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Eastside Total Health & Lactation
13128 Totem Lake Blvd NE Suite 204 Kirkland, WA 98034
Phone: (425) 836-6847 Fax (425) 896-7282
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Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) is when the ligament under the tongue (frenulum) is too short. This can restrict the tongue’s movements. Tongue-tie is present at birth and can run in families, though the cause is unknown. A baby who is born tongue-tied can have breastfeeding difficulties because their tongue is not able to move properly. This can cause poor weight gain in baby, low milk supply, and sore nipples for mom. It can also cause speech issues as the child grows older, dental issues, and problems with oral anatomical development.

A tongue-tie can be corrected with a procedure called a frenotomy. This is when the frenulum is clipped with sterile scissors, eliminating the restriction so the tongue is able to move as it should. There are no nerves in the frenulum so the pain to baby is minimal and the procedure results in very little bleeding. Babies are given to their mothers to breastfeed immediately after the procedure. The parents are instructed how to perform tongue exercises to help the tongue “relearn” how to function better.

Sometimes, I will also recommend that the baby see a cranial sacral therapist in our office, before or after the frenotomy. You can learn about cranial sacral therapy (CST) here. This type of bodywork is very effective for helping babies release any tension in their jaw caused by the restriction of a tongue-tie, a difficult labor (including very long or very short), or mal-position in utero, such as posterior or breech. Releasing this tension can have a positive impact on breastfeeding. Please read this article for more information: http://www.lowmilksupply.org/craniosacral.shtml

Tongue-tie references: