Advanced search

to wish babies were checked for tongue tie routinely before leaving hospital?

(218 Posts)
MixedBerries Sat 21-Jan-12 12:00:39

Now I don't want this to descend into a slinging match about feeding choices (which usually happens whenever bf or ff are mentioned) but is it really unreasonable to expect that this is something that should be checked for by the paediatrician before leaving hospital? It would take about 1 minute.
According to NICE and UNICEF (who I assume know a thing or two) it affects 3 to 10 per cent of all babies yet at least 5 midwives, one health visitor and one paediatrician failed to check or notice it in my DS. It's not even a "hidden" posterior tongue tie. Once it was diagnosed (at 2 weeks following bleeding nipples, weight loss and failure to latch), we had to wait a further 2 weeks to see the lactation specialist as she was on holiday and is the only one in the area qualified to clip it. They we waited a further week to have it clipped. That didn't work so we had to travel half way across the country to see another specialist who clipped it again at 7 weeks. By this time DS had lost interest in boob feeding so I've been trying to get him back on and expressing in the meantime.
Now at 13 weeks, he completely refuses the breast and I don't have the time to express every 3 hours so essentially, once my freezer stash has run out, it's the end of bf. IF anyone had checked, I've been told it could have been sorted the day he was born and all this could have been avoided.
So in the light of "breast is best" being repeated over and over by the health profession, don't you think it's something fairly fundamental that could be checked for by people who are supposedly here for the best interests of our children? I'm so bloody angry. (Yes, I KNOW ff won't kill him but we really wanted to bf, particularly since asthma and allergies run in the family on both sides. And my point is that this could have been avoided so easily).

3littlefrogs Sat 21-Jan-12 12:07:02

It should be. I am sorry it wasn't in your case. When I was a practising midwife, many years ago, we always had to examine every baby at birth, from head to foot. Checking for cleft palate and tongue tie was part of that process.

We also visited new mums twice daily for 3 days, then once daily for ten days, or up to 6 weeks if necessary.

Now everything is so rushed, and there are so few qualified staff, basic stuff seems to get missed. (Disclaimer...I am very old and out of date and I expect someone younger will be along to tell me that I am very old and out of date and therefore should not be commenting).

PiousPrat Sat 21-Jan-12 12:21:27

Absolutely I agree it should be added on to the paediatrician checks at the hospital when they are born. I really don't see why it isn't, it takes a few seconds to at least look for an obvious anterior tie is all.

My DS was readmitted at a week old for failure to thrive and despite there being no obvious cause on my part (supply was good, no inverted nipples) I had to ask the paeds doctor to check him for a Tongue tie. I'd asked the midwife to check, she sort of glanced in the general direction of his mouth and declared him fine. The paeds doctor had to ask one of the A&E nurses how to check. Given that it was the same doctor who did DSs newborn check in maternity and who was his lead doctor on the children's ward, in both places he had trainees following him round so wasn't a shiny newbie, it didn't inspire me with confidence tbh hmm

GirlWithPointyShoes Sat 21-Jan-12 12:22:21

Gosh my mid wive told me when DS was born that he was tongue tied. That was 4 years ago.


CoffeeDog Sat 21-Jan-12 12:23:45

My dt suffered really badly from tounge tie - they could only feed for a couple on minutes.... MW told me there wasnt anything i could do except top the up with formula sad

They stopped bf.... i felt horrid as i didnt get any support in helping them sad

NinkyNonker Sat 21-Jan-12 12:27:29

I agree. No-one checked DD ( and given they do checks anyway surely adding this wouldn't have been hard), but luckily she was fine. A friend wasn't so lucky and it was weeks before anyone recognised it and did anything.

MOSagain Sat 21-Jan-12 12:29:36

DS aged 3 was born with tongue tie which was not picked up initially and therefore he was not snipped. He was born abroad I don't think they bothered checking things like that. He now has problems with his speech and has started speech therapy. I do wonder if this would not be necessary if it had been snipped at birth.

Hardgoing Sat 21-Jan-12 12:30:45

I completely agree with you, both mine have been tongue-tied, with the first we had endless lactation specialists, midwives, HV all exclaiming that we were breastfeeding 'wrong' and spending hours trying to get the latch better, and the tongue-tie went undiagnosed until she started choking on food, she later developed a speech impediment. Had that one done age 2 1/2. Second one, I was determined to get it checked at birth, I checked it myself, saw there was one, asked them to snip it at birth, they didn't have anyone in the area to do it and finally got it done about 8 weeks privately, after lots of painful breastfeeding.

It is so easily solved, it is so frustrating to have all these problems due to lack of expertise, it's crazy having HV/midwives/lactation consultants who don't know about it and can't check for it when it's quite common.

WoollyHead Sat 21-Jan-12 12:31:06

It's only any use to check if first the person checking has been trained how to identify them properly, and preferably there is then a prompt local service available to snip it.

Lots of doctors don't believe they even exist, and many can't identify a posterior or sub-mucosal tie.

flamegirl77 Sat 21-Jan-12 12:31:07

Agreed, I'm sure it would save the NHS money in the long run as well if they aren't having to diagnose it, then arrange an appointment, send you a letter and carrying the procedure all in separate steps.

GwendolineMaryLacey Sat 21-Jan-12 12:32:06

DD2 born last week was checked by the paediatrician for tongue tie. I can't believe it isn't routine to check something so simple yet so important.

nickelhasababy Sat 21-Jan-12 12:33:24

totally agree with you.

had a mum come to ante natal class to share experiences who had wanted to bf, but DS was diagnosed with tongue tie at 3months after she'd had to switch to ff.
no one even told her it was possible for it to be snipped earlier and noone said that she'd be able to bf if it had been cut.

