Tongue-tied, Frenulum (Ankyloglossia)
Berkeley Parents Network >
Advice about Health >
Tongue-tied, Frenulum (Ankyloglossia)
Our pediatrician diagnosed our 6 mth old son as having a short frenullum or
being tongue-tied. Since then, I've noticed he doesn't stick his tongue
out past his lower lip because he can't; other babies his age do this a
I'd like to know if anyone has had their baby's frenullum clipped and what
that experience was like. Any downsides? We have Kaiser Oakland healthcare.
Any experience with the frenullum-clipping doctors there?
Thanks in advance!
I'm a hospital pediatrician who frequently sees newborns with short
will often perform a frenotomy if the baby is having difficulty with the
breastfeeding latch, but other than that I usually recommend a
approach. Some kids with a very short frenulum may have some speech issues
on, but some do just fine. The procedure itself is very simple, with
and bleeding (at least in newborns), but for a 6-month-old baby you
want someone with a good amount if experience. I don't know who this might
Kaiser Oakland, but perhaps you're pediatrician would if that's the route
to take. My advice would be, if the short frenulum is not affecting the
quality of life and weight gain is adequate, to just see what happens with
development. The procedure can be performed at any age, and literally
than 2 minutes.
Our son was tongue-tied when he was born - his tongue didn't lift up when
cried, and breastfeeding was excruciating, as well as ineffecient. On the
recommendation of our midwife and a pediatrician, we had him ''clipped''
was about two weeks old. (This was in Canada, so I can't recommend a ped
it.) It was a painless procedure, they didn't even need to use anesthetic.
cried, more from the shock of being held still with his mouth open, and
some blood, but it really seemed a painless procedure. Basically, we did
because we were told that if he needed to have it done as an adult, or as
child, then the nerve cluster under the tongue would have been developed
and a) it
would be very painful and b) could cause further damage. So the younger,
better. In any case, it's been almost two years later, and I can't say
noticed any problems with his clipped tongue since. My husband, who is the
who's tongue-tied (it's genetic, appar!
ently), wishes now that his parents had done it for him when he was a
Anyway, good luck in finding a ped you're comfortable with, but as I said,
really is a very simple procedure. For us, it took about ten minutes, and
in and out in under a day, and our baby was fine within a couple of hours.
baby's no longer tongue-tied
My son had the same trouble with the frenulem, and I got mixed advice
clipping it. When it became obvious that it was affecting his ability to
properly and making him frustrated, we had it clipped at a dental
biggest downside, which was short-lived, was that he had a sore frenulem
couple of days. If I had it to do over again, I would have had it done
was younger (he was three when we had the operation performed). In any
might want to find an oral-maxillofacial (AKA, dental) surgeon to do the
My daughter is the same way, has a short tongue. She is 16 years old and
made a bit of difference, except that when she sticks her tongue out at
anger, it's not quite as effective! I would do nothing, unless your son
or something like that.
Hi Claudia -
My son who was born in Jan 2006 was diagnosed with a short frenullum.
for us it was caught within a few days of his birth (not by the on staff
pediatrician at CPMC but by our pediatrician in Berkeley). So at one
week old I
took him to have it clipped at Oakland Children's Hospital. He is my
and my husband couldn't go with me for the procedure. I was sooo nervous
was really no big deal, very minor. I held him, they cut under his
tongue and it
was all over in seconds. He cried for a short time and I fed him and that
that. I was much more upset by anxiety than my son was by the procedure.
now 2 and he can definitely stick his tongue out (ah, the terrible twos).
time we were on Cinga health insurance (we’re a Kaiser Oakland family now
I found out after he was diagnosed that this runs in my husband's family.
mother-in-law had her son's short frenullum's clipped as well with no
Good luck and if you want any other info shoot me an email -
At the hospital, right after my son was born, a nurse told us he was
''tongue-tied'', which sounded like a death sentence to us new parents.
else we talked to said there was nothing to worry about- that even if his
was a little short, it usually worked itself out as they got older. We
nothing, and he's a perfectly normal 9 year old who has never had a
speaking or anything else involving his tongue. However, I've heard the
isn't such a big deal if you decide to go that way. But in the meantime,
a second opinion. No point in putting him or yourselves through anything
not completely necessary. I also don't think there's any hurry in doing
procedure- you could actually wait until his language and pronunciation is
important, maybe around age 3.
