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Tongue-tie is one of the reasons a baby and also Mum’s may be experiencing problems successfully breastfeeding.

Tongue -tie is a popular term used to characterize a common condition that often goes undetected. It occurs during pregnancy when a small portion of tissue that should disappear during the infant’s development before birth remains at the bottom of the tongue and restricts its movement. When a tongue cannot perform all the necessary movements – it jeopardizes the way we suck, swallow, chew, and talk. Ties or tethered oral tissues are not just restricted to your tongue, they can also restrict your upper lip and cheeks.

Tongue or lip ties present in many different shapes and forms and symptoms can also  vary from patient to patient.  Often health care providers who are not familiar  with ties will only look for the easy to see, classic tongue ties that often create a heart shaped tongue.  Just because you can poke your tongue out does not mean that there isn’t a tie. Some tongue ties can be deceptively hidden in the base (back) area under the tongue and cannot be easily seen – they need to be felt.

It is very important for the proper identification of ties that not only a visual and manual examination but functional investigation is carried out to determine the extent of the restricted movement. It is only after we complete all 3 of these processes that we are able to determine if ties are present, how severe they are and if a release procedure needed.

In a breastfed child  – the action stimulates the orofacial muscles and this is what promotes the growth of the face. Breastfeeding also stimulates the proper functioning of the structures of the mouth and face.  If a baby is able to breastfeed correctly – the movements strengthen the orofacial muscles of babies and infants, reducing risk of future problems in important functions such as breathing, chewing, swallowing and speaking.

Some of the difficulties that a baby who has restricted tissues can include:  lack of sucking reflexes which decrease the suction force,  lack of co-ordination between the actions of suck, swallow & breathe, improper positioning, absence of sealing of lips around the breast nipple, inadequate movement of the tongue and jaw during feeding and pain for both mum and baby.

Other common symptoms include  sliding off the nipple, falling asleep at the breast, regular clicking during a feed, poor weight gain,  increased  nipple or breast infection for mum’s, compromised milk supply, dribbling milk at the breast/ bottle and even digestive issues such as increased gasiness or reflux due to additional air being swallowed and poor control of the milk during swallowing.

If you would like more information regarding our Tethered Oral Tissue Clinic please contact us.

If you believe that you, your baby or a friend or family member has ties and you have observed any of the symptoms above please call us to book an consultation / assessment.