Tongue tie

Sometimes when a baby struggles to feed or if feeding is making you sore it can be identified as being caused by a tongue tie.

Firstly you need to be seen by a feeding specialist who will give you help and information to improve the feeding. Your midwife or health visitor can refer you to the specialist service.

If the specialist feels that a tongue tie division could help they will refer your baby for a procedure called a frenulotomy. This is to give the tongue more movement which can help improve feeding.

We are able to treat babies up to 12 weeks of age.

If you have been referred for a tongue tie or would like more information please download this leaflet.

Information to support feeding after a tongue tie procedure.

Occasionally a baby may not want to feed following a tongue tie procedure, there are several things you can try.

Get yourself a warm drink and try to relax, place your baby in skin to skin contact with a blanket over you both. Lay back in a comfortable, supported, semi-reclining position with your baby lying on you, with their whole front in contact with your body. This position often stimulates a baby’s instinct to attach and suckle well. It’s also easier for you to watch for signs of your baby stirring and enables you to gently encourage feeding.

It is hard for babies to latch if they are crying, especially if they are also learning what their newly released tongue can now do. You can try these suggestions:

  • Sing and talk calmly.
  • Hold him against your shoulder if he doesn’t like to be held near the breast
  • Keep the environment peaceful.
  • If you have a sling try placing him in the sling and having a walk.

For breastfed babies try expressing some milk. If you haven’t got access to a pump many mothers find hand expressing as efficient. Here is a video to show you how if you haven’t tried before. https://www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/baby-friendly-resources/breastfeeding-resources/hand-expression-video/

Your expressed milk can be offered by spoon if your baby does not take a bottle. Once baby is calm offer the breast again.

If you were using nipple shields try them again, you can work towards stopping using them with the support of your Lactation specialist.

If you are bottle-feeding and your baby will not take a bottle try the calming techniques above. When you offer the bottle try paced bottlefeeding shown here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGPm5SpLxXY

For a baby over 2 months you can use infant paracetamol (Calpol) if your baby is very distressed. You need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dosage.

If your baby remains distressed and not feeding after a few hours you should ring NHS 111.