My son is tongue tied. He can stick his tongue out enough to have
it sit on his lower lip. He says a lot of words and phrases but
only a few words clearly. He has no problems eating, sings and
hums and plays and ''talks'' just fine, he is just hard to
He had his 2 year well check recently and the doctor said that if
we were concerned about his speech, he should be tested by a
speech pathologist, specifically through our school district. But
she also said that children at his age, especially boys will
speak like this sometimes and gradually grow out of it naturally.
I have nephews who did this, they are not tongue tied but their
speech was incomprehensible to me. And now, at age 5 and up,
their speech is very clear and articulate.
I would really appreciate hearing from parents whose children are
- Did you get your child tested for speech problems?
- How long did you wait before you did this?
- Did speech therapy help your child?
- Did you get the tongue tie surgically corrected?
- If you did not get your child tested, how did he/she do? Does
he/she speak clearly now?
- Did you feel like he/she would have had less problems had you
had her/him tested earlier?
- Any other issues that you can address.
Thank you so much
One of my twins was born tongue-tied. At virtually every dr.
appointment, I would ask the pediatrician about it, but he
always pushed it off, saying we should wait until his speech
was more developed. I continued to ask what the harm would be
in having it clipped, and he really never expressed any
I thought my son was starting to pronounce some words
differently (e.g. would drop middle consonents in his words
like ''Dayee'' instead of ''Daddy'', ''Buyyer'' instead of
''Butter'', etc.), he couldn't lick an ice cream cone, and
concerns about 'intimacy' for him many years down the road
entered my mind on his behalf.
Finally when my boys turned 4, I insisted on getting the names
of an ENT from my pediatrician. He gave me 2. One thought it
would be 'traumatic' doing it at the age of 4 (thought I should
have done it sooner, or wait so he would be less afraid???) and
the other was Dr. Robert Wesman at Children's Hospital.
Not only was Dr. Wesman, calm, attentive and informative (ok,
he's pretty darn handsome, too!), he also told me he'd perfomed
the surgery nearly 1,000 times! Right there at the appt. he
said, ''Let's just do it!'' and all my years of questioning and
inquiring ended. The 'clipping' took all of 15 seconds. My
son sat in my lap, Dr. Wesman applied some numbing solution and
While I nearly fainted, my newly 'untied' son turned to me and
said, ''I was so brave mom. Can I get a toy?'' And THAT WAS IT!
I encourage you to contact Dr. Wesman and get his assessment of
your child's condition. I am only sorry I waited so long to
insist. I finally did because a friend of mine didn't and both
her boys required speech therapy to correct what could have
possibly been prevented had they had their tongues clipped.
Mom to three boys, all of whom can lick ice cream cones!
My husband had tongue-tie and had speech problems which he learned to
compensate for by using his tongue against the side of his mouth instead of his
palette. However, when he was a teenager he began to feel very self-conscious
about french kissing, and since this was something he did not feel comfortable
discussing with his parents, he got a knife, took a shot of whisky, and cut it
He said it didn't hurt too much and he was glad he did it. So that goes to show
speech is not the only long-term complication to consider, and your child may be
too shy to discuss it with you as a teenager. When our son was born tongue-tied,
we got it snipped so he won't have to go through what my husband did. We waited
a year, by which time he had to go under general anesthesia for 15 minutes, but
we're glad we did. He's still nursing at 17 months and his latch on greatly
(after a few days of him not wanting to nurse at all because it felt different). I
want him to have to relearn to speak correctly so that's why I wanted to do it
his speech began to develop.
