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Is your Baby Tongue-Tied?

March 6th, 2016 | By: Melanie Potock
If your newborn is having feeding challenges, chances are she could be tongue-tied.
Is your Baby Tongue-Tied?

If your baby is having trouble latching or sucking, or having other feeding challenges, it may be because of an undetected tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) or upper lip tie (ULT).

Tongue-ties are not always obvious, and some require close examination by an experienced professional. Tongue-ties don’t always look alike, but are defined by the International Affiliation of Tongue-tie Professionals as “an embryological remnant of tissue in the midline between the undersurface of the tongue and the floor of the mouth that restricts normal tongue movement. Tongue-tie can thereby adversely affect infant feeding, eating, chewing, speech, and even breathing if left untreated for too long.

Because there are so many variations or “looks” of a tongue-tie, I recommend consulting your pediatrician, who can refer you for an assessment with the appropriate professional.

The ULT also restricts movement when the V-shaped tissue (the frenum) that attaches the upper lip to the upper gums inhibits upper lip movement.

Babies need good mobility of the upper lip in order to latch and breast-feed, eat food off a spoon, and manipulate food for chewing and swallowing.

Meet our Expert

This is an excerpt from Raising a Healthy, Happy Eater by Nimali Fernando, MD, MPH and Melanie Potock and MA, CCC-SLP. The book helps parent’s identify feeding problems, avoid picking eating and expand their child’s diet.