How to treat tongue-tie in babies

Alison Tyler investigates tongue-tie in babies and looks at the best tongue-tie treatments

At least one in ten babies are born with a tongue-tie, where the piece of skin that connects the underneath of the tongue to the base of the mouth is too tight, causing some babies problems with breastfeeding or to take in too much air when bottle feeding

mother baby tongue-tie

The sooner it is diagnosed the less discomfort you, and your baby, will suffer. Getting the tight skin un-tied is a quick, simple procedure, called a frenectomy. Most hospitals will want you to be referred by a midwife, health visitor or GP, which can take a week or two and some will only treat breastfed babies, while private clinics can see your baby and treat them instantly for between £100 and £200.

The Association of Tongue-tie Practitioners was set up last year to increase awareness about the condition and to support parents of babies with tongue-tie. Their website, www.tongue-tie.org.uk, has a directory of private and NHS clinics that offer tongue-tie division.

Dr Peter Reynolds is a Neonatal Consultant at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals in Surrey who specialises in tongue-tie (01932 722678). Babies can be referred by a health professional, or you can also see him privately by contacting his PA on 01932 723499. His website is a mine of information on the subject and can help you to decide whether your baby has the symptoms associated with tongue-tie.
 
Marion Copeland and Kate Battersby are Infant Feeding Specialist Midwives and lactation consultants at Southmead Hospital in Bristol (0117 323 3527), who accept NHS referrals for breastfeeding babies up to 12 weeks old. They will also see clients privately.
 
Mr Shailesh Patel, a Consultant Paediatric Surgeon at Kings College Hospital, Camberwell, London (020 3299 3350) now runs three clinics a week due to demand, referral is for breastfed babies only, through your health visitor, GP or midwife. Meanwhile St Georges Hospital in Tooting, London, has a rapid-access tongue-tie clinic every Monday – contact Catherine Milroy, Consultant Plastic Surgeon (020 8725 0007).
 
In Manchester, Mr Patrick Sheehan, Consultant Paediatric ENT Surgeon sees breastfed and bottle-fed babies with no age limit at the New Royal Manchester General Hospital and Manchester General Hospital Children’s Unit (0161 701 5039). Parents can go through their local healthcare provider or they also ask for a private patient appointment.

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