Make the NHS check for, and correct, tongue-ties at birth at all U.K. maternity units(3 Posts)
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.
So please sign the petition if you agree:
Signed, both my babies had tongue tie, I struggled to feed both of them, both dropped weight percentiles and the oldest had delayed speech. Lots of stress and worry could have been avoided if midwives were able to deal with this at birth.
The worst thing is that your experience is not uncommon. Yet it's such as easy fix! It's standard practice in Italy and France to identify and correct tongue ties at birth. So why not in the U.K. anymore?
It needs to change. Hopefully if we can get enough people to sign the petition we can get the decision makers to take note and make the change. Please do share with anyone you think would sign, or can help spread the word!
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