There are many benefits to getting adjusted during breastfeeding for the mother and the child. Watch Dr. Gardner’s video here: Benefits for Breastfeeding
Some of the benefits for the mother include increased milk production, better posture for nursing and reduced mid-back pain. Let’s start with the common breastfeeding positions. Many women use the positions you see below.
Unfortunately women tend to bring the breast to the baby instead of baby to breast. Which increases strain on the neck/back and can cause pain in the midback.
If you need help with positioning, this video is great to walk you through it.
Chiropractic care during nursing can ease discomfort and help with better posture for breastfeeding.
You may be wondering how chiropractic care can increase milk production. It relates to the spine!
When the child suckles at the breast, that triggers the mammary glands to release milk with the hormone oxytocin. As the child drinks and the breast starts to empty, the mammary glands send signals through the blood and nervous system to the pituitary gland, in a feedback loop. The feedback loop then sends a signal to make more prolactin in the anterior pituitary via the hypothalamus. The prolactin then produces more milk.
How chiropractic helps this system, is in the communication between the glands. The nervous system sends signals to the brain, and brain to the body, and when the spine is not aligned correctly, it can put pressure on the nerves and surrounding spinal tissues causing a decrease in functionality. When the nervous system doesn’t function at its best, the signals send slowly and can decrease the amount of hormones being secreted by the pituitary gland. It only takes the weight of a dime on the nerve to cause irritation and decrease functionality! These hormones then can’t tell the mammary glands to produce/release more milk. With chiropractic aligning the spine, and the nervous system, this allows the body to communicate better and produce/release the milk for the baby and reduce nerve irritation.
How can chiropractic care be beneficial for the child breastfeeding?
When Dr. Gardner evaluates a child that is having a hard time nursing, she evaluates the musculoskeletal system, specifically, the neck and jaw of the child to determine where there is restriction (non-movement). With the art and skill of the gentle adjustment, Dr. Gardner will improve movement in the neck muscles, facial muscles and bones of the face, skull and neck. If there is an imbalance, sometimes this can show in how the baby latches or possibly a lip or tongue tie. Also if the baby prefers to nurse on one side vs the other.
A good latch should be seen with the whole mouth covering most of the areola (the area surround the nipple) and should be using their tongue in a fluid suckling motion. If the mouth does not cover the majority of the areola, or the baby doesn’t use their tongue in a fluid motion, then the latch should be evaluated by a health professional, whether that is a family wellness chiropractor (like Dr. Gardner), a lactation consultant, pediatrician, or a trained midwife/doula.
Correcting any irregularities in the mouth, head and neck, is where chiropractic can help these children. The adjustments for babies are very gentle, with as much force as you would apply to a ripe tomato to hold it. There are no twisting motions with babies and mom/dad can hold them the entire time.
If you have any questions about the benefits of breastfeeding please call us or reach out and we would be glad to answer them.