A tongue-tie, also known as short frenulum and ankyloglossia, is a result of the frenulum (the tissue that connects the bottom of your tongue to the floor of your mouth) being too short and tight which restricts movement of the tongue. Tongue-ties are often hereditary.  The condition affects between 0.2% and 2% of newborns. A tongue-tie can affect your baby’s ability to successfully breastfeed or take a bottle/pacifier.

Types of tongue-tie

There are 4 different types of tongue-ties. They are classified according to where the frenum is attached.

Class 1 ties are attached to the very tip of the tongue. This is the most classic heart-shaped tongue-tie. Many healthcare professional believe Class 1 ties represent the only “true” tongue-tie.

Class 2 ties are considered to be an anterior tongue-tie and are a little further behind the tip of the tongue.

Class 3 ties are considered to be posterior and are closer to the base of the tongue.

Class 4 ties lack a thin membrane. This type of tongue-tie can be commonly missed. The front and side of the tongue is mobile but movement in the mid-tongue section is restricted.

Tongue-tie and breastfeeding

Babies who are tongue-tied often have issues with properly latching to the breast. This not only causes pain to the mother, but also can interfere with the breast being fully drained leading to supply issues and in severe cases breast infections. A frenotomy can be performed by an ENT, dentist, or some specialized pediatricians.

This procedure would remove or cut the frenulum which would release the tongue and allow for full mobility.  Some parents decide not to have the frenotomy done because they are worried about it being painful and traumatic to their infant.  Some infants do figure out ways to compensate with the tie and are able to breastfeed well enough to appropriately gain weight without causing too much pain to the mother.

Consult with a lactation consultant

It is recommend to work with a certified lactation consultant before and especially after a frenotomy. A lactation consultant can offer you the support you will need to keep your baby sufficiently fed while also maintaining your milk supply in the process. They can also teach you helpful exercises that will help strengthen and stretch your baby’s newly “released” tongue.

Consider a breast pump

If you are experiencing issues with latching and breastfeeding, a breast pump may be helpful.  A breast pump will allow you to keep your milk supply up and also allow your baby to receive the appropriate amount of nutrients.  As of 2012, most insurances cover breastfeeding support and supplies under the Affordable Care Act. Aeroflow Breastpumps would like to help you qualify for your insurance approved breast pump! To begin, just fill out our qualify form online.

Our Breastpump Specialists will work directly with your insurance company and healthcare provider and will contact you within 3-5 business days to discuss your pump options and shipment date. Let Aeroflow Breastpumps help you in your breastfeeding journey. Qualify for your free pump today!