My 8 year old’s tongue tie

This afternoon my 8 year old had his tongue tie released. I’ve known for a couple of years now that he was tongue tied,Β  but it was missed when he was a baby. When he was born I was not yet a lactation consultant, and although I was a registered nurse working on the mother baby unit of our local hospital, I had no idea my son was tongue tied, and no one else picked up on it either. I discovered it years later as I was studying to become an IBCLC. For those who don’t know, tongue tie (or ankyloglossia) is when the frenulum (thin membrane) that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth is unusually short/inelastic or attaches to the tongue in a manner that restricts normal movement of the tongue. Since tongue mobility is important for achieving and maintaining a good latch and effective milk transfer, a tongue tie can have a negative impact on breastfeeding. A tongue tie that prevents a baby from effectively breastfeeding can have other implications as well such as difficulties with speech, jaw development and placement of teeth.

Looking back we did have issues nursing, but I didn’t realize it at the time. My son used to nurse for an hour at a time, every hour and a half. At the time I figured it was normal newborn nursing and just went with it. At five months however, he starting biting me when he was nursing, and biting badly. I was in tears every time we nursed, and I started to dread nursing him. Not knowing then what I know now, and having not yet discovered the right kinds of support, I weaned my son to formula. Looking back, the severe biting will have been caused by my son’s inability to keep his tongue over his teeth due to the tongue tie, and the long frequent feedings were likely due to him not transferring milk very effectively. Thankfully, because I went with the flow with his frequent nursing we were able to compensate and his weight gain was never an issue.

We decided to have his tongue tie released because he has needed some speech therapy for articulation difficulties, and we have already been told that he will need braces due to the crowding of his teeth. In a baby with no restriction of movement in their tongue, sucking is what shapes their palate and jaw because muscle moves bone (and the tongue is a muscle!). Normal tongue movements and sucking at the breast help to spread out the palate and widen the jaw, allowing for adequate room for teeth. When there is restriction of movement due to a tongue tie, this spreading of the palate doesn’t happen the way it should and it can lead to a lot of problems with a child’s teeth. You can see in the pictures that my son’s bottom teeth are very crowded and his two front teeth on the bottom are turning inward into almost a v shape, which is typical with a tongue tie.Β  (For anyone who’s wondering about the black marks on his bottom front teeth, we went to the appointment straight from school, and I assume he was chewing on something black during the day – probably a pencil or something. Amazing what kids will put in their mouths!).

Our family has been talking for a while about whether or not we were going to have his tongue tie released, and the appointment to talk to the dentist was made after our son said he wanted it done because it hurt to stick his tongue out too far. After talking through the procedure with the dentist, our son decided that he wanted to go ahead. The dentist started by putting some numbing gel under his tongue, and then due to his age, put in some local anesthetic (this was the worst part because of course it stings a bit. For babies, no local anesthetic is needed). Once the anesthetic was in, he felt nothing, and the actual procedure (called frenotomy or frenectomy depending on the procedure) literally took seconds. The dentist we saw used an electrocautery tool, but it can also be done with special scissors, or by laser. There was a little bleeding afterwards that was easily controlled with some pressure on it (for babies, there is usually only a drop or two of blood, and nursing immediately after the procedure is a great way to stop any bleeding). Below are some before and after pictures:

 

My son sticking his tongue out before the release. You can clearly see the dimpling in the middle of his tongue (typical with tongue tie).

 

Under my son’s tongue before the tongue tie was released. You can see the frenulum, and you can also see how crowded his teeth are.

 

Not as clear, but another shot of under my son’s tongue before the release. Notice the difference between this picture and the one above. In order for him to elevate his tongue more (above) he has to close his mouth somewhat. In the after pictures below, you’ll see that he can now elevate his tongue with his mouth wide open.

 

Under his tongue about an hour after the release was done. Already he has better elevation of his tongue.

 

Under his tongue the next morning

 

Sticking his tongue out the morning after the procedure.

 

Healing on day two. It looks good, and with frequent exercises no adhesions are forming.

 

The morning after the procedure he was a little tender under his tongue, but the discomfort was easily managed with some ibuprofen. It has been really interesting to be able to hear from my son about the experience. The morning after he said that he felt like he couldn’t stick his tongue out. This tells me that already some adhesions were starting to form (the area was basically starting to heal back together). This can happen with babies too, and it is why it is so important to do exercises after the release to prevent reattachment and the need to do the procedure again. With an 8 year old it’s easy, because he can follow directions and he thinks it’s fun to stick his tongue out at mom and dad. There are exercises that can be done with babies as well, and your IBCLC/doctor/dentist whoever you are working with should provide you with information on this. By the time he went to school the morning after, we had done some exercises and the area had stretched out again. In the picture of him sticking his tongue out the morning after, you can see that there is still dimpling of his tongue when he sticks it out. I am finding that his ability to extend his tongue (stick it out) is slowly improving with the exercises we are doing. It will take time because he’s had 8 years of adapting to the restricted movement of his tongue, and now we have to work on overcoming those adaptations. Along with the exercises, I will be taking him for some craniosacral therapy (very effective at helping to overcome the adaptations to the restricted movement). When he does stick his tongue out now, I can see that one thing that has really improved is his ability to spread his tongue (rather than it bunching up when he sticks it out).

