Tongue-tie is a problem that occurs in babies who have a tight piece of skin between the underside of their tongue and the floor of their mouth.
Before the twins were born, a friend advised me to make sure that they were checked for tongue tie as newborns due to the potential impact on feeding. Before we were discharged from hospital, I asked the midwife to check and was told that they were both fine. No other checks were made after that time despite little man having initial feeding difficulties.
At around seven weeks, I noticed that Little Man was not poking his tongue out compared to his sister who was constantly doing it. The thought came to me one day that he might have tongue tie and lo and behold, he did!
I took him to the health visitors clinic the following week and it was confirmed that he did have a tongue tie with the classic heart shaped position of the tongue where the centre is pulled down. I was told that had I been breastfeeding (wasn’t allowed due to medical reasons), we would have been referred straight to the hospital to have it snipped. As I wasn’t, I was told to see my GP who told me to take Little Man back to see her when he was six months old.
At five months, I took him back to the GP as there had been no improvement and I was concerned about the impact of his limited tongue movement on weaning. The GP agreed to refer him to see a consultant who we saw in December 2013 when Little Man was six months old. He advised that the tongue was not as severe as we thought it was as Little Man was able to reach his bottom lip with his tongue but he couldn’t and still can’t move it past his lips. He told us that whilst it would not impact his eating, it would, if not treated:
– cause him to have a lisp
– impact his dental hygiene as he wouldn’t be able to get his tongue to his back teeth to remove food
– would mean that he would not be able to use his tongue as an adult in intimate situations
The consultant was not impressed that we were not referred when Little Man was eight weeks old as the resection would have been a simple procedure.
However, due to Little Man’s age, he will require a general anaesthetic. The consultant was clear that he was not impressed with how the matter had been managed, stating that it was “bullshit” and “no child should be less worthy of treatment just because of the way they are fed”. The plan now is to combine the tongue tie division with other surgery that Little Man to have so he only has to have one GA.
A petition has been started to introduce mandatory checking of tongue ties in postnatal checks. Please sign:
Thank you x