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Healing a Tongue Tie

Rehabilitation from tongue tie can take time. For many, true healing requires a team of people to support them at a physical, spiritual and relational level.

The Trauma

For some, one of the hardest things to heal from a tongue tie is the trauma. Between my son’s traumatic birth, the far reaching negative affects of the tongue tie on our life including his hospitalization in the PICU at 7 days of age, and all of the food reactions due to the medical damage and the resulting limited diet that my son and I have been on now for over a year I have had a pretty traumatic introduction to motherhood (I am still pumping breastmilk for him so my diet has been deeply affected as well). At first I didn’t recognize the trauma for what it was but have since been able to identify the trauma as well as some of the triggers. When my son first advanced past gagging on contact with a spoon and started gagging with food in his mouth during occupational therapy I would sometimes have to leave the room because my heart would begin to race and the fear and the panic felt like a wave hitting me out of nowhere. This was in a safe environment under the care of a therapist that helps with feeding and gagging all of the time. This is trauma. Mournful tears welling up uncontrollably just from driving by the hospital where Caleb was born a few weeks before his first birthday is trauma. My son’s first birthday was a particularly hard trigger for me because it is a natural time of reflection on everything that you and your baby experienced together during their first year and the trauma from everything that was taken from us by misguided medical and nutritional care came to head in the weeks leading up to his birthday. I have joked in passing with my son’s occupational therapist that I needed a therapist too…and I actually am getting ready to go visit a Christian counselor to help me even further as I pursue complete healing and rehabilitation in the Lord. I am really thankful that Dr. Ghaheri, an ENT that specializes in tongue tie, speaks to the emotional impact that tongue tie can have on both mothers and babies.

“Mom has an inherent instinct to nourish her child, and a disruption in that desire can have profound psychological impacts.” Dr. Bobby Ghaheri (1)

I can attest to this statement one hundred percent, not only in the context of tongue tie inhibiting the ability to breastfeed but the detrimental affect it has had on my ability to feed my son in general. Our problems transferred from the breast to the bottle and then to solids not just with gagging but picky eating and texture aversions as well. While we have a lot to be thankful for and God has been so good to us, this struggle to do the most basic thing: to nourish my son, certainly has taken a toll on me as a person and on the quality of life that our family experiences. Something as simple as sharing our regular meals together as a family has become a mountain. Praise God that we can say to that mountain move and it will move…and believe me, I am telling that mountain MOVE! in Jesus name and I know it will!

I am supposed to be able to instinctually nourish and care for my baby with my body starting in utero and then at birth with breastmilk and tongue tie has the capacity to attack a mom in this arena (remember not all tongue tied babies have trouble nursing). When a mother is attacked in this way so is her baby, at their most vulnerable time in life and at their most basic instinct at birth, which is to suckle at their mother’s breast for nourishment, as Dr. Ghaheri valiantly points out for infants:

 “I maintain that babies who have difficulty with breastfeeding are actively in distress, similar to the abandoned baby. A basic human function (like parental proximity during sleep OR breastfeeding easily) becomes disrupted, and cortisol levels can rise…It’s time that medical professionals start to look at breastfeeding as an important developmental process rather than a stair step to getting a baby to grow physically…We need to focus on the neurologic and psychiatric well being of infants in addition to their moms. Our current system is failing the dyad from the emotional aspect, and we need to examine what happens as a result of that failure.” Dr. Ghaheri (1)

Taking Off the Trauma

Earlier this year God revealed to me that part of my continued feeding struggle with Caleb was indeed linked to trauma. He showed me that Caleb had a mask of trauma around his mouth and face. I asked God what I should do. He told me “Take it off”. God’s power can do that and He is leading me in the charge to stand against trauma in the name of Jesus and in defense of my son’s well being. A weighty thing about being a mother or a father is that God has given us spiritual authority over our children and with the Holy Spirit residing in me I can be led by God to bless my child and be given power and authority to remove things like trauma from my baby’s face, from his mouth, from his mind and from his heart. Praise the Lord, my GOD is BIGGER.

