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  • Tongue-tie

    Anybody experienced first hand their baby / toddler being diagnosed as tongue-tie?

    I paid the paed a visit last week and she said my girl is tongue-tie, then suggested that corrective procedure be done on it.

    However, I've checked alot of websites and it's mentioned that this is a pretty common problem and in rare cases does the tongue-tie condition cause speech problems.

    I'm not sure whether to go ahead and correct it now or wait until she's older to see if it really affects her speech. Right now, I'm tending more towards the latter.

  • #2
    Hi mogmick!

    I looked up tongue-tie in my book (The Baby Book by William and Martha Sears) for you. It only mentions tongue-tie as a condition that may interfere with breastfeeding, nothing on speech problems later on in life. Anyway, this is what it says:

    Tongue-tie means that the membrane (called the frenulum) that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth is shorter than usual. If the tongue-tie is interfering with breastfeeding, the frenulum can be easily clipped to release the tongue, enabling the baby to suck more efficiently. Signs that your baby's tongue is tight enough to warrant clipping are:

    - Baby's tongue tip does not protrude past the lower gum
    - When baby cries, opens her mouth wide, or tries to suck, a dent forms in the tip of the tongue, resembling the dip in the top of a heart shape
    - Latch-on is painful to mother. Nipples are very sore, cracked or bleeding
    - Baby needs to feed longer, more frequently, tires easily, and often bites or chews the nipples

    After the tongue has been clipped, mother almost immediately noticed that latch-on is more comfortable and baby is able to nurse more effectively. Sometimes the tongue can look tight, but if baby has a good latch-on, is getting milk efficiently, and the nipples are not sore during the feeding, there is no need to clip the frenulum.

    Clipping the frenulum is a quick and painless procedure that can be done in your doctor's office. In the early weeks, the frenulum is so thin that it's easily to painlessly clip, and it usually yields only a few drops of blood, or none at all. While baby's mouth is open (either normally open or when crying), the doctor holds the tip of the tongue with a piece of gauze (sometimes if the mouth is open wide enough, holding the tongue is not necessary) and uses scissors to clip the frenulum back to where it joins the base of the tongue. The longer tongue-tie is left unclipped, the more muscular the tether can become and the more extensive and difficult is the clipping procedure.

    Hope that helps!


    • #3
      Thanks Ariel, I had not realised about the fact that the frenulum will become thicker with age

      I don't have problem breastfeeding as it's been a month already and her weight gain is ok so far. I'm just concerned about speech problems later.

      I've also been told by the paed that the frenulum is cut by laser and is relatively easy. I've checked with another local forum and quite a few moms replied they are also wait-&-see, however their child is already close to a year old.


      • #4
        You are welcome, mogmick! Maybe you can check with your paed again to see if your baby can have her frenulum clipped at a later stage and whether or not the procedure would be difficult since the frenulum will become thicker with age? If I were you, I'd adopt the wait-and-see attitude too.


        • #5
          Hi mogmick!

          Have you decided what you want to do with your baby's tongue-tie problem?

          When I was typing out the reply to your thread, I had no idea that this would happen to my baby as well. One week after she was born, my confinement lady and my MIL noticed that her tongue was very short (did not protrude past her lower gum). At that time, she was having problems with latching on while breastfeeding and upon closer examination, I found out that she had tongue-tie. I was anxious for her to start breastfeeding so we took her to the paed. The paed was reluctant to clip the frenulum in a newborn so young but we insisted that he do it since there was no harm in doing it so soon. In the end, he referred us to another surgeon and we got it done.

          I wasn't present at the clinic when my baby had her frenulum clipped but hubby said it only took about a minute. She did cry, not out of pain but because they took her swaddling cloth off After the procedure, she was perfectly fine. She did shed a bit of blood but it was nothing to be worried about.

          Right now, her tongue is so much longer and I am relieved that we had it done sooner.


          • #6
            Hi Ariel, tongue-tie does seem to be more of a common problem than I thought.

            As my baby did not have problems latching on, we've decided to wait and see. The funny thing is, I went to another paed few weeks ago, and she told me that contrary to what is believed, tongue-tie does NOT cause speech problems. Well, this is news to me since almost all resources mentioned otherwise. Oh well, in this case, we will definitely adopt the wait & see approach.

            In any case, it's good to hear the procedure is a minor one and your baby went through it without any pain. I think having a vaccination injection is prb more painful for the baby! (the last one month injection my baby got, I saw the needle went in so deep into her thigh and she let out a loud heart almost went into pieces!)


            • #7
              The pead that I went to did mention that in some cases, tongue-tie doesn't affect speech. I guess it depends on how tied the tongue is.

              My cousin-in-law also had tongue-tie but it wasn't diagnosed till he was about 6 years old. His mother reported that he wasn't speaking properly but never thought that it was the tongue-tie that was causing the problem until she took him to see a doctor for a throat inflammation. She casually asked the doc why her son was speaking like that and upon examination, the doc found out that he was tongue-tied and he had his frenulum clipped there and then. My CIL said it didnt hurt one bit even though he was already 6 yo. Now his speech is perfectly fine.