Chiropractic Care: Helping Infants Breastfeed
Pediatric chiropractic care isn’t quite as well known as chiropractic care for adults, but there are many musculoskeletal issues facing children at all age levels that can be helped through chiropractic therapy. One such trouble area for newborns are issues with the process known as latching, which can occur immediately after birth when the child begins to breastfeed.
Latching describes the child’s ability to create a tight, vacuumed sealed bond to the mother’s nipple so that milk flows evenly into their mouth. Undetected trauma to the musculoskeletal system of the child at the time of birth, perhaps from being withdrawn forcibly from the birth canal, can cause an inability to form a tight seal with the mouth due to misalignments in the tiny muscles of the jaw. When these problems with latching arise the milk leaks and dribbles from the child’s mouth making it difficult for them to receive their necessary nutrients, which not only affects their health but also creates emotional distress as well.
A chiropractor will treat an infant with latching problems by gently massaging the muscles of the jaws until they relax, so that the bones can be brought into proper alignment. Once this is accomplished, the child should instinctively be able to latch properly and get their full amount of sustenance.
Mother’s experiencing difficulties with breastfeeding their newborn may be unaware of latching issues and become frustrated and despondent, placing the blame on themselves. It is in these cases that pediatric chiropractic care can help both mother and child by gently bringing the child’s jaws back on track, reducing any pain or discomfort the infant may feel when trying to bring the mouth into a fully sealed suction action on the nipple. Another possibility is that child’s jaw joints are experiencing reduced mobility due to misalignment. Pediatric chiropractic care can restore mobility and help the latching process to function well.
While some mothers might use baby formulas that are available for purchase to feed their child, research shows that there are many benefits to breastfeeding. Some of these benefits are due to the natural antibodies in the mother’s milk which helps protect the baby by bolstering it’s immune system to fight off infections form pathogens in the environment. Breastmilk, as long as the mother follows a healthy diet, is the healthiest food for a child because it’s coming from a source that shares the same genetic make up, and therefore is less likely to clash with the particularities of the child’s various biological systems.