I also praise the Lord with all my heart that He has provided for Caleb a team of people that respect me, respect my intuition and decisions for my son, and who take tongue tie seriously. As I mentioned in my last two posts, we went through a lot of medical professionals before discovering the tie and while many were truly kind and caring some of them were very degrading. What makes matters worse for many tongue tie mothers is that they face this kind of degradation not only in the doctor’s office but away from it as well, even from people they should be able to trust at their most vulnerable times. I have found that being around people that act from a place of misunderstanding and lack of empathy compounds the trauma I experience and increases the curve for healing. I noticed a few months back that when I leave my son’s Occupational Therapy session that I feel uplifted, positive and happier because just talking to his therapist each week reminds me that I am not alone, she sees what I see. She is so valuable not only for my son’s physical rehabilitation but also for my emotional healing. Surrounding yourself with therapists, medical professionals and people in general that are of the same mind helps to heal trauma. I also thank God for the godly friends that He has given me, friends that love me and who have not dismissed me or my experiences, who have been there for me and even those that God has been so kind to provide that can relate because of their similar experiences. Praise God.

Physical Healing

Healing of course must be supported physically as well. That is where our “dream team” shines. Through both the first and second frenectomy Caleb’s improvements have been aided along by his valuable team of medical professionals that God has assembled for my precious little one. Having an experienced release provider in our same city was a Godsend as well as my son’s physical therapist, occupational therapist (who also is his cranial sacral therapist), and his chiropractor all of whom have helped Caleb to physically be set free from tongue tie. I also thank the Lord for the primary care doctor God provided for Caleb who not only takes his gut health very seriously but who also encouraged me to face my fears and get Caleb’s tongue tie revised when I was having doubts.

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We visited Caleb’s holistic dentist recently for his regular check up and she got really serious when we were talking about Caleb’s occupational therapy. She told me that Caleb’s occupational therapist had changed his life for the better in ways we can’t even begin to imagine and that she is having to regularly work with adults who did not get such early intervention and have suffered a lot of the consequences of an untreated tongue tie, untreated tongue thrust, sleep apnea, etc. I truly agree with Caleb’s dentist. Caleb’s occupational therapist has dedicated herself to the hard work of addressing his ultra-sensitive gag reflexes, his food trauma, his low facial muscle tone, his highly uncoordinated suck-swallow-breathe pattern, tongue thrust and more through occupational and cranial sacral therapy techniques which have been a life-changing blessing.

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Caleb with his Christian chiropractor. 

Caleb didn’t roll until 8 months, just after his frenum was first lasered which included multiple chiropractor visits. He also began climbing the stairs within 24 hours of his first or second chiropractic visit. As mentioned in past posts Caleb felt like a loose noodle immediately after his first frenectomy because of the tightness the restricted oral tissues caused in his body. The tongue muscles stretch surprisingly far into the neck, and tongue tie has a surprising affect on the body via fascia. These muscle and fascia tensions pull on bones and muscles in ways that contribute to imbalance. I do believe that the combination of a frenectomy, physical therapy and chiropractic adjustments are what helped Caleb finally roll at 8 months. He didn’t stay on the ground much longer after that though ’cause he also started walking just a month or so later at an early 9 months 3 weeks! Go Caleb!

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God knew that Caleb needed physical therapy early on and he provided this therapist in Caleb’s life through a special connection. The early intervention has made a huge difference in the quality of Caleb’s life. One of the very first interventions was the introduction of a Nuk pacifier to help him strengthen his facial muscles (Caleb was identified as having low facial muscle tone by both his PT and OT). Caleb could not use a soothie because it so easily fell out of his mouth and if he did manage to keep it in he would swallow so much air from using it that he would scream and scream. The Nuk also helped shape his palate which was identified as being high-arched by the lactation consultant very early-on. Since his tongue had not been in proper contact with his palate in utero the palate formed wrong and the Nuk was able to do what Caleb’s tongue couldn’t do, make full contact. When we finally made it to the release dentist just shy of 8 months he praised the fact that we had been using the Nuk because of it’s help to the palate formation. A person’s palate continues to grow and develop through toddlerhood, a tongue is supposed to play the most vital part in shaping it correctly, that is why so many kids and adults that have tongue tie also have sleep-disordered breathing (apnea) and/or nasal airways. Many of these kids and adults end up having to get nasal surgeries to try to open airways and reduce sinus infections, adenoids removed, use of a CPAP machine at night and more. Caleb’s physical therapist also addressed his torticollis at a very early age and supported the dentist’s frenectomy by supporting proper positioning of the jaw and helping to both address the tone of the tongue base as well as release the tight base of his posterior tongue. The physical therapists also spend a lot of time working on Caleb’s hips because just like “what you get at the lips you get at the hips” is applicable during birth it is true for babies while eating as well. A tight mouth and a tight pelvis go hand in hand. Releasing the pelvis helps release the mouth. Vestibular insecurity was something else that both Caleb’s PT and OT identified and have worked on with him using various swings and physical maneuvers to strengthen him in this area since he was a late roller and also experienced high cortisol levels and fight or flight throughout infancy due to the tongue tie and invasive medical treatments which resulted in traumatic food reactions on top of the choking and gagging etc. that he already experienced from the ties. There is a lot more that both Caleb’s occupational and physical therapists have accomplished for Caleb through early intervention, more than I will ever know I am sure. As one of my son’s physical therapists puts it “the baby’s mouth is the first place a child learns motor skills, and sensory skills. If this is compromised due to positioning problems or timing, or strength problems it can have an impact on further development” (2).

