Why tongue-tie? Over the past year - I have seen more and more babies present at my clinic with feeding issues - and many of the feeding difficulties suffered by the baby (and Mum!) have been related to tongue-tie in the baby.
Doctor Rachel Quigley is a General Practitioner in Cork (who works out of www.dundanionmedicalcentre.ie) who frequently treats Babies for Tongue-Tie.
I decided to catch-up with Rachel and get her take on the treatment of Tongue Tie and any other areas that she feels parents should be aware of.
Carina: How did you become interested in helping babies with tongue tie?
Dr. Quigley: My interest in helping mothers and babies with tongue tie stems from my own personal experience. My son has a posterior tongue tie, which I did not recognise or seek help for at the time, which led to a short and unsuccessful breastfeeding experience.
By addressing the problem early, I would hope that mothers can continue to breastfeed their babies in a successful and painfree manner.
Carina: What symptoms does your treatment address? What happens if a baby needs, but does not get the treatment?
Dr. Quigley: The most common symptoms are painful feeds, cracked/damage nipples, poor latch, baby fussing/falling off the breast, frequent feeds, reflux/colic type symptoms.
Every case is assessed on an individual basis along with decision to treat. Failure to receive treatment may result in persistent breastfeeding difficulties and sometimes early cessation of breastfeeding.
Carina: What happens during the tongue and lip release?
Dr. Quigley: When a baby attends for a release, a breastfeeding history is taken from the mother outlining the problems with feeding since birth. The baby is examined to assess the degree of tongue restriction and the type of tongue tie is noted.
A detailed discussion explaining the nature of tongue tie along with explanation of the procedure is carried out. The expected benefits and risks of the procedure are explained to the parents.
For the procedure itself, the baby is swaddled in a blanket. Mum or dad usually gently secures the babies head. The tongue is elevated using my forefinger and a careful snip using a sterile scissors is placed under the tongue.
Any bleeding (which is usually minimal) is compressed using a sterile guaze. The baby is returned to Mum for breastfeeding.
Carina: What steps should a parent take themselves to ensure the tongue release is most effective?
Dr. Quigley: The risk of a tie reattaching is approximately 10%. To ensure this does not occur, I advise my patients to perform post frenotomy exercises.
I also advise them to massage under the tongue before every feed and perform stretching exercises. This is demonstrated during the consultation and a video link is also provided.
It is advised that parents perform the exercises for two weeks, as healing takes place. Complementary therapies such as Craniosacral Therapy and Osteopathy can also help. Breastfeeding support from lactation consultants/breastfeeding support groups can also be effective in ensuring successful breastfeeding.
Thanks Rachel - I appreciate you taking the time to give us your perspective on dealing with tongue-tie. Carina.
Please feel free to contact myself to arrange an appointment.
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