Baby Tongue Tie, Posterior or Anterior?  

The tongue is one of the first things I check when working with a newborn baby.  I’m pretty good at spotting a tie early which is important for lactation, baby’s feeding association and sucking pattern.  

In a poll this week,  83% of parents wouldn’t know the difference between an anterior and posterior tongue tie.  Don’t worry nor would most midwives and that’s not a criticism! 

Unless the tongue tie is a severe anterior tongue tie then it can be difficult to spot especially if it’s a restrictive posterior tongue tie which doesn’t allow the tongue to lift or move forward.  In fact a telltale sign is that you are unable to move the tongue to see underneath, a tongue without a tie usually sits naturally in the roof of the palate exposing the underside of the tongue.  

An anterior tongue tie usually sits visibly underneath the tongue as white strip of skin where as posterior tie is often thicker and sits deeper under the tongue.  Another sign to look out for apart from the obvious feeding issues is a white line connecting the middle tip of and running along the underside of  the tongue. You may also notice that your newborn doesn’t stick his tongue out over the lips or the tongue looks flat and sits back from the gums. 

There are degrees of tongue tie restriction and often this isn’t known until you run into feeding issues. The best person to diagnose a tongue tie correctly is a tongue tie midwife or specialist. 

 How do I know if my baby has a tongue tie? 

Are you having feeding issues? Low milk intake or supply? Damaged or sore nipples? 

Your baby is unable to stay active past a few minutes from latching? 

 If yes

Does your newborns latch feel strong then quickly shallows in minutes or seconds? This is a sign the tongue is unable to stay toward. 

Look at your baby’s typical action of sucking, does your baby chomp or click when drinking? A good sucking action should be a wide or and circular movement not a nibble. 

Does your baby’s tongue sit in the roof of the mouth? This is a natural position for the tongue to sit. 

Can your baby stick their tongue out past the lips? 

If the answer is yes to some or all of the above then seek out a private tongue tie midwife or get referred to a tongue tie specialist by your GP for diagnosis and separation. 

Cranial Osteopathy after a Tongue tie separation

A newborn can develop an ineffective pattern of sucking over several weeks with a tongue tie, it can be hard for a baby to change the way they suck even after a separation with full movement of the tongue. One reason for this can be tension and tightness of the jaw from sucking with a restriction. 

Top Tip 

Within a few days of a tongue tie separation, book a cranial osteopath who specialises in infants to check over the head, jaw, neck and upper back for tightness and restrictions. Releasing any tension caused by the tongue tie can make all the difference to the improvement of your baby suck and feeding. 

You may also like to read….

Infant Tongue Tie and Bottle Feeding

Tummy Time and Tongue Tie

Baby Digestion & Feeding Support