I’ll say this upfront: If your baby has a tongue tie, get it sorted asap, regardless of what the midwives say.
My son had a tongue tie when he was born. The midwives identified it straight away, but told us that it was a minor one and that it wouldn’t cause him any problems. And anyway, they didn’t deal with them in the maternity unit anymore.
We’d heard about the issues that come with tongue tie, yet were reassured by the midwives that this wouldn’t have an impact on him.
But that wasn’t true. In fact, it caused us a lot of problems, mainly in the breastfeeding department.
He would struggle to latch meaning that he was basically brutalising my wife each time, and then would struggle with extreme levels of gas (from not latching properly). And if you’ve ever seen a baby with colic, then you’ll know how awful it is to watch and listen to a baby going through that.
During the first two weeks – so my entire paternity leave – we struggled through, presuming that we weren’t doing it right, or that all babies went through aggressive gas pains. We went to see the GP about the tongue tie around then because all the signs pointed to it being an issue, despite what the midwives said, and quite frankly it was all starting to get a little too much. The GP agreed, but said that it would take about two to three months to get it sorted. Jokers.
It was then that we decided to go private. Speed was a necessity as it was super tough on my wife to physically and mentally go through such a painful ordeal every time he fed.
And when we did go private, they said that it was a 90% tongue tie allowing him only 10% movement of his jaw…and that he would have had a speech impediment had it not been dealt with! Yes, they may have exaggerated to ensure we paid up to get it dealt with, but they wouldn’t lie to the extreme so there must be some truth in how severe it was.
And to even have a possibility of a speech impediment if it wasn’t dealt with seems crazy to me considering the original diagnosis from the midwives. Dealing with a tongue tie is one of the easiest, quickest and pain-free procedures going so it isn’t a case of it taking time. It could have easily been dealt with in the hospital when they first checked he was healthy.
Considering the pressure that the NHS and NCT classes put mothers under to breastfeed, you’d expect tongue ties to be dealt with quickly. Especially as the first few weeks of breast feeding are so important to the baby and subsequent feeding/latching technique.
So my advice to any new parents is that as soon a tongue tie is flagged to you, no matter how minor you are told it is, try and get it sorted. The NHS should deal with them, but often don’t with any haste, so consider going private. Ours cost £140 to snip, which is not cheap at all, but worth it considering the situation we were in. And it made an immediate difference for both the mother and baby.
I’ve started a petition, here, to try and ensure trained practitioners are on hand at all maternity units across the country. Please do sign if you agree, and spread the word.