And the Spiritual: Ka-POW! Take that Tongue Tie.

In addition to a team of medical professionals that take me, my son and his tongue tie seriously God also provided for Caleb and I a prayer team that I could turn to for help even when I felt I couldn’t turn to anyone else. I have been at the precipice of hopelessness in our medical or feeding situation, I email this team and within 24 hours, boom God moves. I can never thank God enough for them or their prayers. The prayers from this anointed team have been critically important to Caleb’s healing and victory over all that the enemy has thrown at him already in his first 21 months (Caleb’s guardian angel sure hasn’t been bored, I can say that for sure!). From God healing Caleb’s oxygen saturation issues before things got even more invasive to Him giving one of the member’s a vision of Caleb with Jesus standing over him with His hand on Caleb’s chest, protecting his oxygen and airways before the healing…I should mention I was praying specifically for his oxygen that morning and I hadn’t talked to this member since before Caleb was born and that afternoon she gets a vision and emails me. God is amazing. God has given these prayer team members words of command from God, words of encouragement, all very timely in miraculous ways. I am in complete awe still at these experiences, humbled and so thankful.

Jesus Heals a Tongue Tie

While Jesus may not have healed Caleb’s tongue tie in the same manner that he did for the man in the gospel of Mark…I can truly say Jesus has healed my son’s tongue tie. If it were not for Him I would never have known Caleb was tongue tied to begin with! If it wasn’t for Him I would not have won the Owlet oxygen monitor on Instagram right before Caleb was born, if it was not for him…the list goes on and on (See my post Dayenu for more of the great things God has done for Caleb). The Holy Spirit victoriously led me to find out about a generational birth defect that has gone undetected for almost one hundred years on my mother’s side (See my post Great and Hidden Things). I just thank and Praise the Lord everyday that He is has been there with me through it all, encouraging me, sustaining me and guiding Caleb and I up out of the pit. He was there every time Caleb’s medical grade oxygen alarm went off in the middle of the night, He was there as Caleb continued to not sleep day after day after week and He alone understands the severity of sleep deprivation I was facing as I began to cry out for help only to be misunderstood by multiple people. He was there every time Caleb choked, gagged, or projectile vomited and He is the Cleft in the Rock Who loves me more than life itself. I hide myself in Him. I hide myself in His love for me and in His love for others. He will contend with those that contend with me and HE will save my children. In Jesus’ name, so be it.

“And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.” Mark 7:31-35

Blessed be the name of the LORD.



Resources:
1. BREASTFEEDING PROBLEMS CAN AFFECT THE EMOTIONAL HEALTH OF MOM AND BABY
https://www.drghaheri.com/blog/2014/11/14/breastfeeding-problems-can-affect-the-emotional-health-of-mom-and-baby-1

2. Considering Breastfeeding/Early Infant Feeding a Developmental Milestone by Karen Adams

3. Tongue-Tied: How a Tiny String Under the Tongue Impacts Nursing, Speech, Feeding, and More by Dr. Richard Baxter
https://www.amazon.com/Tongue-Tied-String-Impacts-Nursing-Feeding/dp/1732508208

4. When Did It Become OK to Stop Listening to Mothers?
https://www.facebook.com/DrGhaheriMD/posts/when-did-it-become-ok-to-stop-listening-to-mothersan-integral-part-of-any-patien/923606461134064/

5. BREASTFEEDING DIFFICULTY AND FAMILY SUPPORT
https://www.drghaheri.com/blog/2014/2/10/breastfeeding-difficulty-and-family-support

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Tongue Tie and Lip Tie Symptoms in Babies, Kids and Adults

This post is part 3 in my series on tongue tie.

This post is dedicated to all of the mom’s and babies out there that have suffered because of tongue tie. Whether your baby is 4 weeks old, 4  years old or 45 years old I pray that this blog will be a liberator for you and your child. I also would like to dedicate this in memorial to all of the babies that have starved because of tongue tie, choked in their sleep and never woke up because of tongue tie, or all the children and adults that have choked on foods and were never able to regurgitate. Also, to all of the children that have been deeply and adversely affected by recurring rounds of antibiotics because of tongue tie. May the Lord show you great and hidden things, just like he did for Caleb and I so we can all be set free in Jesus’ name.

