Stranger in a New Land 2May 12, 2020
A Better Treatment for Reflux or Colic in a Newborn BabyDecember 4, 2020
"Post-nursing sleep" by footloosiety is licensed with CC BY 2.0.
As an Osteopath who specializes in infants and children, there's one question I hear more than almost any other, “Why does my baby not nurse properly?” Mothers concerned about breast feeding problems with their baby describe a number of issues, including:
- failure to suck or not sucking;
- not latching well;
- noisy sucking;
- sore, bleeding and cracked nipples; and
- prefers to nurse only on one side.
Mothers who experience this issue often wonder if something is wrong with them; but this is rarely the case. Sometimes people hear from their pediatrician that the infant's frenulum is to blame and tongue and/or lip frenectomies are recommended. In my experience, the frenulum causes nursing problems in only about five to eight percent [5-8%] of all cases.
Osteopathic medicine is a system of health care practice that focuses on the whole patient. From an osteopathic perspective, the root cause of nursing problems can be found by thinking about the infant's body as a whole. An infant who fails to nurse well often indicates a structural problem in the head and neck. Sometimes caused by a difficult birth, this structural problem with the infant happens on two dimensions.
- The jaw is “set back” and /or there are tight muscles around the jaw and neck.
- The nerves to the tongue are compromised.
The human skull has twenty-three bones around the brain. When they are in alignment, these bones move slightly and in a very predetermined pattern, because the brain itself is in constant motion. When these bones are out of balance or alignment, that's when nursing problems can arise.
Pressure on the head during the birth process in a delivery or as a result of a C-Section, [by pulling on the baby to get her or him out of the womb], causes torquing of the membrane system around the brain and the neck bones and jaw. The nerves to the tongue come out between two cranial bones: the Occiput (in the back of the head) and the temporal bone (around the ear). These bones can get pushed together too closely and/or the Occiput can be pushed down on the first neck bone, causing the nerves not to function properly. Any of these issues can cause nursing problems.
Osteopathy's gentle approach to release restrictive motion is the best approach to nursing problems. Oftentimes, the latching problem resolves after 3 -4 visits. If you're a mother experiencing nursing problems with your baby, please telephone my office at  459-2522 to make an appointment. You'll get 35 percent off my regular initial fee for your baby's first osteopathic evaluation and treatment. I welcome the opportunity to help you and your baby have more comfort and better nursing health.
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