"Does my baby have a
tongue (or lip) tie?"
If you're curious about whether or not your baby has a tongue or lip tie, you're in the right place for some words of wisdom from an IBCLC experienced in working with tongue and lip tied babies!
Tongue-Tie Assessment Needs to be Done in Person
If you're in San Antonio, Texas and would like your baby to be assessed for tongue or lip-tie, feel welcome to visit me by scheduling an appointment here. I'm easy to get in to, and know area resources well. If you aren't near me, contact your nearest experienced IBCLC (many in private practice have extensive experience working with ankyloglossia and it's impact on breastfeeding) and schedule an appointment.
While IBCLCs cannot diagnose your baby with lip or tongue-tie, we can help you identify markers for it and can help you manage your breastfeeding during a tongue-tie investigation and frenectomy (procedure which releases a baby's tight tongue or lip frenulum), if performed. Not all ties are obvious, and an experienced IBCLC will look at every facet of a feed to coordinate care for you based on what she observes.
Don't take shortcuts...
For the best outcomes, don't take shortcuts in tongue-tie care. Whether you see me (Laura Gruber, IBCLC) or another lactation consultant, please make sure she works frequently with tongue-tie-from screening through supporting breastfeeding after a procedure is performed. Too often I work with families who only go to whoever is easiest to see, and skip visiting experts because they are out of network or have a cost. The end-result can be bigger eventual expenses from unaddressed ties, ties which were not properly released, and a continuation of symptoms such as pain, decreased milk supply and weight issues with baby.
My desire for you to have good breastfeeding outcomes is greater than my business interests. If you need help but can't afford my full fee, please let me know and we can work something out.
Tongue-ties matter to both breast and bottle fed babies
Because tongue or lip tie is something that a baby is born with, both breast and bottle-fed babies can be affected. Babies who nurse are able to stretch their tongues and lips to an extent with nursing, yet babies who bottlefeed don't always use the same vigor and work the same muscles. So while some may think that tongue tie isn't a big deal in bottle-fed babies since mom isn't being injured and her supply may not be at-risk, it's incredibly important (if not more important) to have a lactation consultant investigate your baby's mouth and feeding if you suspect that your baby may have a tie.
Before continuing your Google-journey, I invite you to read my blog post "5 Myths About Tongue-Tie" to help you understand what is and isn't important about ties.
SCHEDULE YOUR CONSULT
What is a tongue tie, and how can it affect breastfeeding?
- Mayo Clinic's tongue-tie page
- National Institutes on Health's Tongue-Tie Page
- Breastfeeding USA's page about tongue-ties
Common reasons to have a tongue or lip assessed for ties*:Baby:
- Difficulty with latching to breast or bottle
- Hovers over areola but doesn't draw in nipple
- Tires easily
- Slow weight gain, or weight loss
- Clicking when feeding from the breast or bottle
- Clamps mouth on nipple, collapses bottle nipple
- Low milk transfer from breast or bottle
- Prolonged feeds
- Persistent or frequent thrush
- Unable to hold in a pacifier
- Reflux and excessive fussiness; sounds "wet" in throat or gurgley when swallowing
- Gags a lot
- Issues accepting solid foods
- Future speech issues
- Very sore, cracked, raw or bleeding nipples (sometimes doesn't have soreness)
- Compressed-looking nipples after latching
- Low milk supply over time
- Bacterial and fungal breast infections which fester after tongue tie injury
- Early weaning and feelings of disappointment in mom
- Dr. Kotlow's Tongue and Lip Tie PDF
- Dr. Ghaheri explains lip tie
- KellyMom's Tongue-Tie Resource Page
- La Leche League's Tongue-Tie Resource Page
- Breastfeeding USA's tongue-tie page
Remember, for tongue/lip-tied breastfeedinginfants, it's recommend to have a consult with a board certified lactation consultant experiencedwith tongue-tied babies prior to and after having a tongue/lip frenelum released in order to gauge and track symptom improvement, healing and reattachment.