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Make the NHS check for, and correct, tongue-ties at birth at all U.K. maternity units

(22 Posts)
AndyJohnsonCreek Sun 19-Feb-17 20:09:30

There used to be a trained tongue tie practitioner (usually a midwife) on every maternity unit in the U.K. But this is no longer the case. This petition is calling for this service to return to all maternity units across the country.
Babies with a tongue-tie have limited movement of their tongue, leading to difficulty breastfeeding, struggles with colic and gas, lack of sleep, and potential speech impediments later in life.

The NHS used to allow and train midwives to perform a tongue-tie procedure as soon as it was identified, usually a couple of hours after birth. But this is no longer the case at a vast number of maternity wards across the country. Instead there are various check ups and referrals meaning that, on the NHS, tongue-ties are not dealt with for weeks and months. To go private costs hundreds of pounds.

New mothers are put under immense pressure to breastfeed their babies. They are bombarded by midwives, NCT teachers and general society (although that is changing) to keep the baby on the breast, and that bottle feeding early on is her failing as a mother. But a tongue tied baby means breastfeeding can be a torturous ordeal every few hours. As a new Dad I've seen this first hand, and it's awful.

Continued struggles with breastfeeding can demonstrably lead to postnatal depression. Mental health issues are now, rightly, regarded as being on a level with physical injury - and in many cases, are much more detrimental. Post natal depression is no different and where it can be avoided, every effort should be made to do so.

There are a little under 700,000 babies born each year in the U.K. With up to one in ten babies born with a tongue tie that's almost 70,000 across the UK. That's 70,000-140,000 new mothers, parents and partners who will struggle to feed their child properly for weeks and months, with many going through terrible psychological ordeals in order to keep breastfeeding under NHS and midwifery pressure.

This needs to stop. Midwives should be trained and empowered to perform the very simple, quick and almost painless procedure before parents and babies are discharged from hospital.

Please sign the petition:

OP’s posts: |
pinguina16 Sun 19-Feb-17 21:40:42


I know this is done as a matter of routine in France. Would make a significant difference here I believe.

Fabulosososo Sun 19-Feb-17 22:31:08

I will sign and share. I can't believe the difficulties a friend had getting her baby's tongue tie addressed. It took weeks. By which point any chance of breastfeeding was lost

Mustbeinsane1984 Sun 19-Feb-17 22:39:18

It is done immediately here in Italy. The pediatrician used a special st of scissors and just snipped it! My son was just a day old. No blood and no crying, no harm done and done wonders for breastfeeding. Is tongue tied actually a check that midwives and doctors do when a baby is born?

NinaMarieP Sun 19-Feb-17 22:46:00

Signed! I'm surprised such an easy to fix problem isn't routinely checked for!

NinaMarieP Sun 19-Feb-17 22:46:57

*checked for and just dealt with.

Diamondsandpears Sun 19-Feb-17 22:53:16

Signed. Completely agree. We need to train midwives to identify tongue tie and carry out the procedure.

FartnissEverbeans Mon 20-Feb-17 03:35:04

Signed - this is a really small, cheap intervention that could make life better for so many people and babies.

AndyJohnsonCreek Mon 20-Feb-17 07:28:57

Thanks so much guys! It's such an easy policy fix for the NHS. It's done elsewhere as standard, but not in the U.K. anymore.

Please do spread the word - we need as many people to sign as possible to make th decision makers take note!

OP’s posts: |
NaiceAm Mon 20-Feb-17 08:06:51

Signed thank you

Sunflower1985 Mon 20-Feb-17 20:36:54

I had my 3 week old snipped on nhs today. To be fair it only took a week from referral but it feels like I was lucky. It was the midwife that suggested the baby cafe where the lactation consultant suggested the infant feeding specialist, which I called and got an appointment for who then referred me to the tongue tie clinic. Usually a 3-4 week wait but we only waited a week.
So the route wasn't clear and I had no idea they even snipped on the nhs at all before going down this path.

sprite25 Sat 15-Apr-17 18:19:49

I struggled in pain to breastfeed my distressed daughter for 6 weeks until her tongue tie was noticed by the midwife visiting us at home, it was another two weeks til until the tongue tie was snipped at the hospital, it literally took a minute to fix. By this time she was unable to latch and I had to give up breastfeeding, the whole situation left me with depression which I ended up on antidepressants for. From the minute she was born and couldn't feed, midwives, health visitors, NCT staff, and even a breastfeeding 'expert' at a support group just acted like I was doing something wrong for 6 weeks, no one checked for tongue tie. As soon as my second is born in September it's one of the first things I will insist on them checking the baby for. It could save so much stress to mother and baby, petition signed.

