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What is tongue or lip tie?

Our IBCLC's have extensive training and specialize in tongue tie assessment.

Tongue or lip tie is when the structure of the frenulum of a baby impedes the lips or tongue from functioning properly.

This can lead to many struggles for babies or mothers regardless of previous experiences.

There is one thing to know; that it will be alright, and we are here to help you.

Listed below are some of the most common things we think you should Know,

followed by some helpful suggestions on what to Do.


  • Gassiness

  • Irritability

  • Slow weight gain


  • Nipple pain

  • Nipple damage

Know: During the the first few weeks of life, These common things are sometimes,

but NOT always due to tongue tie or lip tie:





  • Latching pain beyond the first week/first 30-60 seconds

  • Creased nipples with pain

  • Blanching of the nipples with pain

  • Cracked nipples 

  • Recurring blocked ducts

  • Recurring mastitis

  • Incomplete milk transfer


  • Poor, shallow latch

  • Popping on and off the breast

  • Falls asleep without emptying the breast

  • Poor weight gain

  • Short feeding cycles without being satisfied 

  • Long feeding cycles without being satisfied 

  • Protects the airway during sleep

  • White coating on the tongue not related to thrush

  • Reflux symptoms 

  • Drips milk from the nipple

  • Tongue clicks during feeding

  • Difficulty holding the pacifier in

  • Difficulty holding suction on the bottle

Know: Ties routinely contribute to the following challenges:

Do: Have your personal history and your baby's positioning and latch assessed by a qualified health care member, make adjustments and watch/feel for improvements. Give yourself and your baby time to notice improvements!

Know: Tongue tie or lip tie can't be assessed or diagnosed just from the presence of a lingual or labial frenula.


Do: Have your suspected  tongue tie or lip tie assessed by a qualified practitioner.

​Know: What is normal in the first week of nursing (ie: nipple pain & discomfort vs. damage to nipples).

Do: First have your latch and positioning assessed by an IBCLC experienced in ties, and wait to see if function items appear to be abnormal.

Know: Birth story and position in the uterus can both affect symptoms that mimic ties.

Do: Before a tie release, consider having an experienced pediatric trained body worker examine your baby for asymmetries and/or tight oral tissue.

Know: Not all body workers are pediatric trained nor are they trained to see tongue tie/lip tie.

Do: Always ask for credentials. It's more than a professional courtesy, it's a need so you can receive the best care for your individual needs. 

Know: Many tongue and lip ties seen just over the internet can be wrongly diagnosed.

Do: Take your baby/child in for a full functional assessment by a qualified IBCLC.

Know: IBCLC's are not legally able to diagnose. They are only legally able to assess and then refer to another practitioner who IS qualified to diagnose.

Do:  Take your assessment results to your qualified and Experienced primary care  family doc, pediatrician, dentist, or ENT.

Know: There are several well trained practices in the Treasure Valley that diagnose and perform Tongue Tie releases.

Do: Make sure that if you don't already have someone in mind, that you ask for a list of referrals who can both meet your budget and style preference.

Know: You should trust your parent gut feeling.

Do: Feel free to pump the brakes on any recommendation someone gives to do or not do a release. Your gut feeling is there for a reason! Discuss your concerns with your practitioner or follow up with a second or third opinion.

Know: There are many qualified tongue tie experts throughout the world and research on ties continues to grow.

Do: Ask who your practitioner has been trained by and take the time to learn what their bias may be. If you don't know, ask!

Know: Feeling rushed into a procedure isn't best practice.

Do: Pause, take a breath and know that you can wait for a second opinion or for body work to help.

Know: Tight muscle and facial tissue can mimic tie pain and function impairment.

Do: Have mouth and body work done first before release.

Know: Often ties run in families.

Do: Be prepared for a tie in your baby if you have seen them in your family line.

Know: 3% -12% of the population seems to be the number that research has found needs tie release -- That means 82%-97% do not.

Do: Be watchful of your feelings surrounding tie information.

Know: Tongue tie release can feel invasive and it is important to feel supported and prepared for the aftercare needed.

Do: Take the time to understand the aftercare needs of your baby and discuss any questions with your practitioner.

Know: Ties can cause damage to a mother's nipples and be very painful.

Do: Know that a release of a tie may make a very big difference in your nipple healing.

Know: Lynnelle is trained to assess tongue and lip tie and counsel you about your options.

Do: Take some time to think about the information presented to make the best decision for your family.


A note specifically about the relationship between

CranioSacral Therapy and Ties:

In regard to tongue, buccal and lip ties, CranioSacral Therapy cannot make ties disappear, but what it can do is help to improve mobility of the tongue and tissues by reducing the restriction and tension patterns. When a baby has tethered oral tissues (lip, cheek or tongue frenula) there are often restrictions elsewhere throughout the body. 

Sometimes, after a full evaluation, a tie release is needed. CranioSacral Therapy plays an essential role pre and post release by decreasing restrictions and preparing the body for the releasing of the tethered tissue. Without proper preparation and aftercare, babies can struggle with re-attachment, breast aversion and tight surrounding muscles resulting in continued oral issue concerns. CranioSacral Therapy is now routinely recommended as a gentle complimentary care practice for infants needing a release.

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