What is a Lip Tie in Babies? (& What to Do)

What is a Lip Tie in Babies? (& What to Do)

Read on for everything you need to know about lip tie in babies, including spotting the symptoms and the best way to help your little one.
Many mamas worry about lip ties in their little ones.

But rest assured, while it’s worth keeping an eye on, a lip tie in babies is a common condition that’s totally treatable.

Wondering what lip tie symptoms in babies look like, as well as when and how to treat them?

We’ll take you through the details.

In this article: 📝

  • What is a lip tie in babies?
  • How do you know if your baby has a lip tie?
  • Do babies outgrow a lip tie?
  • How do you fix a lip tie in a baby?
  • At what age should a lip tie be corrected?
  • Will a lip tie correct itself?

What is a lip tie in babies?

Lip ties in babies happen when the maxillary labial frenulum (the small bit of tissue attaching your upper lip to your gums) is too tight.

This means it’s tricky for tots to move their upper lip, often leading to problems breastfeeding or speaking.

They happen for two main reasons.

Either the labial frenulum is attached too closely, or the connective tissue is too short.

But they can also come about when a baby’s frenulum is either too thick or stiff.

How do you know if your baby has a lip tie?

The short answer? You can’t tell through appearance alone.

If you’re wondering how to identify lip ties in babies, it’s important to know having a labial frenulum isn’t anything unusual.

Many of us have them!

The key to spotting a lip tie, though, is if your baby’s upper lip movement is restricted in any way.

If you suspect a lip tie in your newborn, get in touch with your doctor or pediatric dentist to confirm the diagnosis.

When you visit, let them know if you’ve spotted any of the following symptoms:

Lip tie symptoms in babies

  • Their labial frenulum looks very tight.
  • They have problems latching during breastfeeding.
  • Slow or no weight gain.
  • They seem fussy and frustrated when feeding.
  • They want to feed frequently.
  • They have problems breathing during feeding.
  • They cry a lot or have colic.
  • You notice a clicking sound while they’re nursing.
  • They look very tired during breastfeeding.

If you’re a breastfeeding mama, you might also experience some tell-tale signs yourself.

This often includes pain during breastfeeding and blocked milk ducts or mastitis.

Do babies outgrow a lip tie?

Unfortunately, babies (and adults) don’t grow out of lip ties.

In terms of lip ties in babies, there isn’t a specific age when the problem disappears.

While it might sometimes rip accidentally, this bit of connective tissue won’t stretch naturally.

As your baby grows up, a lip tie can become connected to a range of other issues, including problems with speech development, trouble moving onto solid foods, and tooth decay.

How do you fix a lip tie in a baby?

Lip ties are pretty common and not necessarily a problem for all babies that have them.

Your baby might not even need treatment, especially if they’re still able to move their upper lip properly.

But If they do, your doctor might recommend:

  • Therapy techniques that gradually loosen lip ties, making breastfeeding easier.
  • A frenectomy, which is a procedure that severs the connective tissue. Usually performed with either a laser or surgical scissors, a frenectomy causes newborns very little discomfort. And it might be done under local or general anesthetic though, especially if your child is over six months old.
  • Working with a breastfeeding expert to help with any feeding problems you’re experiencing.

At what age should a lip tie be corrected?

There’s no “right” age for a lip tie to be treated.

If you think your little one’s having problems as a result of a lip tie (such as feeding, speech, or sleep), schedule an appointment with your doctor.

It’s worth an evaluation.

But if your baby doesn’t have any issues and there’s no obvious tightness, it might be totally fine to leave alone.

Will a lip tie correct itself?

A lip tie isn’t something that naturally corrects itself, even in later life.

The good news is frenectomies can be done at any point during your baby’s infancy or even when they are a fully-grown adult.

The bottom line? If you think your baby has a lip tie, get them checked out by a medical professional.

Once identified, it’s simple to treat — and will make nursing so much easier for both you and your baby.

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