Although breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby, it doesn’t always mean that it’s easy. Many new mothers try breastfeeding and face challenges along the way. One of the most common things that I hear as a pediatric chiropractor is, “my baby won’t latch.” If your baby will not latch, will only feed from one breast, has to be turned like a football to eat, or cannot turn her head to one side, there may be a structural misalignment (subluxation) in your baby’s neck that is preventing her from being able to breastfeed properly. Many parents are now taking their infant to a chiropractor to improve latching and breastfeeding outcomes.
Reasons Babies Have Trouble Breastfeeding?
A child can have trouble breastfeeding for many different reasons. However, the most common reason a child has issues feeding is due to the birth process. The birth process can be a pretty traumatic physical stress on the infant. The doctor will use anywhere from 60-120 pounds of pressure to pull the baby out during delivery. As you can imagine, using this type of force while twisting, turning, and pulling the baby’s neck, can have a considerable effect on the infant’s spine. The doctor uses the top bone in the neck, C1, as a level to deliver the child, and can easily cause a structural misalignment (subluxation) at this level. (In fact, it is estimated that 90% of babies have a subluxation after the birth process!) When that vertebra is misaligned, it places stress onto the brain steam and cranial nerves of the child. Although the baby may not always present with symptoms, others experience colic, torticollis, difficulty latching and breastfeeding. These symptoms are the child’s way of saying, “Hey, something is wrong here. My body is trying to tell you something!”
How Can Chiropractic Care Help With Breastfeeding?
Chiropractic adjustments gently move the spine back into its proper position to restore normal physiological function to the child. When this happens, the baby is able to move her head from side to side, she is able to suck, swallow, and latch, and has a healthy start to life!
Since the bones of the infant are so pliable at this age, the chiropractor uses a sustained contact to gently move the vertebra back into the correct alignment. The pediatric chiropractor uses the same amount of pressure to adjust that child that you would use to check a ripe tomato. There is no thrust, no “cracking” sound, and no rotational movement that you may think of when you hear about a manual adult chiropractic adjustment.
A 2009 case series in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics studied 114 infants who were referred to a chiropractic office for failure to adequately feed at the breast. Every single infant in the study showed improvement, with 78% of those able to exclusively breastfeed following chiropractic care.
These chiropractic adjustments may give your baby the ability to bond with you, get the nutrition that she needs, and be able to function optimally. Sounds like a win-win!
Did you have any trouble breastfeeding? If so, what things helped you and your baby? We would love to hear! Please leave your comments below!
If you have any questions about how chiropractors can help with breastfeeding or if you would like to make an appointment for you or your little one, please contact Blossom Family Chiropractic by calling 727-498-5643 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Blossom Family Chiropractic specializes in pediatric chiropractic care, and is conveniently located in Downtown St. Petersburg, FL.