Breastfeeding Problems? – What Does The Spine Have To Do With It?
Nursing can be a challenging and frustrating experience for many moms. There are so many potential reasons that moms can have breastfeeding problems, including tongue tie, milk production, latching difficulties and the list goes on.
Something that is commonly overlooked, but can be a contributor to some nursing difficulties concerns your baby’s cranial and spinal biomechanics. Sometimes the position of the cranial bones, including the jaw or one of the vertebrae in the top of your baby’s neck may actually be affecting the ability to latch properly or lie comfortably in some nursing positions.
Something that is commonly overlooked, but can be a contributor to some nursing difficulties concerns your baby’s cranial and spinal biomechanics.
How can this happen to a baby that is only a few days/weeks old?
The truth is that the birth process is tough! Even an uncomplicated delivery still means a big squeeze through the birth canal complete with strong contractions putting pressure on your little one’s spine and cranium. The possibility for a misalignment during the birth process is even more likely when a baby needs to be manually assisted out of the canal or there is use of vacuum, forceps or emergency c-section.
If you have ever woken up with a stiff neck following a night on a bad pillow, you may be able to relate.
Baby’s position in-utero may also play a role. For example, a baby who is breech may have his head stuck in a tilted position under your ribs at the end of the pregnancy. If you have ever woken up with a stiff neck following a night on a bad pillow, you may be able to relate.
What can I look for at home?
This list is not complete, but some easy things to look for at home include:
Does your baby prefer one breast over there other?
Does she latch, but seem to be sucking a lot of air?
Does he pull off, seem disinterested or move his head a lot more on one breast than the other?
Does her head always tilt or rotate to one side when lying down or sitting in the car seat?
If so, when you try to straighten her head, does she cry or wince or immediately go back to the favourite side?
Is your little one developing a flat spot on one side of her head?
I’ve noticed a few of these things. Now what?
If you notice any of these signs, I highly recommend taking your child to a chiropractor who is trained to work with infants and children. He or she can check your infant for restrictions or misalignments in his neck or jaw which may be contributing to his difficulty in breastfeeding effectively.
If your paediatric chiropractor finds any of these restrictions, she can perform a very gentle adjustment to allow them to better move their jaw and/or neck.
Will an adjustment hurt my baby?
Absolutely not. Chiropractic adjustments for infants are extremely gentle and look more like a massage than what many people think of as an adult adjustment. The amount of pressure used is no more than what you would use to test the ripeness of a tomato and many little ones sleep or smile and coo right through their adjustments.
For more on chiropractic for children, read on…
Jennifer is a family chiropractor and co-owner of Thrive Natural Family Health. Her experience and additional training lies predominantly in the fields of pregnancy and pediatric care as well as cranial adjusting.