tiny bit tongue tied

It’s interesting going through a pregnancy and actually having no idea that there are seemingly a billion things that can go wrong. Sometimes when you’re reading or hearing of other parents’ exploits (adventures in parenting…) you wonder to yourself just how much out there you don’t know, what’s normal, and what it all means…

One of those “well I’ll be…” moments just happened for me with this “tongue-tied” phenomenon of ankyloglossia where the frenulum (skin under your tongue that “ties” your tongue to the bottom palate of your mouth) is too tight and restricts movement of the tongue. What?! This can happen?! Yes, this can happen and it can range from “random thing your baby will grow out of” to “you better fix this ASAP with surgery.” And surgery isn’t really surgery as it is simply snipping the frenulum in less than 2 seconds and then making baby nurse.

Why do it then?

Apparently breastfeeding can be impaired, speech can be impaired and other such difficulties may arise:

  • problems with speech– specifically the ‘th’, ‘s’, ‘d’, ‘l’, and ‘t’ sounds
  • difficulty licking ice cream cones, sticking out the tongue, playing wind instruments, or french kissing (who woulda thunk?)
  • cause a gap between the lower front teeth
  • impair effective breastfeeding (not bottle feeding)
  • None of this stuff sounds particularly life threatening (unless you plan to or must exclusively breastfeed) but it’s rather interesting to say the least! It is also interesting to note that while breastfeeding is the single most important issue that can be severely impacted by a restricted frenulum, bottle feeding causes little to no problems!

    For your own check-up and curiosity, a very informative piece on ankyloglossia can be found here with resources and citations as well as a historical perspective on the procedure and “problem.” The human body is quite miraculous and strange all at the same time. So geek out and try to get the words out as best you can, anyway. 🙂

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