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Babies do not need surgery to tongue to feed themselves.

Breastfeeding baby

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An American study suggests that babies with language attachments rarely need a surgical procedure to feed themselves.

She found that two-thirds of the babies referred for the procedure did not need it and were able to feed themselves with other support.

The attachment to the tongue occurs when the skin band connecting the tongue to the floor of the mouth is shorter than usual. This can affect the diet, but not always.

British experts said the procedure could be avoided "with appropriate support".

& # 39; No real data & # 39;

Between 4% and 11% of babies are born with a tongue tie or ankyloglossia.

This may mean that babies can not open their mouths wide enough to breastfeed.

A simple procedure called frenulectomy, in which the attachment of the tongue is cut off, can be proposed.

In very young babies, this can even be done under local anesthesia.

The American study indicates that the number of frenulectomies is increasing, from 1,200 in 1997 to 12,400 in 2012.

NHS Digital figures indicate that at least 4,320 people were performed in England in 2015-2016 – and this figure is likely to be underestimated because it is about a procedure so fast that it is possible that it is not always recorded.

The US study, published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, involved 115 babies, averaging about one month old.

All had been referred for the surgical procedure – but 63% managed to breastfeed with the help of specialists, including speech therapists.

Dr. Christopher Hartnick of Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital, who led the research, said, "We have seen the number of surgeries with tongue and lip release increase dramatically, with no data available. very reliable showing that these interventions are effective for breastfeeding.

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Jane Moffett, breastfeeding counselor for NCT, said, "Many women find it difficult to feed their baby during the first days and weeks.

"In some cases, this may be due to a language attachment.

"There is little evidence to indicate which babies need a division to the tongue and which ones do not.

"Services also vary considerably across the UK, with some regions having no social security system and no fear of over-diagnosis in others.

"If you think your baby has a tie or you are worried about not eating well, contact a breastfeeding counselor, midwife or health visitor.

"Getting early help can make all the difference."

Professor Mary Fewtrell, of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, said: "For some, the tongue attachment may be the cause of poor breastfeeding and maternal nipple pain and the procedure can correct the restriction of the movement of the tongue and allow a baby and comfort for mom.

"However, parents need good support and breastfeeding advice before considering surgery because, as this study shows, it can sometimes be avoided with proper support." .

"Although this new study sheds some light on this problem, we still do not have enough quality test data to know what is best for breastfeeding results. "

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