How to Know if Your Child has a Lip/Tongue Tie

January 24, 2018


When I learned my baby, Avril, was lip and tongue tied (and buccal tied), it has been a nursing game changer! Since her experience, I have helped 3 out of my 4 mom friends who had newborns after Avril's birth, discover their babies have ties too!... That means, they are so common! 


I would ask how nursing was going, or I remembered they had a painful/difficult nursing experience with their previous babies. When I would hear them say things like, "my baby is just so fussy" or "I don't think he's getting enough milk" or "my nipples feel like razor blades are cutting them" (WHAT?!?!) I knew I had to ask them if they knew whether or not their child had some sort of tie. When they didn't know, I asked if I could check. Then, I would just recommend having an IBCLC come for a check and tell them what we went through and who we saw for tie revisions. 


The thing about ties are that they are hereditary. 


I nursed each of my older 2 kids for over 2 years each, so a TOTAL of over 4 YEARS of breastfeeding before I had recently found out they both have lip AND tongue ties. Oh heavens! I wish I would have known. I wish all the lactation consultants we saw in the hospital would have found them, or a friend or pediatrician or someone! Haha so I am being your someone! ;) 


We now need to get our older kids revised and I will share in an other post the effects that ties have in older children. 


Here are the signs if you baby has a tongue or lip tie:


Signs in mama:


•nipple pain and/or erosions

•nipple looks pinched, creased, bruised, or abraded after feeds

•white stripe at the end of the nipple

•painful breasts/vasospasm

•low milk supply

•plugged ducts


•recurring thrush

•frustration, disappointment, and discouragement with breastfeeding

•weaning before mom is ready


Signs in baby:


•poor latch and suck

•unusually strong suck due to baby using excess vacuum to remove milk

•clicking sound while nursing (poor suction)

•bite or grind when feeding

•ineffective milk transfer

•infrequent swallowing after initial let-down

•inadequate weight gain or weight loss

•irritability or colic

•gas and reflux

•fussiness and frequent arching away from the breast

•fatigue within one to two minutes of beginning to nurse

•difficulty establishing suction to maintain a deep grasp on the breast

•breast tissue sliding in and out of baby’s mouth while feeding

•gradual sliding off the breast

•chewing or biting on the nipple

•falling asleep at the breast without taking in a full feed

•coughing, choking, gulping, or squeaking when feeding

•spilling milk during feeds

• be sick (vomit) straight after feeds

•jaw quivering after or between feeds


Assessing baby for tongue-tie: (baby may not have every sign)


•Does baby’s tongue rise less than half-way to the palate when crying?

•Do the sides of the tongue lift but not the center?

•Can you see a dip in the tongue in the center of the mouth?

•Does tongue have a heart shaped tip?

•Does baby have a high, narrow or bubble palate?

•Can you see or feel a tight frenulum?

Info Credit: Laura Spitzfaden, IBCLC



Best of luck mamas! If you have any of these signs go see an IBCLC or make an appointment with a dentist who does revisions! If you have a child born with a tie, please help your friends/sisters/strangers with the support they need!


Xo, Chessa

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