dad from day one: Parenting a Tongue Tied Baby

Week 5.

I chose not to go public about Jack being tongue tied, maybe in a subconscious attempt to avoid being overwhelmed with polarizing schools of advice before my wife and I had time to assess the situation ourselves and learn what would truly be best for him.  We realized after just the first couple of days after Jack was born that he wasn’t able to feed like other babies.  He could never get a good latch nor could he take more than a few sips of milk before crying and making a gurgling sound.  Actually, I never knew that being tongue tied was a real thing.  I just thought it was a phrase people used to describe momentarily not being able to successfully speak.  In case you haven’t already clicked on the Wikipedia link in the first sentence or already know this, some babies are born with that “skin bridge” attached too closely for them to stick out their tongues very far.

In Jack’s case, it meant extreme difficulty in feeding.  For more extreme cases, a tongue tied baby may grow up to become a child or adult with a speech impediment.  So last Thursday, we drove back to Vanderbilt in Nashville and had Jack’s tongue clipped.  I consider it a 2nd circumcision of sorts.  In fact, I was offered the chance to watch the procedure, so I did.  It was everything you would imagine. Just a few quick cuts.  I highly recommend it if your infant or child is tongue tied.

Since Thursday, the silver coating the doctor sprayed on the lacerations has been slowly peeling off.  So in a few more days, he should be out of pain and be able to begin learning to feed normally, with a tongue that can reach past his lips.  So if you have a tongue tied baby, and you’re asking for my opinion, just get it clipped. It’s no big deal and it sure beats having to wonder how much easier feeding could have been and whether your child will have difficulty speaking.


3 thoughts on “dad from day one: Parenting a Tongue Tied Baby

  1. Interesting! I didn’t know that being tongue tied was a “real thing” either! My daughter would get frustrated eating a lot…wonder if that was her problem, too. Glad little Jack is doing better!


  2. All of the photos of Jack are precious, but that first one w/the guitar tee is sooooo cute!

    Poor little guy. I commend you and your wife on what was probably a tough decision. Maybe not. I’m surprised at how often I knew the answer to something about one of my boys immediately. No questions asked. I was reminded of my oldest and the decision to got ahead with a procedure to remedy his blocked tear-ducts. You couldn’t have paid me to watch that procedure. Kudos, Dad! I hope Jack is doing well!

    P.S. Let me be the first one to say it, because I’m a crass mother – there may be a time when Jack is 4, maybe 5 or 6, when you wish he was tongue tied – meaning limited ability to chew your ear off! I am referring to the times I was biking with my youngest on an Alley Cat, me huffing and puffing for breath with him yelling from the back, “Mom, why are you so out of breath?” Kids!


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