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Local NHS trust introduces service to improve newborn feeding

Posted: 27 March 2024

Four adults and a baby in a hospital settingPictured is Baby Aris 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 new-born 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' journeys.

Tongue-tie is a condition where the membrane beneath a baby's tongue is too short or tight 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.

Baby Aris was the 100th baby to be treated. Mum Alexandra said after the procedure: "I feel really impressed with the difference in breastfeeding after the tongue-tie division. I feel more confident, and my baby is more relaxed at the breast and feeding well. The procedure is very quick, the staff are lovely and, overall, the experience has been very positive."

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."

The University of Wolverhampton has invited Kelly and Kay to become honorary lecturers on a tongue-tie course for healthcare professionals, alongside globally recognised academics in the field. 

Tongue-tie assessment and division service at West Herts

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 and read this patient information leaflet for families.


  1. For more information, please contact the communications team on: 01923 436280 or email: Out of hours, please call the Watford General Hospital switchboard on 01923 244366 and ask for the on call communications manager.
  2. West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust serves people from across Hertfordshire, north London and further afield. It operates from three hospitals; Watford General, St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead. The trust has a catchment area of over 600,000 people and is one of the largest employers locally, with around 5,800 staff and volunteers.
  3. For more information about our hospitals, visit the trust website. You can also join us on Facebook, X (Twitter), YouTube and LinkedIn @WestHertsNHS