Last week I shared our story about Olive’s tongue and lip tie and this week I want to share some practical information for detecting a tongue and/or lip tie. I’m not a doctor or lactation consultant.
I’m a mom who has dealt with the difficult nursing and slow baby weight gain that a tongue or lip tie can cause and wanted to pass on what I know in the hope that it can help another mom get the help she and baby need to continue breastfeeding.
Some of the symptoms and signs are not specific to tongue or lip ties. Individually each symptom could point to any number of causes but having more than one or a handful of these signs and symptoms is an indication that your problem might be tongue or lip tie (or both as in our case).
Signs of a Tongue Tie Baby
- Can’t stick out tongue
- has a lip tie (a lip tie usually means there is a tongue tie but not necessarily in the reverse)
- has slow weight gain or failure to thrive
- is unable to latch, stay latched, or slips off the nipple
- has prolonged feedings and is unsatisfied afterward
- has short frequent feedings and is unsatisfied afterward
- pops or clicks during nursing
- is unable to hold pacifier or bottle nipple in mouth
- gums the nipple
- has cracked, bleeding, or sore nipples and/or pain while nursing
- has flattened or blanched nipples
- suffers from plugged ducts, mastitis, or thrush
Signs of a Lip Tie Baby
- Lip doesn’t flare out when latching
- Colic, Gas, or reflux (a bad latch lets in the air which causes these symptoms but they can be caused by other things such as dairy or other food sensitivity)
- Unable to open mouth wide enough to latch
What to Do if You Suspect a Tongue or Lip Tie
- Trust your instincts! You know yourself and your baby best. You might be unsure of whether your problem is a tongue and/or lip tie or something else but you probably know there is a problem.
- Consult an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) or pediatrician who is knowledgeable and supportive of breastfeeding. Keep getting opinions until someone can help you.
Benefits of Tongue and Lip Tie Revision
- Better latch means easier and pain-free nursing. Mom and baby can enjoy nursing and baby can thrive receiving the very best food and the wonderful bonding experience nursing provides.
- Unrevised tongue or lip tie has been known to cause the following problems later in life:
- Speech problems – delayed development, deterioration, lifelong speech difficulty
- Tired, painful jaw
- Space between teeth (lip tie)
- Trouble chewing and eating age-appropriate foods
- Dental health problems
http://www.kiddsteeth.com/ (Dr. Kotlow is the only pediatric dentist knowledgeable in tongue and lip tie revision in the NY, VT, NH, ME area. He is also fantastic.)
What experience are you having with tongue and lip ties?
I know this post is old but I just wanted to comment. My oldest son was tongue tied. When he was a baby I exclusively nursed him for the first 6 months with no problems. He then weaned himself at a year old. I remember seeing other babies and commenting how mine never stuck his tongue out and how strange it looked when I peeked inside to see it. But my pediatrician never said anything and when he started talking he had no speech delays / no reason to be concerned. I do remember some out of the ordinary things like he would bite his ice cream cone instead of lick it but it wasnt affecting his growth or anything…. When he was 2 1/2 I took him to his first dentist appt they peeked in his mouth and sent us our on merry way! Then when he was 3 almost 4 and the dentist could get a really good look in his mouth I was informed he was severely tongue tied! So we attempted to ” clip ” it but it was determined that he had to have surgery bc it was so severe it went under his mucous secretion glands. I contemplated not doing it bc he was only 5 and I was scared but my dentist assured me that it was safe and he could develop problems with his bottom teeth if I didn’t allow them to correct it. So I went ahead and scheduled the surgery. He will be 7 soon and I’m so glad I did it! I have to do excerises with him, bc he has poor control of his tongue bc for 5 years he never stuck it out- I have to remind him to lick the ice cream not bite it for example. I have no idea how he nursed as well as he did an never had any speech delays etc. I honestly had never heard of it until my dentist told me.
Wow, that’s amazing. Thanks for sharing :)
Chelsea Pinto says
This is a great post, thank you! I’d also add to the list of symptoms the most common one that I’ve seen as a dentist who specializes in lingual frenectomies: babies falling asleep on the breast. The reason being is that when a lip tie or tongue tie makes it difficult to latch or maintain suction, it is exhausting for the infant and they fall asleep frequently.