Happy World Breastfeeding Week! While breastfeeding is a beautiful journey for mom and baby, sometimes we can hit some speed bumps along the way that may cause frustration. While a woman’s body and baby are made for each other, breastfeeding may not come as quickly to some as it does to others, and that is okay! It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child, and this could not be more true. With the stress of not sleeping in the first days postpartum and the emotional swings of the baby blues, trying to learn how to feed and connect with your little one through nursing can seem like a challenging task. This is when your village steps up.
Hollywood makes parenting and nursing look so easy. Picture the scene of a new mom with makeup somehow perfectly done after a quick labor, being handed her swaddled bundle of joy who instantly looks into her eyes, latches to her breast, and feeds as if he has been doing it for years. No recognition is given to the moms and babies who spend sleepless nights trying to find their sweet spot, the ones who need a little help with baby position, relief from torticollis or head tilt in baby, or even a possible tongue tie that keeps baby from being able to latch and create the suction needed to draw milk.
Baby’s position in utero, trauma of passing through the birth canal, or interventions during labor can often be the first cause of primary structural shift that baby needs to work against in order to learn how to eat, sleep, and ultimately meet developmental milestones. Primary structural shift can lead to an array of roadblocks like torticollis, one sided breast preference due to inability to turn head to the other side, disorganized sucking, and poor control of tongue muscles, just to name a few. Passage through the birth canal also compresses the bones of the skull to decrease its diameter, causing them to overlap. This is a normal part of the birth process, but in some cases the bones of the skull do not quickly return to normal motion. You can refer to our blog “The Butterfly in Your Head,” for information on the importance of the sphenoid bone and its relationship to the other skull bones. When the sphenoid bone and the joint it forms with the base of the skull are not moving properly, this can affect the shape of the palate, or roof of the mouth. A high and narrow or low and wide palate interferes with normal sucking and swallowing. By restoring normal motion in the skull bones, baby is set up on the road to a positive breastfeeding experience.
While primary structural shift and normal skull growth and development are imperative in a healthy breastfeeding journey, at Apex Chiropractic, we know the importance of a well rounded team approach to getting everyone on the right track towards their health goals, especially our littles! For this reason, we would like to introduce you to one member of our village, Kelly Googe, doula and certified lactation counselor, who will be sharing some of her expertise in the area of breastfeeding today:
Some of the most challenging things about breastfeeding are navigating what is a normal breastfeeding experience and what is not. New mothers are often isolated shortly after birth and do not have the comfort or guidance of their mothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, or even friends who are also breastfeeding. Something that seems like the most natural thing in the world can be confusing, daunting, and highly unsatisfying for both mother and baby, especially where there is an issue such as a pain with latch, tongue/lip tie, misalignment, colic, low supply, or an inability of the baby to efficiently transfer milk. Finding a Certified Lactation Counselor is an important step in solving so many problems and building a connection to the breastfeeding community.
As a CLC, it is my job to come to you and help assess what is going on. Besides troubleshooting common problems in latch or positioning, I work with pediatricians, chiropractors, pediatric dentists, and ENTs to route your baby to the appropriate professional for correction of what can be a simple, or not so simple, issue.
Chiropractic adjustments can correct what is leading to a poor latch, poor milk transfer, poor digestion, and even poor sleep. A qualified chiropractor also knows how to work with other specialists that may be brought on board to compliment what they’re doing; it is a team mentality which is beneficial for the family. Following your baby throughout the beginning helps you feel secure that all is well and sets you up for breastfeeding longevity.
The emotional guessing game of, “is my baby getting enough” and the constant weight observation can lead to doubt in the mother. A CLC is an important resource to educate mom about how breastfeeding babies behave, what is a healthy weight gain pattern, and how to correctly manage their breastfed baby. Encouragement should not be underrated! For mothers that choose to breastfeed their babies, it is important to know there are good resources out in the community and a CLC is a guide to your experience.