Tongue-Tie Newborns

What is tongue tie and how can I tell if my baby has it?

Tongue-tie is a condition in which the thin piece of skin under the baby’s tongue (the lingual frenulum) is abnormally short and may restrict movement of the tongue tip. Tongue-tie can interfere with a baby’s ability to suck efficiently at the breast or with a bottle.

Indication of a tongue-tie:

  • the baby fails to gain weight
  • a clicking sound may be heard while the baby is feeding
  • the baby often loses suction while feeding and sucks in air
  • tongue cannot protrude beyond the baby’s lips
  • tongue cannot be moved sideways
  • tongue tip may be notched or heart-shaped
  • nipple pain/damage after breast feeding

Assessment

Dr. James Chmiel has worked with local lactation consultants and he will conduct a thorough assessment of infant tongue mobility to determine whether release is required. If the frenulum is thin and the baby is less than 4 months old, the frenulum can be released as an outpatient procedure without any anesthesia.

Tongue-tie release

The release of a tongue-tie involves the doctor placing a finger and thumb under the baby’s tongue to gain clear access to the frenulum. The frenulum is released with a small pair of sterile scissors. Discomfort and bleeding are typically minimal, and after the procedure a baby can immediately try feeding again. The feed will be assessed by both the mother and the clinician.

If your baby is having trouble breast feeding or you notice any signs or symptoms of tongue-tie, please call the office.  We will be happy to provide an appointment for your baby right away.