Breastfeeding Difficulties and Chiropractic

Author // Jeanne Ohm, DC

Modern birthing procedures, even those with seemingly minimal intervention, are known to cause trauma and stress to the infant’s cranium and spine.

In a leading pediatric textbook on manual therapy for children, one author tells us,

“When considering injuries and dysfunctions of the spine and its associated structures, the significance of birth trauma is often underestimated, and the resulting symptoms frequently misinterpreted.”

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In the case of breastfeeding difficulty, as with many childhood disorders, the cause of the problem often traces back to undetected biomechanical injuries to the spine and cranium at birth. The failure to recognize these biomechanical injuries and their relationship to difficulty in breastfeeding leads to incorrect conclusions and therefore, inadequate recommendations and treatments. Without real solutions, mothers become discouraged, successful breastfeeding is not achieved, and women stop trying out of frustration.

Breastfeeding is by far the best choice for infant feeding for numerous reasons. Significant research shows that, from a nutritional, immunological, digestive, neurological, developmental, mental, psychological, and emotional standpoint, there is no replacement. Today, more and more women are choosing the healthy, natural benefits of breastfeeding. Exclusive breastfeeding is the optimal feeding mode for an infant’s first 6 months of life. Many women initially plan to breastfeed for that length of time, yet fall short because of difficulties that seem to have no solution. Many of the care providers they consult are unaware of the biomechanical disorders in the infant’s spines and craniums that cause the difficulty in breastfeeding. This lack of knowledge leads to ineffective recommendations with unsatisfactory results. Unless the biomechanical causes of these difficulties are addressed, women may become frustrated and abandon their original intent to breastfeed their babies. In these instances, it is imperative that parents seek family chiropractors who offer mothers and infants the care appropriate to their needs.

In 24 years of practice, it has been my experience that when infants presented in our office with any of the indicated difficulties (see side bar), once evaluated and adjusted accordingly, they responded favorably with chiropractic care. Normal function in the infant was restored and breastfeeding continued without further complications and hindrances. Providing the mother with effective solutions allowed the mother and child to continue to benefit from this superior practice of bonding and feeding.

I encourage all parents to incorporate a chiropractic exam as a necessary part of their newborn’s wellness evaluations. Among other numerous benefits of chiropractic care for infants, the ability to successfully breastfeed has life long consequences for the baby’s future health potential.

Including chiropractic care for your newborn may very well be one of the most important choices you make in support of the family wellness lifestyle.

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Some of the most common indicators of difficulty with breastfeeding are:

  • Babies who cannot latch firmly

  • Babies who can latch and not sustain sucking

  • Babies who are unable to smoothly coordinate suckling, swallowing, and breathing

  • Babies who can feed in only one position

  • Babies who seem dissatisfied when nursing or who remain fussy and distressed throughout the day

  • Babies who chew and damage the mother’s nipples

  • Babies who may not feed any better from other devices

  • Babies who have the need to suck 24/7

Pathways Issue 11 CoverThis article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #11.

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