To learn more on how to prevent tongue tie to begin with please see Dr. Steven Lin’s article “Webbed Fingers Syndrome: Is Tongue-Tie Linked to Vitamin A Deficiency?” (27).

I do not want even a hint of bitterness, slander, or unforgiveness to be in my heart or words as I share information about medical professionals and industries, but rather a warning that will hopefully protect someone else’s life and well being. I seek to hide myself in Christ’s compassion, love and grace toward every person…

Who to Ask for Help

Please read my post called Tongue Tie, Travesty & Love to learn why any doctor, therapist, and even many a lactation consultant cannot, simply via their title, be a reliable source for recognizing a tongue tie. Many are truly kind and trying to do their best, but because of many historical and political factors a large percentage of ties get missed or dismissed. Thankfully the tide does seem to slowly be shifting but it must be accelerated by proactive parents. When looking for a therapist look for one that is certified in TOTS (tethered oral tissues) or one listed on the Ankyloglossia Bodyworkers Website, and most importantly learn how to spot ties yourself. If you discover that you or your child is tied it is also important to advocate for a preferred provider to perform the frenectomy, for a list of preferred pediatric providers click here (1), for adults please visit the Tongue Tied Adults Support Group on Facebook for referrals.

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A HUGE red flag to be aware of is if your provider fails to do an examination of your baby with their head on the examiner’s lap with baby’s legs facing away from the examiner’s body as pictured. Incredibly, even with our large scope of symptoms, Caleb was never examined like this until we met with a TOTS certified Occupational Therapist at 7 1/2 months postpartum and then again here, a week later, with the qualified release provider.


The Confusion

The high rate of tongue ties that have gone undetected or outright ignored and dismissed over the last century is stunning. In addition to the lack of proper tongue tie education across medical professions, including lactation consultants, speech language pathologists, occupational therapists, pediatricians, and OBYGNs (see my post Tongue Tie, Travesty & Love for details), the presentation of a tongue tie varies from person to person increasing the likelihood of it going undetected even with plenty of symptoms presenting at once. This varied presentation is based on factors such as the shape of the mouth, shape and size of the breast/nipple, the size of airways, and in light of these factors how one compensates. In fact there are many people who can compensate well as an infant or otherwise, for example I was able to nurse and I don’t have a lisp or appear to have speech issues but I apparently compensate to say the letter “S”. There can also be a delay in symptom presentation, for some babies tongue tie symptoms don’t present until about 2 weeks after birth (31), for others that compensate well enough to nurse their symptoms and further complications, such as recurring ear infections and swollen adenoids may not begin right away but can arise well into toddlerhood or even childhood. Just because a tongue tie is not causing noticeable symptoms at the very moment does not mean it will not give way to even further complications or symptoms later on in life.

In addition to the presentation variance, some symptoms can appear to be caused by something else. For example, excessive or projectile vomiting after eating could be due to a food allergy or intolerance, but it can also be caused by a dysfunctional suck, swallow, breathe pattern where a baby is forced to gulp while struggling to breathe. Our release provider told me that for a tongue tied baby a normal flow of breastmilk can feel like a bucket of water being poured down their throat. Another example is low oxygen saturation, which can also be caused by an infection which is why Caleb was given two rounds of broad spectrum antibiotics at just 7 days of age, if his tie had been caught by the lactation consultant, any of the pediatricians we saw, or the numerous nurses who tried to aide with breastfeeding during his first week of life then his gut ecosystem would have been spared this assault. The spinal tap fluids that were cultured showed no infection but at that point the antibiotics had already been administered.

It was not an infection, it was a midline birth defect.

Most, if not all, of our symptoms were tongue tie at the beginning but as the antibiotics, caffeine, commercial formula, excessive x-ray radiation, vaccinations, and proton pump inhibitors collectively took their toll on my newborn’s body systems other issues arose. For us this medical damage resulted in dysbiosis of the gut ecosystem and immune system, resulting in many food allergies and intolerances which just further confused our symptom picture. Unfortunately, due to chronic overuse of antibiotics over the last 75 years or so coupled with the standard American diet (SAD) most babies born in the U.S. today inherit various levels of imbalance already for their gut ecosystem even without the barrage of antibiotics that Caleb experienced as a newborn. Depending on the extant of the inherited dysbiosis this imbalance can cause things like reflux, colic (30), eczema and food allergies even in babies without antibiotic exposure. Unfortunately dysbiosis can be exasperated in babies and children via c-section, use of formula (especially if exclusive), proton pump inhibitors, and antibiotics, the latter three are very common with tied babies.

