If Your Baby is Not Latching On; It Could be Tongue-Tie

One of the most intimate moments shared between mother and baby is during breastfeeding. If the infant does not latch on to the mother‰Ûªs breast or if she is experiencing pain during breastfeeding, it might be due to a condition called ankyloglossia, otherwise known as tongue tie.

Tongue tie is a congenital condition which occurs in an estimated 5% of newborns and restricts the tongue‰Ûªs range of motion. This restriction is caused by an abnormally thick and short lingual frenulum. The degree of severity in tongue-tie varies from mild cases, where the lingual frenulum loosens over time or severe cases of complete ankyloglossia where the tongue is tethered to the floor of the mouth. In most cases a lactation consultant will assess the infant to determine the severity of tongue tie and may recommend a frenotomy, which is a procedure used to release the frenulum.

Tongue tie complicates breastfeeding because the baby is not able to open the mouth widely enough to latch on to the breast at the correct angle or make a good seal around the breast. Many mothers are unaware of the condition or the procedure use to correct it; so they tend to give up on breastfeeding. Studies show that 44% of mothers give up breastfeeding because they do not have the proper support and education.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center is directing its efforts to reducing these numbers by providing the resources, treatments and support mothers need to continue breastfeeding. One of the services the hospital is making readily available to mothers is a frenotomy. The procedure can be performed by laser at the patient‰Ûªs bedside or in an outpatient setting by a highly trained dentist. The procedure is quick, painless and there is very little to no bleeding. Once performed, the infant can immediately begin breastfeeding. The mothers take satisfaction in knowing that they are providing their child with the best source of nutrition.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center serves a population greater than 1.2 million in Queens and eastern Brooklyn. This 424-bed medical center is an accredited community teaching hospital with a large network of community-based ambulatory care centers. JHMC offers an array of acute inpatient, rehabilitation and mental health services, and is one of the busiest Level 1 trauma centers in New York City. The hospital provides general medical, pediatric, and dental services, in addition to home health services. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center‰Ûªs mission is to serve patients and the community in a way that is second to none. For additional information, please contact Public Affairs at 718-206-6020.

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