Overall the experience has been a positive one for our son. He was so excited to go to school the next morning and tell his friends all about it! Have you had a child who was/is tongue tied? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Update:

Two weeks after the procedure, my ds can stick his tongue out much further (without it hurting!) and the dimpling in the tip of his tongue is almost gone.

 

For more information about tongue and lip-tie, please see the links below:

Breastfeeding Challenges: Tongue-tie and Lip-tie

What to Expect After Tongue-tie and Lip-tie Release

 

 

 

Comments

  1. kqegbekxgbberaouxvlubnlkwmjqvemymoiponitfphxlcgdoymek

  2. Ruth Aldred says:

    Hi I have a 2year 5 month old little girls and she has tongue tie. I has I had pain when I breast fed her but she didn’t loose any weight or anything. She probably should have need sniped at birth but no doctor’s picked up on it. Anyway she is having surgery on the 15th December and I’m still undecided as to get it sniped or not. She has pretty good speech their are time when she has spoken faster then what her tongue allows her to speak but she is still young. It is interesting what I have it makes my desicion a little bit easier as I read up the top of your page that tongue tie can restrict the gap between the teeth and prevent jaw movements. So thank you heaps for putting this up….

  3. Janette Malavet says:

    Thank You is very helpful!

  4. Thank you for writing this. I’m at the point of trying to decide whether to get my 8 year old’s tongue tie divided, and would love to know if after the procedure, his jaw grew enough to resolve the teeth overcrowding?

  5. Thank you for your information. It has really help calm my fears and anxiety as my daughter who is also eight is about to do the same procedure in August. I was worried about how under her tongue would look after the procedure and your photos has really help. Thank you again and I hope all is well with your son.

  6. Hi I’m 65 and suffered for years from being tongue tied I’ve been to speech speclelist and had therapy several times over the years pills from the doctor to calm me down so I don’t get too excited when I talk to think about what I’m going to say take your time but nothing comes out and when it dose I talk fast so as not to stammer if someone interrupted me or said could I repeat my self I couldent ionly talking about
    A few words I would be carefull how spoke to or what said ocasionly I got caught out stammered or nothing came out at all it doged my school day and as a young man I’ve met my fathers 1st cousin for the second time how tells me it runs in the family and they all had the snip so I’m having mine this Thursday 7 7 2016 I’ll let you know how I get on george

  7. Thank you so much for posting your experience here! I will need to do same procedure for my son. and your article relived my tension to some extent!

  8. Jennifer Ross says:

    I have a 10 yr old daughter who has speech problems and has been seeing a speech therapist since she was 3. Now her speech teacher thinks that she might have a tongue tie, something about in the back of her mouth, that is preventing her from progressing like she should. She has extreme difficulty with the r sound. I never was able to breast feed her and was told by a frustrated lactation that I would just have to bottle feed her because she couldn’t latch on properly. Maybe that’s because she has this tongue tie issue although I’m not sure if she even has one. Yes she’s picky about her food but she doesn’t drool and yes we’ve already been told she has severe crowding with her teeth and needs braces as soon as we can afford them. Do you think I should consult with someone who specializes in this based on what the speech therapist thinks?

    • Julie Stein says:

      I have a similar situation with my son, and I’m curious if you did the procedure?

    • Yes, I would see an ENT (ear nose and throat) that specializes in tongue tie. They will be able to tell you if it will help your child or not and answer your questions.

  9. Hi, I was just reading through a lot of the posts here and noticed that there were a lot of moms on here worrying about their kids’ well-being. I imagine there’s plenty more who don’t comment, but read through like I have and I thought I would share my story so that maybe it could help ease a few people’s worries or help bring them to a decision, whatever it may be. When I was a baby, I was tongue-tied pretty severely but it wasn’t caught until I was about two years old. I guess I could eat just fine, but my mom and grandparents had wondered why I hadn’t started talking. I babbled like a normal baby did, but at one point they realized that I couldn’t stick my tongue out. It was bad to the point apparently I couldn’t lift my tongue up or put it past my teeth. Of course, I don’t remember any of it, but they had the release procedure done on me. Grandma said that the worst part was that my mom cried the whole time it was done. I was able to start talking right away and was a much happier child after that. I didn’t have speech therapy or any of that. I never could figure out how to roll my tongue, but otherwise I speak fine and don’t have any oral issues. I’m glad that my family had the procedure done when I was little so that I don’t remember it. If your kid needs their tongue clipped, I would recommend not waiting a really long time. I don’t know what kinds of struggles I could have had if my mom had waited a few years, but I’m glad I missed out on them.

  10. veronica n says:

    My son is 7 years and I’m thinking of getting his lingual frenulu. What I’m wondering since they are use to speaking with they’re tongue tied is it easy for them to speak? Do they bite they’re tongue since they’re not ruse to having it between they’re teeth.

  11. Kebotsaletswe says:

    Hi,my son is four years old and has a tongue tie cos he had difficulty in talking,we discovered it late,the dentist tried to cut it last month but it was not completely cut because the little boy was scared,after that his speech started improving though not fluent but we have booked with a private pediatrician to cut it completely, right now he can talk but the problem is at his age he is still imitating.when you ask him something he asks you too until you teach him how to respond to the question that’s when he can respond well.He catches everything taught at school,colours he can differentiate,can count from 1-40,from A-Z,and knows songs taught at school even the prayers he can pray before eating.Is this normal?how long do you think will take before the situation goes back to normal and what else can we do to improve his speech?

  12. Wow! Amazing post!

    I’m glad I came across your post, as I am taking my 4 1/2 year old son to get his tongue tie clipped in two days. I am a little worried, but I have been talking about it ever since our last appointment, about two months now, and he is finally getting the hint. I always tell him that “the doctor is going to fix it, and than you can finally stick out your tongue buddy” πŸ™‚
    Your before and after pictures look great! Especially at the end, where you than posted a 2week update photo! That gave me goosebumps!

    Also, we just had a dentist check-up two weeks ago, and she was telling me that his bottom teeth look like they will be crowded when he hits about 9-10 years old. And with all the research I have done, it stated that with tongue tie, it could leave the bottom teeth very crowded and over lapped. Which I wouldn’t have thought that.

    Thank you for sharing your story, it was so helpful! Please stay tuned for my upcoming story about my 4 1/2 year old son’s procedure.
    A bit nervous but than I guess it only comes natural πŸ™‚

  13. Thank you for sharing this. My 9 year old is very self aware about food around her mouth and its time to do something about her tongue tie.
    I never realised that this is why it was so painful breastfeeding her. I used to be in agony but not an issue with her twin sister.
    Thank you so much for helping me by sharing this. Btw, I love your boys picture sticking his tongue right out! Way to go πŸ™‚

  14. I’d love to know how your son is getting on. This post seems to have helped lots of people to make a decision to go ahead with a TT revision and it would be brilliant to know how he is doing. Thanks.

  15. A person is never to old to have a tongue tie releases. It can clear up many chronic health issues such as reflux, migraines, sinus infections, teeth grinding, inflames gums and recessed gums, tmj and many more. Not all experts yet recognize the more hidden tongue ties, There is a nice list of providers on the group Tongue Tied Babies Support Group on facebook in the files section. It is helpful to go to the ones who do recognize them, even if it means travel. I for example did not recognize my own tongue tie until I was 67 years old and never had any professional I went to in all those years recognized it. So not to be hard on those who do not, make your life better by going to those who do. Also very important is lip ties, upper AND lower and cheek ties, be sure your provider is familiar with these too.

  16. Hi, thank you so much for posting this amazing experience! My 6 year old son has a tongue tie. I have known about this since he was born. My husband has it and immediately after he was born i checked him! I was sent to a specialist who said he didn’t need it corrected. I didn’t know if i wanted it to be sipped either. I did have problems nursing him but he gained weight fine. Recently i have notice he breathes through his mouth more than he does through his nose. He also often tends to keep his mouth slightly open. I am worried. Because he is not breathing correctly, he has a tongue tie( that a specialist said would not be a problem and i think now it is) and he is also has a under bite and is starting to get crowded bottom teeth. Its 1.13am and im searching all kinds of information about what i can do, i am glad i came across your blog. Tomorrow is thanksgiving and everything will be closed. I will have to make an appointment on monday with his dentist. I had no idea a dentist could sip a tongue tie. Was this done at the dentist office?? Did you need a referral from a tongue specialist?? How is your son doing now?

  17. For those parents who are wondering if they should have their child’s tongue tie cut it is my personal opinion that you do because it will affect them later in life. I am 23 and am planning on having mine fixed. I always felt strange because I couldn’t stick my tongue out normally like other kids. I was never diagnosed with a tongue tie because I have no speech problems and I didn’t even know it was a real condition untill a month or so ago. I just always thought I had a weird tongue. Even without the speech problems I want mine done because it seems like my tongue is starting to split a bit at the dent on the tip. Also on a more personal embarrassing note,it’s really hard to make out with someone when you have a tongue that will barely stick out of your mouth. That reason alone is enough for me to want it cut because it shouldn’t hurt you to kiss someone. I just wish they diagnosed me and fixed it when I was a kid because I think the healing process would have been easier back then. Just take into account that the tongue tie will eventually effect them in one way or another.

  18. Your story is very much appreciated, thanks for sharing.

    My daughter is 2 and also has a heart shaped tounge. She can however, stick out her tounge. Medically speaking there are no issues, as she feeds well and teeth are aligned. I do believe she will need braces her palate is high and she is a thumb sucker. My doctor does not feel clipping is medically necessary….I’m so undecided on what to do!

  19. Hi

    My fifth child is now nearly 10. He recently had the upper frenulum clipped. I didn’t do a lot of research (this is unusual for me!) and sure wish I had.

    Our son has never stuck out his tongue. Ever. He cannot pronounce “TH” sounds and has difficulty with s-blends, “L” sounds and “r” sounds.

    I did ask about tongue-tie several years ago and was told “It’s not too bad”.

    Now that I find out that where the upper frenulum is tied, the lower is nearly always tied, I want to scream. Our son could have had both procedures at the same time. He has had years of speech therapy. He is also intellectually disabled (or so they say). It has been hard to test him due to his speech trouble.

