Mums welcome new tongue tie clinic at West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds
Mothers have spoken of their delight after a much-needed tongue tie clinic was introduced at West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds.
A weekly consultant-led restricted frenulum clinic has been introduced after Healthwatch Suffolk and West Suffolk Maternity Voices Partnership raised the issue of tongue tie – when the strip of skin connecting the tongue to the floor of the mouth is shorter than usual – division.
West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group worked with West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust to establish the service, meaning babies can be referred for the release of anterior and posterior tongue restrictions.
Nic Moody, of Bury, said the new clinic would have made an enormous difference when she had her daughter Rosie in October 2017.
She was determined to breastfeed, but raised concerns while still on the maternity ward that all was not aright. Rosie was eventually diagnosed tongue tie, but Nic was told it was not severe enough to be referred for treatment.
"Feeding was excruciating and I was in floods of tears. I said ‘I want to breastfeed, but it’s so painful’. I dreaded it every time she cried and thought I was going to have to formula feed," said Nic.
"We got on the internet and Sarah (Oakley, private tongue tie practitioner) came up. We phoned her on the Monday and asked for an urgent appointment. We drove to Cambridge and Rosie underwent the procedure. We fed there in the clinic – there was no pain, it was such a relief. I thought, ‘this is how it’s supposed to be’."
Nic went on to feed Rosie until she was 15 months.
“What annoyed me was that the NHS allowed me to get to that point where I could have given up," said Nic.
“But this new clinic is bound to be an amazing help for mums.”
Sarah Flack, of Bury, fed her son Charlie, now two, for 10 months after he underwent a frenulotomy aged five weeks.
She contacted tongue tie practitioner Sarah Oakley in desperation after Charlie lost weight, she had mastitis and midwives confirmed tongue tie but warned it could take weeks for an NHS appointment.
“As soon as it was snipped and we started feeding it felt better. I wouldn’t have been able to keep going with breast feeding if we hadn’t had the tongue tie snipped. I just wish it had been picked up sooner," said Sarah.
“I think the new clinic at West Suffolk Hospital is amazing. I ended up paying £150 [for the tongue tie procedure] and had to borrow the money from my parents, but not everyone would be able to do that.”
Andy Yacoub, chief executive of Healthwatch Suffolk, said: “Prior to the establishment of this clinic there was no service at all in west Suffolk. Parents would either have been referred to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for treatment – and may have faced extensive waits – or they may not have had the opportunity to get a diagnosis in the first place.”
Lynne Saunders, head of midwifery at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are really pleased to be offering this new service to our new families – we hope it will support mothers to initiate and continue breastfeeding when possible, to promote the best start in life for their newborns.”