2 May 2019

Specialists at the Trust which runs Shropshire’s acute hospitals have carried out their 1,000th procedure to release tongue-tie in babies, to help improve breastfeeding.

Midwives Emma Morris, Debbie Sharpe and Sandra Umataliev with William Turrell and his parents Alexander and Alina

Midwife-led Tongue-tie release (frenulotomy) has been available at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) for three years and the 1,000th procedure was carried out this week.

Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) is where the strip of skin connecting the baby’s tongue to the floor of their mouth is shorter than usual. In some babies, this does not cause any problems, but in others, it can restrict the tongue’s movement, making it harder to breastfeed.

Tongue-tie can also sometimes cause problems for a breastfeeding mother. Problems can include sore or cracked nipples, low milk supply or mastitis (inflammation of the breast).

At SaTH, which runs the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, tongue-tie release is carried out by a team of three Midwives, who are also International Board Certified Lactation Consultants and Frenulotomy Practitioners.

The service was started by Midwives Sandra Umataliev and Emma Morris in May 2016. They have since been joined by Debbie Sharpe, who was trained by Sandra and Emma following her theoretical study at university.

The recipient of the 1,000th tongue-tie release was 13-day-old William Turrell from Welshpool, Powys, with his parents Alina and Alexander.

Emma said: “It is incredible to think that, in three years, we have carried out 1,000 procedures. We offer women in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid Wales a very timely, professional service.

“Because the service is run by lactation consultants, the appointment also offers mothers the opportunity to have a one-to-one breastfeeding consultation so that they can ask questions and deal with any issues they may be having with breast feeding their new baby.”