WHAT IS BEACON TONGUE-TIE CLINIC?
Beacon Hospital Tongue-Tie Service is a rapid access clinic for infants (< 6 months) with a tongue-tie and feeding difficulties. This service led by Professor Brice Antao, Consultant Paediatric Surgeon offers an assessment and division of the tongue-tie, if required, during the same out-patient visit. This service is provided in a child friendly Beacon for Kids out-patients clinic and is supported by a Lactation Consultant.
WHAT IS A TONGUE-TIE?
A tongue frenulum is an extra piece of skin that goes from underneath the tongue to the floor of the mouth. Sometimes it is attached all the way to the tip of the tongue and sometimes only at the back of the tongue. Most tongue frenulum are very thin and look like a membrane, a few are thicker and look similar to the rest of the floor of the mouth. Research shows that up to 10% of babies have a tongue frenulum but just less than half of these babies have some difficulty with feeding depending on how restrictive the frenulum is and how it impacts on the function of the tongue. A tongue frenulum becomes a tongue-tie when it causes symptoms (as described below).
Symptoms Associated With a Tongue Frenulum.
- Difficulty latching on to the breast and/or maintaining latch
- Poor weight gain and failure to thrive
- Prolonged feeds with short breaks
- Unsettled after feeds and appearing hungry all the time
- Significant dribbling during feeds
- Clicking sounds while feeding
- Sore or damaged nipples
- Distorted nipple shape after a breastfeed
- Severe pain on latch
- Low milk supply
MANAGEMENT OF TONGUE- TIE IN EARLY INFANCY
Not all tongue-ties cause problems and routine tongue-tie division is not necessary. It is important to get lactation support when the baby has a tongue-tie. Techniques such as improved positioning and attachment can help with feeding challenges and further treatment is not necessary. When the tongue-tie is identified as contributing to feeding problems or challenges, and the appropriate lactation supports are put in place, division of tongue-tie is recommended (The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, UK).
Here at the Beacon Tongue-Tie Clinic, we are able to offer an assessment of infants with a tongue-tie and feeding difficulties and division of the tongue-tie, if required during the same clinic visit. Our service also includes immediate post procedure care and lactation support from an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.