc. There isn’t always clicking however, sometimes the tight membrane may cause weakness or tongue fatigue as the baby tires quickly from having to pull the tongue against the tightness of the membrane, this again may be problematic for both bottle and breastfed babies.
In some cases the membrane looks very obvious, as in an anterior tongue tie, but in other cases like a posterior tongue tie, it may look “mild” or the membrane is not very visible, unfortunately this does not mean that the symptoms or discomfort that can follow are mild.
Breastfed: Symptoms of tongue tie may include:
Painful feeds, nipple damage, blocked ducts, mastitis, breasts not fully emptying, slow weight gain, or normal weight gain but with constant feeds and mother exhaustion from compensation, baby’s preference to one breast, clamping or chomping, high palate, sounding congested at night or when lying down, sensitive gag reflex. Windy or trapped wind, bloating, clicking, air swallowing, tiring or fussing during feeds, leaking, coughing /spluttering or gulping during feeds, irritated, colic, reflux, crying with discomfort after feeds, excessive hiccupping
Bottle-fed: Symptoms of tongue tie may include:
Windy or trapped wind, bloating, clicking, air swallowing, tiring or fussing during feeds, leaking, coughing /spluttering or gulping during feeds, irritated, colic, reflux, crying with discomfort after feeds, excessive hiccupping, high palate, sounding congested at night or when lying down, sensitive gag reflex. (The palate becomes too high when the middle of the tongue is no longer able to press well against it as baby grows – causing what sounds like nasal congestion and an over sensitive palate / gag reflex)
Tongue Tie Cork treats babies from 0-16 weeks. The release is a minimally invasive procedure. At Tongue Tie Cork the release is carried out by Deirdre O’Leary Vos; tongue tie practitioner since 2018, using a sterile round-tip surgical scissors taking only a few seconds. First there is an initial assessment of baby’s tongue, frenulum, tongue movement, elevation, extension, strength, palate, jaw and suck, after that the baby is weighed and the weight centiles are calculated, finally the baby is assessed while feeding during either a breastfeed or bottle feed. These three areas of assessment will determine if a tongue tie is present, if the function of the tongue is affected and if it would be beneficial to release it. Procedures are only carried out if necessary.
The procedure can be done in the same appointment. Parents are supported and present at all times to soothe and comfort the baby. Deirdre is also an IBCLC lactation consultant and provides breastfeeding support directly after the release. Suck exercises, tongue lift, and body exercises are taught to the parents to encourage optimum function of the tongue as well as reducing any restriction as the site heals. Parents have telephone support after the procedure and every baby is given a free follow up appointment at the clinic the following week to ensure that the site is healing well, weight is increasing sufficiently and feeding is improving. Both breastfed and bottle-fed babies may benefit greatly from a tongue tie release and are very welcome at Tongue Tie Cork.
If you think your baby has a tongue tie, obvious or mild, you can book an appointment online for an assessment or release. It is not necessary to have a referral from your GP. If you have any questions please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Deirdre on 083 8669209
Deirdre O’Leary Vos,
RM, IBCLC, Tongue Tie Practitioner.
Tongue Tie Cork, Millview Rd, Victoria Cross, Cork City.