Tongue-tie - to fix or not to fix?

(22 Posts)
felicity10 Sat 27-Feb-10 16:48:47

Has anyone any experience of this they could share?

I'm having difficulty with bfing - latching very painful and not getting a full flow to satisfy baby. Now nipples, which were already flat are in such a state that i can't do anything but express having tried to feed myself.

I've had so much conflicting advice, I am just not sure what to do.

1. BF Councellor telling me that tongue-tie is there and should be sorted

2. GP saying that they try to avoid treating and that it is a case of perservering with bfing once i've healed.

3. MW not really interested in tongue tie but saying that with nipples in my state i should just move onto bottle

I am nervous about doing it and then finding that it hasn't done anything and i;ve then put baby through it for nothing. Baby is now 2 weeks.

But, I am convinced, it is not just a case of keep try to bf, baby just cannot get tongue under my nipple so that effective feeding can happen, i end up with lipstick shaped nipples and by the end of the feed, baby still not full up either. If we do nothing, it will be a case of how long I can keep up pumping for.

This whole thing is just putting such a downer on the first 2 weeks, if we don't get this sorted, i really think i am just going to have to go to forumla, i;m ending up wracked with a very hungry baby plus pumping, plus guilt at not being able to feed, meaning that this special time is just passing me by.

But is putting scissors in baby's mouth the answer - wish i could have it done myself instead.

#many thanks

CarGirl Sat 27-Feb-10 16:59:20

At this stage the proceedure for the tongue tie snip is a couple of minutes - most of that is swaddling the baby etc, they literally cut the frenlum with a special pair of scissor type things. The bring sqwuaking baby back to you with paper towel under tongue, you feed baby (with no/much reduced pain) and then that's it.

Baby not bothered after the feed, no more bleeding, breast feeding pain free.

So I'd recommend it on out experience.

sparkle12mar08 Sat 27-Feb-10 17:51:57

Snip, snip, snip, snip, SNIP!!!!! Get it done absolutely asap. You have summed up the situation beautifully - it is simply not physically possible for your baby to 'learn' to feed effectively whilst there is a tongue tie in place. You need to bang on for a referral and get seen by and expert. My HV was going to ask me to come back in a month as the tie 'wasn't very serious really' but I insisted on a referral. The consultant took one look in his mouth and said 'that's a very severe tie, 75% restricted, lets get it done today'! We never looked back.

Ties can reseal though and you are right to be aware of this. I have a friend whose son had to be snipped three times in the course of three months as his sealed again so quickly and completely. But without the snipping she would have given up by eight weeks and desperately did not want to. Also they had to go private on two of those occassions to get seen in time.

But overall I can't encourage you strongly enough to get this done

JackiePaper Sat 27-Feb-10 18:04:20

get it done - honestly it is a really quick simple procedure - no worse than the heel prick test they do at 5days, and it will make a big difference to your feeding.

MamaG Sat 27-Feb-10 18:07:35


I had BabyG's snipped, it was no big deal at all (although I was in bits!) and it made sucha diffrence to teh feeding

do it do it doit!

MmeBlueberry Sat 27-Feb-10 18:09:54

My DS2 was born with a tongue tie. It didn't actually cause any feeding problems.

I saw an ENT specialist who said that there was no need to clip it if there were no problems, as clipping has its downsides.

The only thing we noticed, which may not have been related to tongue tie, is that DS didn't babble as a baby and did not speak much until he was over two, when he immediately went into full sentences.

CarGirl Sat 27-Feb-10 18:10:17

The other thing is to get baby to practice sticking tongue out, stick your tongue out and baby will try and copy.

fishie Sat 27-Feb-10 18:10:51

oh do get it done. i had terrible agonies when ds was newborn and unfortunately it wasn't tongue-tie, just a really small mouth. if i could have done anything i would. i've still got a bit of nipple missing.

TulipsInTheRain Sat 27-Feb-10 18:21:04

Get it snipped... i knew ds2 was tongue tied but we were just about coping with bf-ing (mostly due to the fact that he was my third, i'd massively overpumped and increased supply while he was in SCBU and i'd been feeding ds1 til the week before he was born) so as he'd had a rough start i chose to ignore it.

But then when he started solids it all went wrong... he took months to learn how to eat, he still can't manage anything goopy or semi liquid.

And even worse, he can't suck from a cup or bottle of any description so he's comletely reliant on breastmilk for all liquids at 12m.... i have two older kids and have to drag him with me everywhere in case he needs milk. He simply can't suck in the way needed to get liquid out of a cup or bottle and if we give him an open cup he looks like he's drinking it but the leval of liquid never goes down.

On top of that it now looks quite likely he's going to have a bit of a speech delay, my older two had loads of words at this stage and were babbling will all the sounds, he only babbles in soft vowel sounds, his only consonant is the MMMM and his only real word is Mama.

smallorange Sat 27-Feb-10 18:30:24

Yes get it snipped ASAP. It will make duch a difference to feeding and as others have said, tongue-tie can cause probs with weaning and speech later on.

Some GPs see it as a cosmetic procedure which is easily remedied by giving baby a bottle. I was lucky my MW got me an appointment yo have it done at hosp the next day. Ask yours to do this.

bigcar Sat 27-Feb-10 18:43:06

ds1 was tongue tied but it wasn't picked up until he was just about to turn 3 as his speech was unintelligable to anyone who didn't know him. He had to have a general anaesthetic and a day in hospital to get it snipped. It may not affect your lo when older but it's much easier to sort now than later, obviously I can only talk from my own experience.

