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We’ve all heard of someone who is left speechless as “tongue-tied”, but did you know that it is an actual medical condition? Ankyloglossia, commonly referred to as “tongue-tie” is where the membrane (or frenulum) that connects your tongue to the base of your mouth is particularly short. It can range from minor (which I’ll discuss below) to severe where it prohibits the tongue from passing over the bottom teeth causing speech impediments and even difficulty eating.

By now most of you are probably wiggling your tongue around in your mouth trying to determine if you have a short frenulum. Let me help you:

– Can you touch the roof of your mouth with your tongue when your mouth is wide open?
– Can you stick your tongue out more than 2 mm past your bottom teeth?
– When you stick your tongue out does your tongue make a heart shape like it’s being pulled back in the middle?

A baby with tongue-tie


Now you have all returned from sticking your tongue out at the mirror, there is something else you should know, tongue-tie runs in families. In our case, it is my mother that (unbeknownst to her until I ran her through the above exercise) has minor tongue-tie. As neither my husband nor I or any of the other grandparents have it, we can say conclusively that my son has my Mother’s tongue. She must be so proud!

So how did this come up? Well it, like most everything in my son’s first two months, comes back to breastfeeding.

Babies with tongue-tie can have difficulty latching or staying latched. It can cause the baby to make a clicking sound while they nurse which was the case with my son.

Luckily for my son, my milk production was so high that milk was literally streaming in his mouth with very little effort by him. That being said, it could have contributed to some of my blocked milk ducts (baby not activating all of the ducts leaving milk to build up in the ones not drained) and soreness (poor latch is one of the primary factors in nipple soreness).

Fortunately in many babies with minor tongue-tie, the frenulum stretches out a bit during their first year negating any concerns regarding their speech. For babies with more severe cases, the frenulum can be snipped slightly to allow more wiggle room (pun intended). The Mayo Clinic has some more information on ankyloglossia if you are interested!

Note: Albert Einstein clearly did NOT have tongue-tie!

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