My daughter is almost 2 months olds and refuses to take the bottle. We first
introduced the bottle when she was 3 weeks old. After a few minor battles, she
actually drank from it quite well for about 2-3 weeks. Now, however, she is
absolutely fighting us. It's very stressful because I will be returning to work in about
2months. I also need to mention that she is tongue-tied. The skin that attaches
the tongue to the bottom of her mouth is elongated. I've been told that this may
inhibit her from comfortably sucking on a nipple. My oldest is also tongue-tied and
he didn't have a problem with our bottles of choice. It just baffles me that she once
took it willingly but now screams in our faces. We are currently using Advent
bottles? I would appreciate any suggestions regarding what to do. Thanks in
My daughter was the same way - exactly! The bad news is that she NEVER took to a bottle again. The good news is that she started drinking from a sippy cup at 5 months old. She still hasn't perfected it at 9 months but she can do it and get fluids.
We tried every single bottle, every single position, every single time, every single liquid, every single temperature, every single person and nothing worked. She just would not go fo rit. But, in the end, I think it made life easier because now we won't have to wean from the bottle, which took a long time with our older girl. Good luck.
I am a lactation consultant who is also a mother of baby born tongue tied.
I would urge you to look into having your baby's freunulum cut. The procedure is simple and easy while your baby is young, though pediatricians are often under educated about how they can effect feeding.
We took my son to an oral surgeon. Once she established the tongue tie, she gave him a pacifier dipped in sugar water, grabbed his tongue with a some gauze, injected just a bit of lidocaine, then snipped it. After holding someone gauze on the cut for a moment, she was done.
My son was nursing in 1 minute after we were done. We saw improvement in his weight that very week.
The benefit to doing it now, as opposed to waiting is that waiting can cause health
issues- as baby may not be able to adequating drain a breast or bottle, there can be speech issues, and it's a more complicated procedure to do once the child gets
older- often times involving general anesthesia.
As far as bottles go, I have 2 suggestions, go with a plastic bottle such as gerber that you can sort of squeeze to help the flow. Or make sure that you use a nipple with a larger hole to allow the milk/formula to come out easier.
My four year old son has a short frenulum (skin underneath
tongue) also called tongue tied, which is believed to not enable
him to talk at his level. I have heard that the procedure is
controversial and would like to know of any success stories or
horror stories if any? I don't know much about it but am willing
to do anything to get a handle on his speech delay. Although I
don't want to jump into. I can see how his short frenulum would
make words sound different; I held my tongue close to my lower
mouth and tried to say words he says and it definately sounds
like his words. Could these be two separate issues? His
pronunciation of words with this short frenulum or just a
typical speech delay?? Please offer any bit of knowledge or
We had our son's frenulum clipped at 10 days, as he was really
struggling with nursing. It made a huge difference in his
ability to nurse. We got a lot of pushback from docs about this--
they are not fans of the procedure, but finally my pediatrician
agreed that it might be a problem, and we found a great doc in
Orinda who did the procedure. Now obviously with a four year old
your situation is different, but one of my reasons for going
through with the procedure was that I was sure it would be a
problem for learning to talk--with our little guy his tongue
basically 'forked' when he tried to push it past his lips. I'm
really glad we had it done, and at least on a baby it was a very
simple procedure. If you really think it's impacting his speech
I would give serious consideration to having the procedure done.
I am not sure from your posting if your pediatrician has raised
concerns about your son's frenulum and his speech development
and whether or not you have already seen a surgeon. I will
assume that you have made this posting because a medical
specialist has advised you to consider this surgery and you have
more questions and concerns.
I am a plastic surgeon in practice in Berkeley. I worked
exclusively at Childrens' Hospital when I first went into
practice and have seen this problem frequently. The procedure
to release the frenulum is very straight forward and quick. It
probably will take about 20 minutes, can be done as an
outpatient, will be done with stitches that dissolve, so your
son will not be traumatized by having to have stitches removed
in the office, and involves making what is called a ''z-plasty''
to increase the length of the frenulum and allow the tongue to
move freely. Because your son is only four, this procedure
would have to be done under general anesthesia as most four year
olds would be too frightened to have someone operating on them
while they were awake. Most parents are very concerned about
anesthesia, but it is really safe.
