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Check For Ties At Birth

Today was a big dose of reality. Sorry to be a downer, but let's be serious about how the "it's no big deal, they'll be fine" attitude is affecting our children. Like Dr. Baxter said - is just surviving ok when thriving is an option?

Patient A - 8 year old born with a to-the-tip tongue tie. Severely impaired speech and major tooth crowding and malocclusion. At 5 months old was sedated by an oral surgeon for tongue tie release. Presented to my office with an almost-to-the-tip tongue tie. I can't possibly imagine what was done to this child that required general anesthesia that ultimately looks like nothing was actually done. In school based speech therapy and was told he'll never be able to speak normally. 8 years have gone by with the parents thinking that their child was as good as he was gonna get because the tongue tie was "already fixed."

Patients B and C - sisters, 7 years old and 8 months old. Both with tongue ties. Baby spits out all purees and solid foods and can only successfully use a certain type of bottle. Older sister has all the symptoms of sleep disordered breathing, has speech issues, and is a slow, picky eater. Mom wants to know why no one ever checked for ties when she's been regularly bringing these issues up to her pediatrician (and being told it's all fine)?

Patient D - 17 month old with a to-the-tip tongue tie. Diagnosed at birth by pediatrician. Yay! Who then told parents that ties can't be fixed until age 2-3 unless they are put under sedation. Boo, hiss. In physical therapy due to delayed walking and balance issues. More misinformation causing long term issues.

Patient E - 3 week old who cannot latch onto the breast and leaks as much milk out of the bottle onto herself as she actually swallows. Mom really wants to breastfeed. And I'm pretty sure baby (and parents) would prefer if baby wasn't taking a milk bath with every feed. She's gaining weight so everything is fine!

Patient F, G, H - 1/2/3 week old causing mom so much pain she cries every time baby latches. Just give baby a bottle!

I'll stop there - I'm running out of patience with my own story.

One day of consultations and we've touched on almost every symptom of tongue tie. 📈You don't grow out of a tongue-tie - you simply learn compensations. Compensations have consequences. 👩‍🔧Conversely, fixing a tongue tie does not solve the problem if you haven't fixed the function. Function is EVERYTHING. Big shout out to my functional specialists who make the magic happen. Hug your favorite SLP/OMT/(IB)CLC/OT/PT! 👅Poor tongue use and improper swallow cause lifelong problems - not just for breastfeeding. 🤱Leaking, clicking, crying at the breast, nursing all day, nipple pain, having to supplement, constant gas pain - don't let anyone tell you these things are normal, there's a reason - see an educated lactation consultant and/or feeding therapist who can help you find out WHY (almost always because of some kind of tongue dysfunction). Hey mama, you thought it was something you were doing wrong - it wasn't. It was a society that didn't support you. :-D Good tongue function (and good diet) grows big healthy jaws with room for all of your teeth. Crowded teeth mean small jaws which almost always means tongue dysfunction. 👃An open airway is just that - open. Physical obstructions of the nose and throat (including a tongue that is not fully resting on the roof of your mouth) narrow your airway. Lying down makes it even worse. Airway is life, and we're not giving breath enough credit. Good breathing and good sleep are the foundation of good health. Step one for living, breathe.

Ok, rant over. This is both too much information and not enough. I just couldn't let a day like this slip away without a mention. If these 8 patients made it through my door today, how many more families are out there wondering what they're missing.

Tell your story. Bet you didn't know that in Brazil, by law, they are supposed to check for tongue tie at birth. We'll get there - we just have to be louder.


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