    Oh, yeah. Breastfeeding hurt more with him than with any of my others…
    I’m thinking we should get that other little frenulum clipped, No?

  20. Anna Gremmy says:

    I have had tougne tie forever. I am 13. IN MY WHOLE LIFE I NEVER HAD SPEECH OR FEEDING PROBLEMS!!! My tougne tie is worse then those pictures. I asked my mom why is my tougne like this and i asked her if i could cut it when i was 3. She said no. She said to she will never let me go to doctor to have it released. I asked recently and she said no. I need braces. But i dont want to release my tougne because its not reAlly a problem because i am used to it. No one makes fun of me. I cant lick anything or lick my own lips but i am used to licking things differently. I used to hate tougne ties (not too much) but now i dont care. I just dont want my tougne to get in the way when i get braces.

  21. Hi

    I would love to hear about the progress of his speech. My daughter is 6 and only recently diagnosed with tongue-tie when I made an appointment about her speech – I held off the appointment as I thought her speech issues were related to her large tonsils and adnoids, which after removal, were clearly not the issue.

    My speech therapist is taking a conservative approach and keeping with the speech therapy at the moment. I had another speech therapist tell me to not bother with the tongue-tie release as given her age, her speech is developed and the release will have little impact. Can you please let me know if you feel the release made a difference to you’re sons speech? I realise my daughter will need more therapy after the release if we go ahead with it…I just want to make things as easy as I can for her.

    Thank you.

    • My 8 year old has tongue-tie & I want to get it clipped, but cannot find a doctor to perform it. The ENT he sees said it’s not associated with speech impairments & studies showing correlation don’t warrant cause & effect. The dentist said she would recommend it for social reasons, but he has no dental issues as a result of it. His speech therapist recommends he get it done, but cannot make a medical recommendation due to credential restrictions. I’m so frustrated because I feel like when I go to the doctors, I’m treated as an ignorant mother seeking cosmetic surgery. I grew up tongue-tied (still am), so am aware of the social restrictions, but as the doctors like to point out, I “turned out just fine.” He’s currently being treated for lateral /s/ issues, but I’ve also read that his food-pickiness may be related as well (not being able to move food around the mouth, having swallowing/chewing issues). Again, the ENT said this only mattered if my child was actually choking on food or drooling. He doesn’t get to that point because he refuses to eat hardly anything. Oy! My 3 year old was clipped as a newborn when the lactation consultant noticed it as his reason for not nursing (same symptoms as my older son, but never diagnosed so I just endured the way the author did). His may have grown back, though, thus causing some of his speech/feeding problems. Same ENT, same response.

      • Catherine says:

        Dory, did you do it? I’m looking into it for my 7 year old son. He’s got significant feeding and speech delays (has a feeding tube because of FTT due to feeding problems) and I think the TT may not be the entire issue, but it sure complicates things for him. I’d be curious to hear what you ended up doing and if it helped. Thanks so much.

  22. Hi, I know this is an older post, but I was hoping someone could add some updates on how their kids are doing. Both my daughters (5 & 1) had their posterior tongue ties released 3 months ago with Dr. Kotlow in Albany, but I think they might have reattached. My 1 yr old is still nursing, but it’s not as comfortable as the first few weeks after the release. When I try to check under her tongue, I can still feel her short frenulum. My 5 yr old was a little traumatized by the experience and would run at the mention of getting it clipped again. Is it possible for the frenulum to get shorter if it reattaches? Every time my 5 yr old sticks out her tongue, it looks shorter than before the release. We’ve followed stretching exercises, but may not have done them frequent enough. Dr. Kotlow’s site says that if there is a line where the wound was, that means the frenulum reattached, which is what my 5 yr old has. I haven’t emailed him to get more details yet since I’m trying to avoid traumatizing her again. Thanks so much for any advice.

  23. Thank you so much for posting this…..recently found out my 7 year old daughter was tongue tied and had never heard of it before. She has no speach problem (altough I can hear a little bit of a slight lisp). I do recall while breast feeding her it taking for ever for her to eat and it wasn’t the same experience as my son. She would become frustrated and give up and at times just want to sleep. I would have to constantly wake her and help her re-attach, but no one, including my pediatrician ever noticed that she had an attached tongue. She has her consulation to schedule her surgery in a week and I have been reading a lot about it but this was by far the most helpful and has realy helped me feel a little less stressed about the outcome. Thank you for sharing.

  24. I am quite tongue tied, and while my mom did nurse me until I was around 3 years old it was apparently excruciating for over 6 months! She was a total rock star to keep going with the breastfeeding back then with so little support and so much pain. In any case, I was not actually aware of this until I went to get a tongue piercing during college and they couldn’t do it due to the frenulum. This dates me completely I’m sure.

    My daughter is a bit tongue tied – nothing like I am, my tongue makes a heart when I stick it out, and only just barely goes past my teeth. I never had any speech issues, and my pediatrician apparently told my mom this was because the extended breast-feeding taught me to stretch out my tongue more than someone with a similar tongue-tie who was formula fed. Interestingly, I am unable to “roll my r’s” and this did cause me trouble in choir and voice lessons as I can’t quite pronounce some things properly in Italian or Spanish. This is great information though, and while I’ve never considered having it clipped as an adult I will be on the look-out for a more severe tongue-tie with my second baby, who should make his appearance sometime in the next few weeks.