I am not a speech pathologist, so I cannot offer advise on
whether or not this will help your son's speech, but if the
procedure has been recommended to you by professionals who have
evaluated your son, you should not be afraid of the procedure
itself. It is quick, safe with minimal complications. If it
will help your son, don't be scared to do it.
Elizabeth Slass Lee, MD
I am looking for advice from someone who's infant has had
Ankyloglossia (the bottom of the tongue is attached to the bottom
of the mouth by a thin piece of skin, the frenulum). My child's
pediatrician says to leave it alone and if down the road a speech
impediment develops, then we would deal with it. I am concerned
that if the speech impediment is allowed to develop, it may be a
problem getting over it. I am breastfeeding successfully.
My son had the same thing and our pediatrician was not
concerned, but I was. Finally at age 4 I persuaded him to give
me the names of some ENTs. Dr. Robert Wesman at Children's
Hospital performed the 10 second procedure without a peep from
my child, who turned to me and asked for a toy as a reward for
It's so not a big deal, I don't know why the drs. are reluctant
to have it done. I conduct workshops for new mothers of twins,
and I see this every now and then.
My son didn't seem to have speech issues, but couldn't lick an
ice cream cone either!
We're so happy we did it. It's painless. Be your child's
advocate and look into it if you have concerns.
I had an attached tongue, and had the frenulum cut and
stitched when I was five or six years old. By then I had a
rather obvious speech impediment: a lisp, and I
pronounced ''v'' and ''f'' sounds with a ''th'' sound. My parents
always understood me, but I had a lot of difficulty in new
situations. Years of speech therapy followed the snipping
and I still have a hard time with the words ''even though'',
''father'', and ''feather''. Whenever I say ''ethen though'' in a
professional situation, no one notices, but I usually blush
and cringe a little. The snippping and stitching was so
painless (our family dentist did it) but the frustration with
speech was a real drag. my sister opted to cut the frenulum
on her infant son when it looked debatably short, mostly to
avert a fate similar to mine. hope this helps.
Please do not worry about your baby's tongue yet.
We were at a friend's house and she was playing with my son, and
said, 'oh my gosh, he's tongue-tied!' I hadn't even thought
about it and never noticed it. I looked and whaddyaknow.. he
I decided not to worry about it yet.
I have a very small, short tongue - small jaw in general. On a
smaller scale, I think my tongue would look attached as well..
as in, when I was a baby.
A month or two ago (my son is 12 months now) I looked at it
again and he appears to no longer have an attached tongue. I
think it was just the size of it making it look worse than it
was. He seems to be growing out of it, so to speak.
I have no speech problems at all. My son is talking and has
always nursed like a pro.
Please, please do not worry about it yet. I have done research
and most of it says that it is usually not an issue and does not
need to be cut. I don't believe in 'preemptive strikes' on a
thing like this.
I had the condition and so did my daughter. When I was young
doctors always operated. On my daughter, doctors kept telling
me to wait. By age 1, I could detect a slight speech
impairment as a result of her not obtaining the VERY simple
procedure to free up her tongue. It took me a year to get the
docs to schedule the procedure. Now at 5 I am taking her for
pre-kindergarden speech assessment/therapy (people who don't
know think she talks with an accent). Her speech patterns are
only discernably different, but I hear them. The tongue is a
very necessary organ - why the medical community currently
finds it fashionable to leave someone tongue impaired escapes
my understanding. My daughter shows her appreciation to me
every day for fighting for her procedure by engaging in full
utilization of her tongue (which she loves to extend beyond her
mouth - something she could not do before.)
My brother has that, and he is now 23. He has never had any
speech problems and is very well adjusted. He can argue and
debate with the best of them. He is a graduate from Yale in
philosophy and is now in the Peace Corp. As far as we're all
concerned, it's just a conversation piece. The only thing I ever
wondered about was kissing...??? he he he. I'll have to ask him
about that. :)
attached tongue's sister
My daughter had this at birth as well. At the time our
pediatrician suggested that we watch and monitor it, that most
of the time the little piece under the tongue stretched enough
to not require anything further, in a very few cases it had to
be clipped but he had only done one in 15 years of practice.
