Tongue tie is when the tongue is frenulum is very short, making it difficult to stick your tongue out. Normally this just corrects itself with time. But it can interfere with breastfeeding. Cutting a tongue tie is an easy procedure that can be done and normally helps with breastfeeding.
I have twin babies who were born in Palamos, Spain. They were a week early (not really very much in terms of preterm babies) but still, Sebastian had problems breathing and spent 3 days in an incubator. He had a tongue tie which made breastfeeding difficult. I had it cut which was remarkably easy and quick and his breastfeeding improved.
What is tongue tie?
A tongue tie, is when the frenulum under the tongue is a bit tight and prevents the child from sticking out their tongue properly. This can lead to problems breastfeeding. If it persists later in life, can prevent children enjoying the simple pleasure of licking an ice cream, as well as speech problems. Often a tongue tie corrects itself as the child gets older.
Tongue tie can affect breastfeeding
Breastfed babies can have problems latching on and mothers can have problems with nipple pain.
In the UK, tongue ties are cut, but it is relatively uncommon. Often the frenulum gets cut against the bottom teeth when they appear. But I have heard sad stories of people who have given up breastfeeding because of a tongue tie.
In Palamos, the doctor offered to cut it straight away. I have to confess, having never seen it done, I was a bit reluctant and decided to wait and see if it interfered with breastfeeding (at the time he was been fed by a tube.)
A few weeks later, safely back at home I found myself wishing I'd had it done. Celeste seemed to feed really quickly and efficiently, whereas Sebastian seemed to take ages and his latch wasn't as good as hers.
The tongue tie cut was an easy procedure
Eventually we arranged to have it snipped. We trundled back to Palamos, slightly nervous about what they were going to do to my tiny baby. Actually it was really quick. They used a special pair of scissors that held the tongue up so that the doctor could get a look at the frenulum. A bit of faffing around, a tiny bit of blood and that was it. A few minutes later and Sebastian was happily breastfeeding again.
The doctor commented that he'd be able to say 'r' now (in Spain they have a long rolling 'r'). So perhaps that's why they cut them more frequently here?
After the tongue tie cut, his feeding got better
It was such a small thing to do that it seems a shame that they don't do it more often in the UK. I didn't notice an instant improvement with his feeding, but it did get better over time. I'm really glad he had it done as now we have no problems feeding.