Chiropractic’s Involvement with Breast Feeding Problems
There is nothing more frustrating than the helpless feeling of not being able to feed your baby. With the prevalence of formula and the pressure exerted by many well-meaning health care aids and family members, many women resort to bottle feeding prematurely. In many cases, chiropractic care may be the help they need to get on the road to a great breast feeding relationship.
There are very few mothers who actually have a primary breast glandular insufficiency which is causing a “lack of milk” or a “decrease in milk flow”. When there is a problem, it is most commonly that the child's suck reflex has been inhibited by mechanical forces, most of which are easily detected and corrected in the chiropractic office. For example, the hypoglossal nerve (Cranial nerve 12), which directly governs movement of the tongue exits the skull just lateral to where the skull rests upon, the first bone of the neck (at the occipital condyles in close proximity to the atlanto-occipital joint capsule).
When parents bring their baby in to our office we do a thorough examination of the infants suck reflex, cranial bones and spinal bones (specifically the upper cervical and thoracic regions). Most commonly we find infants who are having difficulty with breast feeding do so because they have a misalignment of the first two bones in the neck which is inhibiting their bodies ability to suck properly and to fully open their mouth. They may also have a misalignment of the jaw or the bones which make up the roof of the mouth (specifically the vomer or palatines).
As chiropractors we can normalize the position of these areas by using very specific chiropractic adjustments. Adjusting a baby is very different than adjusting an adult. We only need to use the tips of our fingers or a very special adjusting tool to re-align the bones of a baby’s spine. It is very gentle and very specific.
Ultimately the goal of the adjustment is to re-align the bones of the spine, the jaw or the skull so that their can be normal nerve system function. This will allow the babies nervous system to carry out the suck reflex properly and ultimately allow the mother and baby to have a successful breast feeding experience.