What to expect after tongue tie release


My baby has a tongue tie and we’re going to have it released. What should I expect?

First, having a tongue tie clipped isn’t always a magic fix to breastfeeding issues. While 80% of mothers report a significant decrease in nipple pain after the procedure, there is still a recovery and healing proceess that needs to take place. That tissue under the tongue has been there since 8 weeks gestation and depending on how baby has learned to use their tongue, some unlearning and relearning is necessary. Bodywork, suck training and lactation support are still crucial for the few days to weeks after the procedure is done. But what should you expect as a parent.

Day 1-3 your baby will feel sore and tender. They may be fussier than usual. A white patch will form where the surgery was done. Baby may have difficulty latching to bottle or breast, so have an alternative feeding plan ready such as cup or finger feeding. Reflux and gas often get worse before they get better. For the first week, baby is relearning how to use their tongue. Your provider should talk to you about stretches to do several times a day to help prevent the tongue from reattching. Our bodies like to heal together, so this is very important. Some minor bleeding may occur, but if you see lots of blood notify your provier right away. Pain management is often needed for the first few days, but many babies can taper off of this.

From week 2-4, the white patch will shrink and may turn yellow as it heals. Eventually a new frenulum will form. This anatomical structure helps anchor the tongue to the floor of the mouth, but the new frenulum should allow the tongue to move freely in and out, side to side and up and down. Everyone sees progress differently, but symptoms should be improving at this point. Many babies will still need bodywork or lactation support.