When we are assessing a newborn in our office, one of the things we want to observe is how their tongue is moving.
We want to know from parents:
Is your newborn sticking their tongue out beyond their gums?
Do you see a heart-shape at the tip of your child’s tongue when they cry?
When your baby cries, does their tongue make a bowl-shape or stay flat?
Does your child have a difficult time trying to latch on to the breast?
When your newborn nurses, does it feel as though they are ‘chomping’ rather than ‘suckling’?
Is your baby clicking or leaking milk out the sides of their mouth while nursing?
What we are looking for:
Does the tongue move side to side as we touch each side of their gums?
Will they stick their tongue forward when the bottom lip is stimulated?
If the newborn cries, what is the shape of the tip of their tongue? What about the base of their tongue?
When the baby sucks on our finger, what movement of the tongue do we feel? Is there any clicking? Any chomping?
What is the facial structure of the newborn? High palate? Recessed chin?
If the answer is YES to any of these, we may consider referring you to have your newborn assessed by a lactation consultant and/or a pediatric dentist who specializes in tongue ties. This does not mean that each baby that has a tie will need a revision. Many considerations are discussed and the treatment is always up to the parents. We recommend having your baby seen as soon after birth as you are comfortable so that we can assess and address any areas of restrictions or concern. Identifying these types of things early can significantly decrease the amount of intervention needed long-term and improve the quality of health and well-being for your little one.