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Breastfeeding Challenges: What to expect when you bring your baby to a pediatric chiropractor
You just finished running the marathon of pregnancy and now you have the wonderful blessing of a reward, your new baby! Life is supposed to be easy now, right? Like so many moms and dads, you might be struggling. You thought breastfeeding would just come naturally and be an easy thing, but you’re exhausted, stressed, […]
You just finished running the marathon of pregnancy and now you have the wonderful blessing of a reward, your new baby! Life is supposed to be easy now, right? Like so many moms and dads, you might be struggling. You thought breastfeeding would just come naturally and be an easy thing, but you’re exhausted, stressed, and maybe even depressed. Maybe you’re sleep deprived and at the end of your rope. Maybe you talked to the lactation consultant in the hospital, and they said “everything looks good” so you don’t understand why it isn’t easier. First, I want to offer you some validation. IT’S OK! It’s ok that you are feeling stressed. It’s ok that this didn’t come naturally and easy whether it’s your first kid or your fifth. While breastfeeding is a very beautiful and natural thing, it is NOT easy. Thankfully, you have found us. We have devoted our lives to helping YOU through this stage of life. I want to walk you through what you can expect when you bring your baby to a pediatric chiropractor like us.
After you get a private tour of our pediatric chiropractic office you will be taken to a private room where we will hang out and talk. We will first discuss all the history of your pregnancy, delivery, and your baby’s life so far. We will discuss their latch, what you have done so far that is or isn’t working, and so much more. We use this time for you to be able to get everything off your chest. This might be the first time someone has really listened to you and what is going on. Then we will talk about your baby’s overall state of well-being. Are they fussy, gassy, unsettled, poor sleepers, constipated, sick, or just overall tense? We usually spend anywhere from 20-40 minutes digging deep into your questions and concerns before we do anything else.
The next step is for one of our doctors to look at your baby. During this part we are holding your baby and making sure they feel comfy and safe. Then we will examine them very thoroughly. Does their entire body curve to the side? Does their head prefer to turn to one side? Is their head and face symmetrical? Are any of the bones in their head not aligned properly? Are their eyes symmetrical and even? Is their lower jaw parallel with their upper jaw? Are the bones in their spine aligned properly? Are they able to touch their toes to their forehead easily? We check all these things and many more. This will help us understand if your baby’s breastfeeding challenges might be coming from a structural imbalance or from neurological stress.
So why do we care about all those things? What do these structural imbalances and neurological stress have to do with breastfeeding?
The answer is: everything.
Your baby’s head and neck are very complicated. There are a lot of moving parts that need to be working a very specific way for breastfeeding to be easy. Their mouth needs to open wide enough to take in enough of your breast tissue. Their head needs to be able to freely move left and right without restriction to be able to nurse well on both sides. The muscles under their tongue need to be relaxed enough to allow it to make a good seal on the breast and to swallow effectively. Their body needs to be able to relax during feeds in order to efficiently use their energy and not fall asleep at the breast. The nerves that control the entire process need to be free from interference for anything to work well! Next, we will perform a simple nerve scan that will show us if, where, and how much irritation your child’s nervous system has. It is as easy as taking their temperature but shows us a lot of useful information. All these tests will show us how much stress your baby has been under during your pregnancy, the delivery, and life so far. Unfortunately, for many babies, one or more of these things are not working correctly. That’s where we come in, to help to make sure all these things and more are working well.
After the consultation and exam, we will perform an adjustment. Just like during the exam, this part is extremely gentle. There is no twisting, popping, or cracking (It still surprises me that anyone thinks we would ever do that to a baby). Adjusting kids and babies is VERY different than adjusting adults, just one more reason to take your baby to a pediatric specialist like us. We are usually able to adjust a sleeping baby without even waking them up, that’s how easy it is. During this adjustment we will be addressing any nerve interference that we found in your child’s exam and scan. When this interference is removed, they will likely start to improve in all other areas. We don’t stop there. In the coming days you will also have a visit with one of our lactation counselors. They will assess how well your baby is latching and dig deeper into how well their mechanics of breastfeeding are working. They will be there to answer all your questions and make sure you are feeling confident and supported. They will also be able to assign you at-home exercises for your baby if they need them to help with nursing.
With something that is as simple and gentle as pediatric chiropractic means that it takes time and repetition. Unfortunately, nothing we do creates a magic fix overnight. When did we get so impatient anyways?! Everything good takes time, and this is no different. Over the coming weeks to months, you will be able to watch your baby slowly transform into a happy, healthy, nursing, sleeping, and pooping little machine!
If you are hesitant or wondering about whether chiropractic is right for your family, we would love to answer any questions you have. Feel free to text, call, or email us and we will help!