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Tongue Tie Division - The Maris Practice

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Tongue Tie Division

Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) in babies can sometimes cause feeding difficulties. This is true for both breastfed and bottle-fed babies. It is defined as an embryological remnant of tissue between the underside of the tongue and the floor of the mouth which restricts normal tongue movement. In order to breastfeed effectively, babies need to be able to use their tongues in a complex way. In some individuals, tongue-tie can severely restrict a baby's ability to move the tongue in a way which will result in effective milk transfer from the breast. This holds true for some bottle fed babies also.

Feeding problems due to tongue-tie include:

  • Difficulty with latching or inability to latch
  • Sustaining an effective latch
  • Pain and nipple damage for the mother
  • Poor milk transfer resulting in weight loss or poor weight gain
  • Distressed and unsettled baby
  • Constant/very frequent feeding
  • Poor milk removal leading to mastitis

Evidence-based research states that early diagnosis and treatment for this, coupled with skilled post-procedural support, can make a big difference to feeding success – sometimes making the difference between continuing to breastfeed and giving up altogether. This involves a detailed feeding assessment, to ensure that the tongue-tie is causing feeding problems (not all do); the procedure itself, which is done as quickly and gently as possible and immediate post-procedural support and follow up.

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Joanna Knap