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  • Writer's pictureDr Michael Tebbe

Challenges with Breastfeeding? Try this solution

Updated: Nov 17, 2018

I asked this question recently at my networking group “Why did Sweden, Scotland and the USA see a 4-fold increase in Menigitis during the 1970’s?”  I received many answers including not enough vaccines.  As you can probably tell from my title that breastfeeding was the cause.  Specifically it was a decrease in breastfeeding of babies in these countries.  People were switching to formula.  Studies have repeatedley shown that many childhood illnesses increase when breastfeeding decreases in babies.  The longer a mother can breastfeed her child the better it is for the child.  Breastfeeding helps protect the child against ear infections (90% of kids have one by age 2), pneumonia, measles, whooping cough, asthma, food allergies and skin rashes to name just a few.  Fortunately in USA rates of breastfeeding are increasing.  Many mothers are willing to do the work to breastfeed their babies.  The problem is when mothers face challenges it can derail their best intentions and force them to switch to formula.

Chiropractic and Breastfeeding

You are probably wondering well what does Chiropractic care have to do with breastfeeding?  Here is a great study talking about Chiropractic helping with breastfeeding

Contribution of chiropractic therapy to resolving suboptimal breastfeeding: a case series of 114 infants

This study looked at 114 infants with hospital-diagnosed or lactation consultant diagnosed feeding problems that were treated with chiropractic therapy in addition to routine care and followed to short-term result.  The most common physical findings were cervical posterior joint dysfunction (89%) i.e. upper neck problems, temporomandibular joint imbalance (36%), and inadequate suck reflex (34%). Treatment was chiropractic therapy in addition to any support given elsewhere. All children showed some improvement with 78% (N = 89) being able to exclusively breast feed after 2 to 5 treatments within a 2-week time period.

Let’s talk about this study.  They found 3 areas that caused challenges with infants being able to feed properly.  Problems with their upper neck, jaw and poor suck reflex.  In a previous post we talked a lot about how the birth process can stress the upper neck.  Basically what happens is the upper neck does not have the normal freedom of movement it needs to.  That causes the muscles of the upper neck to go into spasm or become very tight. This also causes the muscles that move the jaw to become tight and restrict the normal motion of the jaw.  Also the nerve that controls the tongue exits at the base of the skull and dysfunction there can disturb the normal signals from the nerve making the tongue move improperly.  

Lactation Consultants

Chiropractic care is safe and effective way to help a baby correct these challenges so they can breastfeed normally.  The study demonstrates this as well as my own experience working with babies.  In my practice I work with lactation consultants to help moms and babies find the right groove with breastfeeding.  Lactation consultants are experts in the technique of latching and how to hold the baby.  Chiropractic helps remove the mechanical dysfunction that does not let a baby latch properly. 

A lactation consultant referred me a baby recently.  I could see immediately from watching him that his jaw was not opening properly.  Mom was feeding him with breastmilk but through bottles.  When her little boy was latching he was tearing up her nipples causing her a lot of pain.  After the first session the parents reported he had gained 3 ounces in 3 days and was latching with greater ease and comfort to mom.  The work that I did with him allowed him to open his jaw normally again. 

Better Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is super important for the health of babies.  Some of the resources available to help you with breastfeeding are: la leche league , Lactation consultant finder are two of the optional resources out there.  Please share this information with new parents that you know who are facing challenges with breastfeeding.  Proper Chiropractic care could make the difference between a baby breastfeeding and not. 

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