Our Experience of Tongue Tie with a Newborn

Tongue tie was something that I had heard mentioned before. Apparently one of my brothers-in-law had it when he was a baby but it sorted itself out. But that was a tale I heard ten years ago when I was getting to grips with a feeding my first baby. But until recently, it had just been that, something I had heard of.

Mason was told at the hospital during his newborns check that he had a mild tongue tie. We didn’t think much more of it, and we weren’t told what to do or anything about it, so just carried on feeding him as normal and we left hospital and got home. Being my third time breastfeeding I wasn’t feeling particularly sore, and could feel a good latch, so thought things must be going well.

Slow weight gain

When it came to mindwife appointments after he was born, it was becoming apparent that he was taking a while to get back to his birth weight. In fact, it took a month, and I think that was only because we started to supplement his feeds with some formula. He could be breastfeeding for about an hour, and still not be satisfied by the end of it. He would cry a lot as he was obviously still really hungry. Even then he would fall asleep on me when feeding as it is obvious now it was just such hard work for him. I kept asking and asking about getting referred to get his tongue tie seen to. Along side that, I had been actually referred to the children’s team about his jaundice, but to this day I still haven’t had a letter or a call from that team… good job it sorted itself out on its own after several weeks.

After getting his birthweight back, we were discharged from the hospital team and were now in the care of the health visitors. We had appointments to be weighed, though with covid, it wasn’t as often as I remember it being with the other two. Mason’s weight has been on the lower scale of things, it was gaining weight. This was because he was being combination fed though, not just purely breast fed. He took a bottle absolutely fine. I kept asking about tongue tie because I’d rather purely breastfeed if I had the choice. I always met with ‘just see how it goes’ or ‘just go to bottles if he’s fine with those.’ It wasn’t what I wanted!

After a while, I finally got an appointment to look at Mason’s tongue tie. First of all he has oral thrush so couldn’t have it down immediately, but they said he did qualify, with it being around 60%. Then there were queries about him having it done without vitamin K, as he didn’t have that because of an elective c-section, and it just took ages.

Going privately

In the end, thankfully, a midwife who had similar experience with one of her babies referred me to the Association of Tongue Tie Practitioners website. Things were taking so long with the NHS that we decided to go private and had to pay £200 for it to be done. It was a team of two ladies, tongue tie practitioners and nurses, who came to the house and did it right there and then on the dining room table! In all honesty, it has been the best £200 ever spent. He has been feeding so well ever since, and put the flag out, can have a breastfeed that takes no more than half and hour and leaves him satisfied: amazing.

The private practitioners that we used said that he had a severe tongue tie, around 90%, and basically, as it had been spotted in hospital, meaning that it was severe enough to be spotted visually, meant that something should have definitely been done sooner.

Things to look for:

  • Any clicking sounds when at the breast
  • Sore or misshapen nipples after feeding
  • Baby never satisfied after a feed
  • A lot of wind, sickness, and dribble when feeding, even with a bottle
  • Unable to stick their tongue out far
  • Whiteness on the tongue
  • Very sleepy when feeding at the breast, more than normal at least
  • Breast not feeling full or engorged. I thought I’d just got lucky this time but it was because my supply wasn’t great because he wasn’t feeding as he should be

If this is the case for anyone else, kick up a fuss and make sure that your little one gets seen to as soon as possible. It will make those first few weeks and months much more bearable and make breastfeeding, if that is what you choose, much easier. It is like night and day with the difference that it has made to Mason (and me)!

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