There are many issues that can affect a newborn baby; some serious, others less so. Tongue tie seems to fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum. While it can be entirely harmless for some children, others will require surgery in order to correct it (though it should be noted that even in these cases, it’s rarely a serious condition).
So what is it? Essentially, it’s a condition that causes problems for the tongue and can reduce its range of movement. It can affect a newborn baby’s ability to breastfeed and in older children, can cause difficulties in eating, speaking and swallowing.
What Are The Signs?
There are several signs and the first thing to do is to examine your baby’s tongue. They may have a problem if they’re unable to lift it to the top of the mouth or move it from side to side. Another sign is if they’re unable to stick their tongue out beyond their bottom teeth. You can also tell just by looking at it; a sort-of heart shaped tongue could also mean your baby has tongue-tie.
Not sure if your baby has Tongue Tie? Read "Could Tongue Tie Be The Cause Of Your Baby's Unhappiness? Jessica's Story"
Does It Cause Gas?
Gas is a common problem in babies, but we’re beginning to understand that a tongue tied baby could be suffering from gas more than others. This is because they’re not able to drink as efficiently as they could with a tongue with the correct range of motion. It’s also likely that a tongue tied baby will take in more air than necessary, which can lead to a build up of gas. Many parents are quick to assume that their baby’s gas is a result of reflux or colic when it could be because of tongue tie.
What Other Problems It They Cause?
Aside from causing gas, tongue tie can be responsible for a whole host of other problems, both for baby and mother. For the mother, for example, it can lead to nipple pain since the baby is unable to latch on correctly. It can even result in nipple damage that causes no pain whatsoever. For the baby, tongue tie can cause problems such difficulty breathing and swallowing properly. Later on in life, it may result in speech problems. These children may also experience more dental problems than normal when they’re older too.
What Treatments Are Available?
While tongue tie is rarely serious, there are treatment options available for babies who experience more severe symptoms because of it. The most common procedure is a quick and simple day surgery which requires no anaesthetic and corrects the issue. As ever, it’s best to talk through any concerns you may have with your doctor or another healthcare practitioner, as they’ll be able to guide you in your decision-making process.
Are you struggling to feed your baby with ease? Check out our blog post Bottle Feeding with Tongue Tie