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The Controversy Over Tongue Surgery for Infants

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A baby was examined before a tongue-tie release in a clinic in Manhattan last month.Credit…Jackie Molloy for The New York Times
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To the Editor:

Re “A Booming Industry of Cutting Babies’ Tongues” (front page, Dec. 21):

This article describes a surgery performed on babies who are born with their tongues attached too tightly to the bottom of their mouths. One needs only to note that there is not a single substantive profile in the article of a family that had a positive experience with the procedure — a statistical majority — to understand that the reporters are fearmongering.

Their article poisons the well against not only a procedure that can provide relief to breastfeeding parents and babies who are having difficulty feeding, but also against lactation consultants, pediatric dentists and medical professionals described as part of this “booming industry.”

As an internationally board-certified lactation consultant, I am glad to clarify that in my experience, laser tongue-tie surgery is never the first attempt at resolving feeding issues in infants. We work diligently to create feeding plans and strategies that work for both parents and babies, often providing support in cases where families have been ignored by their primary-care team.

The only “kickbacks” most of us receive when we refer a client to a pediatric dentist are holiday cards and the testimonials of grateful parents.

Heather ONeal
Morgantown, W.Va.
The writer is an advanced-practice registered nurse and a certified nurse-midwife.

To the Editor:

The article on cutting babies’ tongues overlooks a major issue contributing to the rise in tongue-tie diagnoses: a general lack of education and awareness about breastfeeding’s significant challenges.

 

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