  25. SciFiMummy says:

    Hey thank you so much for posting this.

    My son is Five and is tongue tied. We went to the dentist a few months ago and she recommended we clip it but we’ve always been very wary of it. After seeing how well your son did, I will be calling this week to schedule an appt.

    My son also has the speech issues, but along with that he seems to have swallowing issues as well. I’m hoping after all is done he’ll be able to eat with now issues.

    Thanks again.

  26. Wonderful information provided, great responses. In addition to everything that has been mentioned, tongue tie is also associated with poor dental hygiene as the tongue cannot sweep around the outside of the teeth to move food particles. Oral surgeon with whom I worked (Im an IBCLC) said he had done so many adult releases that he was happy to accommodate my referrals of infants. I’ve seen the procedure done several different ways, check out your provider’s method. Sources for clipping are dentists, oral surgeons, pedodontists, ENT, some pediatricians and some midwives. Well worth getting it done while the baby is little so no anesthesia is needed.

  27. Thank you again for this blog. I hear from mothers who say that their babies tongues are fine, they can stick them out, etc. Your son needed his tongue tie released, even though he could stick his tongue out. He may have not had a complete release, from the pictures, but what an improvement.
    Final update about my own tongue tie release, last year at age 66: Edith Kernerman IBCLC, Dr. Newman’s partner, said my own tongue tie was not completely released by my oral surgeon. Still, what an improvement. I could always stick my tongue out, too, but the whole bed of my mouth lifted to do it. For those who worry that their child will have trouble after a tongue tie is released, due to years of compensating to speak clearly, there will be a learning period, and it may be shorter than you think. I lost my lateral lisp within days, which had become more pronounced due to having braces. I enjoy being able to open wide at the dentist, without my jaws aching, and being able to drop my jaw when I sing. I was surprised with an anniversary dinner last year, and in the pictures I really did drop my jaw and LOOK surprised.

  28. Thank you for your informative post. My son had his tie snipped at one week old but he is now four years old and still a bit tongue tied. The doctor recommended we snip his tie again next week. He appears to only have difficulty with the word ‘yellow’ and one or two other words but other than that his speech is great. Even so, the surgery is recommended. I’m very nervous for him but your post has put me more at ease. Thank you.

  29. Hi. I’m thankful I found this blog. I have an about 5 years old son who is tongue tied. I only learned that he was tongue tied five months ago from my brother-in -law Doctor, but I and my husband were not yet decided to let it be snipped. Some says he’ll get over it and become conscious when he grows old, and some says we just keep on talking to him. Our son is not delayed in speech…in fact he talks alot and so rapid in talking and keeps on singing. I don’t want to call it delayed in speech because he knows many words. The problem is the articulation because of the restriction of movement of his tongue. Thank you very much this is very informative. I learned here why my son couldn’t open wide his mouth. More power and God bless.

  30. Thank you for the post! My five year old is having this done on Friday and I was curious about the recovery time.

  31. Thank you for your descriptive story, obviously shared by a mom and appreciated by this mom.
    My 7 year old daughter has always had the “heart shaped” tongue, but Pediatricians always said not a medical problem. Speech was always unclear and slurry (fast) but never so bad it required therapy.
    Finally I heard from a doctor that said she could get snipped and I’m recognizing now in a flush of hindsight, that that’s way it was so painful to nurse, the difficulty latching, the pain in nipples, my weening much earlier than her sisters. Now after meeting with a ENT specialist, his response is to talk with a speech therapist, to see if it warrants surgery in how if effects her speech. I’m concerned, as she’s compensated her speech and managed with only people saying she has a unusual “accent”, but if there’s a solution why am I not doing it
    I don’t see why it has to be with a full anesthetic as the ENT doctor says. Your story says the dentist did it.
    I will call around with dentists around here to inquire, but does anyone have any experience with doctors also saying it needs to be done under a full anesthetic and “may not be worth the potential risk” for a child to go under, for something that isn’t effecting her medically. I got over the breast feeding, weaned her earlier, she’s grown and speaks well, but certainly with annunciation problems…. I would love for my daughter to feel like she has a “normal” tongue like her sisters. Not to mention, the years of frustration of not being understood clearly.

  32. Tammera Chan says:

    Thank you so much for this post! My son was born tongue tied, and I noticed it right off. Having had a daughter before, I realized that my son’s tongue did not look normal, and didn’t stretch very far. It barely made it past his gums. I told his pediatrician that I thought he was tongue tied and that it was excruciating to feed him. She told me to stop nursing if it hurt so badly, and that his tongue being tied shouldn’t have any effect on his ability to nurse. (I’ve had several pediatricians tell me things that I knew were rubbish, as was the case here.) She then referred me to an ENT. I continued nursing and went to the ENT who promptly clipped his tongue. I nursed him right away and immediately could tell that he was stronger.
    All that to say, thank you for validating my theory.
    ~Tammera

  33. How did you find a dentist knowledgeable and competent enough to do the procedure? My 6 yo probably needs the same thing, but he has a lip tie also.