Now finally, on to the symptoms:

Symptoms in the Breastfeeding Mom

  • Breastfeeding Symptoms:
    • Cracked, Bleeding, Ripped, and/or Blistered Nipples
    • Creased/Flattened/Blanched Nipple during Feeds
    • Engorged Breasts
    • Extended use of Nipple Shield (3)
    • Low Milk Supply
      Supply is low due to baby not emptying breast so mom’s body adjusts.
    • Mastitis, especially recurring
    • Milk Drying Prematurely
    • Pain while Nursing
    • Thrush
    • Traumatized Nipples
    • Use of an SNS without a true low supply or low glandular tissue. (3)
      While not all tongue tied babies have trouble breastfeeding, these symptoms are HUGE RED FLAGS that a tongue tie is present. 
  • Other Feeding Symptoms:
  • Mother’s Intuition Tells Her Something is Wrong
    Mother’s have God-given intuition for their children, even first time moms. I have been in multiple situations where my intuition was so red-hot that I absolutely just KNEW what was going on and still experienced the degrading insult of being blown off as an “over-anxious mom”, as a mom who had unrealistic expectations for a “perfect baby”,  or “just a new mom” by health care professionals and others…only for the truth to come out that I was right. When a mother’s intuition is not respected her baby can suffer.
  • Other Physical Symptoms
    • Extreme Sleep Deprivation
  • Psychological Symptoms:
  • Words or Phrases Tied Moms Say that are Red Flags
    • “How on earth is it possible to have more than one child?
    • “How on earth could I take care of my other child if I had one?”
    • Moms with other children might voice their concerns about how their other children are being neglected cause the baby is taking so much of her time and attention and that she doesn’t even have time to feed her other kids.
    • “I can’t imagine having another baby after this.”
    • “I just have to get through this.”
    • “I never want to have children again.”
    • “My baby won’t sleep”
    • “Someday I will sleep again.”
    • They may joke about never having time to bathe or meet their own basic hygiene needs.
    • They may also hint at being beyond the point of exhaustion.
    • “Just trying to survive”
    • “Just trying to make it another day”
    • They may even hint at resenting their current situation.
      Paying attention to what a new mom says instead of dismissing her is important. These things can be blown off simply as a new mom who didn’t know what she was getting herself into (“not mom material”) or as PPD but they are flags, big red flags and often times that difficult baby is a tongue tied baby.

