Is a scalpel really necessary under a baby’s tongue? In addition, more and more parents are undergoing this surgery, which makes breastfeeding easier, but the medical world considers it often ineffective and is concerned about the trend induced by the most incompetent specialists in the area.
Read more: Influence of position in the family
“In France and around the world, one can only wonder about the amazing increase in linguistic phrenotomy in children,” lamented a press release from the Academy of Medicine, which holds a consensus on medical science at the end of April. France.
What does this technical term mean? Give a scalpel or laser blow under the tongue to give more freedom by scratching the frenulum that connects to the base of the mouth.
The Academy of Medicine emphasizes that this is “an aggressive and dangerous gesture for newborns or babies”, while many caregivers – pediatricians, ENT, speech therapists … – were already concerned at the beginning of the year in a joint news release.
Everyone agrees on one observation: despite the lack of interest in most cases, most parents perform such surgery on their child.
“It probably started in the US and Canada and then spread,” says AFP Virginie Record, a pediatrician at Paris Necker Hospital. Recognizing its popularity in the English-speaking world, the number of phrenotomies in Australia has increased fivefold in the last ten years.
French doctors point out that the movement also wins parents who see counseling, unable to give such accurate figures.
A simple answer
“This is nothing new. It’s been many years since this craze happened,” says Dr. Ricord.
Where does this idea come from for parents? According to the pediatrician, two types of actors, outside the medical sphere, are commonly involved: osteopaths and lactation consultants.
Often, in fact, parents seek this surgery to make breastfeeding easier, even if other considerations sometimes work: to avoid pronounced defects, digestive problems …
The phrenotomy trend has been part of the growing popularity of breastfeeding in recent years, promoted by public health organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO).
“There is a shortage of well-trained staff to report back to breastfeeding (but) mothers, so problems are on the rise,” the Virginia Record notes, citing the mother’s pain for example.
But contrary to many breastfeeding counselors, phrenotomy is a simple answer to often complex problems in treatment.
“Missing a controlled brake can affect breastfeeding and the health of babies and mothers alike,” promises a lactation consultant on her website, offering online training for a hundred euros on the subject.
However, according to a study by Cochrane, one of the most respected organizations in the scientific world, it is far from the case and compiles multiple works on the same subject by constantly updating its results.
“It’s always good to cut”
“No study has proven that frenotomy allows successful long-term breastfeeding”, concludes this work, which also underscores the low quality of studies conducted in this regard.
Interest in this surgery has not been proven in case of difficulty in breastfeeding. However, even worse, some parents come forward to do it when they have no concerns.
This is the case of Leah, who saw a Parisian osteopath for a simple examination when her son was born in 2018. His narrator suggested that the child cut out a tongue that was considered “too thick.”
“It’s a kind of barrier: ‘We do not know why, but it’s always good to cut it,'” Leah, who did not follow this advice, said she understands other young parents’ compliance. “All you need is the best for your baby: If you’re told your baby’s break is the best, go for it for no apparent reason.”
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