Lip-Tie and Tongue-Tie

Breastfeeding with Lip-Tie and Tongue-Tie

What is Tongue-Tie?

Tongue-tie…is a condition in which the bottom of the tongue is tethered to the floor of the mouth by a membrane (frenulum) so that the tongue’s range of motion is unduly restricted. This may result in various oral development, feeding, speech, swallowing, and associated problems.” (Coryllos, Genna, & Salloum, Summer 2004,

When a baby is tongue-tied, he has difficulty moving his tongue properly in his mouth due to a short or tight lingual frenulum. The frenulum is an small piece of tissue that is supposed to attach the back of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. In babies with tongue-tie, this frenulum can be too short; too tight; attached to the bottom gum line; or attached too close to the tip of the tongue.

A baby with tongue-tie may have difficulty extending his tongue past his lips, lifting his tongue to the roof of his mouth, moving his tongue side to side, properly cupping the tongue or making the peristalsis motion used during feedings.

There are different types of tongue-tie. Classic anterior ties are generally very obvious and cause a heart-shaping or indentation in the tip of the tongue when it is extended or lifted. Other, less obvious, tongue-ties are more difficult to identify, as they affect the motion of the back of the tongue, and may not be detected in the first few days of life..

Tongue-Tie Symptoms and Problems

Tongue-tie can be the cause of many problems with breastfeeding, such as latch pain, nipple trauma, low milk supply and early weaning. It is important to work with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant to determine if your breastfeeding problems are related to an infant tongue-tie.

But tongue-tie is not just about breastfeeding, it can also contribute to problems with speech, dental issues, eating and swallowing difficulties, snoring and sleep apnea, headaches and TMJ.

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