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Tongue Tie Assistance

Through the training I have done and exposure to a great many babies with a myriad of feeding issues, I am well qualified to assess for tongue tie. I can provide exercises to help with oral dysfunction and will help you find solutions so you can continue on your breastfeeding journey. 


Tongue Tie and Oral Dysfunction

A tongue-tie or Ankyloglossia is caused by a short or tight membrane under the tongue – this is known as a lingual frenulum. It occurs as a result of incomplete cell division between the tongue and the floor of the mouth around the seventh week of gestation. Around 1:7 babies will have some sort of tongue tie and it is more prevalent in boys (2:1) and can occur in more than one family member. Research suggests that approximately 1 in 10 babies may be born with some membrane under the tongue. But only about half of those babies display significantly reduced tongue function, making breast or bottle feeding difficult.

An anterior tongue tie is easily visible and may cause the tongue to have a heart shape. You can easily see the string of tissue that holds the tongue in place to the floor of the mouth.

Some are tethered further back and can often be missed at the first newborn examination. It may only be when feeding difficulties arise that the tongue tie is noticed.

Some classic signs of a tethered tongue are: a flattened tongue; one that doesn’t lift up fully to the roof of the mouth, (this is particularly noticeable when the baby cries); a tongue appears more square shaped; the centre of the tongue may dip or rise up; the sides can curl upwards; the tongue may not protrude beyond the lower lip. 

Image:, Antoni Shkraba

Image by Luiza Braun

Difficulties with Breastfeeding for baby may/may not include the following;

  • Difficulty staying attached to the breast

  • Poor weight gain

  • Prolonged jaundice

  • Fractured frequent feeds

  • Baby feeding ‘all the time’

  • Baby appearing unsatisfied after a feed

  • Restless whilst feeding (can appear agitated)

  • Head-rocking or waving on approaching the breast for a feed

  • Noisy clicking or lip noise whilst feeding

  • Dribbling of milk during a feed

  • Falling asleep prematurely during a feed

  • Multiple attempts at latching or maintaining latch

  • Whiteness on the tongue that remains long after a feed

  • Reflux like symptoms (coughing, back arching, hiccups, vomiting)

Difficulties with Breastfeeding for mother may include;

  • Distortion and or compression of the nipples resulting in pain, damage, loss of tissue

  • Incomplete milk transfer by baby resulting in engorgement and/or mastitis

  • Poor initiation and maintenance of maternal milk supply

The presence alone of a visible, posterior or sub-mucosal (hidden/posterior Tongue-Tie) is not an indicator for treatment with Frenotomy.

Tongue mobility is the critical factor that affects Breastfeeding. Exercises to optimise this mobility should always be a first step, alongside support from an osteopath or craniofacial expert for ‘body work’. To help release any tension in the face, neck or body.

Baby's Hand

Oral dysfunction.

Oral dysfunction is when an infant cannot freely move the muscles in the mouth and oral area. It can present in many ways but some symptoms in an older baby/toddler are:

  • Facial asymmetry

  • Dribbling when feeding

  • Mouth breathing

  • Snoring

  • Elongated face

  • Difficulty with chewing and swallowing (easily choking)


The causes maybe from amongst other things tension, tongue, lip or buccal ties, airway obstruction (eg.large tonsils) or oral formation (eg. High arched palate).

Bodywork needs to be carried out in conjunction with any tongue/lip or buccal tie correction procedures.

If you suspect your infant may have a tongue tie or oral dysfunction make an appointment for an assessment.

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