Other than having a bit of trouble sticking out her tongue (not
something infants do purposely), things resolved themselves
completely. She is now 13, eats and speaks and manages to stick
her tongue out just fine. So as long as feeding, and eventually
speaking is not a problem, I'd suggest watching and waiting.
My son was born ''tongue tied'' (what they apparently still call it
when the frenulum is attached to or near the tip of the tongue)
and he was having a lot of trouble properly latching on to breast
feed. This was causing both of us a *lot* of distress, and I
found my doctors to be totally un-helpful (they said just wait
and see what happens and if there are speech problems later then
they'll deal with them then, which seemed completely unacceptible
to me -- why let something become a problem and then have to deal
with TWO issues, the frenulum *and* a speach impediment?). When
he tried to stick his tongue out, the frenulum pulled the tip
back, making him almost appear fork-tongued! I wanted my son to
be able to lick an ice cream cone, french kiss (someday, no
rush), stick out his tongue, etc.
My midwife said the frenulum has no nerve endings in it and
midwives of old who helped birth tongue-tied babies used to just
''snip'' the frenulum with their fingernails. (!) I didn't think I
was up to that so she suggested that many pediatric dentists will
do it, however the one we saw said she wouldn't do it without
being able to put the child under general anesthesia (!!!) and
she wasn't willing to do that to a baby (I wasn't either). At
that point I was really wondering what the big deal was -- people
perform routine circumcision without general anesthia and this
part of the mouth supposedly has no nerve endings, so what's the
When I was exhausted, despairing and kinda at the end of my rope,
my saint of a midwife said she'd snip it for us. She'd never
done it but she was game to do it anyway. She talked to other
midwives who had snipped frenulums and felt comfortable with it.
I held my infant son, his father helf his little arms and she
got right in there with a little pair of sterile surgical
scissors and snip! My boy seemed more upset about being held
down and having his mouth held open than anyting else, there was
one teensy drop of blood, he latched right on to nurse and was
fine literally two seconds later.
After that, every time he stuck his tongue out we were so happy,
''Go Gene Simmons!'' I can't speak for your child but I know it
was the right decision for us and I've never regretted it
(especially as it seemed about as complicated as clipping a toe
Hi, My 5 1/2 year old son has an attached tongue. I was also
worried about it when he was a newborn. However, it hasn't
been a problem at all. It stretches out thru the years, and
although it won't be totally unattached when he's grown, it is
He doesn't notice it. His speach is totally normal. The only
way you'd or anyone would notice is if he opened his mouth &
lifted up his tongue! I think if you're worried, get a second
opinion and find out the risks & benefits to either decision.
As, I think there are risks (and perhaps pain) to the procedure
I'm happy we let it be.
Are you talking about your child being tongue tied? If so, I
would not worry. A good friend of mine has a daughter who was
born with this condition. My friend is a pediatric nurse
practitioner and was not worried. They did nothing and her
daughter is now 4 and has no problems with speech or anything
My son was born with a heart-shaped tongue as well. You know, it
is genetic! I have a short tongue and have never had any speech
issues. My son is now 21 months and beginning speech. Things
sound normal to me. If he has stretched it naturally, I haven't
noticed a significant change....
He successfully nurses and has from the start! My ped advised
against it until we determine speech issues as well. Since he
successfully nursed, we have decided to wait and I am glad we
did, as I don't want to do anything unless it's necessary. You
have to do what feels right to you!
On the side, I have a friend with two brothers, all had the
frenulum issue. Her oldest brother had the surgery when he was
young. She was left alone. Her other brother ripped it on his
own as a toddler. They all speak fine.
I just ran your question by my sister as my sweet little niece
was just born with the same problem about six weeks ago. She
had the tongue detached, but the baby had some problems
latching on when breastfeeding. The doctor said that she may
have a lisp as a result, but it was better to handle the issue
early rather than when the child was older.
