I am sure you are wondering, “Yeah just how can chiropractic care help me with breastfeeding?”
While breastfeeding is “natural”, any breastfeeding mother will tell you that figuring things out in the beginning isn’t as simple as it seems. Sometimes babies have things going on with their tiny bodies that can make it difficult to latch. Along with that, new mamas can experience aches and pains in their bodies as they adapt to the demands of breastfeeding. This is where chiropractic comes in!
Chiropractic adjustments are all about making sure the nervous system and spine are working at their best. Doing so can improve the baby’s ability to latch and neck range of motion to feed. For mothers, keeping the spine and nervous system functioning optimally helps decrease discomfort and overall stress.
The birth process can be a wild and crazy ride for mom and baby
The baby’s body is squeezed out of the birth canal which contributes to how the skull is moulded. It can also cause stress in the baby’s delicate upper neck. This is especially true if the baby was delivered with assistance such as vacuum, forceps or cesarean section.
We are going to get a little technical here, but it’s worth understanding. The skull moulding and upper neck are really important factors because of the neurological and mechanical aspects of the sucking reflex (think suckling and latching).
The upper neck region houses the brainstem and cranial nerves that give life to the muscles of the face and jaw. (Think about how your jaw works to help you chew and drink, it’s a very similar concept). Along with proper neurological input, the bones and muscles need to be aligned properly for mechanical reasons.
When chiropractors check your baby, this is exactly what we are looking for. We assess that your baby’s neurological reflexes are healthy and that there isn’t any abnormal tension or weakness in the body that can point to nervous system interference. After that, we check the alignment of the tiny bones in the upper neck, the jaw and skull. If any of those bones are misaligned, it affects the range of motion and the muscles’ ability to do their job.
Paediatric adjustments are extremely safe, gentle, and actually much different than adult adjustments
They are so gentle some babies will even sleep through them. Light fingertip pressure is all that is needed to adjust a baby. There is no twisting and we use very little force. The goal of the adjustment is to restore normal motion in the spine, sacrum and encourage alignment of cranial bones. Although the technique is very light and gentle it makes a huge impact!
For moms, chiropractic is also a huge part of postpartum care
Unfortunately in our society we often forget about postpartum care. However, the reality is that the mother is still going through so much change and healing for not just weeks, but months after the birth.
Specifically, with nursing, the mother is adapting to the postural changes that come with heavier breasts, holding the baby and looking down often to feed her baby. In addition to all this going on, the joints are still loose due to the fact the ligaments take time to strengthen back up as relaxin leaves the system. (Relaxin is the hormone that causes the joints to loosen in order to make room for baby).
Because of these new stressors on the spine, upper back and neck pain are common complaints I hear from new mothers in my office. Regular adjustments help the body adapt to these new changes by helping the joints stabilize properly and relieving the strain caused by the day-to-day life of a new mom.
Despite some of the challenges that a new mom faces and the commitment that goes into breastfeeding, it is truly one of the best things you can do for your baby’s health. Although challenging at times, breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful and doesn’t have to be uncomfortable for you or your baby.
Having a great postpartum support team behind you that includes a chiropractor, will make a world of difference in setting you up for a healthy breastfeeding relationship.
Contact us now for help with breastfeeding.