A tongue-tie is a common disorder that affects almost five percent of newborns. A baby with tongue-tie has a short, thick, or tight frenulum. The frenulum is the tissue that connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. Sometimes, the frenulum can attach itself to the tip of the tongue, restricting the tongue’s movements. It may even restrict the tongue from sticking out beyond the baby’s gums. The tongue may have a heart-like shape when the child cries. The medical name for the condition is ankyloglossia.
Effects of a Tongue-Tie on Babies:
A tongue-tie has different effects on a baby. The effects include
Crying and Irritability
There is a chance that your baby has a tongue-tie if he/she cries a lot and is usually hungry. Frustrations and sleeping troubles are indicators of tongue-ties.
Some children with tongue-ties refuse breast milk. It’s usually frustrating to nurse such children and end up getting less milk. Breast milk is essential for a baby, and you must take him/her to a doctor if you notice the problem.
Poor Weight Gain
Babies can’t gain weight if they fail to breastfeed properly. The baby should latch onto the breast to breastfeed well. Ankyloglossia prevents the baby from latching onto the breast, preventing the child from gaining weight at a consistent rate.
A short frenulum can also cause other issues. Swallowing, eating, and speech problems are some of the problems of ankyloglossia. Don’t assume such problems since they may affect the overall growth of the baby.
Effects of a Tongue-Tie on Mothers:
Tongue-ties have negative impacts on mothers. Below are some of the effects of ankyloglossia on mothers.
Newborns with tongue-ties usually chew the nipple or just latch on it without breastfeeding. Consistent chewing of the nipple can damage it. Pay close attention to the tongue if the baby keeps on gumming or chewing your nipples.
Low breast milk supply
A child with a short frenulum cannot latch to a breast properly. A poor latch can reduce the milk supply of a mother. A steady reduction of a mother’s milk supply can cause emotional and physical problems.
Difficulties in breastfeeding a child can frustrate or lower the confidence of the mother. Nursing mothers are vulnerable and may scare easily or become sad if the child doesn’t feed properly. They may feel guilty, making them emotionally unstable. The guilt can lead to emotional stress in the long run.
Painful breast issues
A baby can’t drain the breast completely if he/she can’t breastfeed well. Breast milk build-up can lead to different problems such as plugged milk ducts, breast engorgement, and mastitis. Some of the breast problems are painful and can lead to serious conditions.
Tongue-tie problems such as frustration, painful breastfeeding, and low milk supply can lead to early weaning. Dealing with a hungry and frequently crying child can be a burden to most mothers. Mothers are only comfortable if their babies are in good health.
Breastfeeding a baby with a short frenulum:
Babies with tongue ties can either have problems breastfeeding or not. It depends on the magnitude of the condition and the baby. Kids use the tongue to latch on the breast. They also use the tongue to take the nipple and put it into their mouth. The tongue forms a good seal around the latch, securing the nipple from getting out of the baby’s mouth.
Babies with ankyloglossia can’t open their mouth wide enough to latch and seal on a breast properly. Also, a tight frenulum can restrict the movements necessary to squeeze milk out of the breast. A poor latch and sucking difficulties can prevent a child from removing milk out of the breasts.
What to do if your young one has a tongue-tie:
The first thing to do is notify your doctor once you realize that your baby has a tongue-tie. You will get the help you need the sooner you get a diagnosis, making breastfeeding better for the kid. Ensure that you use the correct breastfeeding technique and learn about the different options. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of frenotomy with the doctor.
Frenotomy is a minor surgery for babies with tongue-ties. Note that fretonomy is not a must, especially if the baby can breastfeed without problems. Ensure that health experts monitor the child’s weight if you decide against frenotomy. Sometimes, you may have to pump and give your baby your milk in a bottle.
Talk to a doctor about using a nipple shield if the baby is having latching problems. A nipple shield can be of great help for children that can’t latch on to the breast. However, you should learn how to use a nipple shield if you decide to use one. A nipple shield can cause more problems if you don’t get the right size or wear it without following the doctor’s directives.
Pump your breastmilk if your nipples are too sore from breastfeeding. It will give your breasts time to heal without reducing the milk supply. Take the necessary steps to boost your milk supply if the breastmilk supply decreases. Ensure that you continue visiting the doctor at regular intervals to monitor the child’s weight and general health.
Treating With a Frenotomy:
A frenotomy or frenectomy is a simple surgery that involves snipping the baby’s frenulum. Although most babies can handle frenotomy without the use of anesthesia, some doctors recommend using it due to pain. The procedure doesn’t cause excessive bleeding and doesn’t require stitching.
The procedure is simple, quick, and safe. However, all procedures have risks, and frenotomy is no exception. Although it’s rare, the procedure can cause bleeding, pain, and even infection. A healthcare professional must perform the procedure. The baby’s physician can recommend an expert if he/she can’t perform the procedure.
Is frenotomy a must?
Frenotomy is not necessary if the baby can breastfeed without problems. Wait and see how the baby does if the condition is mild. Consider the procedure if the baby has breastfeeding problems and is having trouble latching on the breast. The child can breastfeed immediately after the procedure without any difficulties.