  34. Hi, my son is extremely tongue tied he is 10 years old and it has never been much of an issue, but his dentist recommended we cut it, because when hes a teenager he will have trouble kissing girls! I dont know what to do, has anyone had an older child go through the procedure? could it affect his speech? Thank you! and thank you for sharing your story.

  35. My son is 5 and is going to get his tongue tie released this week. Are there any negative effects? and did your sons speech improve? Please email me sbebe04@yahoo.com

    Thank you

  36. My seven year old son is tongue tied. When he sticks his tongue out it only reaches his bottle lip. We have been considering having it clipped. My son knows what it involves and is keen to have the produce done. Thank you for your story, it helps us make our decision, the right decision for my son.

  37. My four year old son is lip tied. So he presented with latch where the lip was folded into the breast making the latch shallow. The funny thing was I was a perinatal dietitian running baby groups at the time and knew about the tongue tie, i attended a LLL once a week and a lactation consultant even missed it. But the lip tie was, in retrospect, a big pproblem. At first I was blamed for not shoving in enough breast, not having good techique and low tolerance for the cracked painful nipple which took six weeks to heal. Later on around 5 months, my son was blamed for being lazy so we spent time latching and unlatching to teach him to take a bigger mouthful, while i held his upper lip. Around 7 months after his sitter gave him bottle of breast milk, he had a 18 hour nursing strike… smart kid… he knew that the bottle was so much easier. All the expressing and nursing resulted in a massive milk supply. He cared little for the expressed milk so it was discarded, used for wounds,or mixed into food but this is how he was able to get what he wanted, letdowns delivering massive amounts of milk requiring him to be nursed upside down! But by not emptying my breasts and relying on foremilk resulted in explosive bowel movements, mastitis and plugged ducts and injury to my wrists requiring splints so that i could BF extended sessions for my growing boy. Not to mentiontion the lack of time, since my days focused on BF and diaper washing and nothing else (i am a single mother.) One little snip and the whole thing could have played out much differently!

    The lip tie was detected when my 2.5 year old breastfed toddler was at the dentist and he showed it to me. I made comment that it would help with the nursing to get that clipped… except they had little concept of nursing toddlers and thought i was a Nurse at the hospital, where i worked! They wouldn’t clip it… to tramatic, they said, not till he was eight,not helpful for BFing. He smashed his upper lip in a fall and tore his upper frenulum but which healed unevenly and painful for him. Dentist says i should still wait!

    I think i should become a lactation consultant!

  38. Thanks for this informative post! I am so glad to see that a IBCLC is blogging with evidence & clinical information for women! I love that professionals are coming to the table in their own words!

  39. I just had my son’s tongue and lip tie released after months of frustrating and painful nursing – culminating with constant biting and scraping once his teeth came in at 4 months.
    Thanks for sharing your story! Here’s mine: http://thelicatas.blogspot.com/2011/09/family-ties.html

  40. A quick follow-up comment! I got my tongue tie clipped two weeks ago, and only needed a few disolvable stitches. The oral surgeon was a little dubious, since he didn’t think clipping it would make much of a difference, but he was willing to do it. The whole produre took under fifteen minutes, and half of that time was waiting for the local to take hold. I didn’t feel a thing. Afterwards, I could move it better right away. I can now cup my tongue, reach back past the juncture of my hard and soft palate, double my tongue on itself to the floor of my mouth, and reach over and past my lower lip. My jaw feels more relaxed and my speech is clearer, too.

  41. Lovely! My 2nd was born tongue-tied with the typical heart shaped tongue. That is when I noticed it with her dad & he then told me his brother had been tongue tied & had to have something done, but wasn’t sure. Since nursing was going okay we waited. Even though she was tongue tied her frenulum was very stretchy. It stretched on its own. Her speech was never affected and she has lovely teeth & never needed braces. She is now 19 & can stick her tongue out, but not as far as the other kids. My youngest was much more tongue tied. It definitely affected his latch & nursing. He needed to nurse well as he weighed 9lbs 2ozs and was sharing his milk with his older twin sisters! He didn’t really get his tongue to the gums even and when he fussed his tongue didn’t go up much! I was going to talk to the mid-wives further about it at the next appt. We had already noticed it. Then I was bathing his sisters one night and he was beside me. They suddenly decided to have a loud water fight and splashed him & were screeching (in fun) before I had a chance to stop them or scoop him up. He severly startled and let out a blood curdling cry. I scooped him up and he was so upset he didn’t start breathing. I didn’t panic as his dad (as told by his mom) and his twin sisters (none of the others) did the same thing. As his lips turned purple I was getting concerned and gently blew air towards his face to get him to take a breath. As I looked closely I could see a drop of blood on the bottom of his tongue, by the frenulum. I looked closer. He had actually torn it! Well after he caught his breath & let out another scream I could see that he was now able to lift his tongue. His tongue now went just past his gums. When I took him into the mid-wives they had to laugh….”Hmmmm baby #7 knows you are busy so he fixed his tongue issue himself!” I said, “Well, with a lot of help from his sisters!” He has had no issues since, but like his dad & older sister, has a heart shaped tongue instead of a pointed one.

