There is well-documented evidence to support the benefits breastfeeding plays in a child’s immunity and cognitive development. It helps to build a healthy immune system as it will increase their resistance to infection and disease and help them fight off any bugs that they come across. It can help lessen the risk of allergies and food intolerances and decrease the rate of respiratory tract infections, acute ear infections, eczema and asthma.

The current rates of exclusive breastfeeding in Australia according to the National Health and Medical Research Council are 96% at birth, 61% at one month and 15% at 6months.

The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding and appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.

But what happens if you have trouble breastfeeding? You may have left the hospital, had your last nurse or midwife visit or you may be weeks in and still not getting the hang of the breastfeeding.

Some common difficulties mothers may experience with breastfeeding are:
• Inability to latch firmly
• Inability to sustain sucking
• Only feeding on one side or in a particular position
• Painful/cracked nipples for the mother (due to incorrect suck)
• Chewing of nipple
• Inability to settle after feeding
• Distressed baby

It is advised to seek help when having difficulty breastfeeding. The first few weeks can be frustrating and very painful for both you and your new baby. Consider a check up by your local pediatric chiropractor to assess for cranial distortions, proper sucking technique or cervical restrictions, which may be hindering the breastfeeding process. There are 3 types of suck;
• Posterior draw suck: the nipple should be drawn back towards the back of the baby’s throat, this is an optimal attachment which will maximize breastfeeding and your babies development

• Middle suck: when the baby chomps up and down onto your nipple and doesn’t draw it back into the throat, most of the time this can be very painful as the nipple is being pushed again the hard palate instead of the soft palate

• Anterior suck; also known as the ‘push forward suck’ when the baby almost pushes the nipple out. Babies who have this suck tend not to breastfeed for long if at all. It is very important to have these babies assessed within the first few days to increase chances of breastfeeding.

The birth process commonly creates cranial distortions which can lead to improper sucking and hence difficulty breastfeeding. If the suck has been assessed as good and you are still experiencing difficulty breastfeeding, another option is to consult your midwife or a lactation consultant who can give you valuable advice on attachment and supply issues.

If you would like more information or would like to book an appointment at Neurohealth Chiropractic – please call the clinic on 9905 9099 or email us or fill in the contact form from our website

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