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The Tongue Tie Conundrum

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
02/13/18  12:31 PM PST
Tongue Tie

By Melinda Wenner Moyer for Slate

Just when you thought you’d heard of every parenting controversy, another comes along to reaffirm your belief that there’s no end to the angst of having kids. (Of course, the joy is boundless, too!) The latest conundrum I’ve discovered involves tongue ties, a hugely trendy but controversial diagnosis. Tongue-tied infants have a particularly short, thick, or tight piece of tissue connecting the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth, which can restrict tongue movement and hinder breastfeeding. Tongue tie diagnoses have skyrocketed in recent years, and pediatricians, lactation consultants, and ear, nose, and throat doctors vehemently argue over whether it’s better to “snip” them in the hopes of making nursing easier and less painful for Mom—a procedure that costs between $400 and $1,200 and isn’t always covered by insurance—or leave them be and try to improve breastfeeding in other ways.

I started asking around on Facebook to get a sense for what parents have been going through. The variety of experiences was mind-boggling: “Within days, he was nursing better,” reported a friend who had her baby’s tongue tie snipped, while another said that the same procedure “didn’t help with breastfeeding—at all.” Friends got no clarity from medical providers, either. “Our pediatrician was like, it might help, it might not. The ENT said the same,” one recalls. Another friend saw an ENT who said her daughter didn’t have a tongue tie, two lactation consultants who said she did, and a pediatrician who essentially shrugged and suggested that she formula feed. A couple of friends were told to perform mouth exercises on their babies to prevent their snipped tongue ties from reattaching, while another had to get her baby’s tie snipped twice because the first wasn’t “aggressive” enough.

Read the Full Article at Slate.

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