Tongue-tie isn’t being spotted as a potential breastfeeding problem often enough – and more needs to be done to help, claims the NCT
More awareness is needed around the baby condition tongue-tie – and the impact it can have on breastfeeding, says parenting charity the National Childbirth Trust (NCT).
The condition affects up to 10 per cent of babies, and essentially means there’s a tight piece of skin joining the bottom of the tongue to the floor of your baby’s mouth. Unsurprisingly, it can sometimes make it more difficult for your baby to latch on and feed. Good news is, it can be easily fixed with a small procedure.
But experts need to be considering and spotting the condition sooner when helping a new mum who is struggling to breastfeed, according to the NCT.
‘Everyone who comes into contact with a new mum needs to be aware of tongue-tie as a possibility if there are feeding problems,’ says NCT chief executive Belinda Phipps.
Experts need to be considering and spotting the condition sooner when helping a new mum who is struggling to breastfeed
‘And we would like to see a service for tongue-tie treatment available at every maternity unit in the country.’
And the Royal College of Midwives agrees, saying the key issue is having enough feeding specialist midwives to support new mums straight after birth, so tongue-tie and any potential issues can be spotted and corrected early on.
‘Essentially we need to identify tongue-tie as early as possible, monitor breastfeeding and, if it is affected by tongue-tie or similar problems, refer the mother and baby to a paediatrician or lactation consultant to treat the tongue-tie as soon a possible,’ says Louise Silverton, director for midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives.
‘Ideally this should be done before the mother leaves midwifery care. We would also like to see more midwife-led tongue-tie clinics so that when these problems occur they get the specialist treatment and attention they need quickly and efficiently.’
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