Breastfeeding during the first year of life is regarded as the optimal form of nutrition for infants. Current research shows that breast milk is best for babies and even has numerous health benefits for the mother. During the first few days of life, your baby will get colostrum, which is rich in nutrients and antibodies to help protect your baby. As the baby nears the first week of life, the production of colostrum changes to mature milk. Mature milk contains the right amount of sugar, fat, protein and water to help your baby nurture and grow. Breast milk is easier for most babies to digest and it helps boost your babies’ immune system to keep her healthy. Most new mothers are aware that breastfeeding has great benefits for their newborn. A mother can also benefit from breastfeeding a child, as it helps to reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, and the development of post-partum depression. What they aren’t aware of is how chiropractic care can help this process. Difficulties with breastfeeding can be from a number of different issues with the mother or the infant. Pain, latching problems, poor milk supply, one-sided nursing and weak suckling, are a few of these difficulties. The CDC reported that only 77% of infants were breastfed immediately following birth and by 6 months this number dropped to 49%. Chiropractic care can help increase these numbers. Chiropractic care for both a new mother and an infant is gentle, painless, quick, safe and effective. Often time’s relief can be experienced after the first visit but it can take time and patience for the problems to be completely resolved and keep them from returning.
Common Indicators for Breastfeeding Difficulties
- Latching difficulties
- Babies who are unable to turn their heads in both directions
- Babies with difficulty opening their mouths
- Biting down
- Clicking noise while feeding
- Weak suckling reflex
- Fussy babies
- Poor milk production
What a Chiropractor Can Do
When experiencing difficulty with breastfeeding it is important to figure out what the cause is. This can take time and it is important to keep in mind that it can be more than one issue creating the problem. A chiropractic evaluation can help to give the right idea of what could be going on for either the mother or the baby. Because the suckling reflux and milk production are controlled heavily by the nervous system, an interference of the nerves can cause dysfunction. Adjusting the spine and cranial sutures can help release the interference and improve function. Muscles are also controlled by the nerves so if the problem is a muscular problem an adjustment to the affected area will help release the tension and allow the muscle to do its job.
Another aspect that we can look at is the nutrition of the mother. When the mother is not getting the proper nutrients for herself she cannot produce the nutrients the baby needs. The mother’s nutrition can also affect how much milk she produces and how the milk tastes to the baby. Getting adjusted can help with breastfeeding difficulties and can help both the mother and baby function at their best!
Pathways Magazine: Nicole Piazza Lederman, an ICPA-certified chiropractor practicing in Waterloo, Ontario, and former associate professor at Parker University’s College of Chiropractic, explains it this way:
“Chiropractic helps for several reasons. First, in the newborn or preemie, the baby may have a weak suck reflex due to interference in the nervous system, especially at the level of the upper cervical spine. This can be caused by immaturity in the nervous system, in the case of the preemie, or by subluxation of the joints in the upper cervical spine due to birth trauma. Even in “good” hospital births, the head and neck are usually “managed” as the baby exits the birth canal and when the shoulders are delivered. This often results in some pulling and stretching of the tissues and joints in the neck. This type of birth trauma can cause a sprain/strain injury to the joints of the neck in addition to a subluxation complex.
Breastfeeding problems can also be caused by different cranial faults or slight misalignments in the cranial bones. This can again be due to the management of the head as the baby exits the birth canal. This can also be caused by the position of the baby in utero as well as prolonged or protracted labors, especially where vacuum or forceps have been used. In my experience, these babies will go to the breast and feed for a minute or two, but are fussy and come off the breast as they cannot get a good latch.
Most often I find that these babies have misalignment in the temporal mandibular joint, a fault at the frontal parietal articulation, as well as having an inferior palate on the same side as the TMJ subluxation. Once correcting this complex, you can test the sucking reflex by placing a finger in the baby’s mouth; you’ll find that the sucking reflex is better coordinated and much stronger. Moms are so relieved and grateful to be able to breastfeed their babies.”
How We Can Help
We use state-of-the-art scanning technology to measure nervous system function and progress throughout a patients care. This scanning technology allows use to see what root causes are contributing to the patients symptoms. The scans are done during the first visit for every patient as well as at the end of treatment plans to compare and demonstrate changes that were made during their care. In addition, the initial consultation includes a detailed history and chiropractic examination. The history includes any past illnesses or problems experienced, the details of the current complaint, and social and family health. During the chiropractic examination a series of tests are performed for specific areas of the body; including the spine and any extremities deemed necessary by one of our chiropractors.
Our chiropractors use specialized techniques with an emphasis on SOT (Sacro Occipital Technique). Other techniques include Diversified, Gonstead and CMRT (Chiropractic Manipulative Reflex Technique). Our doctors also have a background in soft tissue techniques (massage therapy) and training in fascial movement taping. Our client demographic is very diverse including families, pregnant women, infants/toddlers and athletes of all ages. Our athletes vary from young athletes, weekend warriors, college athletes and professional competing athletes.