"Tongue tie clinic is fabulous, but more training is required"

About: Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Glasgow / Maternity care Royal Alexandra Hospital / Maternity care

(as the patient),

I have struggled for 14 days with a baby who could not sustain a proper latch due to a tongue tie. Like other patients it was recognised at day one and the referral took time. I even had one midwife say that the tongue tie snip was a terrible thing to do to a baby and that I should express and bottle feed as it was the same as breast feeding!

The service at the tongue tie clinic is fabulous and very reassuring. I have no idea why so many of the staff at RAH are reluctant to refer more quickly. 7th baby and I have had tongue ties with all of my children and faced the same battle each time with poor diagnosis and slow referrals. This time thanks to a senior midwife who I had met before things went a bit quicker. Deborah severed the tie in seconds, offered reassurance and patience with us and within 24 hours my babies latch can sustain a feed. Six of my babies could have breastfed if more was done in the wards and more training and staff were in the midwifery teams. I think less money spent on literature and advertising of breastfeeding and more money spent on staff to actually help mums would be an idea.

I have even faced paediatricians who do not recognise tongue ties and one who was reluctant to refer due to statistics, but was willing to have a go scratching the frenulum away with his fingernail without consent. Barbaric in my opinion.

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Responses

Response from Lorna Gray, Patient Experience, Public Involvement Project Manager, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Dear Baby7,

First of all, congratulations on the birth of the newest addition to your family - I hope baby is doing well and I am sure is being well looked after by his or her siblings!

There are a number of important points you raise here, and unfortunately there have been similar experiences shared before on this site. As you have experienced - both this time and with your other children - the procedure to loosen a tongue tie is usually a very quick and very straightforward one. I know too that this is often the source of the frustration that parents feel, as it can feel like a long wait for something seemingly so simple.

There are a number of factors to consider before a baby has such a procedure, and in some cases a tongue tie will correct itself in time, or isn't causing any particular feeding issues, which makes it unnecessary. Obviously this wasn't the case with your baby, but I felt it was important to highlight why there might not always be immediate referral, particularly for anyone else in a similar situation who might be reading this. I can however only imagine the frustration and stress that would accompany difficulty in feeding your baby in the way you had planned, and how long two weeks can feel in that situation. It is something that I will raise again with my colleagues in Maternity services to see if there is anything else that we can do here, even if that is better communication around tongue ties and the possible waiting times for referral or better training for staff on postnatal wards as you suggest.

Thank you so much for getting in touch to highlight the issues you had - I am glad that everything has worked out much quicker for you this time, and wish you all the best with your new baby.

Best Wishes,

Lorna

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