Are you struggling with breastfeeding?
Osteopathic assessment and treatment for breastfeeding difficulties.
If your baby is unable to latch to the breast or suckle effectively, or if you can hear clicking, chomping or gagging. It may be helpful to have your baby assessed, (Hazelbaker assessment tool, Bristol assessment tool) and treated osteopathically.
Many factors may contribute to difficult feeding including:
- Head favouring in one direction.
- Feeding on one side better than the other.
- Opening or closing their mouth asymmetrically.
- Upper lip curling when forming a seal.
- Difficult labour, long labour or fast labour.
- Forceps or ventouse delivery can also have an effect on feeding effectively.
Breastfeeding difficulties - sucking and latching.
If baby had a difficult birth this can result in ineffective patterns of movement in the jaw muscles resulting in poor feeding.
The normal responses to hunger and feeding can then have a knock-on effect through the conveyer belt system of the digestive tract giving rise to wind, or pooing issues or being unsettled. This may then affect sleep-wake cycles and exhaust parents too.
Assessment of latch involves using the Hazelbaker assessment tool and the Bristol assessment tool which will check for more than just the way the tongue cups the finger. We will assess the motion of the tongue as well as how the tongue moves within the mouth, including how it moves from side to side (lateralisation), how far the tip of the tongue lifts and how far the baby can poke (extend) the tongue.
Within the practice we work hard to figure out what is causing some of these feeding issues and support the parents with useful settling advice, feeding positioning advice, manual stretches and easy exercises to improve babies latch, winding and settling.
We are very aware that hands-on practical skills used at home help parents to feel able to cope and have practical strategies to manage difficult or stressful feeding. We also work manually to allow the jaw, neck and latch feeding muscles to work as well as they can.
Tongue and Lip Ties
A small percentage of babies have structural tethering under the tongue and lip, (tongue or lip tie) which needs support from a lactation consultant and possibly cutting. We recommend this procedure but only after a process of managed support and intervention.
We are also advocates for breastfeeding and work together with Midwives and Lactation Consultants to achieve the best results for continuing breastfeeding. Occasionally, formula feeding, expressing breast milk and the use of bottle feeding is needed, we also support parents with those choices helping them find the best bottle and teats for the baby and which formula will suit baby, whether that is a standard or hydrolysed formula.
We work closely with Jackie Wheeler and Martin Minnee for assessment when tongue tie issues aren’t resolving, and for support after they have worked with baby too.
Lactation Consultant - Breastfeeding Manawatu