MmeBlueberry Sat 27-Feb-10 19:27:42

I am the only one here with a successful 'do nothing' story.

Rather than getting it snipped, have the attitude of seeing a ENT surgeon and getting their opinion. They may disagree. There can be other reasons for painful breastfeeding, which may be being overlooked by focussing on the tongue tie.

I saw the ENT privately and he sent me away. He could easily have commanded a £1000 (in those days) fee for five minutes work, but he didn't. That was quite compelling for me

By all means see a specialist. Absolutely.

weasle Sat 27-Feb-10 19:51:38

Get if snipped. It might well save your breastfeeding. In a series of hundreds of babies with tongue tie divided in Southampton none had complications IIRC, so what is there to lose?

Lots of HCP don't 'believe' it hinders bf, but then lots of HCP also think formula is just as good as bf. (I and most of my family and friends are HCP).

My ds1 had tongue tie divided and it took about 30secs. I would have given up feeding at 2 weeks otherwise.

"GP saying that they try to avoid treating and that it is a case of perservering with bfing once i've healed."
If you have trouble getting referred by your GP for division take this NICE guidelines document in here

From that "One randomised controlled trial compared
division of tongue-tie with 48 hours of intensive
support from a lactation consultant. Mothers
reported that 95% (19/20) of babies had
improved breastfeeding 48 hours after tongue-tie
division, compared with 5% (1/20) of babies in
the control group" (lactation consultant support only)

felicity10 Sat 27-Feb-10 21:41:09

Thanks ladies, is very helpful. I'll update once we've made our minds up, but very helpful to hear. I guess my biggest fear is doing it and it not making a difference to feeding.


thisisyesterday Sat 27-Feb-10 21:44:45


i had it with my first and it went undiagnosed and i gave up BF and have always regretted it. found out afterwards it was TT

second baby was born, same prob. had it snipped at 3 weeks and never lkooked back!

it's such a simple, easy, quick, painless procedure.
I researched it like crazy and could find absolutely NO negative effects of doing it

thisisyesterday Sat 27-Feb-10 21:47:12

ds2 didn't even wake up when he had his done. he went in asleep, and i was waiting for his cry, and then the lady brought him back in still fast asleep.
no blood, just a teeny bit of pinkish dribble.

breastfeeding was much better immediately.

katiepotatie Sat 27-Feb-10 21:52:13

Get it done now, it's over in seconds. My ds had it done at 5 weeks, It's done in out patients clinic, with sterile scissors and feeding became instantly better. Our Dd didn't have it done till she was 2 yrs and had to be put to sleep. I wish I had known more about it and pushed it with gp when she was a baby, I had 12 weeks of agony establishing bf, and had to feed a lot more frequently as she had to work so hard to get milk. She couldn't stick her tongue out at all, couldn't spit out hot food, toothpaste etc and could not even lick ice cream. While in hospital there were other babies, who had been refered because of trouble weaning.
Good luck smile

merrymonsters Sat 27-Feb-10 22:27:56

It's very quick and solved the breastfeeding problems I was having with DD - bruised, hideously painful nipples, inefficient feeding due to only being able to suck on the nipple, and not putting on weight.

PassMeTheKleenex Sun 28-Feb-10 19:42:52

I saw a lactation consultant last weekend to help me out with some BF issues - she diagnosed DS2 with mild, posterior tongue tie. As it happens, we wanted to try out some of her positioning/latch tips before going for the snip...and we probably won't go for it just yet, as things are improving (as posterior ties are nowhere near as common/researched as the usual ones so there's not much evidence about the effectiveness of cutting this type)

FWIW, she felt that the earlier you do it the better - the baby barely notices, and the skin has not had a chance to thicken & toughen up (which would potentially make it painful)

She herself is qualified to do the procedure (having worked & trained with the surgeon at Southampton) - so if you don't want to wait for a referral, or prefer to take matters into your own hands, do a search on the baby Cafe site, and it will take you through to other links for independant consultants

Even if you only want a second opinion, she is outside the usual system, and doesn't have an axe to grind.


stottiecake Sun 28-Feb-10 22:48:10

I think you should go for getting it snipped asap.
Ds had tongue-tie and upper lip is still quite tight. Bf-ing was really painful in the beginning - lipstick shaped nipples and vasospasm (white nipples due to constricted blood flow - very painful in the winter!!) I asked for help but there was none! 3 appointments were cancelled - gp didn't know where to refer us (it would seem)
However ds is 15 months now and I am still bf-ing him. He can now poke his tongue past his bottom lip grin but it's just loosened over time. Bf-ing got better after about 3-4 months. It turned out he is allergic to cows milk so formula was not an option for us (we did almost give up the bf!)
I do hope you get the support you need! All the very best smile

thisisyesterday Mon 01-Mar-10 14:16:08

stottie, my ds also had a tight upper lip. one day he fell down some steps and broke it!

anyway, i looked online and apparently this is really common, esp if it's particularly tight to start with.
after the initial shock that i'd broken my baby i was quite relieved, because the top one had been making a gap between his top teeth, but once it snapped the teeth have moved back together again.

stottiecake Mon 01-Mar-10 21:25:25

thisisyesterday - ouch! But good (i guess)that problem sorted itself smile Ds has a gap too. the tie 'skin' seems really thick there. I dunno what to do - on waiting list for dentist so I guess we'll just wait and see. But I wouldn't be suprised if he gets released in the same way as your ds's as it seems I am constantly diving to catch him at the mo'!

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