Tongue-tied and sleep deprived

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Whilst many parents struggle to get their babies down to sleep each night, there are some babies for whom sleep is unattainable. There is a host of bizarre but fairly common ailments out there that rob sweet babies of their delicious slumber. This week we feature Ankyloglossia.


Ankyloglossia AKA Tongue Tie is a condition that affects 4% of newborns. Born with an extra piece of skin between their tongue and the floor of their mouths, these babies’ tongues appear heart-shaped and cannot protrude out of their mouths. The change in shape and decreased tongue movements can have a profound impact on the baby’s ability to latch at the breast and even to drink from a bottle. There is also concern regarding teeth formation, speech production and oral hygiene in the long-term.

If you are a regular Sealy blog reader you will know that the Sealy team recognizes that a good night’s sleep is invaluable and often influenced by what you eat. The Eat Right, Sleep Tight recipes are designed to help you live healthily and sleep soundly.

If your newborn baby is unable to settle into a feed on the breast and unable to stay asleep after a feed, then it may be worth taking a look under their tongue to see if a tongue-tie is not to blame. A baby with a significant tongue-tie is a frustrated, tired and hungry baby and it is likely that no one in your home is getting a good night’s sleep.

Paediatricians; Lactation Consultants; and Ear Nose and Throat specialists can all diagnose ankyloglossia. Once diagnosed, a frenuloplasty can be performed– a small incision is made into the extra piece of skin to release the tongue and uncover the salivary glands. In the case of newborns, no anaesthetic is required and the baby is able to feed immediately after the procedure.

Once the tongue-tie is removed, mothers report that breastfeeding is less painful and far more efficient as the baby latches and drinks rather than pulling on and off. With better feeding comes better sleeping and a far happier mom and babe.



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