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  • Writer's pictureDr Elly Teear

The best start to life - Creating ease for breastfeeding for mum and bubs.

The way you choose to nourish your baby may be one of the biggest decisions you make and what ever your choice, learning to dance with your baby's nourishment needs in those early days can be a BIG learning curve.

As prenatal, paediatric and family wellness chiropractors we are here to support and empower you on your parenthood journey. There is no more important time to make sure you and your babies nervous system is functioning at its best than during pregnancy and postpartum.

Many of our practice members choose proactively to get their baby checked in the first few days and weeks of life, but we also meet many families in those first few weeks and months when feeding and settling is a harder process than expected or had a BIG birth experience.

It breaks my heart how much we "normalise" dysfunction when it comes to feeding with babies, and it can be really hard to get the functional support you need. It's not all just about baby gaining weight but the foundation of their neurological development, the quality and ease of latch and ease of baby to settle into their para-sympathetic nervous system (aka rest and digest) needed for feeding and digestion.

Babies should eat, sleep and poop and if we see any challenges in those early days/weeks this is often a sign there may be some stress on the nervous system or the body may have a harder time regulating normal functions that it should.

Some other common things to look for when breastfeeding challenges arise are:

– Inability to maintain a firm latch (sometimes described as ‘smacking’ or baby bobbing their head, spillage or noisy feeding)

– Baby having difficulty latching on one side or preferring one side

– Baby that nurses in only one position

– Nipple pain or scabbing

– Baby who is comforted by constant sucking

– Increased regurgitation following feeding

As paediatric chiropractors we work directly with the brain and the nervous system, the nervous system is our master control system it governs our ability to breathe, digest as well as how we perceive and interact with our environment. Pregnancy and birth are amazing natural processors of life but can be BIG for for both mum and baby, and often can create a layer of stress on our little ones neurology.

Breastfeeding is no small task for the small human. It “is a synchronised event requiring the infant to suck, swallow and breathe. Performing this coordinated event requires 6 of the 12 cranial nerves; 22 cranial bones articulate at 34 sutures/places; and 60 muscles that are voluntary and involuntary.” that are all controlled and coordinated by the upper part of the nervous system.

Gentle, specific chiropractic adjustments on babies are amazing at restoring optimal function, which allows for better coordination and a better breastfeeding experience for both mum and baby. Chiropractic care is a safe, gentle, and natural way to help improve breastfeeding success and positive changes can be seen just after a few visits when symptoms are recognised early on.

Would you like to know more about neurological based chiropractic care for your newborn?

Find more information here at

or connect with us at or 03 326 5060 if you are based in Christchurch, NZ.

Further reading

  • Chiropractic management of breast-feeding difficulties: a case report 2011

  • Exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding, and food choices in UK infants 2014

  • Why do women stop breastfeeding? Findings from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment and Monitoring System 2005

  • Falling by the wayside: a phenomenological exploration of perceived breast-milk inadequacy in lactating women 1999

  • Development of co-ordination of sucking, swallowing and breathing: ultrasound study of term and preterm infants 1990

  • Development of perioral muscle activity during suckling in infants: a cross-sectional and follow-up study 1998

  • A Review of the Breastfeeding Literature Relevant to Osteopathic Practice 2014

  • Contribution of chiropractic therapy to resolving suboptimal breastfeeding: a case series of 114 infants 2009

  • The infant with dysfunctional feeding patterns –The chiropractic assessment 2016

  • Chiropractic care for nonmusculoskeletal conditions: a systematic review with implications for whole systems research 2007

  • The Role of Subluxation and Chiropractic Care in Hypolactation 2007

  • What is the evidence that chiropractic care helps sub-optimal breastfeeding? 2019

  • Resolution of suckling intolerance in a 6-month-old chiropractic patient 2000

  • A Narrative Review and Case Report: Frenotomy Procedure in Neonate with Tongue-Tie 2012

  • The chiropractic care of a 6-day-old neonate with breast feeding difficulties and breastfeeding jaundice 2012

  • Chiropractic evaluation and treatment of musculoskeletal dysfunction in infants demonstrating difficulty breastfeeding 2004

  • Development of an integrative relationship in the care of the breastfeeding newborn: Lactation consultant and chiropractor 2009

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