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Tongue tie?

(31 Posts)
cloggal Sun 16-Mar-14 14:55:47

I've no idea where else to post this, hoping someone can help...

Backstory: DS and I struggled in a big way with breastfeeding - I was absolutely certain (and still am) that his latch was in some way incorrect. I was in searing pain every time he came to the breast, to the point where a midwife commented 'your shoulders are at your ears', and pushed them down because I was braced so hard. I had cracked, split and bleeding nipples after only two days. His latch was checked by two midwives, two auxiliaries, and a lactation consultant, all of whom suggested techniques but said it was basically fine. The lactation consultant checked quickly in his mouth too. He dropped an alarming amount of weight on top of already being in SCBU, we ended up mixed feeding for the first few months and then when my supply petered out, having never really gotten off the ground as a result of all of the above, he was formula fed. I found all of this a bit sad, but he is healthy and thriving - something he wasn't in the early days.

Cut to yesterday evening. He is now nine months old, standing and crawling around - a typically active little boy. He was crawling over to reach something, lifted both his hands at the same time and so knocked his chin off the floor, not hard but enough to frighten him and it was probably a little sore. Of course, he wailed and I soothed him - I saw a tiny dot of blood on his lip and thought 'oh no, he's bitten his tongue/lip' but I couldn't see any evidence of any cut in his mouth and he soothed quickly. Today he has been more vocal than he ever has been, and is sticking his tongue right out (something he has never really done beyond his lip) and seems to be revelling in showing it to me!

Am I being totally mad, or could he have split a tongue tie when he knocked his chin? I have long suspected there was something off with his feeding, and at mealtimes he didn't always find it easy to manipulate food (can do it easier now there are a few teeth!) What, if anything, should I do about it?

Any help appreciated, or even just brew and cake...

cloggal Sun 16-Mar-14 15:15:27

shameless bump... anyone?

feekerry Sun 16-Mar-14 21:02:47

i am just about to post about a poss lip tie.... but from what i have read its very common for babies to break a lip tie around that kind of age by banging head/chin/face etc so i reckon you may well be right!!!

NickyEds Sun 16-Mar-14 21:38:14

Could be...the feeding you experienced sounds very similar to my DS when he was born-pain, cracked nipples etc all for no weight gain and with ALL of the midwives telling me that the latch was fine! DS had his snipped at 17 days and the feeding became easier.I'm sill mix feeding him. The doctor that snipped him said that children with Tt sometimes can't lick an ice cream so his new-found tongue cheekyness(!!) might suggest he's split his!
If it's not too rude to ask- did you feel that your DS never really took the deep sucks off you when he fed?-another sign of Tt- I'm trying and trying with mix feeding and DS will be on the breast for a long time but still come off unsatisfied and need topping up- it's almost like he never learnt how to take the fatty milk

mawbroon Sun 16-Mar-14 22:01:05

It is possible that a thin anterior tie may have split, yes.

But I don't want people reading this to think that it is common for tongue ties to completely resolve themselves by tearing. It's really not. It's a myth that some HCPs keep pedalling.

Same goes for lip ties btw.

Nicky - that old chestnut about licking an ice cream cone hmm. Sure, there are some that can't lick an ice cream cone, but there is WAY, WAY more to tongue tie than that.

cloggal Mon 17-Mar-14 07:02:37

Thanks all, I wasn't sure if I was losing it - and no, you're right mawbroon (great name!) I don't want to make general assertions about something I'm very ignorant about. Not sure whether to take him to the HV but might just swing by the clinic later on now I know it isn't completely outside the realms of possibility.

NickyEds he only ever, ever came off the breast 'satisfied' when it was a night feed and he had dozed off. I would definitely say there was no deep 'sucking', but HV seemed happy and the others had all said his latch was fine. I'm maybe putting two and two together and getting five but it wouldn't surprise me at all.

NickyEds Mon 17-Mar-14 09:01:07

I think that the doctor was making an off hand comment about the ice cream. My OH was Tt and didn't have it snipped and had to go to a speech therapist when he was little- I do realise there's more to it than ice cream!
cloggal- LOADS of MW and HV said that DSs latch was fine and I think that they didn't believe me when I said I was feeding him so often!! One lactation consultant said that most Tt "right" themselves but I'm glad DS got his snipped as I'm not convinced of this. It's good if your DS has and can manage his food easier now! I wouldn't have thought you need to do anything though-if he's happy enough.

cloggal Mon 17-Mar-14 12:45:13

Update - took him to see the HV and instead saw GP - he does have a bit of tongue tie, his frenelum is tight and there was a little tear in it, so that explains the blood.
DS is absolutely fine so doctor was keen to stress he didn't need it snipped, but that we should keep an eye out for any problems. It does make me a bit angry that it wasn't picked up before, perhaps BF would have been a much better and nicer experience for us both, but at least now we know! Thanks for all the reassurance! He is sticking his (now very long!) tongue out now...

cloggal Mon 17-Mar-14 12:48:22

NickyEds - I once switch fed DS for nine hours. Nine. And he was still hungry. And no one believed it had been nine hours. I hadn't even gone to the loo!
Sad that something this simple might have made a real difference, but who knows - and I'm at peace with my decision to mix and FF, genuinely don't think he would have left hospital without it. I'll be keeping an eye for anything else now I've had my suspicion confirmed.

addictedtosugar Mon 17-Mar-14 12:55:50

Sounds like a tie to me.
If you have another baby, look very carefully for a tie.
Apparently it runs in families (both my boys had ties)

cloggal Mon 17-Mar-14 12:58:17

I didn't know that addicted. I definitely will, only wish i'd known more with DS!

mawbroon Mon 17-Mar-14 13:39:57

Also, look out for things that you would never have dreamed were related to tongue tie:

-gastric problems
-speech problems
-poor sleeping
-difficulty with chewing and swallowing, fussiness with food
-ENT problems
-dental problems (too early yet, although his palate shape could be affected)

DS1 had undiagnosed ties until he was around 6yo. He has been through the wringer (and me!) because of it. His whole orofacial structure was affected by it which had a massive impact on his overall health. Nobody ever checked for tongue tie, and I'd never heard of it back then, but I'm sure his would have been missed because he had great lift in his tongue and could stick it out really far. It was the back of his tongue that was tied down.

