How can an Osteopath help with breast feeding?

When I speak about how an Osteopath can help a baby, it often sounds unusual as why
would a baby need an osteopathic treatment, why would they be in pain when they are so
young.

Sometimes a baby can struggle to breast feed due to musculoskeletal elements, which can be due to their neck and jaw however if a baby is experiencing some pain anywhere this can make it difficult for them to breast feed as they may find it hard to be comfortable when feeding.

But what might a baby do if they are struggling to feed?
 They may not be able to latch easily and struggle to open their mouth fully.
 Suckling may be difficult and can be strong which can cause sore nipples for mum.
 Baby may be unsettled in any position when feeding.
 You may here noises whilst they are feeding such as clicking or gasping this can be
due to a poor latch possibly due to be struggling to retain a good seal on their latch.

But what can an osteopath do?

When a baby comes into clinic, I have found it is important to treat the babies’ whole body as well as their neck and jaw.

We can help by releasing tension through their neck, around their jaw and mouth to make it easier for them to open their mouth, which makes it more comfortable for a baby to feed.

However as the jaw is connected to our skull it is important to look at a baby’s head as one bone is connected to another, and there can be tightness around the skull with the bones that contribute to a babies latch and by assessing all these areas as a whole this can help improve a babies feeding. An Osteopath may look at your babies’ position when they are feeding as if they are not comfortable in a feeding position this may be due to tightness around their back or in other areas, and your osteopath will address all areas to help your baby to be as comfortable as possible when feeding.

When treating a baby my preferred treatment is to use cranial osteopathy due to the nature of cranial osteopathy being a very gentle and soothing form of treatment and often babies will fall asleep. It enables us to feel any tension throughout their joints and muscles to help ease any tension.

If you have any questions, please ask your Osteopath.

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