Welcome to my Breast Feeding Website

A Private Professional Breast Feeding Support Service

covering Kent & parts of East Sussex

All babies are born with a thin piece of membrane or skin which helps to anchor the tongue to the floor of the mouth. This bit of skin is called the frenulum.  In most babies they have complete freedom of movement of their tongue and there would never be any issues with difficulty in feeding or, later in life, with any speech impediments.

However, as many as 10% of babies are born with the frenulum being either a bit too short or too thick and unyielding to be able to move the tongue freely enough to latch onto the breast, be able to stay latched on and hence to feed enough to sustain adequate growth.  The first signs that this might be an issue to be dealt with is that the mother soon complains of sore nipples. Also, the baby may want to feed constantly as she is not able to get enough milk to satisfy her and allow her to sleep for long.  Poor weight gain eventually becomes obvious if the baby has not been assessed before this becomes an issue.

In most cases of mild degree of tongue tie only assistance will be needed to help the mother position the baby and as she grows the tongue-tie will lessen.  Often after a few months there are no more problems.  Sometimes, the tongue-tie will split on its own during a feed.  This is usually seen as a small amount of blood loss in the mouth. Mothers usually report that suddenly the baby is able to feed much better and problems resolve quickly after this.

In as many as 3% of babies experiencing difficulty with breastfeeding the tongue-tie will be severe enough to warrant a division to be necessary.  This is a very quick and easy procedure involving a simple snip by an appropriately trained professional using round ended sterile scissors designed for this very purpose.  No anaesthetic is required for babies and the treatment is a mere 2 seconds with minimal blood loss in the over whelming majority of cases.  The baby is put back to the breast immediately afterwards.  Assistance with a new and better latch is given by the lactation consultant afterwards.  No follow up is usually needed unless there are problems down the line which need further investigating.

All lactation consultants are trained in the assessment of tongue ties and most areas of the country have professionals trained to deal with this situation fairly quickly.

Please refer to the Baby Friendly Initiative website for further information on how to find a tongue-tie divider.

Tongue Tie