Having a new baby can be challenging enough, without feeding issues. Here I share my experience with lip and tongue ties.
What Are Lip and Tongue Ties?
A lip tie is a condition where the skin of the lip is attached to the gums. It limits the range of motion of the lip. A tongue tie is when the lingual frenulum (a piece of tissue) attached the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. This limits the range of motion of the tongue.
Symptoms of Lip and Tongue Ties
Two of my five children were born with tongue ties. For my oldest, it was apparent at birth that she had a tongue tie. The bottom of her tongue was pulled so tight that there was a heart shape to it. Even though they were aware at birth, the hospital chose not to treat it immediately. They sent us home, where we struggled with eating. Instead of sucking, she seemed to be gulping. This was causing her to get excess air, which caused colic and gas. More importantly, it caused her to vomit almost everything she ate. She wasn’t gaining weight and because she wasn’t actually retaining anything, she was always hungry. Since she was always throwing up, though, she was always uncomfortable. She wouldn’t sleep, and it was a generally rough start.
My youngest was born with a lip and tongue tie. Hers was not obvious at birth, however. The symptoms were pretty similar for her though, but to a lesser degree. She was vomiting a lot, but not after every bottle, and not the entire bottle.
Potential Complications of Lip and Tongue Ties
There is some disagreement among doctors about whether or not to correct a tongue tie. Sometimes, The lingual frenulum with stretch over time and limit the symptoms. If it doesn’t however, your child can develop dental problems, trouble with speech, or dietary issues as it may be too difficult for them to eat certain foods, or even use certain utensils. The complications for lip ties are the same. Tongue ties can also cause issues with tongue related activities such as licking, playing instruments, or kissing.
With my oldest, the tongue tie was diagnosed at birth. As her feeding issues because more severe, we were referred to a pediatric ear, nose and throat specialist. With our youngest, our pediatrician listened to my concerns about feeding, and upon exam, suspected that a lip and tongue tie were both present. She then referred us to a pediatric dentist. This dentist did an exam, and told us everything was normal. We continued to struggle with feedings for a few more months. Our doctor encouraged me to get a second opinion, which I did, and the second dentist confirmed that a lip and tongue tie were both present.
My daughters both had their tongue ties corrected, and my youngest had her lip tie corrected as well. However, both tongue ties were treated differently. With my oldest, she had the lingual frenulum snipped in her ENT’s office. It was a simple procedure and recovery was minimal. With my youngest, she had the frenulum and the lip tie separated with a laser. For her, recovery was a bit more involved. For her, there were stretching exercises that needed to be preformed every 3 hours, even over night, for two months. I’m not sure if that was because the procedure was done differently, or because she was several months older than my older daughter was when hers was corrected. Both girls have healed well, and currently have no issues related to these.
For more information about lip ties, check here.
For more information about tongue ties, check here.