Tongue tie

Approximately 1.7 – 4.8% of babies are born with what is known as 'tongue-tie'. This is when the thin membrane connecting the tongue to the base of the mouth limits movement of the tongue.

This may be because it is too short or it is attached in such a way that it “ties down” the tip of the tongue. Some tongue-tied babies breastfeed well, but many struggle to make a good latch and are unable to feed as well as babies without tongue-tie. 

Tongue-tie has been linked to a number of symptoms in mother and baby including:

  • reduced milk supply
  • sore nipples or a sensation of “chomping”
  • trouble latching the baby (baby may become frustrated)
  • thrush (damage caused by the poor latch is a great place for thrush to settle)
  • mastitis
  • very long or frequent feeds
  • baby making a clicking noise or spilling milk out the side of their mouth
  • baby being described as “windy” or as having “colic”
  • low weight gains or “failure to thrive”
  • reflux.


If you or your baby are experiencing any of the symptoms above, talk to your midwife or a lactation consultant.

Learn more

Tongue-tie handout Community birth services (NZ)
Tongue tie NHS Choices, UK