How can feeding your baby be difficult? No matter the method there are many factors that play a role in successful feeding.  When starting the journey as a new mom, nursing seems like it should be simple; baby is hungry, place baby near breast, baby eats, burp, and you are done.   Rarely, is this the case.  I found with my first baby breastfeeding was the biggest surprise and challenge to parenting.  I had made a goal that I would breastfeed for the entire first year and thought this would be easy.  I had researched the health benefits, such as faster weight loss postpartum, better nutrition and improved immunity for baby, and the cost savings was undeniable only to find out this was much more difficult to achieve.  If it wasn’t for a great support system and other moms sharing their tips I do not believe I would have reached my one-year goal.  Each child afterwards posed their own challenges, but it did get easier.  It is very common for mothers to become discouraged and stressed and stop breastfeeding out of frustration.

Exclusive breastfeeding is the optimal feeding mode for an infant’s first six months. Many women plan to breastfeed for this time period, but when they encounter difficulties and find no real solutions they often get discouraged and out of frustration abandon their original intent to breastfeed.  Some of the individuals they may have consulted with or looked for guidance from may be unaware of the structural and functional issues in the infant’s spines and craniums that cause the difficulty in breastfeeding.  This lack of knowledge leads to poor and ineffective recommendations with poor results.

Some of the most common indicators causing difficulty with breastfeeding:

  • Babies cannot latch firmly
  • Babies cannot move their head in all directions
  • Babies who may latch cannot sustain sucking
  • Babies can only feed in one position
  • Babies cannot coordinate suckling, swallowing, and breathing
  • Babies need to nurse and/or feed constantly
  • Babies may chew or bite, damaging mom’s nipples
  • Babies seem always dissatisfied when nursing and/or remain fussy throughout the day
  • Mom is worried baby is not ‘getting enough’
  • Babies are not gaining weight

If you feel you may be experiencing one or more of the indicators above it is important to seek the guidance of a trained professional, so you may be successful in reaching your goals and avoid frustrations.  My goal is to provide effective solutions that will allow mother and child to continue to benefit from breastfeeding and reach the initial goals.  In addition, to a chiropractic evaluation and potential treatment, I may also refer you to one of my community partners who may be able to help achieve faster results.  Chiropractic care can help reduce the challenges associated with feeding your baby by improving range of motion of the neck, improving muscle tone, and reducing spinal restrictions that may be present.  By using a light pressure, specific contact points, and gentle adjusting techniques, I improve the movement of the surrounding muscles, spinal joints, and jaw. In addition, to adjustments I take time sharing with parents’ helpful tips, such as how to massage and better position baby.

Motherhood is difficult enough and feeding our babies should not be one of those challenges.  I encourage all parents to seek help early instead of taking the ‘wait and watch’ approach.  I never want you to wish away the first year, hoping a solution presents itself or the problem goes away on its own.  I am here to help and provide you real solutions.

~~Melanie Dockter, DC CACCP