As a new mom, you want to do everything you can to ensure a successful breastfeeding experience for both you and your baby. While there are many variables that can impact this process, did you know that infant chiropractic adjustment could be one of them? Read on to learn 5 ways that gentle, specific chiropractic care can help improve breastfeeding for both you and your little one!
Infant Chiropractor Benefits
This is a guest post written by Dr. Amy Kennedy with Impact Chiropractic
Breastfeeding is a great option when choosing how to feed your child. There are numerous neurological, nutritional, developmental, psychological and immunological benefits that your baby can get throughout the process.
Due to this many mothers plan on breastfeeding, but give up early because of problems that have “no solution.” When you and your baby are first getting to know each other, it can be frustrating at times.
Many times mamas have trouble getting their baby to nurse, it’s hard!! It is easy to feel discouraged and want to give up. However, there are many people in your corner to help you make it through.
- Infant Chiropractor Benefits
- Why Use a Chiropractor for Infants
- Help baby turn head to go to both breasts equally
- Retraining muscle patterns
- Helping to shape mouth properly
- Help Tongue Tie Release Heal
- Reducing reflux and gassiness
- Are Chiropractic Adjustments Safe for Infants?
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Why Use a Chiropractor for Infants
It’s not your fault that your little one is having trouble breastfeeding, but there is always something you can do to help support the relationship.
In our office we see many infants presenting with latching problems, and after being evaluated and adjusted they are able to feed wonderfully.
Specifically, in our office, we check children for vertebral subluxations. This occurs when the upper cervical vertebra or cranial bones are misaligned, This misalignment puts unnecessary stress on the nervous system – meaning the brain and the body may not be fully communicating as they should.
It’s basically taking a dimmer switch and putting it on the nerves that come out at the level of the misalignment. This can cause numerous problems with the child’s health and development down the road. The birthing process, no matter how natural and beautiful it is, can be hard on not just the mother but the child as well. Birth can result in these misalignments that usually go undetected and unaddressed for years.
As chiropractors, we see infants presenting with:
- Difficulties latching firmly
- Inability to sustain suckling
- Only able to feed in one position
- Chew instead of suckling on the nipple
- A “need” to feed at all times.
While these issues can be frustrating, when the C1 vertebra and cranial bones are properly aligned, neurological and mechanical problems resolve as shown below:
Help baby turn head to go to both breasts equally
When the misalignment of the cranial and upper cervical vertebrae are present this will impinge the SCM muscle, causing extra tension in one side vs the other and in more extreme cases Torticollis.
When a baby has this presentation they will not want to turn their head to both sides equally and often favor one breast over the other. Realigning the bones and allowing the nerves to communicate with the muscle properly allow the baby to turn head to both sides equally allowing for easier positioning and access to breastfeeding.
Retraining muscle patterns
Another common difficulty we see with misalignments in an infant’s spine is that their suckle pattern is weak, irregular, or using the wrong muscles.
The communication into the muscles used primarily for sucking may not be firing correctly resulting in a weak suckle. This can lead to overcompensation and recruitment of muscles not originally needed for the motion, Causing an irregular or chewing-like suckle.
Again realigning any misalignments will allow all the muscles to get the proper communication. This can help us retain the improper muscle pattern for a more comfortable nursing relationship.
Helping to shape mouth properly
With improper tongue and oral use the mouth especially the palate can lack the proper stimulation it needs in order to properly shape. We see many infants presenting with shallow or high palates which are going to affect the suckle itself.
We help to identify and reshape the mouth when working with young kiddos in order to regain and maintain proper oral function with nursing and into childhood.
Help Tongue Tie Release Heal
Another great way we can support oral function is helping tongue-tie releases heal. After a baby gets a release it is up to the parents to continue to perform stretches as well as the body to heal properly.
However, if there is a miscommunication in the nerves that control the mouth often see that the body takes longer to heal or heals improperly and reattaches. We love working with babies that recently had tongue tie revisions to ensure that the body can heal to its full potential.
Reducing reflux and gassiness
With the improved function with latching and breastfeeding, there is a significant decrease in the amount of air that babies will intake when feeding. This alone can improve reflux and gassiness that is becoming more and more prevalent within newborns.
When we adjust infants we’re addressing the top misalignments leading to oral dysfunction. Along with the upper cervical region, we also check the pelvis, sacrum and lumbar regions all located in the lower back as well.
These regions have nerves that support the digestive organs so the adjustment can lead to frequent bowel movements and decrease the presence of gassiness and constipation. In turn, this increases babies’ mood, sleep, and overall development!
Are Chiropractic Adjustments Safe for Infants?
If your infant is having trouble nursing and you feel as though you’ve tried everything to help them, bring them to a chiropractor.
Infant chiropractic adjustments are gentle, safe, and extremely effective with adjustments only needing to use the pressure that you would use to check the ripeness of a tomato. Check the ICPA4KIDS website to find chiropractors specializing in pediatrics.
The ICPA Certification Program is a comprehensive 200-hour program consisting of 19-course offerings. It is designed to expand professional ability in adjusting techniques, evaluation, and assessment of different stages of development: from pregnancy, birth, infancy throughout childhood.
This could be one of the most important choices you make for your child, as breastfeeding provides benefits to their health and well-being.
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Katie Clark is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She has helped thousands of mothers and families around the globe navigate breastfeeding challenges and questions since 2015. She has a passion for creating research-based, helpful breastfeeding education and helping parents find a way to make breastfeeding work for them. Katie is a mom of three little boys and lives in the great state of Colorado. She also has a degree in Communications with an emphasis in print journalism.