The Real Story of the “Booming Business of Tongue-Tie” – NYT Article Response

A recent New York Times (NYT) article accused tongue-tie providers of over-treatment, harming babies, taking advantage of vulnerable moms and babies, and, of course, doing it purely for financial gain. Tongue-tie naysayers jump on the article and share it –  “See! I told you so!” and, in so doing, put more weight on a one-sided propaganda piece (not real journalism) and no weight on the countless research studies showing the benefit and safety of treatment when properly performed.

Thankfully, the NYT has lost credibility over the last decade by publishing false and misleading stories, and the article is behind a paywall (to profit financially off the article and to sell advertisements, for among other things, infant formula!). But nevertheless, many people have asked for my response since I wrote a book called Tongue-Tied in 2018, published research on the topic in medical / dental journals, and created a course, Tongue-Tied Academy (of which we donate 100% of the course fee, and not for financial gain) to teach providers how to perform the procedure safely and effectively. In fact, I was invited to interview for the article by Katie Thomas, one of the authors of the piece, which I politely declined because I looked up her previous hit pieces on other medical issues. 

Every few years, a sensational piece about tongue-tie is published. Last time, it was The Atlantic (and our response), and this time, it’s the Times. Now, the NY Post, Yahoo, and Daily Mail all ran with the NYT story and published their own versions, which is like the telephone game. The Daily Mail’s title was laughably fear-mongering and slanderous: “US doctors are wrongly slicing off bits of babies’ TONGUES to make breastfeeding easier and leaving them with life-long deformities, investigation finds.” It is unbelievable what these media companies do to drive the enraged public and healthcare professionals to their site (‘if it’s enraging, it’s engaging”) just for advertising revenue. The writers of the article do not care about moms and babies. They write these articles for a living and move on to the next topic they can exploit and report half-truths or completely false statements about. 

I have spoken with other well-respected providers in our field and Drs. Zaghi, Kotlow, and Siegel all explained the research evidence to the NYT for hours. They shared countless patient success stories, shared a balanced perspective, and, in fact, at Dr. Siegel’s office, the three patients the NYT writers observed (including the one photographed for the article) all improved and fed better afterward! Dr. Siegel allowed them to follow up with them because the NYT told Dr. Siegel they were objective and focused on the evidence and, in reality, were deceptive about what kind of story they were really publishing. Did they publish any of these success stories, or check out Dr. Siegel’s reviews, which include 1,051 5-star, one 3-star, and only one 1-star review? Now ask yourself, if he is the boogeyman (or if we are, at over 900 5-star reviews), then you would expect to see the opposite, right? All 1-star reviews about how terrible their baby fed afterward and how they were left with “life-long deformities.” But in reality, if you read the reviews, they share the true story the NYT should have reported on. 

Read the full article: Alabama Tongue -Tie Center

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