To Keep a Clipped Tongue-Tie Open
The Side Swipe
Insert your finger under the child’s tongue, as far back as you can reach.
Sweep side to side.
The Tongue Lift
Insert your finger, pad down, under the infant’s tongue.
Push it as far back as you can. Then lift up, as far as you can.
Hold for a few seconds.
Below is a video from Dr. Kotlow showing how to do the exercises for a tongue tie and lip tie.
To Teach them to Use the Tongue Properly and Potentially Stretch the Tie
When a tongue is restricted due to a tie, the infant cannot extend the tongue forward. This causes the back of the tongue to stay “bunched up.” This leads to dental problems, a misshapen soft palate, and problems breast-feeding. Because the back of the tongue does not drop down, the baby has difficult swallowing and often spills milk out the sides of the mouth. This is true of breastfeeding and bottle-feeding.
After a tie is clipped, it is important that the infant learn to use the tongue properly. This includes the ability, knowledge, and consistent practice of extending the tongue forward, thus releasing the “bunch.”
This can be done several different ways. The basic idea is to have the infant suck on something, then slowly pull out, forcing the infant to extend his/her tongue in an attempt to draw the item back into his/her throat. Don’t pull out all the way, just until the infant extends the tongue and draws it back into the throat. Allow them to suck for a little while and then repeat.
This can be done with your finger, a bottle, or a pacifier.
I do this exercise with Ruby each time I feed her. I still finger feed her with an SNS. I continuously apply downward pressure on the back of her tongue. Then I pull out slowly, as described above.
I really encourage finger feeding an infant whose tongue was clipped while he/she was older (although, not necessarily full-time finger feeding). By having the baby suck on you finger, you can judge improvement or digression.
Josiah, my third child, had is tongue-tie revised at 6weeks old. I learned so exercises and stretches from Ruby’s speech therapist and another friend who took her daughter to a speech therapist also. I do all these exercises on Josiah to make sure I leave no stone unturned.
If no improvement or only limited improvement is aquired from these exercises, I highly suggest having your baby evaluated by a speech pathologist to see if there are other areas that may need work that I may not have personal experience with.
These exercises should be done at least twice a day for 2-3 weeks. You want to continue them until the underside of the tongue is healed up completely.
As you can image, your baby will be in a considerable amount of pain from the proceedure. To have success in nursing, you should give him/her homeopathic remedies to reduce pain.
I use arnica and hypericum. Hyland’s brand of remedies is great because it dissolves quickly and easily. I give a double dose ever few hours for the first few days after the proceedure. Then back off slowly from there. If the infant appears to have a difficult time nursing or transferring milk, give an extra dose if remedies.
I was advised that Josiah wouldn’t be in much pain after a few hours. However he basically stopped nursing for a few days. He even refused the lact-aid. I was terrified that I was going to lose my nursing relationship with him like I did Ruby.
I gave him some pain medication on a whim. BOOM! He nursed like a dream! I have worked with another mother who reported the same thing.
I had to give the remedies for about two-three weeks.
Doctors advise that the tongue heals quickly and so pain meds should not be needed pasted a few days. This may be true if we left the tongue alone. However, because we are stretching it, more pain will occur. This is because each time you stretch it, you are reopening any attached tissue. Ouch!
It can be difficult to give remedies to an infant because they have a reflex to prevent them from chocking. This reflex causes them to push any foreign objects out if their mouths using the tongue. So Everytime you stick a tablet in, the tongue pushes it right back out. And because the tongue is moist and the tablet dissolves quickly… Well… You can see how well that ends.
I have a video below that explains my method for giving babies the remedies. Hopefully it will be helpful.