Having trouble breastfeeding is a common issue for newborns. Often, practice, time and occasional help from a lactation consultant is enough to fix it. But you may notice that some symptoms don’t go away, and that your baby has trouble moving their tongue. This could be a sign that it’s “tied.” Tongue-tie (or ankyloglossia) refers to a tight band of tissue underneath the tip of the tongue that restricts its movement.
However, tongue-tie doesn’t necessarily require treatment. Pediatrician Brian Cress on the For Health’s Sake podcast explains: “Some people believe that over time, that tight band will stretch out,” he said. “Others aren’t sure about that. There are no long term studies showing what the natural course of tongue-tie is.”
During our conversation, Dr. Cress explained both what it means for a child if their tongue-tie gets treated, and what it means if it doesn’t. This episode also covers:
- Tongue-tie symptoms in babies and older children
- How tongue-tie affects speech
- Tongue-tie surgery methods
- Whether tongue-tie goes away
Know your options
If your child is diagnosed with tongue-tie, it’s your decision whether to treat it or not. Dr. Cress recommends working with a lactation consultant or an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor to help. They can evaluate your child’s specific situation, offer professional recommendations and answer any questions you may have.