Recently tongue tie was brought to widespread attention by an article on the BBC News website. It is something that we commonly see and treat babies for in the practice. Mothers often bring their babies in for other symptoms and have been unable to diagnose tongue tie.
Symptoms may often include:
– A baby who is crying a lot
– Sore nipples
– A baby who wants to feed all the time and never feels satisfied at the breast
– Distension of the gut from wind
– Poor weight gain
– Clicking when feeding
– A baby unable to stick its tongue over the bottom lip
– When the baby is crying the tongue is often in a boat shape
Symptoms such as these are very distressing for a new mother and her new baby
To diagnose tongue tie, wash your hands and make sure your nails are short. Put your finger in the baby’s mouth and slide your finger under the baby’s tongue. You should be able get your finger at least 1.5cm back under the tongue and slide it across to the other side. Your baby should also be able to stick their tongue out over their bottom lip.
The tongue is a group of muscles and the babies with less severe tongue ties can be treated in the clinic with osteopathic techniques. Treatment involves exercises for the carers to do at home and hands on osteopathic treatment to treat the musculature of the tongue itself. Mothers say that after a couple of treatments the symptoms of sore nipples, colic and clicking are often reduced. The more severe ones may need a frenulectomy (cutting). We do not do this at our clinic but can refer you to a suitable physician for a frenulectomy.
Babies with tongue tie may also have a restricted neck movement and always sleep to one side. Please await our next blog….