TONGUE & LIP TIE SYMPTOMS IN BABY

  • Apnea
    Indicated by snoring and other sleep sounds like whistling, low oxygen saturation and trouble breathing especially when sleeping on back
  • Body Stiffness
    Tight shoulders with arms that stick out instead of resting in front of baby. Caleb felt so light in my arms, like a noodle, right after his first frenotomy. 
  • Bottle Nipple Colapses
  • Car seat Intolerance: Hates it/Trouble Breathing in it/Reflux Problems
    I hated the car seat too ’cause my baby struggled to breathe in it with low oxygen alarms on his medical grade pulse oximeter going off while I drove.
  • Chapped Lips and Dry Skin
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  • Cheek Dimpling while breastfeeding (3)
  • Chewing/Chomping/Biting on Nipple
  • “Chirping”/”Barking”/”Squeaking” (Stridor) in Sleep from a Floppy Larynx (Laryngmalatia) or Floppy Esophagus.
    These conditions are not specifically a symptom but are conditions that frequently accompany a tie.
  • Choking in Sleep
    Caleb would audibly choke and struggle to breathe in his sleep. There are two vivid instances where I awoke to my newborn’s oxygen alarm going off for an extended period of time to hear him audibly choking on his back and it did not stop until I picked him up. I truly believe his oxygen monitor saved his life.
  • Clicking or Smacking Noise while Nursing or Bottle Feeding
  • Colic
  • Congested Nose
  • Coughing and Choking while Eating or Drinking
  • Cupped Tongue while Crying
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  • Dehydration
  • Difficulty Latching
  • “Difficult Baby”/Unhappy Baby/Unsettled
  • Dimples
    Not always, but could indicate buckle ties.
  • Dysfunctional Swallow Pattern
  • Ear Infections
  • Excessive Drooling
  • Excessive Hiccups
  • Excessive Loss of Weight Post Birth
  • Excessive Swallowed Air
  • Exclusively Nurses even as an older Baby or Toddler
  • Extended Nursing Sessions
  • Extended Sleeping then Extended Cluster Feeding
  • Failure to Thrive
  • Falling Asleep at the Breast or Bottle, “Sleepy/Lazy Nurser”
  • Feeding Tubes Required
  • Frequent Nursing
  • Frustrated at Breast or with Bottle/”Combat Nursing”
    Arching Back, Popping off to Scream
  • Gap between Top Front Teeth
    Indicative of lip tie.
  • Gagging on Solids
  • Gassy
  • Gasping for Air while Nursing or Bottle Feeding
  • Green, Watery Poop
    Tied babies that are not able to compensate well at the breast often only get the fore-milk before they tire out which causes the green water poop and the mother’s engorgement and/or a drop in milk supply.
  • Grunting During and After Eating, “Grunting Baby Syndrome”
  • High-Arched Palate/ “Bubble Palate”
    When the tongue does not come in proper contact with the palate in utero the palate forms into a “bubble” and can create narrow nasal airways as well as preventing baby from creating the proper vacuum in order to suckle correctly. This can lead to leaking milk out of the corners of baby’s mouth, dysfunctional suck/swallow/breathe pattern with choking and gagging etc., and swallowed air. Caleb would pop one of my nipples up into his palate instead of drawing it back far enough, and chomp on it to try to get milk, this caused the top side of the crease to be bigger than the bottom and the top half was shaped like his palate. The other nipple just got really physically traumatized.
  • Huge Burps, “Like a Man”
  • Hungry Baby, Even if Just Ate
  • Jaundice in Newborn
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  • Lethargy
  • Lip Blister(s)
  • Milk Drains out of Mouth Corners
  • Milk Coming out of Nose
  • Milk Tongue
    Palate is supposed to come in contact with tongue to help clean it, otherwise tongue can turn white even with absence of thrush.
  • Mouth Breathing
  • Paci Falls out of Mouth Easily or can only use Nuk/flat Paci
  • “Pallor”-like lips with Red Outline (3)
  • Picky Eating
  • Pocketing Foods along Gumline
    Common with buckle ties.
  • Poor/Slow Weight Gain
  • Prolonged Puree Preference
  • Projectile Vomiting
  • Reflux (4)
  • Refuses the Bottle
  • Refuses Solids
  • Refuses Sleep
  • Restless Sleep
  • Shallow Latch
  • Silent Reflux (4)
  • Sleep Deprivation
  • Slides on and off Nipple/Poor Suction
  • Slow Eaters, Long-winded “chewers”
  • Snacking Around the Clock/Grazing
  • Special Needs Bottle Required
  • Spits up Often
  • “Standy-Uppy” Baby
    Prefers extension of body, may even over-extend creating a concave arch with back. 
  • Starvation
    The article “15 Signs the Baby is Starving” (25) helped save Caleb’s life.
  • Stick-Like Limbs/Stick-Baby
  • Syringe Feeding Required
  • Tongue Indent
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  • Tongue Thrust (5)
  • Torticollis
  • Trouble Sleeping/”Baby Won’t Sleep!”
  • Trouble Breathing in Sleep
  • Trouble Swallowing
  • Unable to Breastfeed or use a Conventional Bottle
  • Uneven Head/Plagiocephaly
  • Upper Lip Curling Under or In vs Flanging around Nipple
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  • Vomiting after Bottle Feeding or Nursing
  • Vomiting Solids
  • Weak Suck

Remember that every tied baby will present differently. Some will have a wide array of the listed symptoms while others may just be gassy with restless sleep.


