The article in evolutionary parenting.com – the-role-of-early-diagnosis-of-tongue-ties-on-breastfeeding-success provides some excellent information about tongue-ties and lip-ties in infants and the research findings cited validate my own beliefs about the importance of early diagnosis AND treatment of restrictive tongue-ties to preserve the breastfeeding relationship. Here is the original research reference: Todd DA, Hogan MJ. Tongue-tie in the newborn: early diagnosis and division prevents poor breastfeeding outcomes. Breastfeeding Review 2015; 23: 11-16. I completely endorse the early release of restricted tongues by simple frenotomy, and I also emphasise the importance of skilled breastfeeding support to address and guide all aspects of the mother and baby’s breastfeeding struggles. Enabling baby to respond to his instinctive feeding behaviours, and development of mother/baby skills to achieve an optimal deep latch are essential in every breastfeeding relationship. Releasing a restrictive tongue-tie if it exists – earlier rather than later – will always help the process. Unfortunately it is often the case that the focus is on the tongue-tie release and there is a lack of prior and ongoing breastfeeding support. I also believe as awareness about “posterior tongue ties” (PTT) has grown many babies are being diagnosed as having PTTs and Lip Ties (LTs) by parents via Dr Google and various allied health practitioners who are not qualified to do so. Consequently many invasive and expensive laser treatments are being recommended which are NOT necessary or helpful to baby or the breastfeeding mother. The large numbers of PTT and LT laser procedures which are proudly displayed on some practitioners’ websites are proof that over-treatment IS occurring – their numbers just don’t match the epidemiological incidence of true PTTs. Lip ties very rarely impact on breastfeeding success, and posterior tongue ties which are NOT causing breastfeeding problems can be released at a later age if necessary, if the condition is found to be causing other oral problems. Think carefully and get expert breastfeeding support from an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant before you go ahead with invasive painful treatments in your infant’s mouth, as it might not be necessary.
The images show a baby with a very tight short restrictive tongue tie. Notice the sucking blisters on her lips from friction caused by her efforts to maintain a latch while attempting to breastfeed; also notice how the front of the tongue is tethered so tightly that attempts to protrude the tongue causes the tip to curl under with a hollowing dimple at the centre of the tongue. Simple release of the frenulum under the tongue enabled normal tongue mobility and comfortable effective breastfeeding. What a relief for both mother and baby!