Why is Breastfeeding so hard sometimes? – Breastfeeding difficulties

Giving birth can be very unpredictable. Even with your perfect birth plan in place, ‘mother nature’ may take another route. This often unavoidable influence can be limiting, for mother-baby bonding, and result in breastfeeding difficulties.

If mediation is required during labour this can contribute to baby drowsiness, often interpreted as the baby being uninterested in breastfeeding. As a result they are often labelled as

  • ‘Sleepy’
  • ‘Lazy’
  • ‘Poor feeders

With some more complicated births, mother and baby may be separated for some time. Although this is not ideal, it is not always avoidable. This may mean formula supplementation is necessary and essential. This can be particularly distressing for those planing to breastfeed from birth and increases the breastfeeding challenge.

Please remember every birth, mother and baby are different and you must do what is right for your situation. Every healthcare professional should have you, and your babies best interests at heart. The most important thing is mother and baby are happy, safe and well.

Chiropractors often treat more babies who have required assistance during birth, such as:

  • Ventouse
  • Forceps
  • Elective C-section
  • Emergency C-section

One reason we believe this can cause unsettled babies is the forces and pressure required to extract the baby.

Please remember the above can be unavoidable. The most important thing is the safe and appropriate delivery of the baby, with both mother and baby health at the forefront of every decision.

Considering the above interventions, it is not surprising in Paediatric Chiropractic practice, babies commonly experience mechanical dysfunction. These can cause ineffective rooting / sucking reflexes, and tight musculature. These anatomical restrictions, can influence the babies ability to successfully breastfeed.

The Evidence

Miller et al (2009), have carried out some research on 114 infants diagnosed with feeding problems to demonstrate how chiropractic treatment can play a role in helping to resolve breastfeeding difficulties. All infants had previously been seen by other practitioners including midwifes, lactation consultants, and paediatricians. They found that:-

  • 89% displayed neck restrictions

  • 35% jaw imbalance

  • 34% inadequate sucking reflexes

  • Up to 14% signs of birth trauma

All infants were given chiropractic care in addition to support given elsewhere which resulted in all the children showing positive improvements, with 78% exclusively breastfeeding after 2 to 5 treatments within a 2 week time period.

Vallone (2004), carried out a study on 25 infants suffering from breast feeding difficulties. They noted that all babies were unable to open or close their mouths properly. This restricted their ability to take in enough breast tissue to obtain a suitable seal and suction. They were also unable to use their tongues effectively. On examination it was noted that the majority of babies had an imbalance in the muscles around the neck and jaw, along with improper movement of associated joints. More than 80% of these babies feeding patterns improved following chiropractic adjustments and soft tissue therapy.

Why pursue Breastfeeding?

If you are struggling to breast feed it is recommended that you get advice from a lactation consultant, midwife and/or friends who have successfully breastfed. If problems persist you can consider consulting a chiropractor or osteopath who has experience with babies and children.

Here is a selection of some of the reported health benefits to breastfeeding found by researchers (Miller et al 2009):-

  • Reduced risk of childhood illness

  • Lowered ear infection rates by 50% and asthma by 40%

  • Reduced risk of sudden infant death syndrome by 50%

  • Long term positive effects such as reducing the risk of being overweight, obese or developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

These articles are merely here to educate mothers on the health benefits and to some of the choice they can make during and after birth. Please note not everyone has these opportunities due to their individual circumstances to control the birthing process, and the immediate upbringing of their child. The key thing in these situations is to remember choices were made in the interests of both mother and baby. Also remember A HAPPY MOTHER = A HAPPY BABY therefore becoming frustrated and stressed while attempting to breast feed may cause more negative effects than the positives gained.

Doctor of Chiropractic, Karen Habershon has a special interest in paediatric Chiropractic. Many people don’t associate Chiropractors with paediatrics, however they have some fantastic results. Karen uses specifically tailored Chiropractic techniques for babies. Treatment pressure would never exceed that used to test how ripe a piece of fruit is (very different to treating an adult!). Techniques include cranial therapy and touch & hold techniques. Excessive crying is very common and it’s hard to know what’s wrong checking your baby for musculoskeletal tension can be a good investment.

Our experienced Chiropractor Karen will use appropriate gentle treatment techniques. Please contact KH Chiropractic & Sports Massage Aldgate / Liverpool Street to book your baby for an assessment

Call: 0203 633 0565

Online booking

Email: info@khchiropractic.com