Symptoms and Related Conditions In Kids & Adults

  • Apnea/Sleep-Disordered Breathing
  • Arthritis (26) 
    Tongue ties can cause a forward head posture which can be a contributing factor to arthritis. Arthritis also has a strong link to dysbiosis (leaky gut) as the root cause (29).
  • ADHD or ADD
    81% of kids with ADD or ADHD have Sleep-Disordered Breathing which is often largely or in-part caused by tongue tie. Symptoms can largely or wholly be rooted in sleep-disordered breathing caused in part by the tie. (8) Leaky gut can also contribute to these symptoms.
  • Bedwetting
    Caused by sleep-disordered breathing which trigger a fight of flight response when oxygen deprivation sets in so brain takes oxygen from muscles in bladder. (9)
  • Bladder Issues
  • Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)
    Can also be a symptom of parasites.
  • Bubble/High-Arched Palate
  • Cavities
  • Chin Wrinkling when Swallowing (10)
  • Chronic Migraines
  • Clenching
  • Clicking Jaw
  • Crooked and/or Crowded Teeth
    Dr. Weston A. Price linked narrow jaws and crowded teeth to nutritional deficiencies. The same links have been made between nutrition and tongue tie. (27) (28)
  • Crusty Lips
  • Cupid’s Bow Dimple (horizontal line while smiling)
  • Difficulty Keeping Mouth Free of Cavitation
    Tongue tie often leads to open mouth postures or breathing and swallowing compensations that negatively affect the oral microbiome.
  • Dowager’s Hump
  • Drooling in Sleep/Open Mouth Posture
  • Dry Mouth/Xerostomia (11)
  • Ear Infections
    “Ear infections are not uncommon in children with lingual frenulum restrictions, as tongue-ties can result in swallow patterns that don’t adequately ventilate eustachian tubes to support optimal middle ear functioning.” (12) Ear infections are also rooted in dysbiosis of the ears, nose and throat biome.
  • Facial Asymmetry (13)
  • Facial Pain
  • Flaccid Lower Lip, Rolled Out Upper Lip (14)
  • Flattened Cheeks (15)
  • Forked tongue
  • Forward Head Posture (17)
  • Frequent Choking on Liquids/Swallowing Down the Wrong Tube
  • Food getting trapped in the palate, gumline or cheeks
  • Gum Disease
  • Gummy Smile (16)
  • Halitosis (Bad Breathe)
    Dysbiosis of the oral microbiome and an unsupportive diet can also contribute.
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Herniated Discs
  • High-Strung, Anxious
    Dysbiosis is often a contributing factor for this as well.
  • Lips Straining with Flattening (18)
  • Lisp
  • Long-Face Syndrome
  • Long-Winded Chewing
  • Low Volume Speech
  • More than one Swallow per Bite
  • Mouth Breathing (19)
  • Mumbling
  • Narrow or Misaligned Jaws
  • Narrow Arch/Palate
  • Needs to Drink a Liquid to Swallow Solids
  • Night Terrors (8)
    Sleep-disordered breathing caused by the tie can result in terrors. Night terrors are also linked to gut dysbiosis.
  • Nose-Lip Angle Greater Than 110 Degrees (20)
  • ODD
    Symptoms can largely or wholly be rooted in sleep-disordered breathing caused in part by the tie. (8) Leaky gut can also contribute to these symptoms.
  • Overbite
  • Open Bite
  • Orthodontic Relapse (21)
  • Orthognathic Surgery Relapse (22)
  • Painful or Difficult to Open Mouth Wide
  • Pain in Neck, Back and/or Face
  • Pain while Kissing
  • Picky Eater/Limited Food Choices
  • Poor Ability to French kiss
  • Recessed Chin or Jaw (23)
  • Reflux (4)
  • Restless Sleep/Tossing and Turning/Frequent Waking
  • Scoliosis
    Tongue tie can pull C5 forward and push it against the thyroid creating both mild scoliosis and an affect on the thyroid’s function.
  • Sinus Issues
    Narrow airways are a huge factor. Sinusitis is largely rooted in dysbiosis.
  • Smiles Funky (due to lip tie)
  • Smiling with Tongue between Teeth
  • Speech Therapy Needs
  • Speech Difficulty when Talking Fast or when Tired
  • Swallowing Partially Chewed Food/Gulping Food (24)
  • Swollen Tonsils and Adenoids
  • TMJ
  • Tired Jaw from Chewing
  • Tori (bone growth) on Palate or Under Tongue
    24059394_1687760634579541_5919394516344412830_o
  • Trouble Swallowing Foods
  • Tooth and/or Gum Decay
    Ties contribute. Dysbiosis of the oral microbiome and an unsupportive diet are also at the root.
  • Torticollis
  • Underbite

Again, remember that an adult or child with a tie will most likely not present with every single symptom listed and some people will present with more than others. A tongue tie release can be life-changing for an adult, child and their family.


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“In my experience, the type of tie does not correlate to severity. Restriction is restriction, and as you can see in the picture, each tie looks different.” Dr. Mikel Newman

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Caleb’s Tongue Tie

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Caleb’s Lip Tie

My Tongue Tie

My Mom’s Tongue Tie and Lip Tie Dimple

After Care

We had reattachment after the first frenotomy. I am definitely a supporter of stretches as much as I hate them. One thing that really helped me take the plunge into revision (apart from the painful continuation of feeding difficulties into toddlerhood) was realizing that as a daughter of God it is part of my heritage in Christ to be able to bless my son with my hands. I have blessing in Christ and I can share that with Caleb. I would pray before stretches and ask God to guide my hands and to bless my son. I also have a God-given right and destiny as a mother to nourish my child with my breast and with my hands so I can claim these things in prayer as we advance into freedom.

