THE TRUTH ABOUT BEING TONGUE-TIED

Updated: Jan 26

It is estimated that 4-10% of the population shows the prevalence of being tongue-tied. Unfortunately, few parents understand what it is, what causes it, or what treatment options are available.

Tongue-Tied Signs in Babies

According to Tongue Tied by Richard Baxter, DMD, MS, the tongue is a complex organ composed of eight muscles that are involved in feeding, breathing, speaking, sleep, posture, and many others. A tongue-tied child is more prone to experiencing airway disorders later in life.


Tongue-tie results from the failure of the tissue, which is located under the tongue, from being completely reabsorbed during infant development. And while it has been around for thousands of years, very little about what it is and how to prevent it is taught to new parents or pediatricians.


Tongue-Tie Signs: Nursing Mothers


As with other childhood airway disorders, mothers are on the frontlines of identifying irregularities with their child's development or signs that something 'isn't quite right.' When it comes to the issue of tongue-tie, nursing mothers will be more likely to notice the signs faster than their non-nursing counterparts.


Here are a few of the signs/symptoms to look for:

  • Poor latching by your baby

  • Consistently painful nursing experience

  • Bleeding, cracked, creased, or flattened nipples

  • Poor breast drainage

  • Nipple thrust or lipstick shaped nipples

  • Having the feeling that feeding is a never-ending, full-time job


Tongue-Tie Signs: Infant Symptoms


While it is easier for a mother who is breastfeeding her baby to identify the signs, non-nursing mothers can experience symptoms in their babies as well.


Here are a few of the signs/symptoms all mothers can look for in infants:

  • Poor latching by your baby (breast or the bottle)

  • Baby consistently falls asleep while feeding

  • Reflux or spits up often

  • Gagging or choking sounds when your baby is feeding

  • Lots of dribbling when feeding --- milk coming out of the nose

  • Poor weight gain

  • Baby is unable to keep a pacifier in mouth --- falls out easily

  • Mouth breathing, snoring, or noisy breathing

  • Baby needs to eat more frequently than every 2-3 hours



Want to learn more? Read this Mott Children's Hospital online article to discover more information on the condition of tongue-tie.


As with any medical condition, consult your child's pediatrician should you see any of these symptoms in your child or if you suspect your child is suffering from an airway disorder.


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