Can chiropractic help improve breastfeeding?
As any new, breastfeeding mother will tell you, breastfeeding is hard work. Not only that, but breastfeeding can frequently suffer from unexpected problems. It is recommended that you make an appointment with a certified lactation consultant if you are experiencing any struggles with breastfeeding, but what else can you do?
Your chiropractor can also play a role in improving your breastfeeding relationship with your baby.
Chiropractic for your baby
Birth itself can be very traumatic for an infant, no matter if you had the most natural birth, or a c-section. This trauma can cause abnormal functioning in his or her spine, and musculoskeletal system. This can cause problems such as torticolis, also known as “twisted neck”, the inability to open the mouth wide enough, or muscle tightness in the jaw, and/or neck due to tongue tie. Adjustments for your baby can help to relax these muscles and allow for breastfeeding to occur more naturally. You may be concerned that an adjustment for a baby would be too rough, but your chiropractor will not use the same amount of pressure that they would on an adult. Adjustments for infants are gentle and relaxing.
Chiropractic for the mother
Sometimes a mother’s inability to make enough milk for her baby is the problem.
La Leche league international says, “The mother’s milk supply and let down are neurologically controlled. They may respond to chiropractic adjustment, craniosacral technique, or acupressure, as well as the more traditionally utilized herbs and medications. Ergonomics-how the mother holds her own and her baby’s body while breastfeeding-are very important. Pain may influence her let down reflex and, consequently, her milk production.” (1)
There have even been several case studies that showed mothers increasing milk supply after starting chiropractic treatment. (2)
Certainly, experiencing any problem with breastfeeding can be incredibly stressful, which can also affect milk supply. Studies have found that patients, after receiving a chiropractic neck adjustment, had altered brain activity in the parts of the brain responsible for pain processing and stress reactions. They also had significantly reduced cortisol levels, indicating decreased stress. Participants also reported lower pain scores and a better quality of life after treatment.” (3)
Learning to breastfeed can be frustrating for you and your baby. However, most breastfeeding challenges can be overcome with patience, and adjusting subluxations to allow for the optimal functioning of the breastfeeding process.