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Baby Tongue Tie with Samantha Tanak

Baby Tongue Tie with Samantha Tanak

baby being bottle fed as part of combination feeding routine

Samantha Tanak from Baby Tongue Tie is a baby tongue tie expert who I interviewed on my award winning podcast, please click here to listen. I wanted to share some of the main areas of tongue tie that we covered with you here because I have had so many questions about this topic since the podcast went live.

Samantha is a midwife and has an interest in the postnatal period and infant feeding. She focuses on tongue tie and is an expert on breast and bottle feeding support. She works hard to improve the immediate postnatal experience for Mum and baby and has a wealth of experience in this area. She is a working midwife and runs her own business, Baby Tongue Tie, for private appointments in London, Hertfordshire and Essex.

How common is tongue tie?

There is a lot more awareness of tongue tie nowadays and, with the increase in breastfeeding mothers in recent years, tongue tie is talked about a lot more and is picked up by health visitors, family, midwives and mothers. Previously, over the last couple of decades, mothers were encouraged to bottle feed or wean babies earlier so a lot of tongue tie issues may have been missed but now, with the push to many mothers choosing to breastfeed at all or for longer, tongue tie issues are considered more and more.

If I’ve been told baby doesn’t have tongue tie but they do – why is it being missed?

Years and years ago, some hospitals would have just looked for and cut it straight away, as they do in many countries. Nowadays, with evidence-based care, the NHS don’t treat something unless they have evidence of it. Sometimes things can get missed or classed as mild, but then Mothers can worry if something is wrong further down the road. Not all Paediatricians are officially tongue-tie trained and we can be discharged very quickly so the symptoms of a tie have not built up yet. There are many symptoms that can vary for tongue tie and it is really important that new Mums know who to talk to if they are feeling that feeding is affected for the baby and for the Mum.

What are the most common symptoms of tongue tie to look out for?

Potentially, if you’re breastfeeding, you need to be aware of any nipple trauma or damage; frequent bouts of mastitis or engorgement; if you think that your milk supply has been affected by baby not transferring the milk; maybe a comparison with another baby that makes you think baby isn’t full or your breast isn’t feeling soft or ’empty’ after a feed; any nipple discomfort.

For baby they might not be opening their mouth nice and wide to attach to the breast; or perhaps they latch but they slip on the nipple; frustration at the breast; chomping the nipple or playing with it; if they’re pulling against their tongue they might feel tired and fall asleep but 15-20 minutes later they’re awake and showing feeding cues again; they may have prolonged feeds or not satisfied after a feed; prolonged jaundice; weight-gain issues that feel unexplained; some babies or windy or may show reflux issues. For a bottle-fed baby they might not drink much because they cannot suck properly on the teat; dribbling from sides of the mouth more than you’d expect and windiness.

When it comes to reflux, can tongue tie be a contributing factor?

All babies have a bit of wind and posseting – this is normal – but if a baby is bringing up a lot of milk after a feed then this is a red flag for reflux, as we know. Tongue tie can be a huge contributing factor in these symptoms and is definitely something to get checked by a latch or tongue tie practitioner, before considering alternative diets or other avenues.

How can tongue tie affect speech and development if it is not cut and can it still be cut at a later date?

Samantha assesses babies up to 6 months old, some work with babies up to 11 or 12 months. As a midwife, she feels like her infant feeding assessment is for babies who are only breast or bottle fed, before weaning.

If you’re finding that your baby is retching or gagging (because with tongue tie they have a high palette) or moving food around their mouth in the way they should do, that could be a clue to tongue tie or perhaps they wouldn’t want food in their mouth at all when you are weaning them. These could be signs that a tongue tie is undiagnosed and could definitely be worth looking into.

Tongue ties can be divided at any age, adults can have it done! Always look out for symptoms of not being able to move their tongue, children who cannot create sounds properly or enjoy speaking or feeding.

If you would like to learn more about Samantha’s work or to book an appointment with her, please click here.

 

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