The best aftercare video for babies that I have found is posted below. Stretches for kids and adults are different of course and information can be found online and through a myofunctional therapist (myofunctional therapy is very important for kids and adults who release their tie). For babies and toddlers I also recommend reading Dr. Ghaheri’s aftercare article. I read in an article and also saw a mom share online that her provider recommends stretching once a month for a year post frenotomy to keep the new frenum stretchy and to minimize scar tissue.

1. Preferred Provider List
https://www.tt-lt-support-network.com/providers.html
2. Tongue Tie Adults Facebook Group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1494393564165999/
3. Cheek Dimpling, Pallor-Like Lips, Extended Use of Nipple Shield, Having to Bottle Feed, Use of an SNS
https://www.facebook.com/DrGhaheriMD/photos/a.451553228339392.1073741829.329432813884768/867902883371089/?type=3&theater
4. Tongue/Lip Ties and Their Relation to Infant Reflux
http://www.infantreflux.org/tonguelip-tie/
5. Tongue Thrust
https://www.facebook.com/DrGhaheriMD/photos/a.451553228339392.1073741829.329432813884768/852823774879000/?type=3&theater
6. Postpartum Depression
https://www.drghaheri.com/blog/2014/11/14/breastfeeding-problems-can-affect-the-emotional-health-of-mom-and-baby-1
7. Accentuated Cupid’s Bow Upper Lip
http://shwethadental.com/index.php/articles/127-effects-of-mouth-breathing
8. ADHD and ODD link to Sleep Breathing Disorder and Tongue Tie:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sk5qsmRyVcE&app=desktop
9. Bedwetting, night terrors and sleep breathing disorders:
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=930197510436465&id=102679193188305
10. http://www.buteykochildren.com/mouth_breathing_and_facial_development.php
11. Dry Mouth
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/187640.php
12. Ear Infections
https://leader.pubs.asha.org/article.aspx?articleid=2432362#.Veed9E5eV2M
13. Facial Asymmetry
http://www.fasttraxortho.com/Mouthbreathing.pdf
14. Flaccid Lower Lip, Rolled Out Upper Lip
http://orofacialmyology.com/files/LIP_INCOMPETENCE.pdf
15. Flattened Cheeks (15)
http://facefocused.com/helping-kids-avoid-braces/what-is-proper-rest-oral-posture/
16. Gummy Smile (16)
http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/oral-health/what-to-know-if-youre-a-mouth-breather#M4tQ1huyVqsD5fze.97
17. http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/oral-health/what-to-know-if-youre-a-mouth-breather#M4tQ1huyVqsD5fze.97
18. http://www.buteykochildren.com/mouth_breathing_and_facial_development.php
19. Mouth Breathing
http://queenofdentalhygiene.blogspot.com/2014/07/breathing-not-everyone-is-doing-it-right.html
20. Nose-Lip Angle Greater Than 110 Degrees
http://facefocused.com/helping-kids-avoid-braces/what-is-proper-rest-oral-posture/
21. Orthodontic Relapse
http://www.fasttraxortho.com/Mouthbreathing.pdf
22. Orthognathic Surgery Relapse
http://www.fasttraxortho.com/Mouthbreathing.pdf
23. Recessed Chin or Jaw
http://www.buteykochildren.com/mouth_breathing_and_facial_development.php
24. Swallowing Partially Chewed Food/Gulping Food
http://www.nosebreathe.com/mouthbreathing.html
25. 15 Signs the Baby is Starving
https://www.babygaga.com/15-signs-the-baby-is-starving/
26. Arthritis
http://www.mouthmattersbook.com/2013/12/08/facial-meltdown-if-a-form-in-nature-isnt-beautiful-something-is-wrong/plagiocephalyplagiocephaly
27. Webbed Fingers Syndrome: Is Tongue-Tie Linked to Vitamin A Deficiency?
https://www.drstevenlin.com/webbed-fingers-syndrome-tongue-tie-linked-vitamin-a-deficiency/
28. Weston A. Price, DDS
https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/nutrition-greats/weston-a-price-dds/
29. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/01/joint-pain-from-the-gut/383772/
30. Infant Colic Represents Gut Inflammation and Dysbiosis
https://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476(18)30947-8/pdf
31. Considering Breastfeeding/Early Infant Feeding a Developmental Milestone by Karen Adams
32. Ankyloglossia Bodyworkers Provider List http://www.ankyloglossiabodyworkers.com/provider-list.html