Breastfeeding Is Challenging – But It Can Be Easier:
Having a newborn baby is one of the most special times in a parent’s life. Even more so when it’s your first child. There’s a very different kind of love expressed between a parent and their child and it’s one that often isn’t known until it’s experienced.
Having a newborn comes with its own changes and challenges. Less sleep, changing diapers, baby clothes that they grow out of within a week, and much more. What’s even harder about this time is when it is compounded by unnecessary challenges such as difficulty with breastfeeding. According to the NIH, about 70% of women have difficulty with breast feeding. This could be their child favoring a side, having a shallow latch, difficulty sucking and swallowing, which can progress into pain, cracked nipples, and mastitis.
This can be disheartening and frustrating for mums since breastfeeding is supposed to be a beautiful moment of connection with their baby. The good news is that there are solutions to these challenges and breastfeeding doesn’t have to be this way. But first let’s talk about the main culprit behind breastfeeding challenges and how it sets up shop.
Subluxation & Breastfeeding Challenges:
A term you may not have heard before is Subluxation. But I promise it’ll all make sense by the end of this article. Subluxation is a term paediatric chiropractors use to describe abnormal function within the central nervous system. Since the central nervous system oversees all functions within the body, including head turning, latching, sucking, and swallowing, when it is Subluxated it often results in challenges associated with breastfeeding.
Subluxation can occur at all ages, but when it affects the upper neck in babies it often disrupts their ability to feed comfortably and appropriately which is then also felt by mum. The upper neck houses all the nerves that are responsible for the control of turning the head, opening the mouth for a good latch, motion of the muscles of the mouth that produce sucking and swallowing, and then control of the esophagus to stop reflux. When subluxation is present in babies breastfeeding challenges along with reflux, colic and constipation are the most common signs.
Birth Trauma & Subluxation:
Subluxation can be caused by a variety of factors but the most common and detrimental in terms of the severity of Subluxation is hands down birth trauma and intervention. This is not to say that intervention at birth doesn’t have a place, it certainly does. Medical intervention saves both mums and bubs lives, and we’ve even had our own experience with birth trauma.
But that doesn’t change that fact that birth trauma, particularly physical interventions such as forceps, ventose, and cesarian deliveries place a significant amount of physical stress on the upper neck of a baby. One of the most vulnerable, since babies have no head control at birth, and delicate areas, due to the neurological structures that reside there such as the Vagus nerve and brainstem.
If you watch any video on the internet of these types of deliveries, it’s hard to ignore the amount of physical stress and pressure applied to a baby’s head and neck during their first moments of life. This physical stress creates misalignment, fixation and tension within the neuro-spinal system which creates a cascade of downstream effects to the nervous system known as Dysautonomia that negatively impact a baby’s ability to carry out their normal, vital functions of eating, sleeping, and pooping.
Correcting Subluxation & Improving Breastfeeding:
As pediatric chiropractors we are specifically trained to locate and correct Subluxation and restore normal function to the central nervous system. The first step in this process is the measurement of Subluxation. This is where Thermal scanning comes in. This allows us to identify exactly where dysfunction and stress are occurring within the neuro-spinal system so we know exactly what kind of care plan and adjustments will be most appropriate for your baby. You can see below the initial scans of a baby who was having these exact challenges from poor latching, favouring a side, as well as colic, sleeping challenges and constipation.
All the coloured bars indicate stress and tension affecting the nervous system. This is similar to a ‘blown fuse’. The scan on the right shows the same baby at a progress review. Much less colour and much easier feeding, easier sleeping, better digestion, and a catch up in her developmental milestones.
If you or someone you love is struggling with their breastfeeding journey we’d love to help! Simply click HERE and our team will reach out to get you scheduled for your neurological scans.
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Dr Ben Edwards