Trouble with Breastfeeding?

Elyssa WrightChiropractic Care, Pregnancy

Congratulations on your new baby! Each mom has certain expectations they have for what being a mom is, including their expectations with breastfeeding. Each family’s breastfeeding journey is different-some easy, some hard. Hypolactation, or not producing enough milk to feed your child is one of the many different areas where a family may encounter feeding challenges. Other challenges can include latching difficulties such as positional problems, tongue and/or lip ties, and many other issues. Working with a certified lactation consultant can help you find what you and your child need to have a more successful feeding experience.

Breastfeeding Science

There are 2 different pathways that tells your body to deliver milk to your baby. First is the neural (nerve)-hormonal pathway. This pathways begins in the center of your brain at the pituitary gland. When you baby begins to suckle a hormone called oxytocin is released. This hormone causes the muscles around the milk to contract-leading to the release of milk through the nipple. Along with that there is also sensory input from your breast tissue that signals your brain that your child is attempting to feed. This sensory input goes through nerve signals from the midback levels of your spine.

To Summarize:
Baby suckling → Signal to pituitary gland in brain → Release hormone oxytocin → Contraction of muscles around milk ducts → Release of milk to baby.

Stimulation of areola (sensory) → Nerve signal from midback to brain → Tells brain that baby is trying to feed → Release oxytocin → Contraction of muscles around milk ducts → Release milk to baby.

How Chiropractic Care Can Help

Chiropractic care evaluates the joints of the body and skull by looking for proper movement. When this movement is not present, it is called a vertebral subluxation. This lack of motion leads to nerve irritation, disruption of the lymphatic and vascular flow, and can interfere with the transmission of neural impulses which leads to dysfunction within the body systems and overtime can lead to disease. (Vallone 2007) When the nerve impulses are not working optimally, it can lead to an inability for your baby to signal the production of milk within your body.

Chiropractic care looks at the joints of the back and skull to effect BOTH of the pathways that influence breastfeeding.

1. The first area your chiropractor will check is the cranial bones-specifically those that can influence the pituitary gland. By encouraging proper motion of these bones, it can decrease any interference to the pituitary gland and oxytocin pathway.

2. The second area that can with the neural-hormonal pathways is the thoracic spine. This is the area of the back that receives the sensory input from the breast tissue.

Why Would Mom Need to get Checked?

The most important question that needs to be answered is “Am I a candidate for a chiropractic evaluation?” Here are some of the things in your past which may have caused a vertebral subluxation:

  • History of a trauma with a head bump

    This could include a car accident with whiplash injuries, falling and hitting your head, being hit in the head with a basketball, baseball, etc. These injuries could also have happened when you were a child-falling off the swingset or monkey bars.

  • Posture is also another key thing to look at

    If you are sitting at a computer or looking at tablets or phones all day you may be in a hunched over posture. This posture will aggravate the center of your back and the nerve supply to your breast tissue.

  • Trauma from a stressful labor/delivery

    Think back to the position you were in while you were laboring and pushing. Where you bearing down? Did you feel any pain in your midback during pregnancy? Are you feeling tension in your midback post delivery? All of these are signs that you may need chiropractic care.

Postnatal Chiro Care Package

3 chiropractic adjustments PLUS receive a FREE postnatal visit for you and your baby!