Peter Andre’s wife Emily has opened up about a common health problem that her baby son, Theo has been suffering from – tongue-tie.
The five-month-old baby has recently undergone an operation to cure his tongue-tie, but Emily has been beating herself up about the fact that she didn’t spot the condition sooner.
“I didn’t pick up on it and I’m a doctor,” Andrea told OK! Magazine.
“I felt guilty, I should have looked in his mouth and thought about tongue-tie. When they’re yours you don’t look at them as a patient.”
Little Theo, who was born in November last year, had been struggling to latch on while nursing and was also suffering from reflux. So, when he was three months old, Emily took him to see a breastfeeding counsellor who explained that a tongue-tie could be causing the difficulties.
Rachel Fitz-Desorgher, a midwife and author of ‘Your Baby Skin to Skin: Learn to Trust your Baby’s Instincts in the first year is out now. (£12.99 White Ladder Press).’ explains that tongue-tie is the name given to the condition where the piece of skin under the tongue (properly called the lingual frenulum) is too short or too tight or too thick and so pulls on the tongue, limiting its natural, free movement.
It is believed that tongue-tie affects around 4-11% of newborn babies, so the condition is fairly common. Though it is sometimes diagnosed during a baby’s routine newborn check, it is not always easy to spot, so Emily shouldn’t feel guilty about not picking up that her baby had the condition.
“Looking inside the mouth of a baby doesn’t tell you very much about how the tongue might move during suckling,” explains Rachel. “But, if you are having trouble with feeding (boob or bottle) – particularly soreness, baby slipping on and off the nipple or teat constantly, poor weight gain, bouts of thrush or mastitis, dribbling milk around the nipple or teat – then seek the help of a skilled professional.”
According to Rachel the majority of babies can be helped to adapt perfectly well around their frenulum. “A specialist can show you different ways to hold your baby to make feeding easier for both of you and, if you are bootle-feeding, a simple change of teat might be all it takes to bring peace to the household,” she says.
But when simple remedies do not help then a frenulotomy might be offered. “This is a quick and simple procedure in the young baby and involves the use of specially-designed scissors to snip the rogue piece of skin under the tongue which is hampering its free movement. There are very small risks of infection and bleeding and your healthcare provider will be able to discuss these with you in-depth so that you can make an informed choice about whether or not to go ahead,” she continues.
In the end Theo went on to be diagnosed with 80% tongue-tie and underwent an operation to cut the strip of skin that was holding his tongue to the floor of his mouth too tightly.
And he’s now recovering at home with his family. Aww.