Of course, as with anything, there is a great variation in the problems that ties can cause, ranging from virtually none, to those that I list above. You need to bear in mind that although the rip seems to have helped him stick his tongue out, the frenulum may still be tight, or there could be a posterior tie as well. And yes, ties are highly hereditary. Both my DSs have them, but DS2 only has a fraction of the problems that DS1 had.

And btw, yes I can believe the 9hrs feeding sad DS1 often would spend up to 16hours out of 24 trying to feed. We were lucky though, he didn't hurt me when he fed and he went of to nurse for years (and years) after the baby stage.

cloggal Mon 17-Mar-14 13:53:49

That's so helpful mawbroon, thank you for taking the time to share it and inform me a bit. I feel like it should be one of the routine checks they perform on babies, how much heartache could be avoided. I'm so sorry your DS (and you!) had to go through that. The doctor said this morning he does have a tight frenulum but the tear has slackened things a bit, there may be more tears to come. She didn't seem to think it was a severe case but was surprised no one had investigated further when I was having feeding problems.

mawbroon Mon 17-Mar-14 14:16:36

I'm not surprised to hear that nobody looked at it as a baby.

Sad but true - most HCPs are woefully underinformed about ties and the problems they can cause. At best, you might get one who knows about the effects on feeding and speech, but very few have in depth and accurate knowledge. Also, many "judge" the severity of the tie on how it looks. Appearance is irrelevant. It is all about how the tongue functions.

I had to dig and dig to find information to help ds1. All the docs poo pooed me when I said that his problems were related to his ties and high palate. I had to seek out people who understood. What really annoyed me was that we saw one specialist for gastro stuff, another for ENT problems plus the audiologist, a dietician for his fussy eating, a general paed for his anaemia, dentist re palate etc etc. No joined up thinking sadangry

He's 8yo now and was revised and got a brace around a year and a half ago. He is a different child. Every single problem has been resolved.

cloggal Mon 17-Mar-14 18:16:10

Maw, that is a terrible story, your poor DS sad Well done for staying firm on his behalf - the fact that he is doing so well is a testament to you both.
It just goes to show that mums often do know best. I know ties aren't perhaps massively common, but even 4% is a huge amount of babies every year, you would think someone could look into raising awareness and perhaps making this just another one of those 'tests', like the hearing one or reflexes. I've no idea whether this will be a big issue or not for my DS - but can't help but feeling that if he'd been checked thoroughly at an early stage his feeding would have been much better, and I would at this stage be at least far better informed (if he hadn't already been clipped).

EmpressOfJurisfiction Mon 17-Mar-14 18:26:00

Speech therapy here too, I had mine diagnosed and snipped at 11 after years of speech problems and then had to have lessons in how to talk properly. If your DS has any difficulty talking, make them finish the job!

cloggal Mon 17-Mar-14 20:29:33

Thanks Empress - I will, sorry to hear your DS had trouble too.

cloggal Mon 17-Mar-14 20:30:11

Sorry, you, not your DS (long day!)

NickyEds Mon 17-Mar-14 21:29:03

Maw- how terrible for your poor DS- what a nightmare. My DS Tt was actually spotted by the midwife who delivered him- when he did his first big cry. They worked on a "wait and see" process so it was snipped when he failed to gain weight-I was expecting some major procedure and was shocked when it took 30 seconds. I really can't understand why HCP aren't better trained to spot it and why they aren't just sorted-they are so much harder to deal with in even slightly older children.

mawbroon Mon 17-Mar-14 22:25:10

I absolutely agree that it should be a routine check. But the midwives/HVs/paeds etc would need to be properly trained in identifying it.

I would not want this lot doing the checking!!

cloggal Mon 17-Mar-14 23:13:17

Totally agree Maw. After seeing another thread on lip tie, I really think training and standard checking should be and MN campaign.

Nicky, when I think of the weight my (already ill) DS lost in his first few days, this is when I get angry about it not being picked up sooner. Well done that midwife!

mawbroon Tue 18-Mar-14 08:45:37

We asked MN to do a campaign at the time of the thread that I linked to there, and they said no.

NickyEds Tue 18-Mar-14 09:56:48

My MW was great! - she said "that needs snipping" on day 1. So did the MW 14 days later when DS was still losing weight despite endless agonising feeding. So did the nurses in the waiting area to get it snipped!!

mawbroon Tue 18-Mar-14 10:47:28

Why did they make you wait 14 days? If it needed snipping on day 1 then it wasn't going to disappear! No wonder so many women stop breastfeeding when in this situation. [Sad]

cloggal Tue 18-Mar-14 11:51:28


That's awful Nicky.

I'm pretty sad MN don't think this is campaign-worthy, it affects a fair amount of us, and given the heavy BF promotion (which I'm in support of, but which can make people like me feel really rotten, sometimes because of ties!!) surely this is a good fit? I think this could really help BF numbers not to mention awful stories like yours Maw and others on that thread sad

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