Tongue-tie and breastfeeding in newborns-mothers' perspective

Breastfeed Med. 2014 Nov;9(9):430-7. doi: 10.1089/bfm.2014.0072. Epub 2014 Oct 7.


Objective: This study explored clinical implications of tongue-tie (TT) on breastfeeding from the mothers' perspective and evaluated the assistance provided.

Materials and methods: This was a single-center observational study using a structured survey. All newborns with TT born in 2005-2010 were identified; two controls without TT were assigned for each. Mothers were interviewed using a uniform structured questionnaire regarding breastfeeding experience, challenges, lactation consultation, and frenotomy, if performed.

Results: One hundred eighty-three TT mothers and 314 controls were interviewed. Although the overall rates of breastfeeding problems in the first month were similar (59% vs. 52%, respectively), TT mothers reported significantly more problems with latching, prolonged breastfeeding, and infant's exhaustion during feedings, but not pain or sore nipples. Breastfeeding rates at 6 months were similar. TT mothers more frequently used pumped breastmilk to supplement breastfeeding. Significantly more TT mothers sought consultation after discharge, and a significantly greater proportion of them felt that lactation consultation helped. Eighty-seven percent of the mothers were aware of their children's TT, yet only 50% associated it with breastfeeding problems. Of the TT infants at 2 years of age or older, 11.9% were reported to have speech problems. The possibility of frenotomy was mentioned to 69% of mothers, and it was performed in 35% of cases. Procedure satisfaction was generally poor, except for when done to solve breastfeeding problems.

Conclusions: TT infants had significantly more breastfeeding problems in the first month, but similar rates and durations of breastfeeding. Early diagnosis and lactation consultation may assist mother-infant dyads substantially. Mothers whose infants underwent frenotomies for breastfeeding more frequently found the procedure alleviated breastfeeding problems.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ankyloglossia
  • Breast Feeding* / psychology
  • Directive Counseling
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lactation
  • Lingual Frenum / abnormalities*
  • Lingual Frenum / surgery
  • Male
  • Mothers* / psychology
  • Mouth Abnormalities / diagnosis
  • Mouth Abnormalities / physiopathology*
  • Mouth Abnormalities / surgery
  • Nipples
  • Pain
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sucking Behavior
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome