NHS Trust introduces service to improve newborn feeding

Baby Aris, the 100th baby to have the procedure, with parents Adrian and Alexandra Blanaru between senior midwives Bianca Baum (left) and Kelly Kinsella (right) Photo credit: WHTH

A new West Herts Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust service which helps newborn babies struggling to feed because of a condition with their tongues, has already supported over 100 families since November 2023.

The midwife-led tongue-tie service aims to address the needs of newborns experiencing feeding difficulties and offer support to families during this critical stage of their babies’ journey. 

Tongue-tie is a condition where the membrane beneath a babies’ tongue is too short or tight, therefore restricting the tongue’s movement. This can pose challenges for breast or bottle feeding. The tongue-tie division procedure is a quick and simple intervention that usually improves feeding.

The service welcomes referrals for babies aged 5 to 28 days old. Parents have shared positive feedback and reported significant improvements in feeding experiences following the procedure.

Kelly Kinsella, infant feeding team lead, said: “We understand how important it is to quickly address feeding challenges for both mothers and babies. By collaborating with community healthcare professionals, we aim to diagnose tongue-tie much earlier and provide prompt support and care for infants and their families.” 

For those seeking help for infant feeding, please talk to your midwife or healthcare visitor who will be able to refer you to the tongue-tie service.

Clinics are held weekly in the Alexandra Birthing Centre at Watford General Hospital. 

Find out more about the West Herts tongue-tie service here: https://www.westhertshospitals.nhs.uk/maternity/postnatalcare/infantfeeding/tonguetieservice.asp and read this patient information leaflet for families: https://www.westhertshospitals.nhs.uk/patientinformation/documents/maternity/40-2209-V1_Maternity_Tongue-tie_PIL.pdf

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