Specialist Tongue-tie Practitioner, Midwife and Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)

Tongue-tie Assessment

... for Babies 0-6 months

If you have just discovered your baby has a tongue-tie you’re bound to be feeling very anxious.

You may have noticed it yourself, or been told by a doctor or midwife that your baby has a ‘tongue-tie’ and they have referred you to the NHS service.  But waiting times can be too long when you’re struggling to feed, and you might even find your baby doesn’t qualify to be treated, as they’re putting on weight or are now too old to be seen!

All too commonly, you may have received conflicting advice around whether or not your baby even has a tongue-tie and you just want to talk to an expert.

If you’re experiencing difficulties feeding your baby, and suspect a tongue-tie, you should seek expert advice from a qualified CQC registered Tongue-tie Practitioner and Lactation Consultant such as myself.

We provide Tongue-tie assessment/release appointments across 2 clinics in Tunbridge Wells and Brighton.

Parents who have a baby with a suspected Tongue-tie will initially book a Tongue-tie Assessment, following the assessment, if the release procedure (frenulotomy) is required this will be carried out during the same appointment with an additional charge of £70. Please find more information below.

Tongue-tie Assessment and Infant Feeding Support - £195

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The consultation and assessment will be carried out by Dee Bell, Registered Midwife, IBCLC and Specialist Tongue-tie Practitioner.

During the consultation, Dee will discuss your concerns and feeding issues to date and assess your baby’s suspected tongue-tie (using the HATLFF objective scoring tool, if appropriate, depending on the age and development of the baby).  Dee will also provide feeding support and advice around baby’s latch, comfortable and effective positioning, boosting milk supply if applicable and paced bottle feeding techniques if required. 

If the baby’s weight is an issue,  your baby can be weighed at the clinic and we will provide you with a feeding plan and follow-up options.

Infant Feeding Support, Tongue-tie assessment with frenulotomy - £265

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A tongue-tie release (frenulotomy) can be performed during the same appointment, if the baby would benefit and it is medically advisable to proceed, this will incur an additional cost of £70,  that will be payable on the day of the appointment.

Following the Tongue-tie release (frenulotomy) Dee will observe the first post-procedure feed and provide guidance and advice regarding tongue exercises, wound management, and expectations post-procedure (please see our Resources page for more information on Tongue-tie Aftercare).

Follow-up appointments for feeding support

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If you require a follow-up appointment to support you with your feeding this can easily be arranged.  Follow-ups are provided over zoom with our experience and highly trained Infant Feeding Coaches.  

Follow-up appointments booked within two weeks of your clinic appointment are just £60 and are ideal to support you to improve latch and positioning, review weight gain and help you grow in confidence to care for your baby. We can also show you how to safely carry your baby and even feed in a sling!  Follow-ups to manage ongoing feeding issues can be booked by emailing us at admin@birthbabyandyou.co.uk or via our breastfeeding page

Tongue-tie Re-division with Dee Bell, RM. IBCLC, Specialist Tongue-tie Practitioner - £60

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Whilst a rare occurrence, it is estimated that approximately 4% of releases may require a re-division due to reattachment or scar tissue.  The healing process can take up to 4 weeks to complete. This is not due to how the release was performed, but rather by the way the baby’s mouth heals.   

If you continue to struggle with feeding and you have concerns that the baby’s tongue function is still restricted, after allowing time to fully heal, you are able to book a follow-up with Dee. 

Please contact us by email admin@birthbabyandyou.co.uk

Book an Appointment for Tongue-tie Assessment Below

If you can't see the appointment you need, please check availability at another clinic location

Thursday Clinic
Tunbridge Wells
Tongue-tie Assessment
£195

46 Holden Park Road
Tunbridge Wells
TN4 0ER

Friday Clinic
Brighton
Tongue-tie Assessment
£195

6 Ashurst Avenue
Saltdean, Brighton 
BN2 8DR

Saturday Emergency Clinic 
Anterior Tongue-tie only
Brighton
£285

6 Ashurst Avenue
Saltdean, Brighton 
BN2 8DR

Tongue-tie Assessment:

Please Note:  Tongue-tie can only be diagnosed following a physical assessment of your baby’s tongue function, by a Qualified Tongue-tie Practitioner. 
If you are not sure if your baby has a tongue-tie, OR if you have been told that your baby may have a ‘Posterior Tongue-tie’  by someone other than a trained Tongue-tie practitioner, a procedure may not always necessary.

What is a Tongue-tie?

Tongue-tie assessment – Birth, Baby & You – Dee Bell – Lactation Consultant for Kent, Surrey & Sussex

Most people have a stretching membrane under the tongue, called the lingual frenulumThe mere presence of a lingual frenulum, which can be seen or felt, does not mean your baby is tongue-tied.

Tongue-tie (also known as Ankyloglossia) should only be diagnosed when this membrane is abnormally short or tight and restricts tongue function (prevents normal movement).

To find out more about anterior vs posterior tongue-tie and how to know when treatment is needed, head to the FAQs below.

Feeding difficulties which the mother may experience due to a tongue-tie

  • Sore/persistently damaged nipples
  • Nipple blanching (looking white) after feeds
  • Nipples which come out of the baby’s mouth misshapen (lipstick shaped), despite good positioning
  • Lowered milk supply, caused by inadequate breast drainage and ineffective feeds
  • Mastitis – inflammation of the breast
  • Low mood due to discomfort and difficulty establishing breastfeeding
  • Exhaustion from frequent/constant feeding

Problems the baby may experience due to restricted tongue function

  • Small mouth gape resulting in poor attachment and biting/grinding behaviour
  • Unsettled after/during feeds due to wind/frustration/hunger
  • Frequent feeding or excessively long and drawn out feeds, only to need feeding again a short time later
  • Difficulty maintaining a latch at the breast or bottle
  • Excessive early weight loss/poor weight gain/faltering growth
  • Clicking/slipping noises and/or dribbling during feeds on breast or bottle
  • Increased colic/wind/hiccoughs/reflux (regurgitation of milk after feeds)

Please note: While the feeding difficulties above are often associated with tongue-tie, they can also occur in other circumstances and have other underlying causes, 

therefore a thorough assessment by a practitioner highly skilled in breastfeeding is essential.