When my son was a year old, we had his 'tongue-tie' looked at,
and the doctor we spoke to said the same thing yours did, but
he also said if it were his own child, that he would go ahead
with the procedure then. We followed his advice, and he did it
right there in his office with a local anesthetic. It took
about 5 minutes, and our little guy did cry quite a bit, but I
think more out of fear than anything else. I'm sure it was raw
underneath afterwards, so the doctor said not to give him
anything too acidic to eat for a day or two, like tomato sauce
or OJ. But he also said that when he does the procedure to 5
and 6 year olds, they say the pain is minimal and doesn't last
long at all.
I recommend getting it done now if you're up to it, and I agree
that it doesn't seem right to wait for the speech impediment to
develop first. Good luck deciding what to do.
FYI- the doctor we saw has an office at Children's Hospital,
and his name is Dr. Robert Wesman at 510.428.3456.
I have a 10 week old who has been described as mildly tongue
tied. The lactation specialist he saw at birth in the hospital
described that there are doctors who cut the frenulum in order
to avoid difficulties with speech and language development or
breastfeeding. While my son is not having any difficulty
breastfeeding, I'm wondering if there are other parents who've
had a similar experience with their children. My pediatrician
says I should wait until around 3 years of age to see if it
affects speech and language development, but I'm hesitant to
wait that long. I'd hate for my son to fall behind in that
domain if the mild tongue tie turns out to be an issue. Any
Our son (4.5 yrs old)is also mildly tongue tied. He has had
some difficulties with speech as well as controlling his
saliva. However, in speaking with the many speech professionals
that we have worked with, none of them believe that his speech
problems are a result of this physical attribute and they do not
think that anything needs to be done to correct it. They point
to other factors with regard to his speech delay. On the other
hand the saliva thing is most likely related but he is learning
to control it.
Our daughter, like her maternal grandmother, was born with a
fairly restrictive frenulum (tongue-tie), and in the early
weeks, several people (including a lactation consultant)
mentioned the possibility of altering our perfect baby by
cutting the frenulum! Well, I thought about the fact that my
mom talks a blue streak with no speech impediment, and has
never had problems with tooth decay or choking that some people
will tell you are associated with tongue tie. The only thing is
that she can't really stick out her tongue. Not such a bad
thing in a rebellious six-year-old, maybe? Anyway, we decided
not to intervene, and I'm glad. Our daughter is 1 1/2 now, and
starting to talk -- of course, it's early days to say whether
it affects her articulation, since like all toddlers she
says ''baahw,'' instead of ''ball'' and so forth. She nursed very
heartily up to 14 months, and really, I often forget about the
tongue-tie. I'd say at the very least, take a wait and see
attitude and cherish that little guy and his cute little not-
sticking-out too far tongue.
Speaking from a third-party perspective, perhaps you can follow
your ped's advice and wait. My nephew was identified as
a ''tongue tied'' infant, but it didn't hamper his ability to
breastfeed at all -- nor his speech development. He's a bright
kid and was mimicking words very clearly before 20 months. He
has no problem now (at age 2-1/2) with talking or enunciating
complex and multisyllabic words.
My friend's midwife told her that her baby has the same thing
and suggested to cut it as early as possible. She went on to
internet to search and found every information she could find
from ''don't worry at all'' to ''do cut right now''. As you can
imagine, she drove herself crazy with all the contradicting
information. She ended up seeing ENT specialist who told her
that it is rare that the those infants have to treated. If he
is able to eat and breath, it shouldn't be a concern. In fact,
95% of Japanese people were tongue tied babies!!!! So, I would
believe your doctor and wait until you notice something....
I couldn't tell from your message whether you were considering
having someone cut your baby's frenulum? I am a voice
professional who has worked for decades with people who have
never recovered from this sickening and barbaric practice.
Really: medieval. Please, let your child sort out his tongue on
his own. If you are concerned, you can pay attention to what
you are doing with your own tongue in your baby's presence,
since he is watching you to see how to use it. Stick it out for
him, do a ''raspberry'' for him, make sure you are making final
d's and t's at the ends of your words. When he's older, let him
lick popsicles--this is good for tongue strength and
coordination. Play rhyming games, do brief tongue twisters with
him slowly and laugh your heads off when the sounds get
scrambled. These will help his tongue a million times more than
someone's cutting it--it makes my blood boil that someone even
said that to you. There is no substitute for enjoying the inside
of your own mouth, and when someone takes that away from you, it
is a long and difficult process to get it back. Sad. You have
a long way to go before you need to start thinking there is
anything wrong with your child.
