Doctors operate on baby with a potentially harmful tongue defect
Mirabelle D’Cunha, 30, had prepared herself for motherhood by reading on the subject, exercising and consulting experts. However, few days after her daughter’s birth in October 2011, she was troubled because the child could not breastfeed. D’Cunha herself was in severe pain and the baby became more restless by the day.
D’Cunha’s daughter was diagnosed with Posterior Tongue-Tie or Ankyloglossia, a condition where a thin membrane attaches the baby’s tongue to the floor of the mouth, making it difficult for the baby to feed. Although it affects about 5 % of newborns worldwide, the reported incidence in India ranges between 1 % to 4 %.
‘Submucosal or posterior’ tongue-tie is harder to identify. Cure is a simple ‘snip’ procedure done in a few minutes by surgeons and allows the baby to breastfeed soon after. However, it often goes unnoticed causing pain to the mother and baby being fed formula milk instead of mother’s milk, doctors said.
D’cunha’s daughter underwent a minor surgery last month to correct the defect. “We could not diagnose for a long time and many doctors advised us to go on formula milk, which I wanted to avoid. It took three months to treat her. This period was painful for the baby,” said D’Cunha.
“The condition affects baby’s health because it may remain hungry. Moreover, mother’s milk is crucial for the baby. Doctors should watch out for this condition in case of feeding problems,” said Effath Yasmin, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, who guided D’Cunha. If left untreated it may cause reflux, incessant crying and choking among babies.