F.A.Q.

Frequently asked questions about tongue-tie

Anterior tongue-tie – at the front 

An anterior tongue-tie is diagnosed when the membrane is attached at, or close to, the tongue tip. The tongue tip may look notched or even heart shaped. The frenulum often runs from under the tongue (near the tip) to just behind the baby’s gum ridge.

Posterior tongue-tie – at the back

When the membrane is attached further back from the tip of the tongue – usually where the tongue is joined to the floor of the mouth – and ONLY if it’s causing a restriction, then it’s classified as a posterior tongue-tie. Sometimes the tongue may appear normal, but the tongue-tie is diagnosed via digital assessment of the tongue function. If a visible or palpable frenulum is not impeding tongue function, then it’s simply a lingual frenulum and not a tongue-tie.

You can find out more about tongue-tie on our blog.

Firstly, I will examine your baby, targeting the head and neck to determine if there are any restrictions with movement – I will gently place a gloved finger into your baby’s mouth and observe how your baby uses their tongue.

A true assessment cannot be made simply by ‘taking a look’, or whilst the baby is sitting on a parent’s lap, or laying in a car seat!  

A full assessment is usually carried out with the baby laying on my lap, or on a changing table. The aim of the examination is to determine the degree of tension of the frenulum on the tongue and the surrounding tissue. 

This gentle examination will not distress your baby and they often quite enjoy it – as long as they’re not too hungry!

NICE Guidance (2005) states: Division of ankyloglossia (tongue-tie) for breastfeeding should only be performed by registered healthcare professionals who are properly trained. A registered health care professional is someone who holds a healthcare qualification and has professional registration with a regulatory body such as the NMC.

As a registered Midwife, Lactation Consultant and NHS Infant Feeding Lead, I trained to divide tongue-ties at Southampton hospital in 2009. I then went on to run an NHS tongue-tie clinic at a leading hospital in the South East, seeing about 6 babies each week in my feeding clinic.

Since training, as a Tongue-tie Practitioner, over 12 years ago, I have assessed and treated literally thousands of babies! I am very proud to say that I am one of the most experienced Private Practitioners with a great reputation and an abundance of 5* reviews which you can read on my Birth Baby and You facebook page.

There is no evidence that this procedure causes much discomfort in young babies and therefore no anaesthetic is used to perform a tongue-tie release in babies under 6 months (more experienced practitioners, such as myself, will also see babies up to 9 months). This is because many babies do not seem to feel very much discomfort from the procedure and therefore an anaesthetic would be more invasive than the procedure itself.

A small number of babies (usually over 8 weeks), may feel some discomfort for a short time after the procedure. If your baby does cry more than normal you can give them the prescribed dose of Calpol, appropriate to their age. Any perceived discomfort usually settles within 24 hours.

Click here to read more about how the procedure is carried out.

When breastfeeding isn’t going the way we want it to, it’s natural to look for something to blame. There’s lots of talk about ‘lip-tie’ on various tongue-tie forums, but the source of treating the naturally occurring phenomenon of a ‘labial frenum’ seems to have its roots in America. In 18 years of practice as a UK registered midwife, and 12 years specialising in infant feeding, I’ve only ever seen 4 true lip-ties, where the lip was fused to the upper gum ridge.

Currently, there’s no published evidence supporting a link between breastfeeding issues and lip-tie. 

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have not issued any guidance on this issue and therefore training is not available in the UK in lip-tie division for practitioners. 

Click here to read a full statement regarding lip-tie by The Association of Tongue Tie Practitioners (ATP) 

Yes! In Jan 2019 the CQC confirmed that Frenulotomy falls within the regulated activity ‘surgical procedures’ and any HCP carrying out the procedure would have to register with the CQC for inspection.

I am now registered for regulation with the CQC. You can see their widget in the footer of this website enabling you to check my registration.

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How to book a Breastfeeding Support Appointment

 
  • Select the “Appointment Calendar”
  • Use the calendar to choose a date and time
  • Complete the booking form.  PLEASE ENSURE BOOKING IS IN MOTHER’S NAME AND USING MOTHER’S CONTACT EMAIL AND MOBILE NUMBER.
  • Once booked, please check your email and complete the Background Information form.  Please return the form within 1 hour of booking and if not received, please check spam or contact admin@birthbabyandyou.co.uk.
  • We will then contact you by phone to briefly run through our appointment details.  (if booking out of hours we will contact you by phone the next working day)

How to book a Tongue-tie assessment

  • Select the chosen clinic’s “Appointment Calendar”
  • Use the calendar to choose a date and time
  • Complete the booking form.  PLEASE ENSURE BOOKING IS IN MOTHER’S NAME AND USING MOTHER’S CONTACT EMAIL AND MOBILE NUMBER.
  • Once booked, please check your email and complete the Background Information and Consent form. (if not received, please check spam)
  • We will then contact you by phone to run through some pre-appointment details.  (if booking out of hours we will contact you by phone the next working day)

Please note we require the background information and consent form returned within 1 hour booking.

If you cannot see the appointment you need, please check our other clinics or complete the enquiry form.