What is a Tongue Tie?

Tongue Tie

Every once in a while, a nurse will notice that a baby is tongue-tied. When the baby cries, his tongue has a crease in it and he can't lift his tongue to the roof of his mouth.

The reason this is important is that a breast-feeding baby must push his tongue up against the roof of his mouth and draw it toward the back of his mouth in order to produce an effective suck.

If your baby is tongue-tied, he may not be able to breast feed, no matter how hard the two of you work on it. But, there is a simple solution.

Simply by clipping the frenulum, the web of skin that holds the front of the tongue to the bottom of your baby's mouth, the problem is solved. Without the restriction of the frenulum, he can bring his tongue up against the roof of his mouth and suck effectively. This procedure is called frenulotomy (or frenotomy).

Thanks to Janelle Aby MD, Stanford School Of Medicine, Newborn Nursery, and Lucille Packard Children's Hospital for the use of occasional photographs.