Thursday, 12 September 2013

Health Visitors - good for your health

I'm no stranger to breast feeding or babies (count 'em, I've done four) - so I was shocked, to say the least, when my Health Visitor decided smallest Martini had ankyloglossia - or tongue-tie, to you and me. Surely, I would notice that? He is feeding, latching on fine and gaining weight. 'Not a chance' was my reaction. Unperturbed by my clear dismissal of this diagnosis, the Health Visitor referred me to our local tongue-tie clinic. I wasn't even aware such things existed.

However, no xx community should be without one. The team there were welcoming, reassuring and friendly. They quickly confirmed a minor tongue-tie (clearly, I am no doctor) and quick as a flash, had snipped the offending piece of skin straight off. The change was remarkable. Although I hadn't felt any pain, it is now clear that the latch had not been what it should be. And, in one feed, smallest is clearly much happier. Snaps all round.

It was sad to hear, then, that these clinics are under threat of being closed, due to reduced budgets. Whilst I totally understand that money does need to be saved, I'd have thought it was a bit short sighted to cut a service that clearly provides such long term benefits by enabling mothers to breastfeed successfully. I, for one, think these clinics are fantastic - so I hope they won't be feeling 'the snip' of the budget cutters. Only time will tell. 

Some facts about tongue-tie:

- it can affect feeding, speech and oral hygiene
- it can cause problems kissing (if you ever let your children do that - the jury's out for me!) and eating ice cream
- it often runs in the family
- until 1940, tongue-ties were routinely cut to help feeding. It stopped due to a fear of unnecessary surgery

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