I am very pleased to have been invited to write on this blog, and to promote it to others in the UK. I am a retired midwife and former International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) with experience of treating tongue-tie.
After many years of frustration in the UK, when lactation consultants and others trying to get help for tongue-tied babies wrote many articles and reports, and undertook research, in 2005 the National Health Service recommended frenulotomy for breastfeeding problems associated with tongue-tie (ankyloglossia). It is now much easier for tongue-tied babies to be treated in the UK, although there can be long delays which jeopardize breastfeeding.
Of particular international importance is research by lactation consultants Carolyn Westcott and Monica Hogan with Mr Mervyn Griffiths of Southampton hospital. You can read about it here: click to follow link, and the NHS guidance here: click to follow link. (We hope the guidance will be extended to include bottle-feeding problems, which many of us have encountered.) At present, King’s College Hospital in South London is undertaking research into posterior tongue-tie, a rarer presentation and much harder to treat and resolve, as the tie is partly or wholly submucous, and may not even be seen (though it can be felt), and the tongue often appears shortened.
The UK Baby Friendly Initiative has a list of places where tongue-tie can be divided. click to follow link. Lactation Consultants of Great Britain website has details of LCs offering a private frenulotomy service: click to follow link
I would like to commend for reading IBCLC Catherine Watson Genna’s Supporting Sucking Skills: click to follow link. Ultrasound films by Peter Hartmann’s colleagues show very clearly the disruption of tongue movement when ankyloglossia is present. The research is here: click to follow link.
A Facebook page called ‘Tongue Tie Babies Support Group’ has recently been set up: click for Facebook page, or, from your Facebook page, go to “search” and write ‘tongue tie babies’.
I have written a light-hearted book on breastfeeding called Fit to Bust- a comic treasure chest, in support of Baby Milk Action (the UK arm of IBFAN. click to follow link), which includes two songs about tongue-tie. You can read about my book and a story of a mother with two tongue-tied children (Polly – a Strong faith) on my website.
Let’s continue to share these stories and information to ensure that parents, maternity and paediatric health care staff understand this condition, so that all babies with tongue-tie and feeding problems can be treated quickly.
Alison Blenkinsop, Aldershot, UK http://www.linkable.biz/