L T Renaud
Both of our kids, now 6 and 4, had a noticably short frenulum. At age 3, after
some worry and language issues, we had the older daughter's cut. And wow,
what a nice result. Easier to understand words, no pain ( she completely
didn't even gasp at the procedure!) and now, no one even notices. She still
compensates linguistically for some words, but the issue is really not on the
radar! Easy procedure and good result for the parent who asked.
Three years ago I wrote a lengthy piece for the archives
compiling all the advice I got when I asked the same question
and outlining our course of action. Perhaps it was wiped from
the archives as Dr. Matsuishi's office asked to be deleted from
the site (as I recall reading somewhere). Anyway, the upshot is
that many people live a completely normal life with a tongue
tie, however I felt the procedure as practiced in Dr.
Matsuishi's office was so simple that it was worth it if only to
eliminate any risk of speech issues - not to mention the fact
that licking an ice cream cone would be easier. The ENT doctor
we saw would have insisted on general anesthesia which I felt
was not worth the risk, but Matsuishi does it with a simple shot
of Lanacaine. We had it done at four months. It was quick and
easy and my daughter soothed herself by nursing immediately
afterward with no side effects. I have almost forgotten that
she was born with a tongue tie. I am glad we did it then as
opposed to waiting. Others may feel differently, and as I
recall, the medical recommendations are mixed.
Good luck with your research and decision.
I was tongue-tied as a baby (I'm now 44). My mother tells me
that the family doctor noticed when I was 3 weeks old, and
immediately snipped the frenulum in that same office visit.
It's my understanding that it's a very simple procedure with
very little risk, so I find myself wondering why your
pediatrician would want you to wait until *after* your child
starts exhibiting speech problems before snipping it? If it
were my child, I'd get it taken care of immediately, to prevent
the speech problems before they happen.
-- no longer tongue-tied
My doctor described my daughter as severely tongue-tied when she
was two weeks old. We were having a really rough time with
breastfeeding and had to decide whether or not to snip. I
talked to two pediatricians, one oral surgeon, and my brother-in-
law who is in internal medicine/pediatrics about getting the
procedure done. All of them told me that they would not
recommend the procedure before my daughter turned at least 2 1/2
because the frenulum usually stretches with use (breastfeeding,
babbling, etc...). They also said the procedure can be painful
and could interfer with established breastfeeding.
We decided against the procedure, worked on tongue exercises
recommended by a lactation consultant, and pumped to get my milk
up. She is now 27 months and you would never know that there
was ever any problem. Her speech is clear. Her ennunciation
is great for someone her age. In fact, the clarity of her words
is better than most of her friends. So now we wouldn't even
consider the procedure.
Due to my inexperience as a first time mom, I consulted a
lactation consultant for my child, who seemed to nurse forever
and with questionable latching on. It turned out (as my mother
saw ahead of all of us) that she was ''tongue tied.'' After
consulting with the pediatrician, I decided to have her frenulum
clipped at about 5-6 days old. I was told that if left, it may
affect her speech, particularly rolling her ''r's'' in Spanish. I
went ahead with the procedure with a wonderful ENT doctor at
Oakland Children's Hospital (I think his name is Wessman).
Anyway, the ''procedure'' was over in less than 10 seconds (she had
fallen asleep and only cried for about 2 seconds after being
awakened). You hold the child, they put a drop of liquid
anesthesia under the tongue and clip. I am relieved to have done
it at such an early age to prevent trauma and memories of it. I
guess my suggestion would be to do it now if there really is a
potential issue. I would think that the whole thing would be
much more traumatic to you and your child if you wait until three
years old. Good luck.
I read your post about your tongue tied baby and I wanted to
share my experiences with this issue.
