"Tongue tie intervention for new born baby"

About: Mid Argyll Community Hospital and Integrated Care / Maternity care Royal Alexandra Hospital / Maternity care

(as the patient),

My baby daughter was born in Royal Alexandra Hospital in July, 2014. Immediately following her birth, I spotted that she had an extremely tight tongue tie which completely prevented her from being able to latch-on to breast feed. Before discharge from hospital the following day, my baby was examined by a Paediatrician. I raised my concerns that my daughter was unable to feed as her tongue tie was so tight - she confirmed that this would require onward referral to the Tongue Tie clinic at Yorkhill Hospital, and that my Community Midwife would be able to arrange this for me when I returned home. The Midwifery team from the Mid Argyll Hospital and Integrated Care Centre visited me at home in the days following, and I received an appointment for the Tongue Tie clinic at Yorkhill when my daughter was 10 days old. Over the first 10 days of my baby's life, the only means I had to feed her was by expressing breast milk and feeding it via a syringe. The specialist nurse at Yorkhill confirmed that my baby would have had no chance of breast feeding and that her referral should have been processed at birth as an emergency. There was little recognition of the extent of my baby's problems by my local midwifery team. Even though my baby was clearly completely unable to breast feed, their was no recognition of my own distress and my baby's frustration, in this situation.

Following the snipping of her tongue tie at Yorkhill - a procedure which was brief and trouble-free - I returned home with my baby. She is now 3 months old. My baby is now successfully bottle-fed. I was never able to return to breast feeding. The result of the lack of a recognition of the need for a simple clinical procedure, is that both my baby and I have been deprived of the opportunity to breast feed. There is no point in encouraging mothers to breast feed - then not providing them with support to achieve this.

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Response from Sarah Mcleod, Lead Midwife North and West, NHS Highland

Dear LilyA,

I am responding to your posting on Patient Opinion on behalf of my Midwifery Collegues in Argyll & Bute which is part of NHS Highland.

I am really sorry that you have had such a distressing and frustrating experience following the birth of your daughter in July. I am also saddened to learn that you have been unable to breast feed your baby following the snipping of her tongue tie.

You did really well to feed her for the first 10 days by expressing and giving her your milk via syringe.

I appreciate that you felt that there was little recognition of the extent of your baby's problems therefore it was not acted upon in a timely manner.

I will look into this as soon as possible.

You are quite correct to point that there is no point in advising women to breast feed without the necessary advise and guidance to achieve a successful outcome.

Tongue tie is indeed a problem that impacts significantly on breast feeding.

In the meantime whilst we are looking into your story, please feel free to contact me if you need any more help or advice at sarah.mcleod2@nhs.net

I hope this response is helpful for the time being.

Best wishes.

Sarah McLeod

Lead Midwife, North & West Operational Unit (West)

NHS Highland

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Response from Lorna Gray, Patient Experience, Public Involvement Project Manager, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Dear LilyA,

I would like to echo the sentiments of my colleague from NHS Highland above - I am very sorry for the frustration and upset this experience caused to you and your newborn, and particularly that you were unable to return to breastfeeding after your daughter's procedure.

I have already sent your comments onto the Manager of Maternity Services and the Head of Midwifery to address the particular points about emergency referral to the Tongue Tie Clinic at an early stage after birth. I will get back to you as soon as possible with more information on that.

In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me on lorna.gray@ggc.scot.nhs.uk if there is anything further you would like to add, and I will be back in touch soon.

Best Wishes,


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Response from Sarah Mcleod, Lead Midwife North and West, NHS Highland

Many thanks Lorna - that is really helpful.

I am also exploring things further from an NHS Highland viewpoint and will be back in touch again soon.

Best wishes.


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Response from Sarah Mcleod, Lead Midwife North and West, NHS Highland We are preparing to make a change

Dear LilyA,

Firstly please accept my apologies for taking so long to further respond to your query around Tongue Tie. I hope both you and your baby are doing well.

I have now had a chance to discuss your concerns with my midwifery colleague here in Highland Karen MacKay, Infant Feeding Advisor who is a Tongue Tie Practitioner. Karen works closely with Tongue Tie Practitioners colleagues in Greater Glasgow & Clyde. Karen says that she can see how this has been upsetting.

Karen also pointed out that some information in my original response was inaccurate so here goes with the right information! Although tongue tie can impact significantly on breastfeeding some babies with 100% tongue tie do manage to feed successfully! We don’t automatically perform tongue tie snips as the feedback and evidence show that with the right support and care it needn’t be a problem in feeding.

However, this obviously wasn’t that case with your wee one. I think it is so important to ensure that we review your story and work to ensure that this situation does not arise again. I know our colleagues in Greater Glasgow & Clyde are also looking into ways of ensuring that this too. Karen would be happy to provide some further training and support to our midwives around Tongue Tie and I will put this on the agenda at our next Maternity meeting.

I hope this response has been helpful and please do contact me if I can be of any assistance to you regarding this issue.

Best wishes.


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