OhtoblazeswithElvira Sat 15-Apr-17 18:28:53

Dc2's tongue tie was identified by my health visitor during her first visit - he was about 10 days old and had been previously examined by 4 healthcare professionals including a pediatrician. We could only breastfeed with nipple shields, the poor thing couldn't keep the latch going. Said health visitor refused to refer us for a nip because DC was gaining weight. We couldn't afford to go private. She dismissed our concerns about tongue tie impact on speech. 3 years later DC does have a speech delay. We could have been spared so much grief because of a very basic procedure angry

JoyceDivision Sat 15-Apr-17 18:29:04


Thanks to the breastfeeding 'champion' hmm at our local hospital who was moreintent in getting a tick in the breastfeeding succesful box, she completely ignored ds' tongue tie even though she looked at it and declared it tiny and I kept telling her he wasn't latching on properly. This led to failed breastfeeding until our midwife saw us at home and was horrified we had been sent home without it being referred abd got it booked in asapn ds struggled tomake any attemot to latch and we had to express my milk to a bottle.

So if Sharon in the west yorks area is reading this: you suck at your job, and you're motivation isaboutshowing bosses ticks in boxes and not what's best for baby. Utterly useless.

Crispmonster1 Sat 15-Apr-17 18:34:57

Totally agree. The money spent on marketing and education for breastfeeding and yet they expect tongue tie not to exist! Has it with my 3 month old. The midwife can only tell if it's a anterior tongue tie at the hospital. Turned out my son had 75% posterior tongue tie. Almost immediate difference after referral out of area. Cost wise....several gP visits, health visitor, antibiotics for mastitis, gaviscon for reflux/colic.... the list goes on...! We were told our area cut the funding for it and now pretend it doesn't exist. We had to travel to get it seen too.

user1490981241 Sat 15-Apr-17 20:14:34

Done x

MissObsessed Sat 15-Apr-17 20:23:52


Due to DSs missed tongue and lip tie he had to be hospitalised at 3 days old due to losing so much weight all because he couldn't latch on properly. This was missed by 3 apparent breastfeeding 'experts' and the hospital. It wasn't until I had given up breastfeeding that my friend mentioned her nephew struggling to feed because he had a tongue tie that we had a look and realised the problem. I then mentioned it to my HV and she confirmed I was right. By then I was exclusively FF and my milk had disappeared. I still struggle now with the guilt I feel about missing this issue DS had and not being able to breast feed him. It is so important to get the support straight away as I'm sure my experience is more common than I first thought.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sat 15-Apr-17 20:24:30

I don't agree. My DH is a dentist and a trained tongue tie practitioner. He trained as we have 3 children, aged 4 and under. All were severely tongue tied and we struggled massively to get assistance

That said, separating a tongue tie is only one part of the issue. A thorough assessment of how a baby is breast/bottle feeding is also required. That is not really possible until a baby is at least three - four days old. Plus many NHS practitioners will not separate a posterior TT. This is often not explained to parents

My DH absolutely supports more funding for NHS clinics and better training for practitioners, but a division immediately after birth is not the answer.

TopKittyKat Sat 15-Apr-17 20:29:24

Signed! I really hope this petition is successful!

Funnyonion17 Sat 22-Apr-17 20:56:22

I'm confused. I thought it was normal practice to correct a tongue tie shortly after delivery still? Well my DS had his treated that way in 2012 as they worried about bf

Alyosha Sat 22-Apr-17 23:48:15

I don't know much about this - but I think it's worth pointing out that a recent meta-review of the available literature showed that the key benefit of correcting them is for maternal pain, and it doesn't do much to improve the feeding ability of the infant.

Maternal pain is reason enough to warrant the intervention though - so still worth signing. The review also points out that the available data on this is very poor - so perhaps if this is implemented there will be some better quality data to assess the impact of cutting tongue ties.

"Key results: In an infant with tongue-tie and feeding difficulties, surgical release of the tongue-tie does not consistently improve infant feeding but is likely to improve maternal nipple pain. Further research is needed to clarify and confirm this effect."

TestingTestingWonTooFree Mon 24-Apr-17 20:32:47

I asked several times whether my baby had been checked for tongue tie, was told he had. I diagnosed it myself via google image search. We had to go to a neighbouring city to have it separated on the NHS. 2.5 years later, they still won't do anything at my local hospital. The procedure was so straightforward I felt I could almost have done it myself, it didn't need an ent surgeon (although I'm sure sometimes it's more complicated).

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