    The wonderful thing about you sharing your story is that your son is old enough to talk about the fact that it wasn’t painful, etc.

    I have recognized tongue tie in other babies having nursing issues. There are few Dr. that will do it, but I knew where & gave suggestions. The moms noted that breastfeeding went much better after the clipping. All were done when the babies were days old! None fussed much and breastfed again right away!

    Kerri

  42. This a great illustrative story. Thanks for sharing it. It will be interesting to hear about the effect the craniosacral therapy has on your son, as well. There is a new book on the subject that folks may find interesting called Tongue-tie: Morphogenesis, Impact, Assessment and Treatment available at aidanandevapress.com.

  43. Julie Larose says:

    My third child, my son, struggled with latching and popped on and off the breast a lot. He was worn and co-slept, and I have a naturally abundant milk supply, so there were no concerns about his weight at any point. His feeds were just messy and loud. I tried to look for a tongue-tie though I had never seen one before, and asked them to check in the hospital at birth, but they said there was no issue. He didn’t have the heart-shaped tongue.

    When he was nearly two month old, we went to visit my close friend who is a doctor and lactation consultant who has studied tongue-tie extensively at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. Our of habit, she checked his mouth and then asked if I knew he had a tongue tie. When I looked closer I saw what she meant, and brought it up at the next doctor’s appointment, where I was referred to a pediatrician who did out-patient procedures at my local hospital. That doctor was not pleased to do a tongue-tie on a baby “so old” because they are much stronger and more active and do not want to lie still. The nurse and i had to hold my son down for the clip, and he screamed at being held, but the clip was quick with only a few drops of blood. I nursed him right after and instantsy noticed a deeper latch and better seal. He still popped on and off for a while, likely out of habit, but nursed until he was nearly 4.

    As a postscript, he is now almost 5 and has been struggling with the “k” and “g” sound when speaking. A speech therapist showed us some tricks for placing then tongue back to make the sound. I do wonder whether it’s structurally related to the way his tongue was made, even though he had an early clip.

  44. THANKS for this! Fascinating as my 7 & 4 yr old are tied. 7yr old has no speech issues, 4yr old does plus terrible drool – can I find anyone to snip them? without GA (I’m in UK) NOPE!
    Can I ask – have they also recommended a palate extender for your son to help with overcrowding? I am looking into this with my DD (ie because the tongue no longer forms the palate at this age and hers is narrow)
    Thanks
    Charlie

    • Fleur (Nurtured Child) says:

      A palate extender hasn’t been suggested Charlie, but sounds like it would be interesting to look into! Sorry to hear that you can’t find anyone to clip for you. Our son’s procedure was so quick, certainly no need for general anesthetic.

  45. As a fellow IBCLC, I wanted to thank you for your blog post. Over half the babies coming to see me in private practice have oral restrictions such as ankyloglossia. I applaud parents and professionals that are speaking up about tongue tie. All too many breastfeeding relationships end prematurely to to undiagnosed tongue tie in my opinion. Keep up the good work!

  46. patricia says:

    my son is 3.5 and has a horrible tongue tie, currently he cannot stick his tongue out as far as your sons (pre op)…
    i thought about getting it cut, but he is very articulate… i did not know about teeth and jaw issues…
    we did breastfeed until he was 2 and self weaned… bf’ing was really difficult for us, i had no idea that was probably linked to his tongue tie, i never did formula though, but i had hour long bf’ing sessions… multiple ones that lasted forever…. he has always had trouble eating though, choking all the time when eating, i have read tongue tie can do that… have you noticed this in your son, and a difference afterwards?

    • Fleur (Nurtured Child) says:

      Hi Patricia,
      No issues with choking, but we often get complaints about his stomach hurting, and I’m wondering if that will change now his tongue tie has been released.

  47. Hi Fleur,

    I have a six week old with a tongue tie–he sounds very much like your son in that he has gained weight well, from eight pounds to twelve at his last weigh-in, but likely because I nurse him more frequently than I can count, for as long as he needs every time. I have feared the introduction of teeth for the reason you mentioned, and have been concerned about the orthodontic implications of maladaptive sucking patterns (tongue thrust, etc.) I have had a terrible time trying to get good information on the actual pros and cons of the procedure. This article has been the most informative I’ve read so far, and I will read those you’ve linked to. Thank you so much!

  48. My son is 27 months old. Our first IBCLC didn’t look for or find the tongue tie. I had a huge oversupply of milk so even with the tongue tie he got enough milk by just pressing on my breast. But he couldn’t keep the nipple in his mouth, I had to (and still do) hold it there or it would slip out. And it hurt a lot at times. The second IBCLC did find it and sent us to have it clipped, he was already 2 months old and a big hefty ~15 lb baby by then. We had it clipped 3 times – back then they didn’t know that we were supposed to do exercises to keep from adhesions, (in fact they told us not to touch the area) and it kept fusing back. In August that year the 2 biggest experts here in Israel went to a convention in the US about tongue ties and learned about exercising the tongue to prevent adhesions. Too late for us. My son’s tongue is better than it was at the beginning but still tied. I really wonder about if/when clipping him again. He’s only 2 and 3 months, I don’t know when one can diagnose speech impediments due to tongue tie…