My daughter, who will be 5 in June, was ''diagnosed'' as being
severely tongue tied at birth. As the nurse put it, ''Oh that
will have to be cut before you leave this hospital. She will
never nurse with that tongue.'' Lucky for us, we had an
excellent and very experienced pediatrician who suggested
the ''wait and see'' approach to medical intervention. For us,
the ''wait and see'' approach has worked very well- to this day.
Our daughter never had her frenulum cut. She nursed exclusively
until she was just about 15 months old and was weaned when she
was 2 1/2 (We needed her to make way for her brother). She was
such a great nurser that we often joke that she would still be
nursing now, if she hadn't weaned to make way for her brother.
She has a slight accent but I think that is more related to her
age then her tongue. However, what she says is completely
comprehendable & she is one of the most loquacious children I
have ever met. She has a clear handle on the language both
mentally and physically. I have since met several people who
are tongue-tied well-spoken adults. To tell the truth, I wasn't
even aware of the possibility of having a short frenulum until
she was born. Over time, my daughter's frenulum has stretched a
bit as she grew. This is the possibilty that the ''wait and see''
approach is banking on...
In short, her in-tact tongue(short frenulum and all) haven't
slowed her down a bit. I suggest the ''wait and see'' approach.
I would not recommend cutting the frenulum. Our daughter also had a very short
frenulum which actually did adversely affect her nursing - although I ended up
nursing her for 13 months. The lactation consultant was the only one who
recommended cutting the frenulum. None of the doctors at our practice would do
it because babies have actually bled to death from this procedure. Our
daughter is now almost three and is talking up a storm. Her frenulum gradually
stretched out and is completely normal now. I would not recommend doing this
unnecessary and potentially dangerous procedure.
I was given that diagnosis as an infant - my parents were told I'd need
speech therapy, I'd always have problems and that it was an easy
surgery. They decided not to do it and it's a good thing as I have the
family reputation of a motor-mouth. I was an early talker, with clear
speech and zero problems.
My youngest daughter, now 6 yrs old, was mildly ''tongue tied'' at
birth. She could not stick her tongue out very far and it
deviated to one side. Our pediatrician recommended that
we ''wait and see'', and, I am happy to report, the tongue has
been a non-issue. Her tissue ''stretched out'' over time, and her
tongue looks like anyone elses. We had a friend who had the
surgery performed on her son - the first surgery scarred down
and he had to have another one. He's now fine. Good luck with
Hi, I missed the original question but just wanted to add our
experiences. My son was born with a severe enough tongue-tie that
he was having a lot of difficulty latching on to nurse properly,
even after several weeks. Kaiser's attitude was ''wait and see if
he develops a speach problem in a few years, we'll deal with it
then'' which didn't make a whole lot of sense to us -- why have
to re-learn how to talk? We then went to a pediatric dentist
who had been recommended to us, but she wouldn't do it -- she
said the proceedure required general anesthesia and we had no
intention of putting him under (esp. to snip something that has no nerve
endings!). So nix to that. Finally in desperation we turned to my
midwife, who seemed amazed by all the hullaballoo -- she said in
the ''old days'' if a baby was born with a tongue-tie that midwives
would just snip the frenulum with their finger nails! No nerve
endings to feel pain, perhaps a drop of blood quickly staunched
by a bit of nursing. And this is what we did (tho' my midwife
used a pair of sterile surgical scissors). She made the teensiest
of cuts, there was perhaps a microscopic dot of blood and my son
seemed more upset about people being in his mouth than anything
being snipped. Two seconds later he was absolutely fine and
nursing was MUCH better for both of us afterwards. I have
no way of knowing how it would have impacted his speach if we'd
left it but I *can* say that he has been talking a very clear
blue streak since he was 16 months old and has *great*
enunciation now at 2 1/2.
I also had an older post on this topic, which it seems is no
longer on the website. My son has a severe tongue tie and
could not latch on. We had it clipped at twelve days and it
was an incredibly minor procedure. The membrane was
really thin, almost transparent. It bled two drops, he cried for
a minute and that was it, no follow up care or anything that I
recall. So in the case of a real problem I would not hesitate
and sooner seems better than later...
this page was last updated: Dec 25, 2008
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website: BerkeleyParentsNetwork.org
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network