Many women are surprised to learn how much breastfeeding help they need to get the process happening smoothly.
Nothing can quite prepare you for the emotional roller coaster ride that being a new parent can feel like.
You might’ve read the books, or had close friends or family have children, or been to all the classes.
But when it’s 3am and you can’t get your crying, hungry baby to feed properly, all the research in the world isn’t going to help.
When I (Dr Lauren Matthews, Osteopath) needed breastfeeding help:
I’ve been there.
I’ve sat crying alongside my baby. Been frustrated at my own inability to perform what ‘should’ be such an easy and natural task.
I’ve had the baby who ‘can’t’ breastfeed, but who also refuses to drink out of a bottle.
I’ve wondered how on Earth I’m supposed to feed my child.
It was this struggle that led me to learn more about what Osteopathy can do to help.
My girls aren’t babies anymore though, so for me, those days are gone-but-not-forgotten memory.
But, having lived through this is the reason why I’m so passionate about helping mothers and their babies achieve their goal of breastfeeding on their own terms.
Some reasons why you may need some breastfeeding help:
There are a number of reasons why your baby may be having trouble breastfeeding. In some cases, there may be other factors, such as lip and/or tongue ties, or pain during feeding from things like cracked or damaged nipples.
In these cases, referral to other health care professionals is usually warranted alongside Osteopathic treatment. If you think that these apply to you, but you’re unsure where to go, please contact us and we can help arrange this with our trusted providers.
From an Osteopathic point of view, problems with latching on to the breast may be due to an inability of your baby to:
- open the mouth wide enough, or
- to control the lips well enough to produce an adequate seal.
This may be a result of tensions in many parts of the neck, skull and jaw. These structures all need to work together in a smooth and coordinated fashion for sucking and swallowing to occur.
The baby may also have trouble positioning their head properly. In this case, they may feed better on one side than the other.
If the baby has any restriction in the muscles around the front or back of the neck and jaw, or even around the tongue (which is itself a muscle), then they may not be able to suck with sufficient force to extract milk. This means that they may fatigue easily. These infants may repeatedly fall asleep at the breast, because the act of feeding is just so tiring for them.
How Osteopathy can help with breastfeeding:
As mentioned earlier, there are a number of musculoskeletal reasons why your baby may have trouble latching optimally.
Osteopathic treatments for mums and bubs who need breastfeeding help involve an assessment of baby’s whole body. We’ll assess how well they can move their arms and legs, their torso and their necks. We’ll have a feel through their jaw, and inspect inside their mouth.
Our Osteopathic treatments of infants are generally quite different to the ones we perform on adults, and are incredibly gentle.
The aim of treatment is to release any restrictions in the relevant tissues. This is usually done through a range of techniques, such as cranial Osteopathy, or subtle techniques aimed at minimising tensions in the local muscles and fascia (the connective tissue that helps hold us all together).
I like to warn parents that babies may cry during the treatment. This is not because the techniques are painful to them, but because the environment they’re in, and the movements we are trying to introduce are completely foreign to them. I tell parents this before we begin, because I know it can be upsetting to see your baby crying.
I will never let your baby cry uncontrollably for any great length of time. Sometimes it is best to keep going and finish a technique if baby starts to get upset. However, I always ensure that everyone is comfortable with what is happening at all stages.
Where possible, I will have the parents hold or even feed their baby during a treatment. This makes the session as calm as possible.
In the day or two following their initial consultation, they may be either very settled, and sleep exceptionally well. Alternatively, they may be more unsettled than usual. Whilst obviously everyone would love their baby to fall into the former category, I’ve found that neither response is indicative of a more or less favourable response to treatment overall.
Generally speaking, babies will tolerate any subsequent treatments better, and are less likely to be unsettled post treatment.
Do you and your baby need some breastfeeding help?
Do any of these scenarios sound like your baby?
There may be little clues that you can pick up on. Things like them feeding better off one breast than the other, or always turning their head to one side. They may hate tummy time with a passion. Maybe they scream every time they’re in the car.
There are a number of different ways that these babies present. I’m trained to look for them and give you both some breastfeeding help.
Why not call or book online now and get some tailored advice?