Hardgoing Sat 21-Jan-12 12:35:27

Some tonguetied babies do breastfeed, but it tends to hurt a lot and in my dd's case, her latch was like the 'incorrect' version on the leaflet, like she was sucking a straw! We still managed to bf til about 10 months though, god knows how.

pugsandseals Sat 21-Jan-12 12:39:13

YANBU - my DB wasn't diagnosed until he was at school and needing speech therapy! It really should be checked as soon as born!

febreezer Sat 21-Jan-12 12:39:44

I think tongue tie is probably noticed by HCPs as all babies are checked twice in the first 2 weeks, but its seen as normal and not worth remarking on. Tongue tie often doesn't cause any problems and many babies have it at birth and breast feed well. It can resolve on its own - I've seen babies with quite marked tongue tie at birth then 6 weeks later its gone because the frenulum tears or stretches - or in the longer term the tip of the tongue grows so doesn't cause speech problems. I'm a midwife and always check, sometimes difficult to know what to do for the best about telling parent if breast feeding is going well and I've seen a good latch etc. as don't want to raise anxieties, I tend to mention that there is tongue tie but baby feeding well so very unlikely to be a problem.
Its one of the first things that should be checked for if there are breast feeding problems though.

FredFredGeorge Sat 21-Jan-12 12:41:17

Our baby was checked specifically for it and it appeared to be part of the routine checks - so does it widely differ by hospital?

EasilyBored Sat 21-Jan-12 12:45:33

Ds, born 4 weeks ago, was checked. I think its a standard part of the newborn check done by the Dr here. Seems like such an obvious thing to check for. yanbu.

Bearcrumble Sat 21-Jan-12 12:45:42

What does tongue tie look like? Is it easy to diagnose?

blackcurrants Sat 21-Jan-12 12:47:27

YADNBU - so frustrating that it's not done in the newborn checks - we found it out around 6 days after DS was born, and got it clipped 3 days afterwards, this is the US so all healthcare is private - I was just about managing to express/top up with formula at that point, but the minute after the clip I fed him and thought "Wow, it really doesn't hurt now" - and it was both an enormous relief AND totally frustrating. I'd actually asked them in the hospital to check and they'd said they couldn't see anything. DS had posterior TT and while it wasn't immediately obvious he couldn't stick his tongue out, which is apparently the first clue, as most newborns will.

Undermines all they say about about how important BF is, if they can't diagnose one of the most common (and simple to sort out) BFing impediments, because they're not bothered or not trained or it's not 'required' or whatever. RAAAH!

Bearcrumble Sat 21-Jan-12 12:48:37

Ok have googled - this site is good

marzipananimal Sat 21-Jan-12 12:52:22

YANBU, and not only is the lack of diagnosis outrageous, but the length of time you have to wait to have it dealt with. My friend's baby had a TT and was told they'd have to wait 4-6 weeks to have it snipped. How is it ok to leave a baby struggling to feed and a mum with shredded nipples for that long when it's such a simple procedure?! Makes me furious. The NHS should shut up about 'breast is best' if they're not prepared to actually help women breastfeed.

WendyBoatComesIn Sat 21-Jan-12 12:52:57

YA SOOOOOO NBU. I asked for DD to be checked as feeding was so painful. The SCBU nurse looked at me like I was demented but checked her and pronounced her fine. Feeding was a nightmare, extremely painful, lipstick shaped nipples etc and DD could only manage a few moments at a time. Like lots of others, I gave up.

Sure enough, at 4 months when she was mouthing toys the HV spotted her tongue tie. angry

perfumedlife Sat 21-Jan-12 12:54:59


My ds, born almost 8 years ago was tongue tied and no one would listen until he was six months old. Six long months of constantlly difficult breast feeding for him, utter exhaustion for me. I can't believe such a fundamental thing was overlooked, especially as you say, the midwves are so busy pushing the breast is best message. I ended up very ill with stress and exhaustion trying to get him to feed/gain weight, all avoidable if a simple check was carried out.

Saying that, my health visitors and midwife at home were a waste of time, two of them came and didn't even go upstairs to look at the baby. I may have been unlucky.

isitwineoclockyet Sat 21-Jan-12 13:09:22

This is an interesting discussion! My DD3 has a tied tongue. It was pointed out to me when she was born, but no one mentioned any possible impact on BF. As I'd BF two other babies quite recently (there's less than 4 years between DD1 and DD3), I just soldiered on & worked round it, but I knew she wasn't feeding how the others did.

DD3 is nearly 10 now, but I recently came across some video of me feeding her. She's making lots of "wrong" noises, & I'm pulling pained expression. I actually say on the video "she's really bad at this. I wonder if it's her tied tongue?", but I never chased it up with anyone (third-timer - probably determined that I didn't need anyone's advice by then!).

She's never had it cut, & i suppose she won't now, but she spoke less well at 3 - 4 years than my others did at 18 months. Even now it's not always clear what she's saying. Her speech isn't unusual enough for it ever to have been on the school's radar, but we frequently have to tell her to slow down, look up etc because we've not understood what she's saying.

Thisisfuckingawful Sat 21-Jan-12 13:10:17

Please get some bf support though. I was in your position, dd2 tt snipped at 10 days old after huge battle. Bf continued to be incredibly difficult with ' nursing strikes' lasting weeks at a time. Discovered at 7mo that tt had not been snipped fully, so whilst not painful it was also not comforting her. Had it divided again privately (' mild' posterier tt) and at 8 mo dd is feeding like a dream. Please don't give up, get some help from a good lactation consultant it doesn't have to be the end of breastfeeding. Good luck

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: