Having a baby comes with many joys. I understand this joy because I have one child and another on the way. One big decision that has to be made after baby is born, is to breast-feed or bottle-feed? If you choose to breast-feed but you and baby are having trouble or baby is not gaining the appropriate amount of weight at checkups, could it be due to baby being tongue-tied (ankyloglossia)?

Trouble breast-feeding can be one of the first signs that baby maybe tongue-tied. During breast-feeding the baby needs to keep his or her tongue over the gums while sucking. If baby is unable to do this, then baby will chew instead of suck on the nipple. This will cause pain for you, the mother and the baby will not receive the adequate amount of breast milk.

Being tongue-tied may be noticed by pediatricians when inadequate weight gain is occurring, this can occur in both bottle and breast-fed infants.  Being tongue-tied may not always be recognized in the infant stage. It can be first noticed when your child begins to speak. A tongue-tied individual could struggle to make certain sounds such as; “t,” “d,” “z,” “s,” “th,” and “I.” It can also be difficult to roll an “r.” If your child is tongue-tied they may also struggle to lick an ice cream cone or play a wind instrument.

There are options to treat an individual with ankyloglossia. The tongue-tied area can be snipped. This procedure is quick and discomfort is usually minimal. If done when patient is an infant, breast-feeding can occur immediately after the procedure. There is also the potential of the wait-and-see approach. You can see if the situation improves with time or if it causes symptoms.

Please contact our office today at (616) 994-2770 for an appointment if you are concerned that you or your child is tongue-tied.