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Health visiting
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Tongue-tie

Medway Community Tongue-tie Service is for babies under the age of 6 months with a suspected tongue-tie who are experiencing difficulties breastfeeding or feeding from a bottle. A tongue-tie practitioner who is also a health visitor and lactation consultant will assess baby and if indicated will do the division during the same consultation. Mum will be supported to feed her baby straight after the procedure.

For referral to the clinic please attend one of the clinics below:

  • Wayfield Children’s Centre Breastfeeding Clinic: any breastfeeding mum and baby experiencing difficulties feeding can attend the clinic any Monday (except bank holidays) between 9am and 11.30am. No appointment needed
  • Wayfield Children’s Centre Bottle Feeding Clinic: if your baby is formula feeding please ask your health visitor to refer you to the infant feeding team, who will quickly arrange an appointment for your baby to be assessed at the clinic on a Monday afternoon

The specialist infant feeding team at Wayfield Children’s Centre will assess your baby’s feeding, and if tongue-tie is suspected they will discuss what this means and what can be done next. If indicated your baby will be referred to the Tongue-tie Clinic. We aim to see most babies within one week of referral.

This service is only available to families who live in the area covered by Medway Council.

Tongue-tie is characterised by a short, thickened or unusually tight frenulum, and affects between 3-10% of newborn babies (NHS Choices, 2013). Full movement of the tongue is needed for effective breastfeeding, without which babies may find it difficult to breastfeed, have static or slow weight gain and mum may experience painful nipples and re-occurring blocked ducts or mastitis. A baby who is formula or bottle fed may also experience feeding difficulties such as prolonged, noisy or messy feeds, with static or slow weight gain.

There is evidence that division of the tongue-tie can improve feeding outcomes, nipple comfort and weight gain, and that division is well tolerated by the infant (Webb et al, 2013). The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2005) states that ‘there are no major safety concerns about division of ankyloglossia (tongue-tie)’ and that the procedure can improve breastfeeding.