While breastfeeding is instinctive and innate for a newborn baby it doesn’t always come without some difficulties. Unfortunately, many healthcare professionals overseeing a new mom and her baby, are unaware of connection between stress on a newborn’s spine and breastfeeding difficulties. Physical stress on a newborn’s spine is often a result of poor positioning in-utero and trauma related to the birthing process. Failure to recognize the signs of structural misalignments in a newborn and/or lack of education on breastfeeding solutions can leave a new mother feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, ultimately abandoning her efforts to breastfeed. This is why I encourage all new mothers who are experiencing difficulties breastfeeding to have their infant evaluated for possible spinal and cranial misalignments.
Here are the most common things to look for when determining if your infant is experiencing breastfeeding difficulties:
-Inability to maintain a firm latch (smacking or unlatching)
-Babies who cannot sustain sucking
-Babies who have difficulty latching on one side
-Babies who nurse in only one position
-Nipple pain or scabbing
-Babies who are comforted by constant sucking
-Increased regurgitation following feeding
Now that you know about the connection between spinal and cranial misalignments and breastfeeding difficulties let’s discuss how chiropractic care can help correct these misalignments and in turn increase the ease of breastfeeding.
When evaluating a newborn or infant who is experiencing troubles breastfeeding I often find misalignments (or subluxations) and tension in the upper neck, jaw, and skull. Misalignments found in the upper neck are often a result of trauma related to the birthing process and can be easily diagnosed with gentle palpation and examination of neck range of motion. By correcting misalignments at the top of the neck, the infant can more easily turn his or her neck, making latching on both sides more comfortable. Also, gentle cranial molding and soft tissue release of any tension found in the jaw and skull can help promote a deeper, stronger suck. Chiropractic care is a safe, gentle, and natural way to help improve breastfeeding success and positive changes can be seen just after a few visits when symptoms are recognized early on.
Remember, breastfeeding takes practice and doesn’t always come easily for new babies but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It important to remember during these trying or frustrating times that there are health professionals who are here to help you achieve your goal of breastfeeding your new baby. I offer free phone consultations for any and all new moms who suspect their baby is having trouble breastfeeding. I also highly recommend consulting with a lactation consultant for further help and support.
Is your newborn having difficulty breast feeding? Schedule your free consultation here.