Mother and Baby

What is a lip tie?

Section: Baby Health
baby lips

Quite simply, a lip-tie happens when the tissue behind your baby's upper lip (known medically as the maxillary labial frenum) is too short and tight which can limit your child's upper lip movement. 

Although less common, just like with a tongue-tie, a lip tie is believed to cause difficulty if and when your baby is breastfeeding as your little one may struggle to get their lips around the nipple and areola. 

However, the Association of Tongue-tie Practitioners says: 

"Currently there is no published evidence supporting a link between breastfeeding issues and lip tie.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have not issued any guidance on this issue and therefore training is not available in the UK in lip tie division for practitioners.

This situation may change in the future if new research and evidence influences best practice guidelines."

Potential lip tie related issues

  • Painful latch
  • Longer and more frequent feeds
  • Baby popping off the breast during feeding
  • Slower weight gain
  • Reflux due to swallowing excess air 

What is the treatment for a lip tie?

While some lip ties are left alone and deemed to not require surgical treatment, in some countries, lip ties can be released with a relatively simple procedure that severs the tissue that connects the lip to the gums. However, it is widely believed that more research is required into lip ties. 

What should I do if I'm worried my baby has a lip tie?

Speak to your GP or health visitor about your concerns so they can advise you on what to do next.

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