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All babies are born with a lingual frenulum which is a piece of tissue that connects the underside of the tongue and the floor of the mouth. If this piece of tissue is abnormally short (less than 1cm) and restricts the tongue from normal movement, it is called a tongue tie (ankyloglossia). It is estimated that around 10% of babies are born with congenital ankyloglossia (tongue tie) although this number is likely to be higher as greater awareness of the condition increases. For some babies this does not impact on feeding or growth at all. However, for some babies this can prevent them from establishing effective feeding as the tongue tie restricts normal tongue mobility.
Symptoms in the breastfeeding mother can present as pain during the feed, sore and/or cracked nipples, engorged breasts and later can present as mastitis.
Symptoms in the breastfed baby may present as an inability to latch onto the breast, slipping off the breast during the feed, frequent or prolonged feeds, fractious feeds, falling asleep during feed and then waking within an hour as hungry, colic, excessive weight loss or poor weight gain, clicking noise during feed and dribbling milk from poor suction.
Symptoms in bottle fed babies include clicking noise, dribbling milk and colic.
It is important to remember that these symptoms are not always because of a tongue tie and may simply be due to poor positioning during feed or that feeding is simply not quite established yet so it is important that a feeding assessment is carried out before referring to tongue tie clinic. These can be checked by the Midwife, Health Visitor or Feeding Specialists at one of the drop in feeding clinics by following the links below.
You will find more information here: