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.
I’ve been there.
I’ve sat crying alongside my baby- 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.
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. 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, that 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, and in this case, 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, meaning 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.
Our Osteopathic treatments of infants are generally quite different to the ones we perform on adults, and are incredibly gentle.
In these types of cases, treatments are aimed at releasing any restrictions in the relevant tissues such as the upper back, neck, jaw and skull. 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).
In my experience, babies will often cry during the first 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 like to tell parents this before we begin, because I know it can be upsetting to see your baby crying.
Where possible, I will have the parents hold or even feed their baby during a treatment, in order to make the session as calm as possible. This helps take the stress out of things for everyone.
In the day or two following their initial consultation, they may be either very settled, and sleep exceptionally well, or 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 any of these scenarios sound like your baby?
If so, why not call or book online today, to see if we can help you and your baby breastfeed just like the books said you would?