A healthy latch is the key for mom and baby both being happy with breastfeeding. Unfortunately, it can be elusive. A newborn has just had her head squished against mom’s pelvis for weeks or months, then is either pushed or pulled out, sometimes with the addition of pitocin, which all adds up to the skull and neck not being able to function at their best. Any misalignment of skull and neck can contribute to a latch that is not ideal. This can lead to extra pain for mom, reduced efficiency for baby, decreased milk supply, gassy baby, and lots of frustration! Chiropractic is a gentle and quick solution. By reducing stress on the spinal cord, improving alignment of skull and spinal bones, and making sure all joints are moving well newborns have the best start to their nursing career.
When I assess and examine a newborn I look closely at the shape of the head, how well the jaw opens and moves, head and neck movement, tongue positioning and motion. I use very gentle pressure and contacts to facilitate freedom of head, neck, jaw, and tongue motion and take whatever time I need to to make sure the baby latches and feeds well. Once the baby is nursing well, mom and baby can relax in the rocking chair as long as they need to.
Mom’s adjustments are of course very important too. Keeping her stress level in check is key to a good milk supply and the patience to nurse. Also, moms tend to gaze down at their babies while nursing which puts a huge strain on their necks. I call it nursing mom neck and it is a condition I work closely with. Nursing moms also have a special pillow in my office so they can be extra comfortable as they take a little time for themselves.