How to Tell If Your Baby Has Tongue-Tie

When a baby has tongue-tie (aka ankyloglossia), it means that the tongue’s range of motion is restricted. This can (but doesn’t always) cause problems with feeding, swallowing and talking. If you suspect that your child has tongue-tie, it’s important to speak to your pediatrician. How will you know? Here are some of the symptoms to look out for.  

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Problems Breastfeeding

Spotting signs of tongue-tie may be easiest to do while nursing. Some common symptoms include: difficulty latching on, clicking noises while feeding and lots of short feeds (because the baby can’t nurse efficiently, she may compensate with frequent, rapid feeds).  

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Mom Can Have Symptoms, Too

Checking in with mom can give you important clues about a baby’s health. “A slow but steady decline in milk production could be a sign of tongue-tie,” explains lactation consultant and La Leche League leader Leigh Anne O’Connor. Other symptoms include: painful nursing sessions (the baby may be chewing instead of sucking), compressed nipples and plugged ducts.

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Poor Weight Gain

An infant who has difficulty gaining weight or who experiences drastic weight loss could be another symptom, says O’Connor. Sometimes this might not be noticeable in the first few weeks, when a mother’s supply is often more than a baby needs. But once your supply settles down, if weight gain slowly declines, it's definitely worth discussing with your doctor.

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Other Symptoms

Other red flags: excessive drooling, lots of spitting up and an extra gassy baby (babies with tongue-tie often swallow a lot of air).

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Executive Editor

Alexia Dellner is an executive editor at PureWow who has over ten years of experience covering a broad range of topics including health, wellness, travel, family, culture and...