Short tongue ties in babies: symptoms and solutions

Parenting is like an adventure, full of surprises, especially with your first child. Everything is new and exciting, but also uncertainty and fears about your baby’s health are quite normal. A baby can be difficult to communicate, so you sometimes have no idea what is wrong. Does your baby drink very noisy, with a clicking sound or do you notice problems during breast or bottle feeding? This can be due to a short or tight tongue, this will unbalance you and your baby. But don’t worry, the solution is pretty simple. In this blog we explain what a tongue tie is exactly, how you recognize it and what you can do.

What is a short tongue tie?

A short tongue in babies is a congenital condition in which the thin strip of tissue (the frenulum), which connects the underside of the tongue to the oral cavity, is too short. This limits the freedom of movement of the tongue and can cause problems in feeding and sucking processes. It becomes more difficult for babies to suck and swallow properly, causing them to get too little food and too much air while drinking, resulting in cramps. Although the exact cause of a short tongue strap is not always clear, it seems that the length of the frenulum is mainly genetically determined. If you don’t do anything about it, a short tongue strap can in some cases cause speech problems later in life. Early recognition is therefore important to address any problems with feeding and development before they become more serious.

Did you know that about 4-10% of newborns in the Netherlands suffer from a short tongue tie? Not all babies with a tongue tie experience problems, each situation should be assessed individually. In general, boys suffer from it more often than girls.

Symptoms of a tongue ties in babies

The first step to solving any problem in your baby is to recognize symptoms. The most well-known symptoms of a tongue tie that is too short in babies are:

  • nipple pain while drinking (nipple cracks) 
  • your baby is chewing more instead of sucking 
  • pulling away while drinking 
  • Your baby often releases the breast or bottle
  • low milk production 
  • poor weight gain 
  • clicking sounds during feeding

Note: a ‘clicking’ sound does not only occur with a too tight tongue tie, but can also be the cause of a high palate or a disturbed sucking pattern. 

Lesser known/missed symptoms

The above symptoms are familiar to most parents, but not every baby shows this so clearly. There are several more subtle indications that your baby may be suffering from a tongue tie:

  • drooling on the bottle 
  • sticky/slimy mouth 
  • blistering on the lips (when breastfeeding) 
  • bending back the back during feeding 
  • hands constantly in fists 
  • a lot of tension in the body / frustration

Solutions for a too short tongue in babies

If you recognize one or more symptoms in your baby, it is smart to have your baby checked as soon as possible to find out the cause. In some cases, a (light) medical procedure is required, the tongue tie is then cut for better freedom of movement.

Unfortunately, this does not solve problems such as an incorrect drinking technique, your baby has learned certain habits. Fortunately, chiropractic can help with discomforts caused by a short tongue tie. If you are considering cutting the tongue tie on your baby, try chiropractic treatments first. In most cases, drinking is a lot easier and your baby is more relaxed.

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The benefits of chiropractic in babies

Avant Garde Chiropractic in Haarlem specializes in babies and works with safe, gentle techniques. Even with a newborn baby you can come to us. Chiropractic treatments not only help with problems caused by a short tongu, but also have a major impact on the general health and development of your baby:

Improved nerve communication

The basis of chiropractic is a good alignment of the spine and joints, which allows for better nerve communication. This also affects the coordination and muscle function needed for sucking, swallowing, and general mouth and jaw movements.

Reducing tension and discomfort

A short tongue tie often causes tension and discomfort in the neck, jaw and other parts of the body. Chiropractic helps relieve this tension and promotes freedom of movement.

Better blood supply and lymphatic drainage

Chiropractic treatments improve blood flow and lymphatic drainage, which contributes to better healing and tissue repair after tongue strap cutting.

Support general health and development

Do you want a healthy and cheerful baby that develops well? A regular check and treatment improves the function of the nervous system. This positively affects reflexes, motor development, muscle tone and mobility of the spine, pelvis, joints and skull. Enjoy your baby to the fullest, without worries.

Give your baby a good start

Do you think your little one suffers from a short tongue tie or are there other problems such as excessive crying, sleep problems, reflux or a preferred posture? Then make an appointment now. Our experienced team is at your service.

In an initial consultation, we go through your baby’s history, pregnancy and delivery story. The chiropractor then uses gentle methods to investigate where the complaint comes from. In most cases, this can be solved well with chiropractic and a personal treatment plan is drawn up.

Tip: Even if your baby has no problems or discomfort, it is smart to visit a chiropractor regularly. Preventing problems is always better than cure! With preventive treatments you ensure optimal growth and development of your baby.

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