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Tongue tie can affect your babys feeding

Thursday, 11th July, 2013 1:00am

The medical term for tongue tie is ankloglossia. While many tongue tie conditions may be obvious, some types are only seen by a trained eye. It is said that between three and ten per cent of babies are born with the defect and is more common in boys than girls. Babies with severe tongue tie will not be able to open their mouths wide enough to secure a good latch when breastfeeding. Consequently, they may not be able to get any milk. Baby begins to slide off the nipple and attempt a chewing motion which is painful for mom. Clare Boyle, midwife and lactation consultant, based in Kinsale, is all too familiar with the problems related to tongue tie. “About 80 per cent of the babies I see have some form of tongue tie. Mom's nipples will become sore even 48 hours into feeding. Common problems are cracked nipples, blisters and bleeding. The pain can be excruciating for the mother.

“What Irish mothers need to understand is that breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your child and it should not be painful. If it is, there is something wrong somewhere. A big tell tale sign of tongue tie is a clicking sound that baby makes while feeding,” the midwife says. In addition to the clicking sound, babies with tongue tie will be unsettled, will be hungrier more often and experience weight loss. Ciera Creedon is a 36 year old mother of two living in Mallow, she shares her experience with tongue tie. “I knew straight away that my one year old had tongue tie. He was feeding for hours at a time. I expressed my concern to the midwives and paediatrician but they said he would be fine and that tongue tie wouldn't affect feeding. I had blisters and I was bleeding from the nipple.” Though frustrated and her concerns brushed off, she came in contact with Dr Justin Roche in Tipperary. Up until three or four years ago, parents had to travel to the UK to Dr Mervyn Griffiths in Southampton. Luckily, two Cork doctors have recently begun performing tongue tie procedures on a private basis. “We were lucky that we could afford to go private and pay for our son's procedure. People can't always afford to spend that kind of money. It's a shame that it is not available publicly or under the medical card,” says Ciera. GP Dr Rachel Quigley in Blackrock is one of two who perform tongue tie correction. Her own child had a posterior tongue tie, which is one of the less noticeable types of tongue tie.  â€œThe procedure is very simple. The parents will hold baby in a blanket and I will just snip with a scissors. It is very quick and there is no need for any anaesthetic as the skin has no feeling in it, generally speaking. There maybe one or two drops of blood. The procedure does not bother the children at all. For the most part, once the procedure is performed, breastfeeding is corrected and there are no more problems for mom and baby,” Dr Quigley explains. The second of the two Cork professionals is dentist Dr Shane Curtin who practices out of Ardfallen dental practice. The dentist uses a laser to cut the frenulum. In addition to correcting tongue tie, the dentist also corrects lip lie. Lip tie generally goes hand in hand with tongue tie and can also hinder breastfeeding. Dentists are taking a particular interest in these deformities as they can cause a range of dental problems later on in life. One of the most obvious symptoms of upper lip tie is a child with separated front teeth, leaving a significant gap. Although, this is not always the case. “There is so much ignorance when it comes to lip and tongue tie. It is presumed that speech problems are linked with tongue tie but there is not enough research to definitively say this. We are all still learning,” Clare Boyle concludes. If you would like to speak to Clare about breastfeeding you can call her on 087-4198764 or see her website breastfeedingconsultant.ie. To make an appointment with Dr Rachel Quigley call 021-4358031.

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