tongue tie

Tongue-tie (Ankyloglossia): Symptoms and Treatments

Tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia, is a condition that restricts the tongue’s range of motion. When a child is born with tongue-tie they have an unusually short thick or tight band of tissue (lingual frenulum) tethering the bottom of the tongue to the floor of their mouth.

Symptoms of tongue-tie (ankyloglossia):tongue tie

  • The child may have difficulty sticking out his or her tongue
  • The child may have difficulty lifting their tongue to their upper teeth or moving it from side to side
  • The tongue may look heart shaped when stuck out
  • The child may have difficulty producing t, d, z, s, th, l, and r
  • The child pay have difficulty swallowing
  • The child may have difficulty breast feeding
  • The child may have difficulty eating solid or semi-soft foods

Here are some signs that your baby’s tongue-tie may be causing feeding problems:

  • She repeatedly breaks suction while feeding.
  • She makes clicking noises while feeding.
  • She’s gaining weight too slowly.
  • You experience nipple pain when she nurses. (She may be chewing rather than sucking in her effort to access the milk.)
  • Your milk supply is dwindling.

What your doctor may ask you about your baby:

  • Are you having trouble breast-feeding?
  • Is your child having trouble with their speech?
  • Is a gap developing between your child’s two bottom front teeth?
  • Are you concerned about activities your child is not able to do because of limited tongue movement?

Treatment options for tongue-tie:

  • The lingual frenulum may loosen over time and it may resolve on its own.
  • If tongue tie persists, a simple surgical procedure called a frenotomy may be warranted.
  • In this procedure the doctor numbs the membrane with a topical anesthetic, then snips the frenulum. It takes only a few minutes and doctors say it is less traumatic than ear piercing. Discomfort to your child is minimal during this procedure.

As always, consult with your pediatrician if you have concerns that your child may have a tongue-tie and consult with them for your best treatment options. A speech-language pathologist can help with feeding issues.

6 Ways to Get Your Baby to Take a Bottle

The American Academy of Pediatrics, as well as many other national and international health organizations, recommend that babies be breastfed exclusively until 6 months of age to ensure adequate nutrition for your baby’s growth and development. However, it is not always possible for a mother to breastfeed, making bottle feeding necessary. If this is the case, and you’re having trouble getting your baby to bottle feed, read on for some helpful tips to get your baby to take a bottle.

6 tips to get your baby to accept a bottle:

  1.  Bottle feed your baby when she shows signs of hunger, rather than on a schedule. Your baby may be hungry if she does any of the following:
    • Attempts to lie back/get into position for nursing
    • Licks her lips
    • Opens and closes her mouth
    • Moves her head quickly from side to side
    • Cries
  2. Stroke baby’s lips from top to bottom with nipple to stimulate rooting response of open mouth. Allow your baby to seek nipple rather than trying to push the nipple in her mouth.
  3. Try using different nipple shapes to see if your baby prefers one over the others.
  4. Make sure the nipple hole is the right size for your baby. Fast flows can cause babies to gag. Slower flows may cause her to suck with too much effort or gulp air.
  5. Burp your baby every 3 to 5 minutes during bottle feedings and hold your baby upright after feedings.
  6. Do not force your baby to finish the bottle. If your baby is falling asleep, remove the nipple before the bottle is empty, as this means she is done.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your baby’s feeding or nutritional needs, contact your pediatrician or schedule a consultation with a speech language pathologist who specializes in feeding issues.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonDeerfieldLincolnwoodGlenviewLake BluffDes PlainesHinsdale and Mequon! If you have any questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140!