Lots of parents are surprised to find out their baby has ankyloglossia (tongue tie) and that such a tiny piece of tight tissue under the tongue is causing so many feeding problems!
Luckily, it a simple procedure to release the tongue and get on our way to easier feeding!
In my experience providing care for babies with tongue tie, doing just “the snip” isn’t enough to get full results. If we think about how baby has never had full range of motion with the tongue it makes sense that they will need time and help to get to normal movement.
Of course, working with a tongue tie-saavy Lactation Consultant and your provider is key but there are also things you can do at home!
Top 5 At-Home Tongue Tie Care
- Tummy time
You may already be doing this with your baby but there are some modifications which may improve outcomes for tongue tied babies. Try rolling up a blanket or using your nursing pillow under their chest. This can be more comfortable for some babies and make the whole process more enjoyable.
My favorite recommendations come from the Tummy Time Method which has parent handouts and lots of suggestions for tongue tie specifically
- Guppy Hold
The Guppy Hold is great for stretching tight neck muscles and it’s very easy to do! Babies love it.
Check out this video for more info
- Play with baby’s mouth!
Try running a clean finger from one side of their gums to the other. They will “chase” you with their tongue. This is a fun stretch which encourages good movement.
You can also insert a clean pinky finger, nail side down, once baby starts sucking pull gently. You are just adding a little resistance for baby to help strengthen their suck.
When I’m doing these games, I like to sing a little made up song to engage baby and reinforce that what we are doing is happy playtime!
- Give baby options
Move around where you place baby during the day when they aren’t snuggling in your arms. Switch up how they are faced at bedtime. Baby will naturally turn their head toward you so by switching it up, they will take turns looking both ways.
The same goes for feeding. Breastfeeding on both sides is great and bottle feeding on both sides is great, too!
Massage and gentle touch is beneficial for many conditions, tongue tie included. This video has a great demonstration of massage parents can do on their own.
The biggest thing, is to have patience and keep working with your experienced tongue tie-saavy Lactation Consultant for continued help.
❤ Megan Dunn, IBCLC