In this video we share the results of a study that looked at the effect of Chiropractic care for babies that were not exclusively breastfeeding.
A transcript of the video follows.
Breastfeeding & Chiropractic Studies Video Transcript
For many mums and babies, breastfeeding can be a real challenge. We know that about 80 to 90% of mums try to breastfeed at birth, but by one week of age, as few as half of mums are still exclusively breastfeeding. This figure continues to drop, with only about 1% of mums exclusively breastfeeding when baby is 6 months old, which is the recommended time we should exclusively breastfeed for.
There are of course lots of reasons why mums give up on breastfeeding, from sore nipples to inadequate milk supply or baby having issues with latching or suckling. All too often these problems lead to too much pain or even breast infection and ultimately and understandably, mum giving up on breastfeeding because it just gets too hard.
This is a real shame because we know that breastfeeding is really important for baby’s health. We know that babies who are breastfed are less likely to suffer from ear infections and tummy bugs. They’re even less likely to develop asthma and other conditions that can be life threatening. It just goes without saying that nature knows best and that breastfeeding is the optimal form of nutrition for infants.
So if someone is having issues with breastfeeding, what can they do about it?
Luckily help is available. Lactation consultants and other health professionals can really help mums and babies to overcome the breastfeeding issues. And one healthcare profession that many new mums turn to for help is their family chiropractor.
But why might a chiropractor help with breastfeeding? Well, the answer is really simple. Chiropractors see babies to help improve the way their body and nervous system functions so that they can get the best possible start in life. But why might a baby have problems with the way they move or function?
That’s another simple question to answer. Spending nine months growing in mum’s tummy can be really cramped. Before baby is even born, the pressure they’re under in mum’s uterus can cause changes to the way their bones move and fuse together, or the shape of their skull. And then the strains baby faces during delivery, either as they pass through the birth canal or from forceps or other forms of assisted delivery, can cause injuries to baby’s spines or nervous systems and other joints that doctors and parents may not be even aware of.
We know that successful breastfeeding relies on lots of complex movements that involve the spine and jaw. And we know that babies with breastfeeding problems often have imbalances in the way their spine and jaw work. We also know that chiropractic care has a positive impact on the way our spine and jaw works.
So it’s possible that chiropractic care may help with breastfeeding problems. What does the research tell us about whether chiropractic care can help mums and bubs who are struggling with breastfeeding? At this stage, large, costly clinical trials haven’t been done to really study how much chiropractic care can help, so we can’t say for sure how effective it is.
So what the research that has been done does tell us is that many mums who take their babies to chiropractors because they’re struggling with breastfeeding report really good changes after their baby is adjusted.
In one study that was conducted in the UK, the researchers followed 114 mums and babies who presented to a chiropractic teaching clinic for care.
All the babies were under the age of 12 weeks. And they were all unable to breastfeed exclusively. The babies were seen by the chiropractic students up to nine times. And the student used low force chiropractic techniques to release tension and improve muscular imbalances. The researchers were most interested in whether mum and baby would be able to breastfeed exclusively after they received chiropractic care.
But they also looked at mum’s rating of overall improvement and baby’s weight gain. What they found was that all of the children showed some improvement. With over three quarters of them being able to exclusively breastfeed after just two to five chiropractic visits over a two week period. From a study like this, we don’t know how much the placebo effect was involved.
And with care provided by chiropractic students, we don’t know if the results would have been even better if an experienced chiropractor provided the care. But what we do know from a study like this … is that it suggests that for some babies with breastfeeding problems, chiropractic care really may help mum and baby to breastfeed exclusively, which is a great thing for mum and baby alike.
We also know from other research that when appropriately applied, chiropractic is known to be safe for kids and babies. So if you’re having trouble with breastfeeding, it’s a good idea to have your baby checked by a chiropractor to make sure they get the best possible start in life.
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