  49. Fleur (Nurtured Child) says:

    Thanks for letting me know Alicia, I’ve fixed the link. πŸ™‚

  50. I can’t get this link to work:

    Congenital tongue-tie and itÒ€ℒs impact on breastfeeding by Elizabeth Coryllos, Catherine Watson Genna and Alexander C. Salloum (from the AAP newsletter Γ’β‚¬β€œ contains pictures and is great for sharing with your doctor)

  51. HI, My son was tongue -tied, my cousin caught it the day he was born, she is a nurse at the hospital. The doctors were so very hesitant to do the frenulotomy, and I mistakenly left the hospital without having this done. After he was slow to gain back his birth weight (it took almost the 3 weeks), and a lot of frustrating nursing sessions, I contacted my Dr. who referred us to an ear, nose, and throat Dr. to have the procedure done. It took just one second to snip, a little nursing and hugs and he was fine! I noticed the difference RIGHT AWAY! We nursed till he was 15 months, slowly weaning from 11- 15 months (mostly his choice).
    Oh we did make it through a crazy nursing strike somewhere between 9 and 10 months.
    But I do feel that if he had the tongue tie corrected earlier, I would have had a stronger milk supply, as he was not nursing strongly at the very beginning when it is so important to nurse nurse nurse!
    For some reason the Dr’s think it is an unnecessary procedure, but it actually is a very simple thing that could make a huge difference to you and your baby in your nursing journey. My advice is to get this done as soon as possible!

  52. I’m 65, an LC, and am nerving myself to phone an oral surgeon for an appointment to see have releasing my tongue tie. A casual remark from a dental hygenist at an orthodontic appointment made me aware that the underside of my tongue wasn’t quite normal. While explaining this to my sister who lives out of town, she said it hurts to raise her tongue. She never knew why! So frustrating. If I had known this runs in the family, I might have been looking at issues my children had with breastfeeding, opening their mouths wide for the dentist, swallowing pills easily, etc. I’m waiting to see if getting this fixed will have any effect on my sleep apnea, since I have read that tongue tie may cause sleep apnea in children, due to the mal-positioning of the soft tissue in the throat. You would think the speech pathologists and oral-motor specialists would educate the docs and dentists about this, but everyone seems to see their own speciality in isolation.

  53. Ironica says:

    Thanks for the article. My older son has a definite tongue tie. We didn’t realize it until he was nine months old, and we’d already addressed the various latch and biting issues we had (he nursed until he was five years old), so we’ve never clipped it. He has no obvious speech issues. His permanent bottom teeth are just now starting to grow in, though, and I don’t know if there will be problems there (he’s almost 7).

    So, I really appreciate your story, as we might go through the same thing! I’ve wondered how much harder the healing is or how much benefit they get from doing it at this later age, and the pictures and descriptions would be really helpful in preparing my son should we see benefit to it.

  54. My 5 yr old son is tongue-tied. I just found out at his 4 yr old well check. When the dr said it to me it was like a smack in the head kind of moment. It all made sense why I had such a hard time nursing him. I remember being in tears most of the time nursing. I would sit to nurse and curl my toes in pain. He was my first and I didn’t have a very good support system. I didn’t know a lot about breastfeeding. He was in the hostipal twice with dehydration and had low weight gain for the first two months but NOBODY ever checked him for it. So, after two months he was weaned to formula. Since then I have had two more babies and they have been wonderful nursers.

  55. Catherine says:

    Hi – my second child was tongue tied and we had it clipped when she was three. The speech issues were my clue that it needed to be done. Becuase I had my first two children very close together and my second two children close together she was able to nurse until she was about 2 1/2 the older and younger seemed to keep her nursing longer. I tandem nursed with the older two then with the second two. I noticed the speech improvements right away.

  56. My oldest son was born tongue tied. He couldn’t stick his tongue past his lips, and his tongue formed a deep “w”. He nursed successfully for 19 months, and I am thankful that we didn’t have any problems because of it. His was released when he was two, and we had such fun trying to get him to touch his tongue to his nose after it had healed. πŸ™‚

  57. Hi,
    I had never heard of babies being “tongue tied” I thought it was just an expression. Both of our boys were tongue tied. The first one was pretty severe but it took until he was 2 weeks old to get the procedure done. Nursing was so painful and he wasn’t able to get enough milk. Once we got it done the difference was amazing! The procedure was so simple. Our second son we had done at 3 days old because I had told the Dr how hard it was with our first son. I am glad your son’s procedure went well. He looks great!

  58. Awesome post! Thanks! I have four children and three of them have been tongue tied. Two of them have been clipped – one at 8 hours old and the other around 2 weeks old (He was in the NICU and they said they “don’t do that there” gah!) My fourth one seemed to stretch/snap his on his own at about a week, but his was by far the least restricting of the three.

  59. Fleur (Nurtured Child) says:

    Hi Ginny, I’m tongue tied also, and I will likely have mine released in the near future. Do you notice any negative effects from yours?

  60. Hi Fleur,
    I’m 42 and I have been thinking about having my tongue-tie divided.

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